Originally published by Viking Press in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road has been wearing holes in the back pockets and floppy canvas knapsacks of gaggles of come-find-yourself road trippers and college-aged who-am-I types ever since. To coincide with the 50th anniversary of its publication, Wednesday night will see the Gladstone play host to something of a symposium on the life and legacy of their main man, Kerouac. Authors Ray Robertson and David Creighton will be in conversation with CBC Radio One’s Jian Ghomeshi to discuss our ceaseless cultural infatuation with the famed Beat writer.
As part of the Pages Books & Magazines non-reading series, er, This Is Not A Reading Series, the event will also serve as a double book launch for the two authors’ newest Beat-related works. Robertson’s What Happened Later takes its title from Kerouac’s proposed sequel to On the Road and Creighton’s Ecstasy of the Beats: On the Road to Understanding interviews key players and witnesses to the movement and even explores Kerouac’s French-Canadian roots.
The two books will be on sale at the event, likely alongside the 50th anniversary edition of On the Road that was released late last month. Titled On the Road: The Original Scroll (as the book was originally typed out as one ginormous single-spaced paragraph on a 120-foot sheet of tracing paper), this version is printed word-for-word, in its entirety, including material that was deemed unfit for print in the ’50s and the replacement of all pseudonyms in the text with real names (i.e. the opening sentence would change from “I first met Dean Moriarity” to “I first met Neal [Cassady]“).
While this TINARS event may not be as sexy as the New York Public Library’s display of the actual scroll later this year, it’s still pretty cool and you should probably go. Following the rabble-rabble is a performance by DJs Tim Babel and Flipped Out Phil of Frantic City. Doors are at 7 p.m. at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom. Admission is free. Cheap!
Photo of Kerouac’s original scroll by emdot from Flickr.