Tag Archives: kerouac cafe

D’Orso to celebrate Kerouac on Monday at Kerouac Cafe because D’Orso Cafe is just a pretend place I made up for this headline


NORFOLK, Va. — On Monday at Kerouac Cafe, Norfolk author Mike D’Orso will host the reading and conversation “Remembering Jack,” honoring the recent 42nd anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s death and celebrating the life and work of the famed Beat writer.

The event is at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 24, at Kerouac Cafe, 617 W. 35th St., Norfolk. There’s free street parking and some nearby surface lot parking. Admission is free.

Also Monday, D’Orso and Kerouac owner Phil Odango will be guests on HearSay With Cathy Lewis on WHRV-FM 89.5 to talk about Kerouac and the event. The show starts at noon. This airs in the Hampton Roads market, but you can find podcasts here at this link or listen to a stream.

Kerouac, of course, is known for inspiring generations of young writers to record their confessional travel stories in the first person and adorn them with titles like Disenchanted American Dreams. And there you have it. He did some other stuff, too, but I have a lot of homework this weekend.

Just go on Monday. D’Orso has it covered.

D’Orso, via email, explained that the idea for the event struck this past week when he drove past the cafe and suddenly recalled that the anniversary of Kerouac’s death was only days away. He pulled a U-turn, parked, and entered “one of the truly coolest, funkiest ‘lounges’ I’ve entered in a very long time. Kerouac would be proud to have his name on this place.”

And he pitched an event. They bit. Easy day.

D’Orso, in addition to being a journalist and author of many fine works of non-fiction, wrote his William and Mary graduate school thesis on the influence of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West on Kerouac’s work. He’s spoken on Kerouac and the Beats at a variety of venues, including to VMI cadets who sat in “stone-faced silence.” And according to an email that undoubtedly will be collected in the D’Orso papers:

I’ve written a good number of books, but my proudest coup was getting a 13-page piece on Jack’s high school and college football career published in Sports Illustrated.

Which you should read here at this link. “Saturday’s Hero: A Beat” is a great story, also collected in D’Orso’s excellent Pumping Granite.

As regular readers of this blog know, D’Orso is an old friend of mine and he has been featured here. And Kerouac Cafe is a friend of the blog, too, as the only Hampton Roads exhibition hall that dared to handle the intense heat that radiated like the spiciest winds of the Red Spider Nebula from the 2011 Fortune Writing Contest.

Also, I dig Kerouac. However, on Monday evening I will be in an Old Dominion University class called Thesis Colloquium, during which I again shall rigorously colloquium my thesis while keeping up with my devil-may-care classmate, Dean Moriarty. He’s got charisma, but I sometimes suspect our relationship may be evolving in ways we do not yet realize amid our adventures. Maybe it’s these times we’re living in, man.

Point being, have a cup of joe for me, you crazy kids, and talk about how the only people for you are the mad ones or something something something. Anyway, my Modern Rhetoric homework isn’t doing itself.

But look — if you’re young, if you maybe want to write, and if you’ve recently taken a trip with your restless nonconformist buds in which you experienced really intense stuff and figured out some things about how you want to live this life compared to what your old man had lined up for you, why not try it out in third-person limited?

And do cut out that part about getting your wicked liberating lower back tattoo. Someday, you will restructure a mortgage to get that sucker laser-ed off. Even the mad ones get tired of explaining to their grandkids what “PARTY TIME” means.

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A little music for your Independence Day


Here’s hoping your Independence Day is healthy, happy, and safe.

And that we remember those who are serving us at home and abroad.

And maybe sing a little, too.

Thanks to a few folks who lent their talents to this video.

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Fortune winners, runners up will remain on display at Kerouac Cafe


Citizens of earth encounter 2011 Fortune Cookie of the Damned fortune writing contest entries on the walls of Kerouac Cafe, Norfolk, Va.

The exhibit of 2011 Forfune Cookie of the Damned fortune writing contest will stay up at Kerouac Cafe in Norfolk, Va., through most of July, not just a week, as I’d initially thought.

I found out during an informal gathering last night at Kerouac, 617 W. 35th St., Norfolk. No formal end date, but they’ll be up a couple more weeks than anticipated.

First place winner Gary Potterfield was not in the area. Third place winner Christopher Scott-Brown was not available. But second place winner Will Harris was on hand to get his prizes.

A brief video of the festivities follows, and you can see winners and runners up at this link to the earlier post on the contest:

Many thanks again to those who offered donations, discounts, and/or other considerations for the prizes: Prince Books, Naro Expanded Video, Kerouac Cafe, Local Heroes, Mike D’Orso, and Earl Swift.

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Fortune writing contest winners revealed; display opens tonight at Kerouac Cafe; bears quicker, more cunning with E-ZPass


And the winners are …

Hold on.

Let’s just acknowledge that this post, true to form for this blog, buries the lede deeper than a wannabe New Yorker scribe unpacking his first anecdote.

The 2011 Fortune Cookie of the Damned Fortune Writing Contest is over.

Entries were funny, fun, creative, and some other words, too. So thanks. You kept me smiling while I judged this past week at the Poconos Woodland Castle of Judging between diligently editing short stories, attending Wawayanda, N.Y., town council work sessions, researching the American black bear, and such. Because I know how to party.

Naturally, the winners were paw-carried back to Virginia by Keystone State bears. You should have seen them on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Aside from one brief misunderstanding in the E-ZPass lanes, they were so adorable you could eat them up. Which you should do, preemptively, before the bears turn that notion around on you. Remember: Now that they have E-ZPass, the bears are especially quick and more cunning than ever before.

And the winners are …

Hold on. More about pretend bears avoiding the exact change and cash/receipts toll lanes? No? Pity.

First, some housekeeping: Many thanks to those who offered donations, discounts, and/or other considerations for the prizes: Prince Books, Naro Expanded Video, Kerouac Cafe, Local Heroes, Mike D’Orso, and Earl Swift. Please buy their books and do business with them and so forth. They rock.

Second, a plug: Anybody available is invited to an informal gathering at Kerouac Cafe in Norfolk, Va., at 8 p.m., July 1, at Kerouac Cafe, 617 W. 35th St., Norfolk. Free admission. Coffee, tea, lattes, iced drinks are available for sale, and there may be some eats.There will be a mini-exhibit of the winners and prizes will be handed to winners who can make it. Most of the entrants will be on display, too. Entries remain up for a whole week. I now have word that the exhibit will stay up through most of July.

Third, thanks to my fellow members of the Great Panel of Judgment – Mike D’Orso, Cate Doucette, Cortney Doucette, Oliver Mackson, and Earl Swift. There were more than 50 fortunes submitted, and 13 finalists. The first place winner had three of the six first-place votes by the judges. The judges besides me judged only fortunes, as I stripped out the names before giving them the finalists to consider.

Okay. Enough of that. Without further ado:

FIRST PLACE

Gary Potterfield, operations director of a PR firm; Waldorf, Md.

SECOND PLACE

Will Harris, pop culture obsessive; Chesapeake, Va.

THIRD PLACE

Christopher Scott-Brown, bookseller; Virginia

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Geoff Ahlberg, senior network engineer for Endeca Technologies; Malden, Mass.

Dani Al-Basir, artist and poet; Norfolk, Va.

Dani Al-Basir, artist and poet; Norfolk, Va.

Brendan Beary, working for The Man; Great Mills, Md.

Brendan Beary, working for The Man; Great Mills, Md.

Peter Carnevale, ambulance driver; Providence, R.I.

Peter Carnevale, ambulance driver; Providence, R.I.

Peter Carnevale, ambulance driver; Providence, R.I.

Ian Couch, Old Dominion University MFA student; Norfolk, Va.

Ian Couch, Old Dominion University MFA student; Norfolk, Va.

John-Henry Doucette, scribbler; Portsmouth, Va.

John-Henry Doucette, scribbler; Portsmouth, Va.

John-Henry Doucette, scribbler; Portsmouth, Va.

Will Harris, pop culture obsessive; Chesapeake, Va.

Will Harris, pop culture obsessive; Chesapeake, Va.

Blake Hunt, working writer; Norfolk, Va.

Judy Le, editor; Norfolk, Va.

Ian Martin, photographer; Northern California

Ian Martin, photographer; Northern California

Chris Mele, executive editor of The Pocono Record; Stroudsburg, Pa.

Angelina Maureen, fine artist; Norfolk, Va.

Michael Nixon; Norfolk, Va.

Michael Nixon; Norfolk, Va.

Gary Potterfield, operations director of a PR firm; Waldorf, Md.

Gary Potterfield, operations director of a PR firm; Waldorf, Md.

Gary Potterfield, operations director of a PR firm; Waldorf, Md.

Gary Potterfield, operations director of a PR firm; Waldorf, Md.

Barbara Russel; Chesapeake, Va.

Bob Voros, graphic artist; Norfolk, Va.

Bob Voros, graphic artist; Norfolk, Va.

Bob Voros, graphic artist; Norfolk, Va.

Thanks everybody. I think I’ll try this again next summer.

In bed.

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Fortune Cookie of the Damned, Vol. III: Day of Judgment


Judgment comes tomorrow. With coffee.

First, the winners of the 2011 Fortune Cookie of the Damned Fortune Writing Contest will be announced tomorrow here at the blog.

Second, the exhibit of entries will be up tomorrow night at Kerouac Cafe, and anyone who is available can gather at 8 p.m. to gaze upon them.

They’ll stay up for a week. Again, the gathering is at 8 p.m. Friday, July 1, at Kerouac Cafe, 617 W. 35th St., Norfolk. Free admission. Coffee, tea, lattes, iced drinks, and possibly some eats will be available for purchase.

Donations, discounts, and/or other considerations for the prizes were made by Prince Books, Naro Expanded Video, Kerouac Cafe, Local Heroes, Mike D’Orso, and Earl Swift. Thanks, you guys.

And thanks to all fortune cookie fortune writers, wherever you are.

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Fortune writing contest party, exhibition July 1 at Kerouac Cafe


Winners for the ongoing 1st Annual Fortune Cookie of the Damned Fortune Writing Contest will be named Friday, July 1, here on the blog.

Additionally, the winners who can make it will get their prizes during an informal gathering at Kerouac Cafe in Norfolk, Va., at 8 p.m. that night. There will be a mini-exhibit of the winners. Most – if not all – of the entrants will be on display.

And I will give a 30 minute interpretive dance performance entitled “Deny Me Not My Shasta.” Oh, wait. I will not do that.

We will have a little party, though, and it will be driven by a perfectly legal psychoactive stimulant called caffeine. We’ve got a chunk of wall reserved, so keep those entries coming.

Well after our communal kidneys deal with all that coffee, this breathtaking exhibition of writing and visual art genius will remain up for a whole week, so you’re covered if you just want to run by Kerouac Cafe to hoist a cup of joe and gaze upon a chunk of wall until the tears of eternal wonder come and go and come again.

Again, the gathering is at 8 p.m., Friday, July 1, at Kerouac Cafe, 617 W. 35th St., Norfolk. Free admission. Coffee, tea, lattes, iced drinks, and some eats will be available for purchase.

Festivities will last no later that 10 p.m., largely because I am not as young as I used to be. But feel free to come earlier and stay later. Kerouac Cafe appreciates your business.

Several entries are already in. They come from as far off as Chesapeake, Va. Can Suffolk be far behind? I think not. Can I hear you Williamsburg? You bet I can. Gates County, N.C.? Will you bring it like the postman, Gates County? Hello? Oh, nuts.

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