Beat News You Can Use!

kerouac – excerpt

Major Acquisition – Original Neal Cassady Letters – Exhibition Opens August, 2016
540 Broadway, SF, Open daily 10 AM- 7 PM

1). The Beat Museum Presents: Harold Norse Centennial
2). The Beat Museum Presents: The Living Theater in San Francisco
3). Neal Cassady Joan Anderson Letter – Christies Auction Results
4). The Monsignor’s Godson – Neal Cassady Exhibit Opens in August
5). Coming Soon: Big News about The Future of The Beat Museum

Harold Norse was born Harold Rosen in New York City on July 6, 1916. Norse was associated with WH Auden, James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, Dylan Thomas, Paul and Jane Bowles, Charles Bukowski and Anais Nin. In the 1950s he lived with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William S. Burroughs and others at The Beat Hotel in Paris. Living in San Francisco the last 35 years of his life, Norse became a leading voice in gay liberation.

The Beat Museum is proud to sponsor three events in July in recognition of Harold’s Centennial. The first is Wednesday, July 6th at 7pm at The Mechanics Institute in San Francisco. Admission is $15, but if you’re a member of either The Mechanics Institute or The Beat Museum admission is free. The second event is at The Beat Museum on Saturday, July 9th at 7pm. The third event is at Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 23rd at 4pm.

Save the date! The Beat Museum will be hosting The Living Theater here in San Francisco on Thursday, August 25th. The Living Theater was founded in 1947 by Julien Beck and Judith Malina ….. and is the oldest experimental theater company in the United States. The association between The Beat Generation and The Living Theater goes back decades and we’re excited to be bringing the troupe to San Francisco.  More details to come as the August 25th date gets closer..

On June 16th, 2016 Beat Generation fans around the world were surprised when Neal Cassady’s infamous letter to Jack Kerouac (called by Jack & Allen “The Joan Anderson Letter”) failed to sell at Christies Auction House in New York City. The Reserve price was set at $400,000 with the opening bid starting at $200,000. According to Brian Hassett (author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac), who was in the room, there were two phone bidders who quickly went back and forth from $240,000 to $260,000 to $280,000 taking the bidding up to $380,000 where it abruptly stopped. No one made the commitment to buy at $400,000!

To say fans were shocked is an understatement. Many people had believed this letter by Neal, which everyone agrees showed the way to spontaneous prose for Kerouac, would easily fetch a million dollars + and it is obvious by the bidding pattern that the people who did bid were only doing so for the bragging rights of saying, “I bid on the JAL but I was outbid.” Those bragging rights fell apart when the letter went unsold.

In fact, I had spoken to some people regarding an attempt to raise the necessary funds for The Beat Museum to bid on the letter, but I mistakenly believed someone like Jim Irsay would walk away with it like he did Jack Kerouac’s scroll in 2001 for $2,400,000. Figuring there was no way we were going to outbid a billionaire like Jim Irsay, we abandoned the attempt to raise the funds instead focusing our efforts on other productive matters more within our control.

As most of you know, The Beat Museum has never had a budget for acquiring artifacts. And the great thing about building a place like The Beat Museum is the vast majority of what we do have on display has been either donated or loaned to us over the years by Beat fans from around the globe.

It is for this reason we really weren’t too surprised six months ago when we received an email out of the blue that someone wanted to place some very rare items on permanent loan to us. We were surprised, however, by the importance of the collection. In the introductory email we were told, “I briefly considered placing these letters and the related items with Columbia, The NY Public Library, Chapel Hill or Stanford, but it seems to me The Beat Museum is doing the most interesting work of any organization in the world relating to the Beats and I believe these items will be seen by more people at your museum in San Francisco” and hence the collection of letters and other artifacts came to us.

The file in question contains six original letters written by Neal Cassady to his godfather in Denver, Father John Harley Schmitt. The letters were written from May, 1958 through July, 1960 and all six were published in the 1993 book “Grace Beats Karma – Letters from Prison” along with fifty-six letters from Neal to his wife Carolyn and their children.

Added to the other Cassady items we have on display that came to us through the generosity of Neal’s son, John Allen Cassady, this exhibition of “The Monsignor’s Godson” is the most robust exhibition of original Neal Cassady items on public view in the world.

“The Monsignor’s Godson: From The Streets of Denver to the Cells of San Quentin” will be on exhibition starting in August at The Beat Museum.

Click here for further information:

Things are happening fast all over San Francisco in our topsy-turvy real-estate environment these days and North Beach is no different. Some organizations are leaving town or closing up shop altogether and others are being reborn in significantly different incarnations. We’ll be making a public announcement about the future of The Beat Museum in North Beach in the coming weeks – so stay tuned!

Thanks for your continued support!
Jerry Cimino
The Beat Museum
540 Broadway (at Columbus)
San Francisco, CA  94133

Join us! Become a “card carrying member” of The Beat Museum.
Please Note: If any of the above links are broken, all info can be found at kerouac (dot) com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s