collection: beat locations

started by crabapple

It's all about the Beat... the Beat... the Beat... *Snaps fingers Here's a list of locations related to that influential generation of poets, novelists, drug addicts and madmen/women- the Beats.

six gallery (former)

from allen ginsberg, howl posted in literature by elvis_crabs

Started by a group of artists and writers in San Francisco, the Six Gallery was a small art gallery in a former auto repair shop.

Most notably, the gallery was the site of a famous poetry reading on October 7, 1955. Conceived by the artist Wally Hendrik, the "Gallery Six reading" (or Six Angels in the Same Performance) was a reading by six poets and writers that was one of the first public presentations by the Beat Generation.

At this reading, Allen Ginsberg first read his seminal poem, Howl. In attendance, a drunken Jack Kerouac yelled "Yeah! Go!", while Neal Cassady passed around a wine jug and a collection plate. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was also there, telegrammed Ginsberg the next day and offered to publish the work.

The Beats kept coming...

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city lights bookstore

from allen ginsberg, jack kerouac, the beats posted in literature by pete_nice

Founded as an all-paperback bookstore by Peter D. Martin in 1952, the name City Lights is an homage to the Charlie Chaplin film of the same name. Martin also used the name for a magazine he was publishing in San Francisco at the same time.

In 1953, the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti was walking by the storefront and noticed Martin hanging up a sign. Ferlinghetti told Martin he had written for his magazine, and that he had always wanted to own a bookstore. They both invested $500 and became partners in the store.

In 1955, Ferlinghetti heard Allen Ginsberg reciting Howl at the Six Gallery and offered to publish it. The poem was published in 1956, and the resulting obscenity trial was not entirely unexpected given the prevailing attitude towards drug use and homosexuality at the time.

The presiding judge at the obscenity trial declared that Howl was not obscene and that a book with “the slightest redeeming social importance” was guaranteed First Amendment protection.

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vesuvio cafe

from jack kerouac, allen ginsberg, the beats posted in literature by pete_nice

Founded in 1948 by Henri Lenoir, the Vesuvio Cafe became a popular hangout for Beat writers like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy.

From the Vesuvio website:

"On October 17, 1955, Neal Cassady, the real life Dean Moriarty of the quintessential Beat classic On the Road, stopped at Vesuvio on the way to the now legendary Six Gallery for a poetry reading, and the place has never been the same. It became a regular hangout of Jack Kerouac and other famous Beat poets and has become ground zero for pilgrims on the Beat trail ever since."

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plymell and ginsberg’s apartment

from zap comix, allen ginsberg, neal cassady posted in comic books by crabapple

After Beat generation mascot Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty in On the Road) divorced from his wife Carolyn in 1963, he went to live with his poet buddy Allen Ginsberg and his poet/writer/drug-enthusiast roommate Charles Plymell at this address.

A hipster and experience czar from Kansas, Plymell would go on to publish the first issue of the underground Zap Comix, an early example of counter-culture underground comics. According to lore, R. Crumb's wife, Dana, sold the first issue of Zap by peddling the comic out of a baby stoller around Haight-Ashbury.

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the beat museum

from jack kerouac, allen ginsberg, the beats posted in literature by pete_nice

In 2003, the Ciminios transformed their bookstore into the Beat Museum. Three years later, they moved to this two-story location in North Beach.

The Beat Museum now features several donated artifacts of the Beat era and its characters: Jack Kerouac's jacket, Neal Cassidy's referee shirt from his Ken Kesey bus-driving days, the 1949 Hudson- the same make and model that was driven in On the Road- used in the film version of that book and donated by creators of the film.

In addition, the museum features more than 1,000 photos, rare books, paintings, records, and posters to show the Beats rejection of conformity, resistance to cold war mentality, and love of personal freedom.

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