March 1st, 2012
Please welcome our newest contributor, Betsy Woods-McGuire, a long-time columnist for the Town Crier newspaper in Tewksbury. Her column, “Betsy’s Best Bets”, covers the hidden treasures, the tried and true, and the tucked-away gems — interwoven with humor and her unique social commentary. The following piece was originally published in the Town Crier in July 2007 and reappears here in connection with Kerouac’s 90th birthday on March 12.
Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book. (Emerson)
Recently not a week goes by without an article or mention of Jack Kerouac and the 50th anniversary of the publication of “On the Road.” At the Boott Cotton Museum in Lowell, Kerouac’s original “scroll” manuscript and exhibit opened on June 15th and will run through September 14th.
As the story goes, Kerouac taped sheets of paper together so they would run through his manual typewriter uninterrupted, helping to keep his “writer’s flow.” In an explosion of creativity, fueled by coffee and drugs, in only three weeks, Kerouac completed the entire book on a 120-foot continuous roll of paper. After publication the scroll was more or less forgotten until 2001 when an eccentric and wealthy collector bought it at auction from the Kerouac estate for two million! Fittingly the new owner, James Irsay, decided to take the scroll “on the road.” What better place to see the “On the Road” exhibit than the City of Lowell, Kerouac’s home town. Being a Jack Kerouac follower myself, I plan to see the exhibit sometime soon, maybe more than once.
Standing in front of my ceiling-to-floor bookcase, I counted four books written by Jack Kerouac and six books about Kerouac. Hanging on the wall next to the bookcase, along with pictures of my favorite writers, is a beautifully framed, good-sized sketch of Jack Kerouac. I’ve read “On the Road” twice. The first time was as a teenager, a hardcover, 1st edition, that I owned. God knows where that book went – probably borrowed and never returned. Didn’t seem to matter back then. Now I hate to think of what that book would be worth today! read more »
March 1st, 2012
This is a cross-post from the Lowell Historical Society blog. Our colleague Dick Howe gave the “Howl in Lowell” – inaugural edition – on-line arts and entertainment magazine and its readers a history lesson on the City of Lowell seal.
Lowell Howls About Lowell’s Historic Seal
The launching today of Lowell new on-line “guide to living in mill city” has been awaited with much interest. Former Lowell Historical Society President, Middlesex North Register of Deeds and prolific local blogger Dick Howe, has written an entry in the inaugural “edition” of HOWL in Lowell. Dick writes about the seal of the city of Lowell, its various forms and its inscription – well known to locals – “Art is the handmaid of human good.”Here’s an exerpt from his article:
In the early 1990s when computer-maker Wang collapsed and defense contractor Raytheon downsized, many Lowell residents lost their jobs and city leaders scrambled to find a new economic development strategy. They turned to the arts.
Taking advantage of a high vacancy rate in downtown office buildings, Lowell marketed the renovated and rezoned spaces to artists squeezed out of Greater Boston by rising real estate costs. The artists, both those in fact and those at heart, came in great numbers, embracing Lowell and its heritage with the zeal of the recent convert. But it wasn’t just affordable real estate that drew these newcomers to Lowell. It was also the city’s official seal.
Inscribed around its circumference with the motto “Art is the Handmaid of Human Good,” the city of Lowell’s seal emits a magnetic tug on creative individuals. How could an artist resist living in a place that exalted art in such a tangible way? Well, as is usually the case when it comes to Lowell, it’s not quite that simple.
You can read the full article here: http://howlinlowell.com/local-history and enjoy the full edition at: http://howlinlowell.com/front. Enjoy! Good luck to all involved in this exciting new venture – it’s all about the Lowell arts and entertainment scene!
March 1st, 2012
All winter long I’ve said we got all the snow I wanted this year before Halloween, a reference to the October 30, 2011 snowfall that knocked down trees and knocked out power for many days (five for me). Unless a whole lot more snow falls in the next few hours, this Leap Year storm will not amount to much. It began yesterday in Lowell at 1245 pm but even by 430 pm the snow was not yet sticking to the roads. The forecasters this morning almost apologetically explained that we did get a good amount of snow but that it was so heavy and the temperature was so warm (relatively speaking) that it rapidly compressed as it fell, leaving the impression that not much had fallen. That was confirmed for me when I went out to shovel and found less than an inch of slush in the driveway. Despite the relative lack of snow, the robocall from the city of Lowell announcing no school today was welcome. I still have to go to work, but the traffic will be much lighter.
March 1st, 2012
A large crowd of contributors and supporters gathered last night at the Back Page in Kearney Square for the official “launch party” of Howl in Lowell, the city’s newest entrant into the online information world. Howl in Lowell is a fully electronic “web-zine” that will cover the arts, entertainment and cultural scene in the city of Lowell and vicinity. It is much needed and much welcomed. Check out the site throughout the day as it comes to life for the very first time.