My good friend Mark Bliesener, rock’n’roll manager and long-time Beat follower, shares news from the Mile High City, Denver in Colorado, where the annual celebration of Neal Cassady’s birthday takes place next month. Denver’s East High School, which Cassady attended in the 1940s, will present an honorary diploma to members of the Cassady family at a school assembly on February 3rd. In granting the diploma, East cites Cassady’s major impact on American literature as an author and as the muse of Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey and Tom Wolfe.
The Third Annual Cassady Birthday Bash will take place on the same day from 8-10 pm at the city’s Mercury Café located at 2199 California.The “Bash” is free and features musical performers and special guest readers including Neal’s daughters Jami and Cathy Cassady, noted musician and composer David Amram, guitarist Janet Feder, director of Lowell Massachusetts Celebrates Kerouac the Rev. Steve Edington, and core faculty member of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University Junior Burke. The event will be hosted, in person, by noted Denver Beat historian Mark Bliesener himself.
Neal Cassady, the model for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, would have been 86 years old on February 8th. His hyper-energetic life came to a premature conclusion in 1968, one year before Kerouac’s own death.