Beat icon Neal Cassady, who once wandered Denvers skid row as a kid, would have been 84 tomorrow. Its hard to imagine the motor-mouthed, free-living inspiration for Jack Kerouacs Dean Moriarty character in On the Road as an old man, but thats what Neal would have been, with his years of piloting a movement behind him and Further, the storied Merry Pranksters bus immortalized by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, parked for decades in the garage.
The Beat Museum in San Francisco regularly celebrates Cassadys birthday every year, but in deference to his roots here and spurred by the popularity of Beat events in Denver over the past few years, Carolyn Cassady and the Cassady family decided that we ought to have a party in Denver, too. Locals Heather Dalton and Joshua Hassel, whove been working with the family for three years to film a documentary about Cassady, took the reins and will host, along with John Allen Cassady, Jami Cassady Ratto and other noted revelers, a Denver-centric Neal Cassady Birthday Bash today at My Brothers Bar, located in Cassady country at 2376 15th Street.
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He really inspired all these people, particularly Kerouac, Hassel says. He inspired what became a lifestyle, which is amazing for a guy who didnt do much except be himself. And, he adds, This will be a great way to connect with Colorados Beat history. Celebrate from 2 to 5 p.m. with presentations, readings, cake and dollar beers from Great Divide; admission is free. Call 303-455-9991.
Sun., Feb. 7, 2-5 p.m., 2010