March 12 would have been Jack Kerouac’s 91st birthday, had he not died in 1969 at 47 due to complications resulting from his epic alcoholism. It’s ironic that Vesuvio Cafe, on the corner of Jack Kerouac and Columbus, serves a drink with his name on it. As I wrote in Writers With Drinks Named After Them:
San Francisco’s historic Northbeach hangout, Vesuvio, apparently serves a “Jack Keroauc,” which strikes me less as an homage to the erstwhile Beat writer than a cynical means of extracting cash from naive 20-somethings who crave “authentic” experiences to fail at writing about. The drink is comprised of rum, tequila and orange juice over ice, though I personally think they should throw in a Benzedrine inhaler. In fact, they should do away with the drink entirely and just serve the inhaler with a typewriter and Teletype roll so the kids can get all “Kerowhacky” before getting busted on narcotics charges.
Apparently, I was in a mood. If you’re in the mood for some rarely read Keroauc, check out this selection I found in an interview conducted by Ted Berrigan for the Paris Review, Summer 1968. Entitled, Jack Kerouac, The Art of Fiction, No. 41, the interview is rife with candid and awkward moments, buttressed by the occasional glimpse into the author’s process. It’s interesting how Keroauc purports to mull and incubate a project before purging it into a typewriter in a single “fantastic athletic feat.” Continue reading “Happy (Belated) Birthday, Jack Kerouac”