+ Beat Support +
Many of you likely noticed the campaign to help the venerable San Francisco institution City Lights bookstore “keep the lights on” and hooray, they rocketed past the $300,000 goal thanks to many small donations from around the world. Now, there’s a few other neighbours in the North Beach area to shine a light on, specifically “the Beat Museum” – an eclectic grassroots archive of artifacts from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and well… dozens of other luminaries who have influenced counter-culture, literature and music.
To pitch in, you can buy a membership – especially handy if you live in the San Francisco area as it offers unlimited admission – those of us *anywhere else* can dig discounts on purchases (including mail order), exclusive content/interviews/events, and a membership card – I’m a sucker for membership cards!
Did you see a big North Beach neighbourhood round-up diary post I shared recently? Included a photo essay of many items on display including Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter (along with many other typewriters), Jack Kerouac’s jacket, Gary Snyder’s bits and pieces from Japan and so much more.
+ Their bookstore has a variety of rare additions, one-offs, special treats (I picked up a first edition of Allen Ginsberg’s Indian Journal on my visit).
So to recap, do one or several of the following:
* Go check out their website to see their mission and the big hearted folks running the show
* Purchase a membership (various levels/prices)
* Maybe buy yourself a little something nice, or a gift for someone else
* Kick them down some extra cash
* Sign up for their newsletter for campaigns & updates
* Spread the word to keep the goodness rolling
You got any questions or thoughts? Let me know.
And of course if you’re seeking unique Beat literature related content, I have dozens of podcasts, various essays, scrapbooks, maps, and so on for you to peruse.
PS shared respectfully knowing lots of folks are in tough financial situations and there’s lots of requests rolling around for various dire situations – in spirit of solidarity, safety, and abundance.
Wearing a smoking jacket at Tsuchida Cottage, Dave riffs on recent activities including: planting vegetable garden, playing piano, buying baby clothes, and sort-ganizing archives including digging out loads of books. As such, shows books by Douglas Coupland, Nick Bantock, Gary Snyder, Ethan Hubbard, and reads from Jack Kerouac’s American Haikus, plus riffs about Tintin, fire lookouts and mailing postcards.
Another stack brought in from the kura barn to spark some goodness / Gary Snyder, Poets on Peaks, field guide to Cascadian trees, Douglas Coupland, David Byrne, Wes Anderson, Dr Suess, and Hergé (including some rare Tintin) / + snippets of paintings on our self-made wooden wall > all atop a piano on handmade cloth from island of Yap.
“Civilizations east and west have long been on a collision course with wild nature, and now the developed nations in particular have the witless power to destroy not only individual creatures but whole species, whole processes, of the earth. We need a civilization that can live fully and creatively together with wildness.”
Gary Snyder in Etiquette of Freedom / Practice of the Wild
Some years ago (1996 maybe), poet Gary Snyder was doing a reading at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. Folks are lined up with stacks of books for him to sign, including, books not by him but my other “associated“ writers. Thought this was very cheesy.
Anyhow, I only took a ragged copy of “Passage through India”. He gave a big chuckle and says “I don’t see many of these anymore” as he signed. Told him how i’d rambled with his books tucked in my rucksack through and arriving in Japan and reading Backcountry in Kyoto waiting for a bus to make me to Mochigase and start work on a mushroom farm.
Also, I had mailed him a documentary film I made (Hempenroad), and he recognized me from that and talked for a while about hemp and ecology while others waited impatiently to have him sign some Burroughs book or something. Felt so incredibly proud that he was aware of my existence.
Along a ramble…
Along the wanders, I found myself in San Francisco, really mostly in Pacifica, one of my favourite hideaways and just south of the city… but anyway, ventured into SF proper to (finally) get some time at the Beat Museum and wow, what a great job these folks are doing. As such, a few notes and artifacts from the museum and history dripping neighbourhood for your amusement and my memory.
Now I could go on and on about the importance of *the Beats* connecting literary traditions, sparking countercultures leading to the revolutionary “pranksters“ to the *hippies* (for lack of a better term), ￼punks (no I’m not talking mohawks here), indie-making artists of all medium, everything… while also looking back to Whitman, cummings (sic), WCW, Wolfe, Twain, Thoreau, Dostoevsky… you get the general gist. Or what I’m trying to see is wide-thinking, free-roaming, do it yourself souls sharing empathy for others, breaking conventions to find out who you really are and then manifesting the distilled results t into one’s own life which infuses your own soul, then effectuates inspiration in others – also (critically) this ain’t always pretty, rarely is. That’s not the point.
Work in progress…
Anyhow, the Beat Museum￼ was (maybe is) undergoing some construction as the building needs an earthquake-resistant upgrade, – I’ve shared some various fundraising campaigns and podcast riffs about their history over the years in this archive maybe you’ve come across and supported their noble efforts… but anyway, the building was surrounded by scaffolding in a bit of commotion and for a guy like me has easily sensory overload it, it could easily be intense but I stepped in and disappeared for an afternoon amongst the curated exhibits.
This is not some fancy-pants museum, this is a grassroots effort with everything done by intention and￼ in an attentive spirit. I took some crappy snapshots along the way just to remember for my own memory as i wander far and wide and sometimes the twist and turns get a little too quick for me to process real time in my noggin.
Artifacts and abstractions…
note: There is a little mini-theatre room looping a film (was it “Pull My Daisy? It’s all a bit hazy now a few countries later), which pleased me for the visual abstraction of Beat life as well as regrouping in a small / dark / cozy room.
Notable artifacts include:
“referee shirt” Neal Cassady famously wore while driving Furthur, the Merry Prankster bus
a plaid wool jacket Kerouac wore (I’ve had one just like it)
“I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of ’em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.”
Poet Gary Snyder interview from Poland “Gary Snyder – Writers in Motion – Audiowizualna biblioteka pisarzy” you’ll likely enjoy:
What follows is transcription of a talk called “Fck Stats, Make Art” at Northern Voice, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Original audio (record by Jay Stewart who is identified as Speaker 1 below) exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.
Speaker 1: We’re at Northern Voice 2008 in Vancouver BC at the University of British Columbia Forestry Science Center and I’m about to record Dave O’s presentation. What is the name of the presentation?
Speaker 2: Fuck Stats Make Art.
Speaker 1: Fuck Stats Make Art. It’s going to be a little bit controversial because he’s going to give a call to up the ante on quality of stuff people are posting. He’s like, “It doesn’t matter if people are looking, it matters if it’s good content, that’s more important.”
Speaker 2: Certainly good content comes first and then you really [inaudible 00:01:06].
Speaker 1: I don’t need to know when people’s cats are going to the bathroom. I see a lot of that on Twitter and other sites and stuff, you know?
Announcer: So, it’s my pleasure to introduce one of my best friends here Dave Olson. He also works with me at Raincity Studios and I’m really excited that you guys get to hear him talk today. I think this talk would be quite a bit different from everything else that you hear at Northern Voice.
I dragged, Dave, kicking and screaming in the world of Google Analytics and I just didn’t get it, just like every moment I spent either looking at my viewers or attracting new ones is one less moment I’m writing or doing something else that I love. So, I always respected that about him.
He’s a poet, a filmmaker, an author, photographer and many other awesome things. Anyway, I’ll leave it up to him to go with the rest. So, welcome to Fuck Stats Make Art.