Saturday, August 30, 2008

Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg



I've been reading Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", all about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and their bus trip back and forth across the US. I just finished Larry McMurtry's "The Last Picture Show" which was okay but disappointed me.

I started the Kool-Aid book because I read somewhere that the bus stops at Larry McMurtry's house along the way. Unfortunately it was only a one page stop.

Kool-Aid needs skimming, because it's such an extended trip and trippy writing can be pretty boring. Sometimes it's good though.

So why the video? Hey that's Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg. Neal Cassady was the inspiration for Jack Kerouac's main character, Dean Moriarty, in his great novel "On the Road" which I've now been through I think four times since we have the audio version which we play on our drives to Colorado, and I'd already read it before that.

Bear with me-- you've seen my beret and must know I was a junior beatnik in the 50's. This is the first time I've seen real footage of Neal Cassady and could hear his voice. They're at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.

After driving back and forth across the country with Jack Kerouac and inspiring his book, Neal Cassady then drove the Merry Pranksters' bus back and forth across the country more than a decade later. In "Kool-Aid Acid" there's a story about Ken Kesey meeting Jack Kerouac in New York, with Neal Cassady there too, kind of a cultural turning point, and it wasn't a happy meeting, too much jealousy!

7 comments:

Namowal said...

There used to be a ramshakle book store in Santa Monica that looked just like that (minus the smoking).
They had poetry readings too, but I'm missing the part of my brain that appreciates poetry.
Did you notice the expression on the gal's face when the camera panned to the left? She seems a bit puzzled.
I wonder what the anti-establishment crowd of the 1950s would think of their modern counterparts?

Fearless Freep said...

After just attending the McCain- Palin rally here yesterday because I wanted to find out about her, I would say the beatniks would be appalled by their contemporaries. About 30 people, mostly imported Service Workers Union paid lackys who chanted Obama slogans so simple and idiotic anyone with any pretense of intellectaulism as the beatniks prided themselves, would find very much beneath them. I doubt the beatniks would have gone out of their to be confrontational with senior citizens walking peacefully past. What we have is the Saul Alinsky radical Marxists running what was once, a long time ago under JFK, a Party who believed in America. It now champions a state such as Fidel Castro created in Cuba. No thanks. I am happy for those who have more than me and don't want them punished or unfairly taxed. America can not be a prosperous country if we tax the wealthy into poverty.
"Tax the rich. Feed the poor. Till there are no rich no more" Alvin Lee and Ten Years After

Linda said...

Sally, back to Namo's question: Who would you say their modern counterparts are?

Do you want to go to Larry McMurtry's bookstore?

Sally said...

fearless, I couldn't disagree with you more. This Palin chick is a horror and McCain is too old for the job.

WOLVES FOR OBAMA!

Linda, we're their modern counterparts. Put your hat on!

Linda said...

At first when I read in your comment: WOLVES FOR OBAMA! I was going to write "Of course Tom Wolve's for Obama!" But luckily Tom called me to dinner and I read the paper.

POLAR BEARS FOR OBAMA!

p.s. The anti-establishment crowd of the 1950's would be proud to have you as their modern counterpart. But me? I don't even like to camp out. And I can't smoke without eating cough drops at the same time. But I DO write GREAT poetry.

Namowal said...

Glad I'm not the only one who dislikes Mrs. "Shoot wolves from planes to make sure there's enough moose to hunt."

Fearless Freep said...

I never said anything in my post about my conclusions vis-a-vis Mrs. Palin or John McCain so what do you disagree with in terms of something I never wrote?
The post was about the rhetoric and behavior of the paid Obama protestors, in response to the question of what the beatniks would have thought of the current protestors. It reflected my response to the incredibly shallow grasp of reality the protestors had and their complete lack of solid facts to support their drivel.
You have every right to think Palin is a horror and McCain is too old thanks to what is left of the Bill of Rights. If Obama and Biden gets in and the Congress falls to the Establishment Democrat Party, I doubt I will have the option to disagree with them.