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SUNY, Geneseo

November 1, 2004

by Jerry Cimino

State University of New York (SUNY), Geneseo was a stop we almost didn’t make. We had hoped to be out of the cold weather by the time November came, plus I’d wanted to spend Election Day in Florida with my parents monitoring the elections. This was a tradition that dates all the way back to Kennedy’s election in 1960. One of my earliest memories is watching election results with my father on TV into the wee hours of the morning.

 

SUNY Geneseo

The Beatmobile has landed!

But the students at Geneseo had something else in mind, especially one young woman by the name of Lisa, who went all over campus in a drive to bring us to Geneseo. Finally we had to say ‘yes’. These people really wanted us there so despite the fact we were breaking in to November we made the trek to the little town about an hour south of Rochester and landed on campus amidst throngs and cheers!

Lisa arranged for us to come to Geneseo.

 

We met Ken Cooper who teaches an entire course on the Beats with 35 students in it and discovered the English Department almost opened a second section for this course as they had to turn 20-30 additional people away who wanted to take it. So we were greeted with great fanfare and lots of a hurrahs! The students had a reception waiting and took us to a terrific Beat pad a block off campus where some of them lived and offered up appetizers and dinner in preparation for our night’s show. Later that evening, as the students began to pile in to the auditorium we knew it was going to be a big night when they started pounding on the desks as the eight o’clock start time chimed!

Telling stories!

Heather, Lisa and Jessica planned a pre-show dinner for us with their friends.

SUNY Geneseo rules!

 

They cheered when I read from Coney Island! They cheered when Garland read Howl! They cheered when John told stories about Neal and Carolyn! They cheered about everything!

The students are arriving for the show.

Neal joins us onstage.

 

These 35 students, and the others who couldn’t get in the class - they were all there and they had told their friends and so hundreds and hundreds of kids showed up – many of whom knew an awful lot about the Beats. And afterward they all came piling down to the stage and they wanted autographs! Not only John, our resident rock star, but mine and Garland’s too! And afterward they took us to all the local pubs where the beer is college priced at a buck apiece and we made the rounds like the locals do.

Meeting with some of the students after the show.

Great job, Lisa!

An after hours night spot.

 

Later we piled back in to the apartment for more storytelling. And when I walked in the door I was struck by a hand written sign sitting on the kitchen counter – “Speak Your Own Truth”. Those were my words! That’s one of the main messages I hit on during the course of our presentation – “Know your truth, speak your truth, live your truth”. And for Jill, one of the girls who lived in the apartment, she had been taken by it enough to write it out upon her return. It felt terrific to know we’re truly having an impact out here on the road.

 

Jill told everyone to 'Speak Your Own Truth'!

Garland entertaining into the night.

 

 

SUNY, Geneseo truly rocked!


 

 

 

 

 

For more information about The Beat Museum On Wheels click here