Local filmmakers' movie to be screened April 12 at USD A feature-length motion picture which has been called "an important new film" by musician David Amram and "the definitive Kerouac documentary" by British scholar Dave Moore, and which has many local people in its cast and credits, will be shown Wednesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the Akeley Science Center Auditorium, Room 125, on the USD campus.
Go Moan for Man is a two-hour exploration of the life and literature of Jack Kerouac by Doug and Judi Sharples of Wakonda. The movie had its South Dakota premiere recently in Sioux Falls. Tickets ($5 for adults, $3 students) will be available to students and the public at the door.
Doug Sharples (writer-director-photographer) began shooting footage for the movie in 1982 in Boulder, CO, where poet Allen Ginsberg, novelist William S. Burroughs, and other "true-life" characters from Kerouac's Dulouz Legend celebrated Jack Kerouac with poetry readings and a literary conference on the 25th anniversary of the publication of On the Road.
That was the beginning of a 17-year effort by Sharples and producer Judi Sharples to make "the best and most complete film possible" about the man who named the Beat Generation and titled its most famous film works, including Ginsberg's Howl, Burroughs' Naked Lunch, and his own On the Road.
As the filmmakers could afford raw film, processing, travel, and time off from other projects, they crisscrossed North America from the author's hometown of Lowell, MA, to New York, San Francisco, and Mexico City. They followed him overseas to Tangier, Paris, and London. From the house of his birth in Lowell to the hospital where he died in St. Petersburg, FL, they filmed the apartment buildings, houses, schools, churches, mountains, cities and roads of Kerouac's life and books.
Scenes shot in Vermillion, rural Clay County, and Wakonda were cut together with footage from the authentic locations of Kerouac's life. Interiors at the Wakonda Hotel stood in for rooms in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Several Vermillion backalleys stood in for those of Lowell.
Actor Bill Mabon of Springfield, VA, as Jack Kerouac, headed a small cast portraying the life and literary development of Kerouac in black-and-white sequences that alternate with interviews and other documentary scenes in the movie. Geoffrey Gray-Lobe of Vermillion appears as William S. Burroughs and as the title character of Kerouac's novel Dr. Sax. Lonnie Fischer and Steve Merryman, both of Vermillion, portray Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg, respectively. Joseph Barnett, Ivan Barnett and Jaimie Jackson of Wakonda play young Jack Kerouac and his siblings. Others in the credits include Nancy Carlsen of Vermillion and Guy Eggers, a USD student from Wakonda.
The film was edited by Krista Scholten, formerly of Vermillion, who now works in New York. Peder Vagle of Vermillion helped create animated maps, and Don Lane of Gayville narrated the film. Pam Kadous of Vermillion worked on costumes, and Jerry Wilson of rural Vermillion served as guide and interpreter on two Mexican trips. Harold Fischer of Vermillion and others provided vintage automobiles of the 1940s and '50s used to recreate Kerouac's travels.
Kerouac himself appears with Steve Allen on Allen's weekly TV variety show from 1959. So does the famous typewritten scroll of On the Road.