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The Last Beat

The story of Lucien Carr, who befriended Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs while he was a freshman at Columbia. The four friends had their lives changed when Carr murdered a man during his sophomore year:

"The day after Carr confessed, both Kerouac and Burroughs were arrested as material witnesses. Burroughs’s father came to New York to post his bail, but Kerouac’s family refused. Instead, his girlfriend Edie Parker came to his rescue, though the judge would not allow her to bail him out unless the pair married, which they did in a short ceremony on August 22, setting the course of Kerouac’s next several years.

"Though Ginsberg was the only one who escaped arrest, it was on him that the murder arguably had the gravest impact. Deeply in love with Carr, he had also developed a close friendship with Kammerer and was struggling with his own homosexuality. Johnson suggests in The Voice Is All that, while Carr denied it, Ginsberg may have experimented sexually with both men before the murder. And in August, she writes, Ginsberg 'spent some intensely lonely weeks mourning the loss of Lucien and "wonderful, perverse Kammerer," twice drafting suicide notes in his journal.'"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 25, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3103 words)