Citation
The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg

Material Information

Title:
The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg
Series Title:
The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg
Creator:
Bingham, Hugh
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/denver-beat-scene-mile-high-legacy-kerouac-cassady-and-ginsberg[12/7/2015 3:06:40 PM] Home The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and GinsbergThe Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and GinsbergSubmitted by barlowk on 7-22-2015 10:04 PMAuthor: Zack Kopp Publishing: The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg By Zack Kopp. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2015. 144 pages. Illustrations; index. 9x6. $19.99 paperback. Reviewer: Hugh Bingham Every pilgrim needs a guidebook, and for many of us it was a dog-eared and disintegrating On the Road paperback, our siren song and Baedekers to the Mile High City and Jack Kerouacs snowy West. Now you can have a companion volume for your backpack or armchair: Zack Kopps The Denver Beat Scene How times have changed! Mainstream Denver now embraces and celebrates its black sheep Beats and their profound connection with the city. Citizens live in Kerouac lofts and apartments, historical markers have sprouted up, and Neal Cassadys portrait is up on the convention center among fellow Colorado notables. Kopp and his Henry Alarmclock sidekick count the ways: East High School confers a diploma on its most spectacular truant, the mayor proclaims a Neal Cassady Day, and the Mercury Cafe hosts an annual birthday bash with international speakers and performers, Neals children and grandchildren up front, and his intellectual progeny packed into standing room only. The terrain and the backstory are familiar. Neal Cassady, brilliant son of an alcoholic barber, grows up in Larimer flophouses and on the Depression streets of Denver, then finds his way to postwar New York City and the intellectual habitat of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and their cronies, where he quickly becomes their muse. Kerouac hitchhikes west, and the whole crew convenes for the Denver Beat Summer of 1947. A decade after he captured these events in his typewritten Scroll, Kerouac finally finds a publisher. The down-at-the-heels writer and his protean subject awaken to find themselves variously famous and infamous, and the Beat counterculture the bane or blessing of every man, woman, parent and child in the land. Kopp invites us along on his emotional, intellectual, and brick-and-mortar tour of Denvers no-longerquite-so-mean modern streets, and brings the story up to the minute. Your reporter (he calls himself) is a EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWhile on the Dominguez-Escalante expedition in 1776, Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco drew the first map of Colorado.

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The Denver Beat Scene: The Mile-High Legacy of Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/denver-beat-scene-mile-high-legacy-kerouac-cassady-and-ginsberg[12/7/2015 3:06:40 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us historian who is part of the history and widely read and traveled in the ways and waystations of the Beats, so stick with the program: there are gems around every corner. Many of these characters we know from On the Road, Visions of Cody, the much-later-published Scroll transcription of the Road, and the other volumes of the Kerouac canon in which Cassady and Denver figure so prominently. The authors format is toward short, pithy chapters, liberally spread with photographs carefully chosen. Some you will have seen before, but there are revelations literary and photographic placed in cartographic context for the Beat tourist. If your interior monologue is anything like mine, it will be punctuated with I did not know that, and often, I thought I knew that but I guess I didnt. Kopp then moves the story past the Road protagonists and addresses their legacy. He transitions with Denver Beats in the 60s and 70s. Ed Ward, local poet and spoken word impresario, is a key linking figure. One chapter follows the strange short life of William S. Burroughs, Jr., Billy, and his strong Denver connection. Another details the Naropa Institute, and an environment very different from that of its burlier neighbor down the Turnpike. The Bloodlines chapter is particularly fascinating. The author updates the Cassady family tree, first with Carolyns children, Cathy, Jami, and John, then with Diana Hansens son Curtis, then with the recently discovered lineage in Bob Hyatt and his children, Heather, April, Vera, and Henry. The Hyatts, like the Cassadys, bear strong physical resemblance (Henry startlingly so), and have unconventional, powerful aspirationsand, in Veras case, wanderlust. The author documents Heather Daltons quest to bring her feature film Neal Cassady: The Denver Years to the screen, her wooing to the project of the fiercely private expatriate Carolyn Cassady, and the powerful personal connection which developed. Kopp and Henry Alarmclock give you fair warning in the Preface: Your reporter lacks experience writing nonfiction . but was profoundly affected by Jack Kerouacs autobiographically based spontaneous prose when he discovered it as a teenage aspiring writer (10). The authors background owes much to the vibrant spoken word tradition in Denver, and this guidebook/memoir reads much of the time as direct transcription. He is also a devoted denizen of the zine scene, and stylistically shows those roots as well. The author has been known from time to time to host a Beat Generation Landmarks Limo Tour. Join him for this one, sit back, and enjoy the ride. Reviewer Info: Hugh Bingham arrived in the Rockies a good many years ago to ski bum for a season, and like many another pilgrim, has never left. He presents western adventurers like Sam Clemens and Green Russell for groups including the Oregon-California Trails Association and History Colorado, and, with a little help from thirty-four friends, was Wrangler for a straight-through reading of Kerouacs Scroll.