NY: Village Vanguard, 1957.
The card, mimeographed from typescript, reads (in part): "The voice of the 'Beat Generation' ---Jack Kerouac---will step off the road momentarily for a stop at the Village Vanguard beginning Thurs. Dec. 19th for his first nightclub appearance ever. Author of 'On the Road' which has been called 'A Major Novel' by the majority of book critics, Kerouac will appear at the Vanguard, 7th Ave. & 11th Street, as a Christmas bonus gift from San Francisco's bohemian colony along with the world's leading trombonist J. J. Johnson and his Quartet..." Ginsberg presciently warned Kerouac that the gig would be a drunken disaster as indeed it was. Kerouac, painfully shy and completely drunk, read from his original notebooks of Mexico City Blues. On other occasions he read Ginsberg and Corso poems, and on Christmas Eve he even read a prayer, but despite his sincere efforts the audiences for the most part snickered or ignored him and reviews were bad (the only good thing that came of it is that Steve Allen saw him and suggested they collaborate). Kerouac swore off all such future engagements. This card is addressed to legendary music critic, founding editor of Rolling Stone, and cofounder of the Monterey Jazz Festival, Ralph Gleason, and it comes from his archive. After 30 years of specializing in Kerouac material we didn't even know this item existed, let alone ever encountering one, nor have any of our colleagues ever seen or heard of it---very likely its the only one extant. A Kerouac rarity of the highest order from a crucial time in his career. On the Road, and the famous Gilbert Millstein review that extolled it, had just been published about three months prior to this disastrous gig. The confluence of these events ultimately marked the beginning of the end for Kerouac. Stamped and postmarked for mailing, else fine.