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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac at The Beat Shindig in San Francisco

March 19th, 2017 · 15 Comments · Hitchhiker's Guide to Jack Kerouac, Kerouac and The Beats, Merry Pranksters, Weird Things About Me



15 minutes before this show I was lying on the ground behind the Cassady’s booth trying not to lose consciousness. . . .

An hour into it I was running around the stage playing Gregory Corso on a football team.  The build from wounded wobbly to careening comedy is completely crazy.

Everything had been going more-than-well.  I’d done two killer hour-long shows the day before [see them here or below], then gone to the kick-off of the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well 50th anniversary all evening, and despite the non-stop madness, was holding up quite well — until I helped move some boxes of books just before showtime sparking one of my dizzy/pass-out spells.  I’ve seen doctors about it, and they tell me I have to get horizontal as soon as it happens or I’ll lose consciousness.  It was one of those.

This past month I’ve been editing & posting all the filmed shows on file from the last two years since The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac came out — and by flukey happenstance / karma / fate this was the final one revisited.

It’s by far the weirdest craziest strangest Beatest of them all.  I look like hell, and feel older than Ferlinghetti! . . . but then gather strength & steam as it progresses — in fact, beginning surprisingly a minute in when the “opening announcement” gets not one but two big laughs.  😀 

I appreciate a good drama — be it the stage the page or the screen — and love “the arc.”  But this is the only time I’ve ever done a show where it happens without being written into the script — from barely conscious … to sustained needle-pinning laughter.  It’s real-life reverse aging — where the character gets more youthful with each passing moment.  But it’s all natural / real / improvised and unrehearsed.

To me, this is my most Dead-like show.  It’s so weird, and so easy if you’re not inclined and don’t know there’s a pay-off coming to turn it off.  But this crazy thing happens . . . it just sorta builds and gets into its own groove and wild blossoms bloom . . . I can’t explain it, like you can’t really explain a Dead show.  But this is the closest I ever came to executing one.



Tate Swindell, B, Jerry Cimino, Gerd Stern, Levi Asher, James Stauffer

Sunday, June 28th, 2015, The Beat Shindig, San Francisco


Here’s the Cassady panel from the day before — featuring Jami Cassady, the great Al Hinkle, myself, and hosted by Levi Asher . . .


Or here’s the funny interview with Gerd Stern about the infamous “Joan Anderson / Cherry Mary letter” . . . 


Or here’s a playlist of the Woodstock Mothership show on the same day but the next year  . . .  🙂 


Or here’s a playlist of the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac show in 2016 including the killer first-time-ever “Pic” . . . 


Or here’s a playlist of all the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac clips from 10 different shows over 2 years . . . 


Or here’s the group piece we did from the book release party at the Kettle of Fish in New York featuring Jami Cassady, Levi Asher and Walter Raubicheck . . . 


Or here’s the opening of the Merry Prankster family reunion in 2016 . . . 


For more on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac check out these reviews & reactions

Or here was a ton more including a bunch of the original Merry Pranksters.

Or so many kept coming in there was a whole nuther batch!

Here’s where you can get the book direct from the publisher.

Or here’s where you can get it on Amazon.

Or here’s where you can get an e-book Kindle version.

Or here’s a whole wild story about the whole wild Shindig.

Or for more on the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well shows check out this report from Chicago.


by Brian Hassett  —   —

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna follow things there —

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15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dawn Mathews // Mar 19, 2017 at 1:15 PM

    I’m so happy to have found The Hitchhikers Guide to Jack Kerouac!
    You are a wonderful writer with a memory like the Great Rememberer, Jack Kerouac.

  • 2 Dawny Halliday // Mar 19, 2017 at 4:07 PM

    Cool Mr H ! 🙂

  • 3 Philip Thomas // Mar 19, 2017 at 9:18 PM

    The Fare the Well Flower

  • 4 Al Giordano // Apr 12, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    I’ve just watched the Abbie clip and it’s amazing! I was staying at Abbie and Johanna’s home in the Thousand Islands and remember when they returned from that conference and told the stories from it. The speaker totally captured the energy Abbie felt from the event.

  • 5 Brian // Apr 12, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Wow! That’s so cool you were at his place … and right after this! And that the speaker (me) captured his energy. Thanks!

  • 6 Al Giordano // Apr 12, 2017 at 4:26 PM

    He kept talking about some guru-rimpoche type there and “the sex and sake set” which is what he imagined was keeping the holy man going through it all. He brought me back a white tee shirt with red and black ink, a silhouette of Kerouac and some words – “On the Road?” perhaps? I loved that tee and wore it into tatters over many years.

  • 7 Brian // Apr 12, 2017 at 6:08 PM

    Funny. I’d *love* to have debriefed with him post conference! He was so funny and passionate and full of life.

  • 8 Spirit Mentalist // Apr 13, 2017 at 11:22 AM

    I just wanted to tell you that your stories really bring me right there in the room with you. I could listen to you for hours. I love how excitable you are … it gets my heart racing to know what’s around the corner.
    I also loved the part of journal reflection and how it works out your thoughts … just free writing no rules. It helps you discover things about yourself.

  • 9 Brian // Apr 13, 2017 at 1:21 PM

    Woza! Thanks so much, Spirit! I’m glad the stories work. <3 And that the notebook notes struck a chord. I've been using them as "a hard-currency memory bank" since teenagehood and don't go anywhere without one. 🙂

  • 10 Ashlee Rosko // Apr 13, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    Just reached into a journal from 2000 and it reminded me about a lot of things.

  • 11 Mary Emmerick // Apr 14, 2017 at 11:46 AM

    Thanks so much, Brian. What a great job you’ve done putting these videos together.

  • 12 James Booth // Apr 14, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    That Abbie clip was astounding.

  • 13 Frida Rode // Apr 15, 2017 at 8:44 AM

    Write on!

  • 14 Bob Bartell // Apr 16, 2017 at 9:59 PM

    I remember the day Abbie Hoffman died… I was bummed. Think it was around ’82 when I saw him in State College. Electrifying speaker… left charged up and inspired… high like after a good rock concert.

  • 15 Brian // Apr 16, 2017 at 11:01 PM

    Yep. That’s what he was like. So glad you got to experience it.

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