Other Roadsigns

that might or ought to be

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Other Writers on the Road

who need to be discussed


Woody Guthrie

a pivotal figure from the thirties on into the sixties and beyond, his centrality, a result of self- and class-conscious marginalization, is curiously neglected by cultural critics.

Truck Stops, Diners, Roadside Cafés

William Inge and Marylin Monroe, a play and a film: Truck Stop

Little Feat's "Truck Stop Girl," Tom Waits' The Heart of Saturday Night and Nighthawks at the Diner, and Dr. Hook's balad of a short-order cook.

Films like The Last Picture Show, American Graffiti, Diner, etc. provide additional aspects

Architecture Spawned Along the Road


Western Trails

Going to Mexico

a recurrent theme from the old West to Kerouac, Richard Brautigan (The Abortion: An Historical Romance), and Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show (filmed expertly by Peter Bogdanovich), to Lowell George ("Willin'"), Ry Cooder (working with Flaco Jimenez), and Los Lobos ("Will the Wolf Survive?"); to Border Radio and beyond ...

Foreigners' Excursions on American Roads

from Alexis de Tocqueville and beyond, to, say, Jean Baudrillard, Peter Handke (Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied), or Josef Haslinger (Das Elend Amerikas), from Dickens to Vladimir Nabokov, from . . . .

including Charlie Chaplin, the little tramp with the derby hat, baggy pants, and oversized shoes, walking down the road, who for Egon Erwin Kisch was the only real hero of Paradies Amerika. (On Kisch's book written in 1933, see, e.g., Kurt Albert Mayer, "Egon Erwin Kisch, Paradies Amerika: The Roving Reporter Tracks Down 'The Righteous Men for Whose Sake America Must Be Spared the Fate of Sodom and Gomorrha.'")

Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point and Volker Schlöndorff's Paris, Texas (with Ry Cooder's music providing contrast)

Neil Young — who dare do him, the Canadian expert on American rock ‘n’ roll myths?

also including Joe Cocker — yes, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, a tour film and double album made in 1970, is worthy of consideration

even Sting, "a legal alien, an Englishman in New York"?

last but not least, the roadies' own experiences on American roads

(to be expanded)

Lenny Bruce: Cabaret on the Road

that at least is the impression the 1974 film biography (by Bob Fosse, and with Dustin Hoffman at his best) conveys of the great stand-up comedian. It prefigures Bob Dylan's lament of 1981, "Lenny Bruce is dead, but his show goes on."


The Streets of West Side Story


The Streets of the Blues Brothers


Boys (and Girls) Driven to Naughtiness on the Road

many of those who take to the road display a flagrant disrespect of laws (of all sorts: speed limits, prescriptions regarding intoxicating substances, as well as "thou shalt not kill") and find themselves on the lam, chased by authorities.


Minstrel Shows on the Road


Con Men on the Road

Folk Music and the Road:

from "The Roving Gambler" to the bards of Nashville and California, from "Hobo's Lullaby" to "Truckin'," from hopping on "The Last Train for Glory" to the eternal cruises on Western Highways.

Takin' It to the Streets — versions of a slogan

grassroots politics and stump speeches, marching through police corridors and maze,
clubbings and lootings

literature provides ample samples
from William Dean Howells' A Hazard of New Fortunes (with its climax, a strikers' demonstration being broken up by police guns which kill two of the major characters) to Norman Mailer's Miami and the Siege of Chicago (especially the second half)

Cheech and Chong:
Comedy on the Stage, on Record and Film
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  Roads North — the African American Experience

from Frederick Douglass to Richard Wright, Alice Walker, and beyond

jazz and blues moved to St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, New York


musicians and bands


suggestions, comments, requests are welcome

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