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2005 EAST COAST TOUR
Click on this picture to learn about The Beat Museum located in Monterey, Ca.
West Coast Poetry Slam
My good friend, Garland Thompson, runs the Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam in Monterey (www.rubberchickenpoetry.com) along with Kathryn Petruccelli who produced the radio show about The Beat Museum for NPR (http://live.kusp.org:9000/ramgen/fp_09_12a_03.rm). The reason I love the Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam is because it fosters a very friendly and supportive environment in the world of slams – the person or group who comes in third place wins the rubber chicken. First place wins a monetary prize along with a gift certificate to the Beat Museum. People love to win that rubber chicken – they all want to come in third!
Garland also runs the West Coast
Poetry Slam Finals held for the last seven years at the Henry Miller Memorial
Library in Big Sur (www.henrymiller.org)
and he knew I was at the final stage of getting the vinyl wrap done for
the trailer of the Beatmobile. The slam features teams from all over the
west coast for two days of competition and Garland, along with Magnus
Toren who runs the Henry Miller library, invited Estelle and I down for
the weekend so we could present the Beatmobile to the public for the first
It was a leap of faith! We were hoping to get the vinyl wrap completed on Friday 7/17/04 and Jack Schaub who designed the wrap (www.schaubco.com) and the good people at Far Western Graphics (www.farwesterngraphics.com) worked overtime to get it completed just in time for us! Another leap of faith was negotiating the curves of Big Sur with the 35-foot long RV pulling the sixteen-foot trailer - but we made it to the heart of Big Sur and the Henry Miller Library without driving off a cliff!
The slam final was a big success – hundreds of people attended Saturday’s semi-finals of sixteen teams from all over the West Coast. Four teams made it to the final round on Sunday and the team from Hollywood, California won the event.
Another winner was the Beat Museum
on Wheels! People were thrilled to see what we were doing – many
old timers for whom the Beats were a huge influence and many younger people
who were just discovering who the Beats were and realizing the impact
they had on the world of Poetry.
Sunday afternoon, just as the slam was winding down, Magnus stuck his head inside the trailer where I was talking to a few people and said, “Jerry, there’s a celebrity here who wants to say hello,” and the next thing I knew Lawrence Ferlinghetti was walking into the Beatmobile!
What a treat! My first time out
with the new vinyl wrap and Ferlinghetti unexpectedly shows up in Big
Sur! He still has a place in the area and came to see the poets and then
spotted our rig and strolled on over. As we stood getting our photo taken
in front of McClure, Dylan and Ginsberg, Lawrence said to me, “I
was standing right next to Allen when Larry Keenan took that picture (right
outside City Lights in what is now called Jack Kerouac Alley) but I guess
I wasn’t in the frame”.
Later we were all standing inside the trailer with Lawrence admiring the array of books, many of which he published, many of which he wrote. He playfully kept hiding his face behind the roofline as I tried to take his picture. A guy from Germany wanted to buy a copy of Big Sur because we were standing in the heart of Big Sur. With Lawrence standing there I said to the guy, “This gentleman is one of the characters in this book – Jack Kerouac called him Lorenzo Monsanto,” and Ferlinghetti added, “Kerouac asked me what I wanted my name to be and I said my mother’s maiden name was Monsanto so call me Monsanto.”
As the evening drew to a close and the crowds thinned out I was grateful for the positive reception of the new look – and a serendipitous meeting during a magical weekend at a magical place.
Next stop… Beat Angel movie screening on July 31, 2004 in Napa at the 18th Annual Wine Country Film Festival north of San Francisco…. (www.beatangel.com)…
If you would like to see more about the beat museum on wheels click here.
For more information about The Beat Museum On Wheels click here