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How The Beats Begat The Pranksters, & Other Adventure Tales Paperback – September 26, 2017
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About the Author
Brian Hassett has been writing about Jack Kerouac and the Beats for over 30 years, including helping put together and write two of the keynotes essays for The Rolling Stone Book of The Beats. He also produced (booked, stage managed, hosted) many Beat related multimedia events with many of the living leading lights in various downtown clubs in Manhattan, as well in L.A., Toronto, London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. In Winnipeg in the 1970s he helped organized a series of bona fide Acid Tests with multiple bands and light shows and everything that goes with it. By age 17 he was touring Western Canada with the rock band Yes, and by 19 working with Bill Graham producing The Rolling Stones 1981 tour. In the 1980s he became close friends with Edie Kerouac Parker and Henri Cru, and by the Beat boom years of the '90s fell in with Carolyn Cassady and just about everybody else. He also hosted Carolyn and son John's first ever stage appearance together as they inducted Neal and Jack into the Cultural Hall of Fame in Amsterdam. He saw his first Grateful Dead show at age 18 in Seattle, June 1980, and his 2nd thru 6th shows were in the front 3 rows of Radio City Music Hall, after sleeping out on the sidewalk for tickets. He has ticket stubs or setlists from at least 116 shows, and before Jerry died he took at least 36 different people to their first show. He has performed both his own and Kerouac's writing, often with musical accompaniment, at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, the Knitting Factory, Wetlands, the Bitter End, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and many other subterranean saloons. In 2001 he produced the multimedia "50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac Writing On The Road" shows - on the day he started it, April 2nd, in New York, and on the day he finished it, April 22nd, in L.A., each with a long list of celebrity readers and performers. He wrote The Temp Survival Guide about how to make a living without having a job, and ended up for many years as an Executive Aide-de-Camp at MTV working with Tom Freston, Judy McGrath and others. His work on the Beats can be found in High Times, Relix, the Toronto Star, Beat Scene, DharmaBeat, Ken Kesey's Intrepid Trips, Levi's Jeans ads, and many other sources. He maintains an active website with all sorts of current adventures - including falling back in with the Merry Pranksters and Furthur at Yasgur's Farm in 2014 - at - BrianHassett.com
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I don't know exactly how to characterize Brian Hassett, but he is definitely NOT a typical scholarly researcher! Instead, like all good gonzo reporters, Hassett set out on a personal journey to immerse himself in the movement that started with the Beats, went through the hippies and, while never ended, has reached into so many corners of America, specifically the LSD-fueled culture begun by, among a few others, the late Ken Kesey, author of "ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST." In fact, Kesey and Ginsberg are pictured together on the cover of "HOW THE BEATS BEGAT THE PRANKSTERS, & OTHER ADVENTURE TALES." This memoir is fascinating, must-read reporting for anyone -- from students writing term papers to young seekers wondering how to search for the meaning of life -- interested in the Beats, the hippies, the Beatniks and, perhaps the greatest musical group that played background music for many of us, The Grateful Dead! Can you dig it? I sure did.
Lee Quarnstrom's memoir, "WHEN I WAS A DYNAMITER, Or How a Nice Catholic Boy Became a Merry Prankster, a Pornographer and a Bridgroom Seven Times, " is available through amazon.com at: