2017 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival Schedule
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road…
Everybody goes home in October.”
Jack Kerouac. On the Road
Observing the 60th anniversary of the publication of On the Road.
2:00 p.m. Hassan Melehy
Hassan Melehy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina will speak, O’Leary Library, South Campus, Room 478.
8:00 p.m. LCK Kick-off at Cappy’s. Music and Readings
Performances by Alan Crane, Colleen Nichols, and George Koumantzelis. Joined by special guest David Amram. Hosted by John McDermott.
9:30 a.m. LHS Annual Poetry and Prose Competition. Lowell High School
Held at Jack Kerouac’s alma mater, Lowell High School. Students will read their poetry and prose entries. David Amram will share his memories of collaborating with Jack Kerouac.
Note: This is a Lowell High School event and not open to the public.
2:00 p.m. Talking Jack.
An open-ended time for readings and conversation on the life and work of Jack Kerouac. On this 60th anniversary of the publication of On the Road we’ll lead off with a conversation about the continuing impact of Kerouac’s signature work and see where it takes us.
Christ Church United. 180 East Merrimack St. (Across the bridge by the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, next to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church). Handicapped entrance on Bartlett St., rear entrance to Church.
4:30—7:00 p.m. Festive Wine Opening: “GRAY WORDS: The Dark and Light of Jack Kerouac”
Artist Barbara Gagel’s abstract images using heated wax and pigment offer a deeper view of Kerouac’s writing. His dark moments and his transcendent illuminating words in a gray world allow us to ponder our own inner poetry and understanding of duality.
Ayer Lofts. 172 Middle Street.
6:00–8:00 p.m. Exhibit Opening Reception: Vast! Mad! Striving! Kerouac’s Lowell Today.
An exhibit curated by Mary Hart, presenting the work of artists in various media which examine Lowell as Jack Kerouac might have seen it. Not a nostalgic exhibit, but one that captures Lowell as it is today, still embodying the grit, determination, and soul of the city in all its forms. Live music, poetry, art, and refreshments.
Lowell Telecommunications Center. 246 Market Street.
7:30 p.m. “Pull My Daisy” Showing and Commentary; and Jack and Jazz with David Amram.
A showing of the classic film Pull My Daisy as narrated by Jack Kerouac, with by commentary by Dr. Nancy Fox and David Amram.
Then an evening of Jack and Jazz with David and Adam Amram, accompanied by Kevin Twigg and Rene Hart.
A $5.00 donation to LCK is requested.
Zorba’s Music Hall. 438 Market Street.
9:30 a.m. Commemorative at the Commemorative.
This year’s observance is primarily devoted to recalling the life and legacy of John Sampas, who passed away this past March.
The Kerouac Commemorative is located at French and Bridge Streets.
10:15 a.m. Bus Tour: The Jack Kerouac Tour of Lowell.
This tour takes participants to a number of Kerouac places around Lowell, accompanied with interpretative readings. Stops include Kerouac’s birthplace, the schools he attended, the neighborhoods where he lived, the church and shrines at which he prayed, and his gravesite.
Departs from the Commemorative following the observance there. Led by Roger Brunelle.
Donations gratefully accepted. Reservations at 978-970-5000.
10:30 a.m. Art Walk/Gallery Tour.
A tour of the Lowell galleries that are currently featuring Kerouac related exhibits. Stops will be at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, the Ayer Lofts, and the Lowell Telecommunications Center.
Led by Judith Bessette. Leave from the Commemorative following the observance there.
12:30 p.m. George Walker and Brian Hassett Present Kerouac and Cassady.
Original Merry Prankster George Walker was probably Neal Cassady’s closest friend in the last years of his life. Brian Hassett has been performing Kerouac on stage for 25 years. Together they have formed a duo that brings the old Beat friends to life—using both Kerouac texts and improv.
Community Room—Pollard Memorial Library. 401 Merrimack Street.
2:00 p.m. Annual Parker/LCK Lecture. John Leland: “Why Kerouac Matters—The Lessons of On the Road (They’re Not What You Think).
John Leland is a feature writer for The New York Times and the author of the book that bears the same title as his address. He is also the author of Hip: The History.
Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. 246 Market Street.
3:30 p.m. Library Haunts and Hooky Tour.
This tour includes a visit to the Pollard Library’s “Kerouac Corner,” so named to honor the time Jack spent here during his high school days—sometimes playing hooky to expand his own literary horizons. Led by Bill Walsh. Pollard Memorial Library. 401 Market Street.
4:00 p.m. Brian Hassett Road Show
Brian Hassett, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac,” returns to Lowell with his theatrical readings and comedic storytelling. This is a “Road” themed show—coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the publication of “On the Road.” It packed the Worthen last year!
5:00 p.m. Open Mic
Following Brian you are invited to bring your favorite Kerouac passage to share, or a Kerouac inspired passage of your own.
Emceed by Cliff Whalen.
Both events at The Old Worthen. 141 Worthen Street.
7:30 p.m. A 60th Anniversary Celebration of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Featured Performer Kevin Devine. With Special Guests Will Dailey and Neal Cassady’s Daughter, Jami Cassady.
We’ll celebrate the spirit of On the Road with acclaimed Indie Rocker Kevin Devine as the featured performer. He’ll be joined by New England favorite, Will Dailey. The evening will open with Jami Cassady, in conversation with Steve Edington, sharing memories of her father Neal, and her “Uncle Jack” Kerouac.
Zorba’s Music Hall. 438 Market Street. A $10.00 donation is requested to support Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.
Kevin Devine’s appearance is generously sponsored by the Duncan Family Fund–a Component Fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.
This event is being produced by Jim Sampas of Reimagine Music.
10:00 a.m. “Mystic Jack” Tour.
Walking Tour begins at the St. Louis de France Church and moves along Beaulieu St. to the convent and school. Tours is based on Visions of Gerard, the mystical story of Jack’s brother who died at nine years. He is portrayed by Jack as the universal symbol of brotherhood and kindness, with emphasis on Gerard’s tenderness and dreams.
Led by Roger Brunelle. Donations gratefully accepted.
St. Louis de France Church. 241 West 6th Street.
1:30—4:00 p.m. Annual Amram Jam.
Our annual event featuring David Amram performing with a cast of many readers, poets, and musicians. You can feel the spirit of Kerouac moving here!
Downstairs at The Old Worthen. 141 Worthen Street.
6:00 p.m. “Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night” Tour .
An evening walk through the streets of the Pawtucketville neighborhood where Jack spent his adolescent years, as he describes them in Doctor Sax and Maggie Cassidy. Reading from his talk-writings at the cottages and tenements where Jack lived when he attended the Bartlett Junior High School and Lowell High. Tour ends at the Sainte-Jeanne D’Arc Church where Jack saw a vision of the BEAT-ific Generation.
Led by Roger Brunelle. Donations gratefully accepted
Begins at Cumnock Hall. UML North Campus. 1 University Avenue.
10:00 a.m. Kerouac’s Nashua Connection Van Tour.
A tour of the Kerouac sites of Nashua, New Hampshire led by Steve Edington, author of Kerouac’s Nashua Connection. Stops are at the homes of Jack’s aunts, uncles, and cousins as cited in Visions of Gerard, Doctor Sax, Vanity of Duluoz, and The Town and the City. Final stop is at the gravesite of Jack’s parents, Leo and Gabrielle; his brother, Girard; and his daughter, Jan Michelle. Will connect with the Loop Walk in progress—see item below—after returning to Lowell for those who would like to join it.
Leave from the Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. 246 Market Street.
Reservations at 978-970-5000. Donations gratefully accepted.
10:00 a.m. Loop Tour from the Kerouac Commemorative.
Walk goes from the Commemorative on Bridge Street to the St. Louis Church in Centerville, past Kerouac homes and landmarks in Centralville and Pawtucketville, finishing at The Old Worthen Tavern.
Last Call at the Worthen Following the Loop Tour.
For those who are still around, we close out the Festival with one last call at The Old Worthen!
Thursday, October 12
2:00 p.m. Joel Dinerstein
Joel Dinerstein will speak on “The Origins of Cool in Postwar America” at UMass Lowell, O’Leary Library, South Campus, Room 222.