Neal Cassady: The Denver Years gets in gear at 3 Kings tomorrow
I think if we look at the archetype of "cool," there is an American amalgam that has equal parts Neal Cassady, James Dean and a bit of Paul Newman thrown in for good measure. These gents are known as a "Man's ...MAN." With Cassady, there was something much more dangerous and the sexual ambiguity, because it was wrapped in such a masculine package, seemed less threatening and almost an issue of control, perhaps ultimate dominance.
I think straight men when they admire Cassady have to ultimately ask themselves how comfortable they are with the blurred lines of the Beats and in a way they come away with a more accepting attitude.
What do you think he would say about modern Denver....LoDo, or RiNo...?
Neal would love modern Denver! The baseball park would have been the crowning gem in his eyes. I believe had things worked out differently he might have come back home to Denver and retired as a colorful character somewhere in Curtis Park.
Why is it important to tell Neal's story? Who is your intended audience? Older folks who know his work, or younger people who may not?
Neal's story is important to not only serve as a cautionary tale but also an inspirational one as well. Although he succumbed to the destructive trappings of notoriety, there was still that initial spark that influenced so many of the great writers of our time. In his own unique way, he unknowingly helped to guide two major cultural revolutions. The most compelling part about him is that he is the everyman: He was not a hero, he was not a villain, he was just truly and authentically himself -- and I think for some people, that is such a huge struggle and they admire that about him. That message is timeless for all ages and it seems that thumbing through On the Road is a quasi-American rite of passage that will introduce Neal to many generations to come.
My ultimate goal of this film is to shed light on Cassady's life here in Denver and remind us all what an amazing literary history we have.
Neal Cassady: Kickstart will start at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 29, at 3 Kings Tavern. DJ Frank Bell, Go Star and the Limbs, and an exhibition of artwork by Christian Krumpholz and Daniel Crosier round out the festivities. Tickets are $8 at the door; incentives to give include limited edition Cassady prints, skateboards, stickers, art and more. For more information, go to www.3kingstavern.com.