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What Not to Miss at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac

October 3, 2018

Jordyn Haime

Sun Correspondent

LOWELL -- Jack Kerouac fans from all over the world will begin arriving in Lowell for the 30th annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac festival, which begins on Thursday.

The festival began in 1988, when the Jack Kerouac Commemorative was dedicated in Kerouac Park. This year, LCK will be observing the 30th anniversary of the dedication as well as the 60th anniversary of the publication of “The Dharma Bums,” Kerouac’s 1958 novel published just after his pivotal “On the Road.”

“I think it’s important to stress that we’ve done this all these 30 years as a volunteer organization. We’re a no-staff non-profit, we come together because we want to keep the Kerouac spirit alive in Lowell, and we’ve been doing that for the last 30 years,” said Steve Edington, former president and current treasurer of LCK who has been working with the organization for about 25 years.

The kickoff on Thursday begins with the annual Kerouac pub tour followed by the opening musical event at Cappy’s Copper Kettle. The festival, which continues through Monday afternoon, will be filled with regular LCK events, like the Lowell High School poetry competition, the commemorative at the commemorative, Kerouac-themed tours of Lowell, and performances from returning artists like David Amram and Brian Hassett.

New and of note to LCK this year is an installation from artist Sebastien Laading titled “I Am Jack,” which allows onlookers to experience Kerouac’s non-stop typing style from a 1933 Underwood Portable typewriter. Also of note is a showing of the film “Loving Vincent” on Sunday, preceded by a discussion on Kerouac’s connections to Van Gogh led by Hassett.

This year’s Parker Lecture will be led by Dr. Ann Charters, a retired professor of english at the University of Connecticut whose “Kerouac: a Biography” was published in 1973. Charters’ presentation will focus on Kerouac’s “The Dharma Bums.”

Here are the details for our top picks for events this weekend:

Thursday, Oct. 4

* 6 p.m. Traditional Kerouac Pub Tour. Old Worthen to Cappy’s Copper Kettle.

* 8 p.m. Opening Event at Cappy’s Copper Kettle. Musicians and Readings featuring Alan Crane, George Koumantzelis, Colleen Nichols, and and special guest David Amram.

Friday, Oct. 5

* 12:30 p.m. Reality Alley Poetry Workshop Upstairs at the Ole Worthen. Facilitated by Dan Bacon, participants will learn about Kerouac’s spontaneous composition and create a poem of their own.

* 7:30 p.m. The Brian Hassett Road Show at Zorba’s Music Hall. Hassett returns to Lowell to share his theatrical comedic storytelling.

* 8:30 p.m. Jazz and Jack--David Amram and Musicians at Zorba’s Music Hall. An evening of jazz with David Amram joined by special guests.

Saturday, Oct. 6

* 9 a.m. Commemorative at the Commemorative at Kerouac Park. Acknowledging the 30th anniversary of the commemorative’s dedication with original founders of LCK.

* 2 p.m. Parker Lecture - Dr. Ann Charters at Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. Charters, who was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley at the time of Kerouac’s “The Dharma Bums,” will focus on the 60th anniversary of the publication of the novel.

* 9 p.m. Vance Gilbert Performance at Zorba’s Music Hall. New England-based musician and performer, Vance Gilbert, will be the LCK featured performer for 2018.

Sunday, Oct. 7

* 1:30-4p.m. Annual Amram Jam at The Old Worthen. The annual event featuring David Amram performing with a cast of readers, poets and musicians.

* 5:30 p.m. Film: “Loving Vincent” at Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. Discussion preceding the film led by Brian Hassett, who will discuss the Kerouac-Van Gogh connection.

* 8 p.m. Paint Night at The Old Worthen. A guided paint night where participants will attempt to emulate Jack’s Old Angel Midnight Over Lowell.

Monday, Oct. 8

* 10 a.m. Loop Tour from the Kerouac Commemorative. Tour leaves from the commemorative to various Kerouac sites in Lowell and ends at the Old Worthen.

* 2 p.m. Last Call at the Old Worthen.

Go to http://www.lowellcelebrateskerouac.org/festival/ for a full schedule of events.

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