the Best in Kerouac & the Beats, Adventure, Politics, Music, Movies, Poetry & other Lifejoys

Brianland header image 2

David Amram & Brian Hassett On-Stage Collaborations

November 30th, 2022 · 6 Comments · Brian on YouTube etc., Kerouac and The Beats, Real-life Adventure Tales

Lowell Celeb rates Kerouac at Ye Olde Worthen House

David Amram and I have been performing together since we first started hanging in 1994 after an introduction by Teri McLuhan, Marshall’s daughter.  It was the big NYU Beat conference — I write about it in Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy — I first saw him unloading his congas from his Farm Aid jeep on opening night, and by the closing dinner gala I was enlisted to help him write his memoir.  We did loads of shows together over the years, mostly in Manhattan, but when we reconnected in Lowell in 2015 it had been about eight years since the last one.

Some of the gigs we did back in the ’90s are on video tapes in a drawer — hopefully I’ll get to those some day — but I thought it would be cool to upload the six times we performed together at the annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.

LCK was born after the dedication of the Kerouac Commemorative Park in 1988.  I never made the trip in the early years because I was living in Manhattan and all-star Jack events were happening with some regularity all over town all the time.

When my book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac came out in 2015, I figured it was time I made the pilgrimage to “the mad ones” mecca.  Also, both Michael McClure and Andy Clausen were featured performers, and if I was going to go to this thing I might as well go the year two of my favorite living poets were gonna be rocking it.

People in New York knew what I did on a stage, but I didn’t know any of the folks who put on LCK, so I knew that first year I better hit the two open mics and knock it outta the park.  🙂 

I found out that one of the built-in staples of the five days of LCK was the Sunday afternoon “Amram Jam” where good ol’ Dave would accompany spoken word performers.  Nobody in Lowell knew me, but I had a secret weapon in that I’d performed hundreds of times with their star maestro.

That first year I decided to pull out an On The Road passage Dave & I had done many times — something I call “The San Francisco Epiphany” — where Jack starts hallucinating due to hunger, and it’s probably the trippiest, most surreal writing in the whole book.  So, that’s what he & I did upon our first reconnection.


On the strength of that, in 2016, they booked me to do my own solo show on Saturday, and now that I knew about the Sunday “Amram Jam” — and knowing how I know Dave and his adroitness at live accompaniment — I came up with the idea of doing the part of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack where I describe meeting each of the Beat founding fathers for the first time in 1982 as a 21-year-old, and that David could do something different musically for each of the different portrayals.

It went magnificently.  🙂


2017 was the year George Walker & I teamed up doing our “Jack & Neal Ride Again” show, and girlfriend Sky handmade killer tie-dye t-shirts to celebrate it.  For the Amram Jam, I made the interesting choice to do the climactic chapters of both The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack (“Song of The Road I Sing”) and the then just-released How The Beats Begat The Pranksters (“Be The Invincible Spirit You Are.”)


In 2018, I coaxed another old performing partner, John Cassady, out of hiding and he made the trip across the continent for us to share a stage together again.  For the Amram Jam I thought the dynamics of the On The Road scroll auction piece would make for good musical accompaniment.  And boy, did it!  It had just been published in my latest book, On The Road with Cassadys, so I’m sure glad we fired up that hotrod for the Trio take a ride in. 

Also, LCK was screening the film Loving Vincent on Sunday night, and since back in the day David had often requested my Van Gogh poem Visiting Vincent as something we should do on stage, I pulled that out of hiding and let it dance in Jacklandia.

This was one performance where Dave asked afterwards if I had a recording of it because he wanted a copy.  (!)  Glad I could finally make that happen.  🙂 



2019 was the year Cathy Cassady came and graced us with her beautiful show bringing both her artist parents to life.  It was also the gathering that followed the passing of the great Al Hinkle — Big Ed Dunkel in On The Road and “The Last Man Standing” as his book was called — and those of us who spent time with him did a series of tributes to him Friday night.

It’d written a tribute poem to Al, and had one about Neal, and Carolyn, and Van Gogh, but I never had a nice short tribute to Jack for performances such as this.  So I wrote one — and debuted “Ode To Jack” here with the Amram Trio.

Also, 2019 was the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, and I had a book come out that year about the magical 25th anniversary festival, which, vibe-wise, had a lot in common with LCK — so I performed the rockin climax of that book with Dave & Company.

The clip opens with a tribute to a great LCK spirit and cornerstone who passed away, Graham Robinson, from England.


After a couple of years off due to Covid, everybody reassembled in 2022 for the first full-on LCK in a while.  During the lockdown, one of my projects was to sort all my performance pieces from over the decades, and I came across a real-life driving Adventure called “The Car Chase.”  It has real dynamics to it and a driving (ha-ha) energy that seemed like it would work with some crackerjack musicians accompanying — so I pulled that rabbit out of the hat of obscurity. 

Plus this has a surprise encore of my great “Jack on Film” show partner Julian Ortman following me to the microphone.  😉


So far at LCK, Dave & I have done nine different pieces over six years — in performance clips ranging from 7 minutes to 15.

We performed something from:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack — first meeting the Beats — in 2016
. . . . . and the climactic Song of The Road I Sing poem — 2017
How The Beats Begat Pranksters — Be The Invincible — 2017
On The Road with Cassadys — the On The Road scroll auction — 2018
Holy Cats!  Dream-Catching at Woodstock — the book’s climax — 2019


And as a bonus collaborative video — here’s a Covid lockdown live-stream David & I did for Rachel Anne’s “Verse & Vibe” show where I read reflections on Neal Cassady from Carolyn Cassady, John Allen Cassady, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Clellon Holmes, David Amram, Al Hinkle, Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs, George Walker, Ed McClanahan, Paul Foster, Wavy Gravy, Mountain Girl, Anonymous, Mary Microgram, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow — all with David Amram responding to each musically.

To watch the show, click on this screen-grab  . . .

Neal Cassady tribute with Brian Hassett & David Amram


And as a double bonus related clip — he’s a video tribute to Al Hinkle I made for his memorial —


And here’s the memorial tribute to Al at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac in 2019, with three people who knew him — the Reverend Steve Edington, Cathy Cassady, and myself delivering the “Al Hinkle: Hero of The Humble” poem.



For a complete rundown of LCKs from 2015 through 2022 check out this photo- and story-rich page.

For tons more performance and interview videos from all over the continent check out the Online Video Collection.

For a wild riffing photo-filled account of my first LCK in 2015, you can read that here.

Here’s the classic Lowell Celebrates Kerouac tribute piece that is included in How The Beats Begat The Pranksters and has been performed live at every LCK since.

Here’s a full accounting (with photos and video) of John Cassady coming to Lowell and the Jack & Neal show we did there.

Here’s a funny wild local story — when I talked my way into the very private Pawtucketville Social Club.  “It’s alright, he’s Kerouac.”   🙂 

For more info on David Amramcheck out his website here.

For this site’s stash full of other stories on Kerouac and the Beats check here.



by Brian Hassett   —

Or here’s my Facebook page if you wanna join in there —

Tags: ·······

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave Olson // Dec 1, 2022 at 1:49 PM

    Just so very very enjoyable Brian, thanks for the worm hole from a cottage with a woodstove in provincial Japan to Lowell, to New York, to Boulder, to everywhere / dreams abounding!

  • 2 John Allen Cassady // Dec 2, 2022 at 7:25 AM


  • 3 Ashlee Rosko // Dec 4, 2022 at 10:11 AM

    Attending this event by the way of your instigations has me putting it on my yearly calendar. I enjoyed the creative spirit of all who shared words and songs and appreciate those who dedicate time to put this event on. It inspired me deeply to feel hope again and has me envisioning future happenings with the crew and other friends yet to know across the nation doing similar gatherings that carry the beat at a time when strong meaningful words with momentum are needed to be shared along with an overflowing goblet of the good ol’ shenanigans!

  • 4 Brian // Dec 4, 2022 at 11:28 AM

    Ashlee — What a great morning read. Thanks!
    I had a hunch you’d like it. 😉
    Thanks for being my audience point-person for “Jack on Film” … and for capturing Vince’s video appearance … and hosting the after-party … and for bringing the psychedelic lights — both inner and outer.

  • 5 Antonis Greco // Dec 4, 2022 at 11:26 PM

    Amazing fantastic fabulous.

  • 6 Deb Reul // Dec 5, 2022 at 5:21 PM

    So great to see you two both on stage together again. Those Bowery Poetry Club and Bitter End shows are a favorite New York memory. Miss you guys, but thanks for taking me on a trip down Memory Lane.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *