Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Forty Years #17: Jack Kerouac

from Vanity of Duluoz
from Dr. Sax
Calligraphy opened up a deeper connection with words and opportunities to share my love of them with others. Living next to Lowell, I immersed myself in the writings of Jack Kerouac, especially his Lowell books: The Town and the City, Maggie Cassidy, Visions of Gerard, Dr. Sax, and Vanity of Duluoz. I had read On The Road, which I had loved at 20 but found hard to get through many of the passages about women when I revisited it this summer. Paul Marion and I organized two Kerouac events with exhibits and programs at Art Alive! The first was KEROUAC LIVES! with a series of speakers including Joy Walsh of Moody Street Irregulars and an incredible reading of a long poem by a very young George Chigas. Kerouac's widow Stella Sampas attended along with about 200 others and my husband and I went out after with a childhood friend of Kerouac's, Joe Chaput. It was a memorable evening.
me, Paul Marion, Joy Walsh, and Mico Kaufman's bust of Jack Kerouac 
that rode from Mary Sampas's house to Art Alive! on Pauls's lap

We later did an all-day reading of Dr. Sax and called the event KEROUAC ALOUD. Members of Art Alive! and the community read.
The Kerouac-Lowell connection took us further afield. In 1987, a group of artists from Lowell took part in the Rencontre Internationale de Jack Kerouac in Quebec City. We showed our work at the Galerie Quatre Saisons. I exhibited a book for the first time: Contradictions: Jack Kerouac, Lowell, the River

It was my first introduction to the potential difficulties of exhibiting books. There was only one pedestal which I was already being used for a sculptural piece so the book ended up on a table and I spent much of the reception removing wine glasses from the table. I later made a limited edition version of the book. I hadn't looked or thought about this one-of-a-kind book in a long time. It's completely hand-lettered and I like it!

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