Neal Cassady‘s birthday today. He would have been 93. Denver’s Mayor, Michael Hancock, citing Cassady’s “unique outlook, philosophy and worldview – shaped by his Denver upbringing”, has proclaimed February 8th as, officially, “Neal Cassady Day.”
Tonight at The Mercury Café the David Amram Quartet and Jello Biafra will be the headliners for the 10th Annual Neal Cassady Birthday Bash, featuring music, poetry and reminiscences, celebrating the spirit and life of the legendary Prankster. Celebrations continue tomorrow, from 4-6 pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse on West Colfax Avenue, where there will be speakers, poetry, and two panel discussions “celebrating Neal Cassady, Denver, and the West”. The first, “Women and the Beat Legacy”, moderated by filmmaker Heather Dalton. Participants include Patricia Calhoun, the founder and Editor of Westword and poet Jennifer Dunbar Dorn. The second, “Creativity in Difficult Times”, with David Amram and Jello Biafra, will be moderated by Mark Bliesener At 7pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, there will be a screening of the documentary “Neal Cassady the Denver Years,” followed by a discussion with Heather Dalton, the film’s director.
next Tuesday (February 12) in Chicago, at the Newberry Library, John Suiter kicks off another six sessions of seminars and classes on “Allen Ginsberg’s Chicago – Poetry, Protest and Performance, 1959-1975” – For suggested preliminary reading, Suiter proposes Gerald Brennan‘s two articles (from 1995 in the Chicago Reader) on the Univesity’s attempted suppression of publication of sections from William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Irving Rosenthal‘s subsequent Big Table publication – see here
speaking of Chicago, an interesting heads-up – Aaron Sorkin’s proposed film on the Chicago 7, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, originally put on hiatus, is now going full-scale on production. Seth Rogen as Jerry Rubin, Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman. “I’m thrilled to be making a movie about one of the craziest, funniest, most intense, most tragic, and most triumphant trials in American history..”, Sorkin is quoted as saying.
It promises to be quite a film!
Here’s a little snippet of Hydrogen Jukebox (from “N.S.A. Dope Calypso”):
and Bob Rosenthal and Andy Clausen‘s Beat memoirs, we’ve certainly mentioned. Here’s Brian Hassett‘s enthusiastic take on them – here & a little note on Allen’s Iron Curtain Journals from John Aiello in the Electric Review.
Last but not least, another angel has left the room with the passing of Izzy Young last Monday, February 4 at his home in Stockholm where he’d lived since leaving NYC’s Greenwich Village in 1973. His Folklore Center was a famous meeting place for almost every musician on the scene during the Folk Revival starting in the late 50s, and is where Bob Dylan famously met Dave Van Ronk. Check the New York Times obit for more, and this charming documentary from 1989 where Young revisits some of his old haunts 15 years after moving away.