Tag Archives: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Support: The Beat Museum

+ 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.

THE NORTH BEACH OF THE BEAT GENERATION IS IN GRAVE DANGER

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.

Fondly, dave

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.

Exhibit: Beat Museum & environs / SF, 2018 / feat. Allen’s Organ, Jack’s Jacket, Gary’s Japa-cap and Beat Typewriters

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.

Inadequate backgrounder…

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)

Continue reading Exhibit: Beat Museum & environs / SF, 2018 / feat. Allen’s Organ, Jack’s Jacket, Gary’s Japa-cap and Beat Typewriters

Quote: Gary Snyder (Rucksack Revolution)

Gary Snyder with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, photo by Chris Felver (for educational use)

“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.”

Gary Snyder

Ferlighetti: I never wrote Beat poetry (etc) via SF Gate (for LF’s 90th birthday)

Ferlinghetti: I never wrote Beat poetry. Wide-open poetry (is) what Neruda told me in Cuba “I love your wide-open poetry’ 

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Catching up with Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Heidi Benson, Chronicle Staff Writer , Published Thursday, March 19, 2009

Excerpt:

Q: When you were named San Francisco’s first poet laureate in 1998, you spoke of the damage to the culture caused by the yawning gap between the city’s rich and poor. Have your worst fears been borne out?

A: When I arrived in the city, the citizens seemed to have an island, considering San Francisco a kind of offshore republic, founded by gold miners and gold diggers, cast-off seamen and vagabonds, railroad barons and rogue adventurers and ladies of fortune. What with the electronic revolution and the Information Age, we have joined the rest of the world.

Oldies such as myself talk about the good old days with nostalgia since that was when they were young and beautiful (and full of testosterone).

 

Q: You served as a ship’s commander in the Pacific during World War II. What’s the most important thing you learned in the Navy?

A: In four years at sea, I learned that the sea is a monster and can turn on you at any time. Seeing Nagasaki made me an instant pacifist.

Q: How have the concerns of poets changed since you began writing?

A: In the social revolution of the 1960s, the chant was “Be here now.” Today with television, e-mail and especially cell phones, it’s “Be somewhere else now.”

Q: Your favorite 19th century American poet?

A: Walt Whitman, of course. He gave voice to the people and articulated an American populist consciousness.

Q: Why do you prefer the term wide-open poetry to Beat poetry?

A: I never wrote “Beat” poetry. Wide-open poetry refers to what Pablo Neruda told me in Cuba in 1950 at the beginning of the Fidelista revolution: Neruda said, “I love your wide-open poetry.”

 

He was either referring to the wide-ranging content of my poetry, or, in a different mode, to the poetry of the Beats. Wide-open poetry also refers to the “open form” typography of a poem on the page. (A term borrowed from the gestural painting of the Abstract Expressionists.)

Q: Can writing be taught?

A: It has to be taut.

Q: Is texting poetry?

A: It can be.

Q: You’ve always been an activist, as well as an artist. What do you advise activists who are complacent now that a new, seemingly more enlightened administration is in charge?

A: The dictatorial reign of George the Second almost destroyed our civil liberties as well as our economy.

We shall now see whether an “enlightened” administration can defeat Washington, D.C.,’s culture of corruption. The press has given socialism a bad name, falsely equating it with Soviet Communism. What is needed today is a form of civil libertarian socialism in which all democratic civil rights are fully protected.

What with shrinking energy resources and radical climate change, a worldwide planned economy is needed. Why won’t any politician even whisper it?

Q: In the upcoming film of “Howl,” James Franco will play Allen Ginsberg. Who is playing you?

A: Charlie Chaplin.

Q: Who is the love of your life?

A: Life itself is the love of my life.

Q: What’s the secret of your beautiful skin?

A: Genetics.