THE JACK KEROUAC ESTATE has announced plans to celebrate the centennial birthday anniversary of world-renowned American novelist, writer, poet and artist JACK KEROUAC (1922-1969) starting in his birth month of March 2022 and continuing throughout the year in his hometown of Lowell, MA. The estate has partnered with The Kerouac @ 100 Committee—which consists of The Kerouac Center at UMass Lowell, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs, the Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell’s Franco-American Day Committee, and Québec Delégation of Boston —to organize the upcoming festivities.
Born on March 12, 1922, KEROUAC was a pioneer of the “Beat Generation” publishing over 14 novels including the generation-defining literary classic On The Road (1957), which President Barack Obama has praised as an influence on his life and Time Magazine has included on its list of best novels of the last 100 years. KEROUAC’s work has also been credited as a major influence for many top musicians, poets, filmmakers and visual artists including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Ben Gibbard, Weezer, Jawbreaker, The Wonder Years, Billy Corgan, The Hold Steady, Katy Perry, Michael Stipe, Steven Tyler, Joe Strummer, Jeff Buckley, Morphine, Alanis Morrissette, Paul Simon, 10,000 Maniacs, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Morrison, Belle and Sebastian, Our Lady Peace, Fences, Hiss Golden Messenger, Lana Del Ray, Ethan Hawke, Francis Ford Coppola, George Condo, Hunter S. Thompson, Thomas Pynchon, Richard Brautigan, Jim Carroll, George Saunders and Alison Bechdel. His work has been able to transcend stature and inspire the general public as well, much in part due to his personal charm and ability to speak and relate with anyone.
During the centennial celebration a special exhibit, “VISIONS OF KEROUAC,” will take place at Lowell National Historical Park–Boott Cotton Mills Gallery which will include the return of the original On The Road scroll on loan from Jim Irsay’s (owner of the Indianapolis Colts) renowned collection of historic and iconic artifacts from rock music, American history and pop culture, The Jim Irsay Collection. The 120-foot-long scroll is one of the most extraordinary and highly valued manuscripts in American literary history. It will be available for viewing along with archival books, writings, personal objects, and photographs including never-before-seen images of KEROUAC taken by fellow Beat Generation pioneer Allen Ginsberg. There will also be a collection of photographs by John Suiter. Further dates/times and details will be revealed in early 2022.
"The exhibit ‘Visions of Kerouac’ presents the many identities of Jack Kerouac, from the avant-garde literary author who produced the On the Road scroll to the Kerouac who remained deeply connected to his roots in the French-Canadian community of Lowell, Massachusetts," shares Michael Millner (Director, UMass Lowell Kerouac Center) who has been working with the estate in curating the exhibit.
"After reading Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, Bob Dylan commented that the book ‘changed my life like it changed everyone else's.’ Kerouac's American road began and ended in Lowell, Massachusetts,” tells Jim Sampas (Literary Executor of the Estate of Jack Kerouac). “And so, it is fitting that, in Lowell, we get to celebrate the legacy of a writer whose influence on American culture has been cemented and assured.
He continues, “Little known fact—Katy Perry’s ‘Firework,’ which was played as the closing song played in our most recent Presidential inauguration as fireworks went off, was inspired by an often-quoted passage in On the Road which alludes to roman candles burning in a night sky. Thanks to Jim Irsay, Jack Kerouac's On the Road scroll manuscript, which contains said passage and many other awe-inspiring sentences, will soon be back in town. Kerouac @ 100 is looking forward to unveiling a collection of lovingly curated tributes to Lowell's favorite native son in readings, magnificent exhibits, and concerts—all unfolding across 2022 as we light those roman candles across the stars in celebration of the Centenary birth of an American icon. The Jack Kerouac estate is so grateful to be working alongside the brilliant group of folks who have put this all together. Kerouac's legacy is burning bright.”
Additional events and happenings are set to take place surrounding KEROUAC’s centennial birthday including:
- The Jack Kerouac Foundation has just been created to establish a Jack Kerouac Museum and performance venue in Lowell, MA. More to be announced soon.
- Famous quotes from Kerouac’s works will be made into banners and hung on every light pole in downtown City of Lowell, MA.
- Various panels, readings, art, talks, exhibits, film screenings, musical performances, and student/school collaborations will take place throughout Lowell in March 2022. Details coming early 2022.
- The Town And The City Festival--produced by Chris Porter--is a two-day music and arts festival that will take place in various event spaces, bars, cafes and galleries throughout downtown Lowell, MA on April 8 & 9. The festival is named after KEROUAC’s earliest novel which was primarily set in this historic mill city.
- Lowell Celebrates Kerouac will take place October 2022 and will feature a weekend full of KEROUAC themed events and tours.
- DIY Lowell, a grassroots community organization, will install pop-up multilingual poetry signs to create a trail past historic Kerouac sites, including an installation at Kerouac Park. A volunteer team will begin planning this at their annual summit open to the public on November 18, the installation is anticipated in mid-spring 2022.
- Unreleased works of KEROUAC as well as works from various authors inspired by KEROUAC are set to be published via Sal Paradise Media – a content development arm of THE JACK KEROUAC ESTATE formed by music & film director Jim Sampas (literary executor for The Jack Kerouac Estate) and music industry veteran Sylvia Cunha (Marketing & Development for The Jack Kerouac Estate).
- “Kerouac and Me” podcast set to air in 2022 which will see stars of music, film, TV, literature, politics, sports and business share stories of how their work was inspired by Kerouac. The podcast will be hosted by Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) and was created by Jim Sampas in partnership with Sylvia Cunha for Sal Paradise Media and New York Times bestselling authors Dave Wedge and Casey Sherman for Fort Point Media.
“We have so many things planned to honor Jack during his Centenary and beyond,” says Sylvia Cunha who heads up Marketing & Development for the Estate of Jack Kerouac. “The Kerouac @100 Committee is focused on bringing his legend to not only his diehard fans but to new generations– with our ultimate goal of establishing a museum and performance venue in his hometown.”
“The Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau is honored to be partnered with the Jack Kerouac Estate and Kerouac @100 Committee for the Lowell’s favorite son, Jack Kerouac,” states RICK LOFRIA (Executive Director at the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau). “He was inspired by Lowell and the Greater Merrimack Valley in novel after novel. It’s going to be a birthday celebration to remember with residents and visitors who will be travelling to the area from around the world.”
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for additional details on “Visions of Kerouac” and find out more about KEROUAC at jackkerouac.com.
KEROUAC @ 100 is funded in part by The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, The Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kerouac Center at UMass Lowell, Allen Ginsberg Estate, Massachusetts State Senator Edward Kennedy, City Of Lowell, Pollard Memorial Library Foundation, Lowell National Historical Park, Québec Delégation of Boston, George Duncan/Enterprise Bank, Greater Lowell Health Alliance, and Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series.
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