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Jack Was Here: Showing you the places Jack Kerouac once was

Jack Kerouac was here. He came here and wrote about it in On the Road, his most enduring work, and fell in love with Denver to the extent that, at one point, he actually bought a house in Lakewood. Yes, Kerouac was indeed here, but one thing that will not be here, apparently, is Francis Ford Coppala's upcoming adaptation of On the Road, the Denver scenes of which he's filming in some tiny town in Quebec.

That makes self-proclaimed Kerouac addict and graffiti artist Theo upset, and he's doing something about it: Specifically, he's been visiting the writer's old haunts and leaving behind silent, stenciled reminders that, wherever Coppala goes, we still claim Kerouac at least partially as our own.

Theo's been working on the [Jack was Here] project for a few months now, but Friday, his Kerouac-related works will be getting a slightly more stable showing at Crash 45, a new bar and gallery at 321 East 45th Avenue in Globeville, which will include some of Theo's other paintings, as well as a life-size Kerouac stencil he originally intended to put on the Tattered Cover.

For more on that, look out for our interview with Theo (along with photos of him installing the stencil) later today. But in the meantime, here's a little downtown primer on the old "Kerouac Walk," as we like to call it, and a look at what Theo's been doing so far. Take the photo tour below, and then use our handy-dandy map to go see for yourself.

Jack Was Here: Showing you the places Jack Kerouac once was

21st and Larimer Streets Probably all the skid you're going to see at this intersection anymore is from the fixies of hipsters, but this used to be Denver's Skid Row, where Kerouac once partied with the homeless.

Jack Was Here: Showing you the places Jack Kerouac once was

27th and Welton Streets Here's what Kerouac had to say about the heart of Five Points, where the Rossonian Hotel once played host to some of jazz's greatest: "At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night."  

Jack Was Here: Showing you the places Jack Kerouac once was

The Casino Caberet And right across the street is where Kerouac got turned on to Denver's bop scene, at the Casino Cabaret (which is now Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom).

Jack Was Here: Showing you the places Jack Kerouac once was
Jack Was Here: Showing you the places Jack Kerouac once was

15th and Platte Streets Neal Cassady's favorite bar -- at one point, when Cassady was spending some time in jail, he actually wrote a letter to his buddy asking him to pay Cassady's tab there. That letter is still on the wall at the bar, and now, outside, so is Jack.


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