Further Down the Road

Beat icon Neal Cassady, who once wandered Denver’s skid row as a kid, would have been 84 tomorrow. It’s hard to imagine the motor-mouthed, free-living inspiration for Jack Kerouac’s Dean Moriarty character in On the Road as an old man, but that’s 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 Cassady’s 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, who’ve 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 Brother’s Bar, located in Cassady country at 2376 15th Street.

“He really inspired all these people, particularly Kerouac,” Hassel says. “He inspired what became a lifestyle, which is amazing for a guy who didn’t do much except be himself.” And, he adds, “This will be a great way to connect with Colorado’s 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

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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