COLUMN THIRTY-FIVE, JULY 1, 1998
(Copyright © 1998 Al Aronowitz)
LETTER TO JOHN SAMPAS
[April 1, 1998
2 Stevens St.
Lowell, MA 01851
We only met in passing but I really would like to get to know you better. As the BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST, I of course consider the Beat scene my particular beat and I carry as much news about the Beat scene as I can fit into my column. The disagreement between you and Gerry Nicosia is turning out to be a big story in Beat circles and I feel obligated to cover it in my column. I've already granted Gerry some space to give his side of the story and I feel it incumbent upon me to get your side of the story in my column. I can use something written by someone you choose but I would like to interview you myself to get your side of the story first hand. Either way, I wish to make space in my column available to you. Hoping to hear from you soon,
With all best wishes,
Al Aronowitz ##
George N. Tobia Jr., John Sampas' attorney, has told me that John Sampas will not grant me an interview nor has John Sampas responded to the above letter. They both appear to be bunkered down with a siege mentality. I have, however, received the following email from Diane De Rooy, who devotes an entire website to attacking Gerry Nicosia. ##
Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 19:59:08 -0400
Subject: [Fwd: Cult of Kerouac]
6 June 1998
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the death of Jan Kerouac. To commemorate her life, I have assembled a web page made of excerpts from my forthcoming book,
, as well as comments from others.
The topics covered at this site fall under the heading of the Kerouac Archive Controversy. Therefore, please do not post this link to or comment about this page on the Subterraneans list.
Feel free to link this page to your own, and to distribute it freely to others who are interested. However, copying the text from this page and re-posting it to a website page is strictly forbidden.
I must apologize for any poor photo quality on this page. The photos are perfectly clear, but my web publishing skills are a little fuzzy. In future, I'll do what I can to remedy this disparity.
If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Here's the link: Click here: Cult of Kerouac , or if that's not live, type in http://members.aol.com/kerouacult/, and you'll be there.
Diane De Rooy ##
* * *
AND A WORD FROM PAUL MAHER
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 20:48:43 -0700
From: Paul Maher
Subject: Re: RAINED OUT!
Remove me from any list which includes Gerald Nicosia! ##
* * *
AND A FEW WORDS FROM JO GRANT
From: jo grant
Subject: Re: DIANE DE ROOEY
. . .Did you see my response to the most recent rants by deRooy and Maher?
* * *
STILL MORE FROM JO GRANT
From: jo grant
Subject: Jack Kerouac's Last Letter & Defend Jan Kerouac
Material is being printed off my computer. many pages. I hope that the following, particularly the Jan Kerouac outrage can be included.
ONE: The last letter Jack Kerouac wrote on October 20, 1969, shortly before his death, is posted at: http://www.bookzen.com/jk_lettr.html .
The copy I had must have been a number of generations from the original so I had to make some not-so-educated guesses. Fortunately Gerry Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, the Kerouac bio that William S. Burroughs said was THE BEST, took time to check my attempt at transcribing. He recommended a number of corrections.
I've left the letter as I transcribed it, included Gerry's comments, and posted the works.
There is no question that the lawyers will be busy in the morning. They were the last time I posted the letter. However, this time, with the critical analysis, the national and international concern about the preservation of the Kerouac archives, the difficulty researchers, scholars, teachers and students are having accessing Kerouac material, this post might be able to withstand their law suits to force removing it from the BookZen site. It is wrong that people are not allowed to see this letter.
I have posted it for academic reasons only. Nothing is being gained by me, or anyone, other than the satisfaction of sharing this information about what Jack Kerouac didn't want happening to his literary archive.
Why would anyone get upset about that?
If you have any friends who are interested point them to: http://www.bookzen.com/jk_lettr.html.
TWO: I am preparing a petition regarding the attempt by Jan Kerouac's ex-husband, John Lash, to alter---to censor---the last document she wrote, had witnessed and legally recorded before she died.
Whatever an author creates deserves protection from censorship. A will deserves the same protection as a poem a novel or a letter.
Time is a critical factor. I need as many E-mail addresses of people who will not only add their names to the petition, but will pass them on to friends, colleagues, associates, as well as organizations---particularly organizations involved with defending the rights of women.
Please send me your E-mail addresses so I can send you copies of the petition as soon as it is ready.
And please pass this request on.
Respond by hitting the REPLY KEY, or by E-mailing to the: email@example.com . Add under SUBJECT: Defend Jan Kerouac.
I am not being paid, nor do I have any vested interest in these matters.
j grant ##
* * *
AND MORE YET FROM JO
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 22:34:26 -0600
From: jo grant
Subject: WIRED Mag
Check this out: http://www.wired.com/news/news/culture/story/11381.html.
* * *
A PYRAMID FOR ALLEN
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 18:32:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jonathan Lim
To: Al Aronowitz
life and death
smiles and fuddied humor;
visiting uptown swami spring. ##
* * *
RALPH AND THE BEATS
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 16:25:37 -0600
From: David Lichtenberg
Subject: Ralph and the Beats
Just read your first column and wanted to tell you that I was working at the Hotel Boulderado when the celebration for the 25th anniversary of On The Road held a reception in the Boulderado lobby. I was the Night Auditor, a combination bookkeeper and all-night desk clerk, 11 PM to 7 AM.
One thing I remember about that night was a gal on the shift before me telling how Abbie Hoffman had come up to the front desk and said, "Stick 'em up! I'm an ex-con!" And she nonchalantly told him that the last person to say that to her was G. Gordon Liddy. I did catch Abbie bringing someone back up to the desk to point her out and enthusiastically tell that someone what she had said. "I told her...and she said...and isn't that great!" (big smile & laughing)
During the reception, with the lobby crowded with Beat VIP's and wannabe's from the Naropa school and who knows who else (maybe you were there), Ralph came down. Ralph was a very elderly and quite senile gentleman who lived at the hotel, a carry over from its days as a flophouse. At this particular time, the hotel was in transition from these days to its bright and shiny future as a first class hotel. I occasionally had to break the news to wandering late night souls that no, they could not get a cheap room there anymore. Ralph was a sentimental favorite, and so he was allowed to stay on after all the other residents were long gone. He was eventually moved to a nursing home right before the hotel completed its transition, and there he died within a few months.
Things had become a little foggy for Ralph, and he regularly rang the bell of the old manual elevator once or twice (or three times) during my shift thinking it was time for breakfast. I would take the elevator up to the fifth floor and bring him down, and he would complain about the restaurant not being open for breakfast and how they'd go out of business because of it, then he'd sit quietly in the lobby for a while until he'd ring the elevator bell again to be taken back up to his room. And sometimes in the middle of this he'd come up to the front desk and chat with me a bit, once telling me how "we bombed the hell of Hitler--took us 30 days!"
Well Ralph didn't appreciate all the commotion of the Beat party, and he remarked on it when I brought him down to the lobby again in the 3 or 4 AM quiet. He commented that there'd been a lot of people there earlier, and then, after fumbling a bit for words as he usually did, he added: "A bunch of fruits!"
Okay--so maybe that was anticlimactic and not very nice and not very open minded, but that's the truth about what Ralph had to say about the On The Road 25th Anniversary gathering! Take it or leave it!
Actually, one other person lived at the Boulderado at that time, and that was a not quite as old (but certainly no spring chicken) Eleanor Rigby type woman who worked there as a housekeeper, with whom I never spoke except for the occasional "Hi." Y'know, I don't read the obituaries much nor the Boulder papers much either (live in Denver now), but I just happened to amazingly chance upon that woman's obituary a few weeks ago.... Somehow seems sadder when a sad person dies.
I could tell you a few other odd stories about the graveyard shift at the Boulderado if you're interested. Keep up the good work!
Little Fyodor ##
* * *
LOADING, LOADING, LOADING
From: "Terry Erickson"
Subject: Loading loading loading
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 23:13:42 -0700
I would really like to visit your site if it would ever stop loading.
* * *
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 20:12:10 +0800
From: Woofess Elle
I am sposed ter be doing all me daily emailings and I can't stop reading all yer columns!!
* * *
HATE TO LOSE ONE
Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 15:51:06 -0400
From: Al Aronowitz
Subject: Re: its funny
i came online in search of information about the beat generation and its > influences on generation Xers and i came to the blacklisted journalist....
i am supposed to be writing an article but i have lost interest because i want to know what it was like to hear john lennon laugh or what it must be like to have had so much joy and depression simultaneously in one mans life
I hope you find out.
you, black journalist sound like one bitter aging horny fucked up old man
Oh! I was hoping it didn't show. Actually, I consider myself lustful rather than horney. Lustful to get horney. In other words, at my age, it's hard to get it up.
but still you kept my interest
Well, hallelujah for that!
which is hard these days, especially on the internet, (there was no subliminal selling or cheap sexual websites
Do you mean in MY website?
i have been thinking about the holocaust quite alot
Yeah, I've thought about it while it was happening and since. It left a very sour taste in my soul.
b/c maybe like yourself i am a masochist
So that's what I am?
its weird, anne frank believed in the true good of man even after what she witnessed,
yes, I was quite moved and inspired by her book, too
and all I can find myself believing is the nothingness selfishness and shallowness of life....
well who knows, right? ill go back to writing my article now i just wanted to write this all down before i moved on to something else and forgot wing or what i read
Well, I hope you don't bore yourself to death. I'd hate to lose a reader. --Love, Al
* * *
I enjoyed your article on the Net about The Beatles/Dylan, "Let's 'Ave A Larf!" I found out about your web site from Beatlefan magazine---copy attached.
Just wondering---I am especially interested in the Murray the K article, but can't seem to find it on your web site. Am I not looking in the correct area? I would really like to read what you have to say. My fax # is: 818/559-5380. My "e" mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Is there any way you could let me know where to obtain it?
I have been searching the web for Murray the K stories, and oddly enough can't find any. I am 47, and originally from Long Island. So naturally I remember Murray on 1010 WINS. I have his Brooklyn Fox albums---the whole "magilla"! Remember "Jackie the K.", his wife? Anyway, the last I remember of him is the Fall of '77---he was the deejay for some kind of "mellow" station in NYC---I think it was an AM station. And he played a lot of music from the forthcoming "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, which at that time was known by another name (I don't think it was "Tribal Rites of Sat. Night" or whatever that NY'er article was). Then, after John Lennon died, I believe I saw Murray interviewed on "Good Morning America" and he was in the throes of cancer @ that time, if my memory serves me correctly. Does it?
Thanks - please let me know where I can read your article. I enjoyed your Dylan/Beatles one.
I saw The Beatles on 8/23/66 @ Shea Stadium. Those were the days!
[The Fifth Beatle, about Murray the K, is the lead article of Column 18, which you can reach by clicking on /column18.htm .] ##
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