Jack Kerouac Centennial Year begins this year. So we’ll start up the year with an all-Kerouac Friday Round-Up
Big news this week from the Kerouac Estate – the formation of a Jack Kerouac Foundation
“The Foundation’s first initiative will be to pursue funding for the establishment of a Jack Kerouac Museum and Performance Center in the magnificent former St Jean Baptiste Church, which was completed in 1896 to serve Lowell’s once-teeming Little Canada neighborhood. The church was the heart of the neighborhood, as well as the city’s French-Canadian population. It was also the site of Jack’s funeral Mass in 1969.
As Kerouac’s literary executor, Jim Sampas, points out, “(W)hile there have been monuments built to Kerouac, there is no museum or performance center to celebrate this singular author’s artistry. There’s a strong case to be made that no author in history has been more influential in the musical arts as Jack Kerouac and the performance center will celebrate that legacy.”
Sylvia Cunha, Director of Marketing & Business Development for the Kerouac Estate and Executive Director of the new foundation, notes (regarding the background):
“It’s an honor to help make a Jack Kerouac Museum & Performance Center a reality — something we at the Estate have targeted for a long time. When Dave Ouellette of ACTION (Acre Coalition To Improve Our Neighborhood) approached the Estate and the Kerouac Centennial Committee with a proposal to pursue the long-empty church building as our preferred site, we recognized it instantly as a perfect fit for our goals.. We aim to partner with different organizations and individuals. Our fundraising kicks off now, and we plan to show this incredible space to those interested in collaborating with us in March when Jack’s original On The Road scroll returns to Lowell to mark what would have been his 100th Birthday.”
“Memorializing Jack in the place his brother Gerard was baptized, where he himself served for a time as an altar boy, and where he formed a deep bond with the priest who conducted his funeral – Father Spike Morissette – would be incredibly appropriate,” adds Ouellette… Purchasing and renovating the building would contribute immeasurably to the reputation of Kerouac, our Acre neighborhood, and the City of Lowell”.
More Kerouac news – we already posted the Kerouac Estate and Kerouac@100 Committee‘s Lowell plans. All sorts of exciting activity upcoming. In case you missed it, you can read the most-recent (November) press-release –here
and, getting a jump-start on festivities – across the Atlantic, over in England – Kerouac Lives! (this event is scheduled to open at the Wadsworth Community Centre, near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire (February 4th) early next month – “a new live show, combining conversation and readings, an exciting and original soundtrack and the world premiere of an unseen American film-tribute to the novelist” (Tom Knoff and Kurt Hemmer‘s “100 Lines for the Kerouac Centenary”)
Kerouac Lives! is the brain-child of Beat scholar Simon Warner, and poet and spoken-word performer Heath Common, who will tell from the stage the writer’s roller-coaster story. A specially-composed score (eight new songs) will be featured, featuring lyrics by Common and music by composer John Hardie. The program will be grounded by readings of key extracts from significant Kerouac texts, The Town and the City, Doctor Sax, Big Sur and On the Road.
Warner interviews Common – here