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Book Signing: Brian Hassett- 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to Jack Kerouac'

June 22, 2018 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm

This is the only book written about “the Woodstock of the Beats” – the historic 1982 Kerouac SuperSummit in Boulder where, as John Clellon Holmes put it, “more of us were together than had ever been together in one place at one time before.” And nothing on this scale ever happened again. Featuring scenes, anecdotes and transcribed conversations with the likes of Holmes, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, Kens Kesey & Babbs, Michael McClure, Carolyn Cassady, Edie Kerouac, Abbie Hoffman, Paul Krassner, Al Aronowitz and many others, the book is a fast-paced storytelling adventure straight through the heart of Beatlandia.
Hitchhiking tales from a 3,500 mile journey, life among the Beats, and “following your dreams to the living rooms of your heroes” are some of the happenings in this On The Road “Almost Famous” with literary rock stars – from the debauched to the brilliant. Readers will learn what the whole “Kerouac thing” is all about – why he’s so popular and has lasted so long – as reflected through the eyes of myriad people from famous novelists to students, filmmakers to poets, his lovers to his critics. The book also features the most extensive exploration in print of the connection between the Beats and The Grateful Dead. No other band in history has as close a relationship to particularly Kerouac and Neal Cassady as The Grateful Dead, or who more embodied the On The Road ethos that those two personified. In fact, it was the band who largely funded this historic gathering and scheduled their summer Red Rocks shows to be a part of – to which, of course, the reader is taken.
Besides all the living Beats, there is also a significant focus on Ken Kesey – including many transcribed conversations – about his relationship with Kerouac’s writing, Cassady’s persona, The Bus’s legacy and the importance of family. Plus, there’s Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary in major supporting roles – each with very different reactions from those in attendance. Told as a first-person Adventure Story by an enthusiastic 21-year-old show producer, the narrative is both youthful in its wide-eyed sense of discovery, while balanced with decades of scholarship and perspective.
Brian Hassett has been writing about Jack Kerouac and the Beats for over 30 years, including helping put together and write two of the keynotes essays for The Rolling Stone Book of The Beats. He also produced (booked, stage managed, hosted) many Beat related multimedia events with many of the living leading lights in various downtown clubs in Manhattan, as well in L.A., Toronto, London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. In Winnipeg in the 1970s he helped organized a series of bona fide Acid Tests with multiple bands and light shows and everything that goes with it. By age 17 he was touring Western Canada with the rock band Yes, and by 19 working with Bill Graham producing The Rolling Stones 1981 tour. In the 1980s he became close friends with Edie Kerouac Parker and Henri Cru, and by the Beat boom years of the ’90s fell in with Carolyn Cassady and just about everybody else. He saw his first Grateful Dead show at age 18 in Seattle, June 1980, and his 2nd thru 6th shows were in the front 3 rows of Radio City Music Hall, after sleeping out on the sidewalk for tickets.
He has ticket stubs or set lists from at least 116 shows, and before Jerry died he took at least 36 different people to their first show. He has performed both his own and Kerouac’s writing, often with musical accompaniment, at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, the Knitting Factory, Wetlands, the Bitter End, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and many other subterranean saloons. In 2001 he produced the multimedia “50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac Writing On The Road” shows – on the day he started it, April 2nd, in New York, and on the day he finished it, April 22nd, in L.A., each with a long list of celebrity readers and performers. He wrote The Temp Survival Guide about how to make a living without having a job, and ended up for many years as an Executive Aide-de-Camp at MTV working with Tom Freston, Judy McGrath and others. His work on the Beats can be found in High Times, Relix, the Toronto Star, Beat Scene, DharmaBeat, Ken Kesey’s Intrepid Trips, Levi’s Jeans ads, and many other sources. He maintains an active website with all sorts of current adventures – including falling back in with the Merry Pranksters and Furthur at Yasgur’s Farm in 2014 – at –

Thursday 9/20
Knowing Your Home: Electrical 101

Friday 9/21
The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute by Mike Fornes

Saturday 9/22
thru Sun Sept 23

Sunday 9/23
Ohio City Street Festival 9/23

Monday 9/24
Slow Roll Cleveland

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