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One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy

Beyond Baroque LIterary | Arts Center

Sunday, November 27, 2011 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PST)

Venice, CA

One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road with...

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November 27, Sunday 7:00 PM 
ONE AND ONLY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ON THE ROAD WITH GERALD NICOSIA

Discover the Hidden History of the Girl Who Went On the Road with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady


Beat historian GERALD NICOSIA spent years looking for LU ANNE HENDERSON, the woman who started JACK KEROUAC and NEAL CASSADY on their journey, because he knew that if not for her, the two men wouldn’t have taken the road trip that became On the Road. With the help of Lu Anne’s daughter Anne Marie Santos, Nicosia tells the story of the beautiful 15-year-old girl who loved both men, and taught them how to love each other, in ONE AND ONLY: The Untold Story of On The Road, being published by Viva Editions in November.

Nicosia had interviewed Henderson in 1978, when she was 47 and he was just in his early 20s, and though he said “a lot of Lu Anne was beyond me then,” he understood what a great gift she had given him. She had long strenuously avoided the spotlight—Nicosia only found her through an off-hand comment from a fellow Beat aficionado—and she quickly dropped out of sight again after they spoke. As the author of Memory Babe, widely regarded as the definitive work on JACK KEROUAC, he alone recognized her secret impact on 20th century literature.  ONE AND ONLY includes the never-before-published transcription of the 34,000-word taped interview and is illustrated with fifty-five rare archival black-and-white photographs, including priceless pictures of NEAL CASSADY and JACK KEROUACALAN GINSBERG and others, many of which have never before been seen. 

Viva Editions Associate Publisher Brenda Knight, herself a Beat scholar and author of Women of the Beat Generation, winner of the 1997 American Book Award, said, “There are many ‘Beat bombshells’ of new information. This book will be controversial and a major contribution to the oeuvre. People will read it alongside On the Road, scene by scene.” 

The book will be published in November, to coincide with the release of the long-awaited WALTER SALLES movie of On the Road later this fall, in which KRISTEN STEWART will portray Marylou, the character based on Lu Anne Henderson. The actors starring in the film weren’t born when On the Road was published. To educate them, Director Salles created “Beat boot camp,” enlisting ONE AND ONLY author GERALD NICOSIA as the first instructor.  

Lu Anne has routinely been portrayed as a teenage slut, which is how she came off in Carolyn Cassady’s memoir Heart Beat, made into a major movie in 1980.   Finally, in ONE AND ONLY, we see Henderson as astutely sensitive and keenly observant about her own life, that of her friends, and the human condition. In preparing for her role, KRISTEN STEWART was having a hard time making sense of how Lu Anne could still love Neal, despite his endless cheating on her. After listening to the taped interview that is at the heart of ONE AND ONLY, Kristen said she found the key to playing Marylou in the movie “as her own woman, not Neal’s.” 

At last, through the indefatigable research of GERALD NICOSIA, we meet the real woman who sparked a literary revolution—in effect, making the Beat Generation possible, as well as giving Kerouac the material for On the Road.

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When & Where


Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
681 Venice Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

Sunday, November 27, 2011 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PST)


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Beyond Baroque LIterary | Arts Center

Beyond Baroque is one of the United States' leading independent Literary/Arts Centers and public spaces dedicated to literary and cultural production, contact, interaction, and community building. Founded in 1968, it is based in the Old Town Hall in Venice, California, near the Pacific Ocean. It offers a program of readings, new music, free workshops, publishing, bookstore, archiving, and education.

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