Levi AsherLiterary Kicks Creator
Literary Kicks appeared on the internet on July 23, 1994. Today the site receives between 4,000 and 6,000 hits on a typical weekday. The site taps into the growing interest in Beat-related personalities like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and the ideas this troika of writers spawned. Asked for his opinion about why things Beat have become so popular, Asher replies,
I guess I'd say it's part of a fresh breeze" of anti-stuffiness in the 90's, other manifestations of which include Nirvana and the grunge rock explosion, indie film, Bill Clinton beating George Bush, and even the web and the internet. People seem to be in open-minded, expansive moods, and the Beat writers fit this.The Pre-Hippy Brotherhood that was the Beat Generation flourished in the late 1940s and 1950s. Kerouac's novel-cum-manifesto of the Beat Generation, On The Road was written in the early 1950s but not published until 1957. Like their historical antecedents, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 19th century England, the Beats were manifestly counter-cultural. We should consider Levi Asher as part of the growing neo-Beat movement.
His interest in the Beat Generation had its genesis in the early 1990s when he read Kerouac's On the Road and then the biography of Kerouac by Ann Charters. He points out that On The Road is still his favorite Kerouac work. Dharma Bums, Big Sur and Desolation Angels are also strong favorites.
Asher is well-read. At his website he has published his 15 favorite novels. An eclectic list it includes Paul Auster's City of Glass, Melville's Moby Dick and Sue Kaufman's Diary of a Mad Housewife.
Asher sees the internet and the World Wide Web as an environment full of potential for the creative artist. And while noting that we "haven't had our Gone With The Wind or Citizen Kane or Wizard of Oz" he's confident that the internet will provide "masterpieces...hopefully soon." He writes,
I love the idea of the internet as an alternative outlet for creative writing, and I believe the literary community on the web has the potential to introduce some much needed spontaneity and freshness into the slightly stale fiction/poetry scene of our age.Towards that end Asher has been producing work that makes use of both the internet and other new technology like digital video. He describes his experimental web project, Queensboro Ballads, as a "series of stories and short prose pieces set together in the form of an early 60's folk-rock record album."
His latest project is a digital movie distributed on CD-ROM based on the Dostoevsky novel Notes From Underground. In the liner notes to that effort Asher writes "the project began as a technology experiment; I wanted to see how good a movie I could make on a standard-issue home-computer."
Notes From Underground runs a little over 60 minutes. It was shot using a Sony 8mm video camcorder and then digitized and edited on a Macintosh 7500 with 80 megabytes of installed memory and 6 gigabytes of hard disk storage. Using various software such as Adobe Premiere, Macromedia SoundEdit, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Asher has put together a fascinating and modern visual rendition of the complicated Dostoevsky novel.
So, while maintaining a site devoted to an historical past, Asher forges forward, utilizing contemporary forms to investigate an aesthetic that is both experimental in nature and Beat in spirit.
|Literary Kicks The Literary Kicks website is the best first stop for Beat Generation information on the World Wide Web.|
|Levi Asher's Home Page An autobiographical page.|
|Queensboro Ballads A Web Album|
|Favorite Novels Levi's 15 favorite novels, including honorable mentions.|
|1996 Cosmic Player Plate Rookie Season|
YEAR TEAM POS BA AB H HR RBI 1996 Beats 2b .233 661 154 30 99 1997 Beats 2b .286 168 48 5 19 Total 2 Seasons .244 829 202 35 118In his rookie year Asher belted 30 homeruns; but at the same time he led the team in strikeouts. He got more disciplined his second season but saw less plate time because he was very busy running his Literary Kicks website project. He is considered an excellent fielder, maybe the best fielding secondbaseman the Beats have ever had. Beat Manager Robert Kelly has indicated he plans to use Asher more extensively during the 1998 season, if Asher's schedule will permit.