Tag Archives: merry pranksters

(Brief) Intro to The Beat Generation #video

A rollicking rapid-fire, mixed-media introduction to The Beat Generation – made especially for youth (specifically, a 11th grade lit class at a DoD base school) – with topics including:

  • what made The Beats, the beats (ergo: time, place, circumstance, intentions, global mindset, searching for “holy”)
  • characteristics of style (freeverse, spontaneous prose, collaboration, diversity, art + craft + integrity)
  • notable writers and characters including: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • roots and branches extending from the Beats like: Merry Pranksters, folkies, hippies, yippies, punks, DIY and even “digital nomads”
  • riffs about censorship, “obscenity” trials, sexuality, religiosity
  • call to action about the importance everyone with something to say “saying it” – including YOU
  • plus more notable writers: Gregory Corso, Richard Brautigan, Ruth Weiss, Diane DiParma & currently working Ron Whitehead and Anne Waldman
  • namechecks and cameos for: The Clash, Tom Waits, Jello Biafra, Ken Kesey, Wang Ping, Masa Uehara, Nanao Sakaki many more…

Presented from a historic barn in provincial Japan with vinyl records, artifacts, ephemera, loads of books, postcards etc – by storymaker Dave Olson who invites you to ask questions via postcard (address included within).

Continue reading (Brief) Intro to The Beat Generation #video

Notes: Ken Babbs’ “Cronies” book + chapbook & Doug Peacock

Ken Babbs’ chapbook “We Were Arrested” a preview of “Cronies”

Here’s a hilarious fresh, sharp interview with Merry Prankster/Marine vet/farmer/writer and *the* Intrepid Traveler Ken Babbs talking about his new book “Cronies, a Burlesque” with basketballer/Deadhead Bill Walton (dialed up to 11 as usual) on a Powell’s (Portland) Book Store show with a cute young host holding on for the ride.

{Sorta continuation from my “hero dossier / meet the beats” video a while back with namechecks & stories with Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Grateful Dead, Merry Pranksters on Furthur bus, Acid Tests etc et al & more#plug #notaplug.}

Note: I bought from Tsunami Books/Press in the “super early support pre-release” to score a signed copy… but the shipping to Japan is rather expensive, so I get stuff sent to a friend in Olympia who is/was planning to visit – I’ve sent so many books to him (I did a lot of support of the Beat Museum and Ken Sanders Rare Books during the pandemic that I’ve amassed a small medium-sized library at his house – so eventually will ask him (and another friend in Pacifica, CA) to send out via M-bag if the borders remain closed for another year or so. This is just a long way of saying “no I haven’t actually read the book but eventually I will“.

Aside: I’m just finishing up a literary critical biography of Hunter Thompson (David S Wills’ “High White Notes”), and a series called “Letters of Note“ which is compiled by Shaun Usher (beautifully in a hardback book) interesting correspondence from throughout history. [more: books recently] and its companion “Lists of Note”.

Update: Tuns out, I have *sort of* read (some of) it as, whilst going through my bookshelf to freshen up the bedside stock, I found an advance copy chapbook called “We Were Arrested” with one of the chapters, printed on hemp paper(!) and signed to me from Mr. Babbs himself along with a doodle of his face.

For Dave {insert face sketch} Ken Babbs – thanks past-Dave for ordering this

Was made by Tsunami Books/Press to generate interest/attention for the now finished book. It’s about Babbs (Intrepid Traveler), Kesey, Cassady, George Walker and others starting the Acid Tests, formation of the Warlocks>Grateful Dead and (obviously) getting arrested. It was really nice little artifact and journey that led me to finding it.

Continue reading Notes: Ken Babbs’ “Cronies” book + chapbook & Doug Peacock

“Meet the Beats“ ~ Upgrade your Heroes #1

A rapid-fire introduction to the “Beat Generation” focused on the story of “6 Poets at Gallery 6” reading Oct, 1955 SF CA when Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, Gary Snyder, Micheal McClure, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti et al were all in the room for a reading hosted by Kenneth Rexroth that would go into legend and launch a poetry renaissance in San Francisco and the world. Presented by Cannaverse Club.

Includes extended erstwhile members of the movement and “what happened” after that night as the poets and their friends scattered their influence globally (with, not surprisingly, a little bit of extra emphasis on Japan, Zen, India/Nepal) plus Merry Pranksters, Furthur bus, Grateful Dead and even the Simpsons. Whoa!

Lots of the usual ephemera, show & tell, couple of vinyl records, loads of books, various digressions and asides, hats & homework.

Note from UW: “If you’re curious *at all*, please share your questions and comments &/or “Replay live chat” at Youtube to catch some of the stuff I forgot to say during the premiere”

Continue reading “Meet the Beats“ ~ Upgrade your Heroes #1

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