“My life started when I read On the Road, by Jack Kerouac,” says John Sinclair, a poet, activist, former MC5 manager and White Panther Party founder. “It came out in September of 1957. I was a junior in high school. It set me on the correct path of life. I’ve followed that path ever since.”
Kerouac cohort Neal Cassady, who was raised on the streets of Denver and died in 1968, is featured prominently in On the Road, as protagonist Dean Moriarty. Cassady would have been 88 years old this weekend, and will be remembered at the fifth annual Neal Cassady Birthday Bash, which kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Sinclair, who was inspired by Kerouac’s approaching writing the way a jazz musician improvises, will be reading poetry with the Blues Scholars at the event along with other friends of Cassady and Kerouac; a jazz group led by Beat legend David Amram, featuring local musicians such as trumpeter Hugh Ragin, drummer Tony Black and bassist Artie Moorie along with alto-sax great Richie Cole and conga player Janine Santana, will also perform. This year’s event also features Cassady offspring Cathy, Jami and John Allen Cassady, presenting a special tribute to their mother, the late Carolyn Cassady.
Tickets are $20 and available through brownpapertickets.com and at the door.
Fri., Feb. 7, 8 p.m., 2014