Tag Archives: Sylvia Beach

This Week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Jack Kerouac, born in the second floor bedroom at 9 Lupine Road in Lowell, MA on March 12, 1922. Played football at Columbia University. The all-American boy.

March 13, 1956: Warner’s releases John Ford’s The Searchers. For my dime it is one of the ten best American films, and John Wayne gives one of the screen’s great performances.

He’s often criticized for simply being “John Wayne” in every film, but not here. Costar Harry Carey Jr. recalled that although he’d already appeared with Wayne in several films, Wayne was different on The Searchers set; very quiet and distant with a vacant look in his eyes.

Ride away.

Happy birthday to the great Sylvia Beach, bookseller to the Lost Generation’s literary lights and publisher of Ulysses, born in Baltimore March 14, 1887.

During the Nazi occupation of Paris a German officer wanted Sylvia’s last copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, but she told him politely to fuck off. He left threatening to return with other goons and take everything. She locked the door and with the help of her girlfriend carried all the books upstairs to their rooms so when the asshole came back the place was empty.

Considering she could have been shot, hung, or the store burned (with her in it), that’s a woman with real balls.

Fuck yeah Sylvia Beach!

Happy 70th birthday to Billy Crystal, born in New York City March 14, 1948. Billy lived in the Bronx before his family relocated to Long Beach out on the Island. He was a champion high school athlete and attended college on a baseball scholarship.

I think he’s as funny as all hell.

Makeup wizard Dick Smith morphs Marlon Brando into Don Vito Corleone for The Godfather, which opened March 15, 1972.

It’s one of those rarities where the film is superior to the novel. Not just a wondrous script, but many of the memorable lines were ad-libbed by the sterling cast.

Get your Irish up and wish a happy 100th birthday to literary scholar biographer Richard Ellman, born March 15, 1918 in Highland Park, Michigan. His lengthy bios on Joyce, Wilde, and Yeats are standards.

Happy 86th birthday to John Updike, born March 18, 1932 in Reading, PA. Fabulous writer and a nice guy.

Birthday wishes also to George Plimpton, born in New York City March 18, 1927. Because of the Thurston Howell-esque way he spoke, George seemed standoffish, but he was a very warm and friendly man. Funny, a good listener, and a solid writer.

Remembering Chuck Berry, gone a year today (March 18, 2017).

Michael Rogers (mermsr@optimum.net) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and book/audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

This week in Literature and Arts

March 12, 1922: Jack Kerouac is born in the second floor bedroom at 9 Lupine Road in Lowell, MA. His folks were French-Canadian imports who spoke French at home (Jack, baptized Jean-Louis, didn’t learn to speak English until attending grammar school).

Jack’ now been dead longer than he was alive. The short unhappy life…, but how many little boys grow up to write books that launch a literary movement?

A decade ago, I covered the opening of a sterling Kerouac exhibit at the New York Public Library that included the “On the Road” manuscript on a roll of teletype paper. Amazing to see it.

Happy 95th birthday, Jack.

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