Advisory Board

If we are going to be successful at raising the large sum of money necessary to buy our own building for the new permanent Beat Museum we need to show that this idea has broad support. Our motto for this Building Campaign is “Good for North Beach, Good for San Francisco, Good for Beat Fans Around the World.”

The following people believe a permanent Beat Museum in North Beach is an idea worth pursuing. These folks have told us to “Go for it!” and they come from these three different constituencies.

  1. Community and business leaders in both North Beach and San Francisco
  2. Beat Generation scholars and authors
  3. Celebrities and other famous people who really dig the Beats

You’ve read their books. You’ve seen their movies. You’ve patronized their businesses in North Beach and San Francisco.


David Amram
An early collaborator on the 1950s Beat scene in NYC, David Amram wrote the jazz score for Robert Frank’s 1959 film, Pull My Daisy, starring Ginsberg, Corso, Carolyn Cassady, and others, and narrated by Kerouac. He was appointed composer in residence at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein, and composed scores for many films such as The Manchurian Candidate and Splendor in the Grass.
Ken Babbs
One of the original Merry Pranksters, Babbs was the right hand man to his great friend Ken Kesey, and together they helped create the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s. “Too young to be a Beat and too old to be a Hippie,” Babbs is best known for his time with Neal Cassady on the psychedelic bus Further, and for his involvement in the Acid Tests. Babbs co-wrote Last Go Round with Kesey, and his most recent work is Who Shot the Water Buffalo?, a memoir of his days as a USMC helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
Gordon Ball
Photographer, filmmaker, and writer, Gordon Ball has edited three books with Allen Ginsberg, including Pulitzer Prize nominee Allen Verbatim. His photographs of the poet and his colleagues, “Ginsberg & Beat Fellows” have been widely exhibited and published, from the Sunday New York Times magazine to the Rolling Stone Book of the Beats. His latest book is East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg
Jean-Marc Barr
French-American actor with vast experience in theater, film and television, best known in France for the 1988 film Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue). When he visited the Beat Museum in preparation for his role as Jack Kerouac in Michael Polish’s 2013 film Big Sur he was instantly recognized by numerous visitors from France who asked for autographs and selfies.
Cathy Cassady Sylvia
Cathy Cassady Sylvia is the eldest child of Neal and Carolyn Cassady. She is mentioned in three of Jack Kerouac’s novels, as Amy Moriarity in On the Road and “Emily Pomeray” in Visions of Cody, and in Big Sur.
John Allen Cassady
The son of Neal and Carolyn Cassady, John has been an invaluable collaborator since our early incarnation as The Beat Museum on Wheels, traveling cross-country with Jerry Cimino, sharing stories from his upbringing at the center of both the Beat Generation and the Merry Pranksters, and accompanying their presentations on guitar.
Tom Christopher
An artist involved in numerous underground comics and zines, Tom Christopher is a former inker for Marvel’s Silver Surfer, and later worked on titles for Marvel and DC, including Spiderman, X Men, Superman and Batman. He also wrote a biography of Neal Cassady, Volume 1 and Volume 2. His work documenting comic book history is widely published, and his non-fiction is collected in numerous libraries, universities, and museums.
Shelby Coffey III
Shelby Coffey III is vice chairman of Newseum in Washington, DC. Previously, he was editor of the Los Angeles Times. Coffey has held editorial positions with the Dallas Times Herald, U.S. News & World Report, and The Washington Post.
Eric Drooker
Eric Drooker is a painter and illustrator whose images have been featured in The Nation, The New York Times, The Progressive, and The Village Voice. Perhaps best known for being a frequent cover artist for The New Yorker, Drooker is the author of Flood! A Novel in Pictures (winner of the American Book Award), Blood Song: A Silent Ballad, and Howl: A Graphic Novel, based on his animations for the film Howl. He collaborated with Allen Ginsberg in 1996 on the book Illuminated Poems. His art hangs in numerous collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Library of Congress.
Will Durst
With over 400 television appearances, and reigning as C-SPAN’s favorite comic, Will Durst is a 5-time Emmy nominee and recipient of 7 consecutive nominations for the American Comedy Awards Stand Up of the Year. According to The New York Times, he is “quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” He’s the first comic invited to perform at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the first American nominated for the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the show “Myth America.”
Steve Edington
Rev. Steve Edington is a Unitarian Universalist minister in Nashua, NH, where he’s served for over twenty-five years. He is also an active committee member with Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. His books include The Beat Face of God, Troubadour and Poet The Magical Ministry of Ric Masten, and Bring Your Own God: The Spirituality of Woody Guthrie.
Christopher Felver
Photographer and filmmaker, and author of such books as Seven Days in Nicaragua Libre (City Lights Books, 1984), co-authored with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, The Late Great Allen Ginsberg (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2002), Ferlinghetti Portrait (Gibbs Smith, 1998), and Beat (Last Gasp, 2007). His films include West Coast: Beat & Beyond (1984) and Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder.
Jeremy Fish
San Francisco artist and illustrator Jeremy Fish‘s work has appeared in exhibitions from SF to Rome. He’s a regular collaborator with hip hop artist Aesop Rock, his artwork has been a longtime fixture at Upper Playground, and is ubiquitous throughout North Beach. In 2015, Fish was named San Francisco City Hall’s first Artist-in-Residence; the City commissioned 100 original pieces, and an exhibition, O Glorious City, was held in November 2015.
Tony Gemignani
Twelve-time world pizza champion and owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana and Capo’s restaurant in North Beach.
Matt Gonzalez
Chief Attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s office and former San Francisco Supervisor, Matt has been a longtime Beat fan and friend of the arts. He first met Jack Micheline in 1991, and in 1997 edited and published a 200-page collection of Micheline’s poetry, Sixty-Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints. In 1999 he wrote the foreword to the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, edited by Alan Kaufman, and in 2003 SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin offered legislation naming a street in North Beach after Micheline, which Gonzalez co-sponsored, and which was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.
James Grauerholz
Writer, editor, and literary executor of the Estate of William S. Burroughs, James Grauerholz met Burroughs in the 1970s, in New York. They soon became friends, and Grauerholz became Burroughs’ business manager throughout his later career, organizing readings, tours, and other public appearances, appearances in film and on television, making recordings, in addition to being Burroughs’ caretaker and companion. Grauerholz edited the Cities of the Rad Night trilogy, My Education, Interzone, and Last Words.
Wavy Gravy
Entertainer, poet, artist, peace activist, and clown prince of counterculture, Wavy Gravy is perhaps best known for his involvement with the Merry Pranksters, his presence at Woodstock, and as the official clown of the Grateful Dead. He’s the founder of the Hog Farm, Seva Foundation, and Camp Winnarainbow, a performing arts camp for children and adults. Prior to adopting his ’60s clown persona, Mr. Gravy was a beat poet, known by his birth name Hugh Romney.
Peter Hale
Peter Hale has worked with Allen Ginsberg since 1992 starting as one of Allen’s office assistants, later as his photography archivist, and then co-managed Allen’s estate with Bob Rosenthal after Allen passed away. He co-edited Death & Fame and assisted in the production, of dozens of books and audio releases & films over the last 20 years.
William Randolph Hearst, III
Businessman, philanthropist and producer of The Etiquette of Freedom: Gary Snyder, Jim Harrison and The Practice of the Wild
Garrett Hedlund
When Garrett Hedlund first walked in to the Beat Museum unannounced in 2007, he bought everything we had on Neal Cassady. We instantly realized he’d been cast in the role of Neal in Walter Salles’ then-upcoming film On the Road. Garrett stayed in touch with us over the years, and despite numerous delays with the production of the movie due to the 2008 recession, Garrett stuck with the project. He later introduced us to his costars, Sam Riley, Tom Sturridge, Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst. We’ve been following Garrett’s career with Tron Legacy, Country Strong, Inside Llewyn Davis and Unbroken. Garrett digs the Beats so much he even bought an old Hudson.
Tim Z. Hernandez
Award winning poet, novelist, and performance artist. Author of the poetry collections Skin Tax and Natural Takeover of Small Things, and novels Breathing, In Dust and Mañana Means Heaven, concerning Bea Franco, the real-life “Terry the Mexican Girl” from Kerouac’s On the Road.
Al Hinkle
Best known as “‘Big Ed’ Dunkel,” in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, in real life, Al Hinkle was close friends with both Kerouac and Neal Cassady. Al’s stories are recounted in his book Last Man Standing. As the title implies, he is the last living male participant in the events of On the Road.
Hilary Holladay
Hilary Holladay founded the Kerouac Center for American Studies and the Kerouac Conference on Beat Literature at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell and has taught Beat literature for nearly two decades. She is the author of seven books, both scholarly and creative, including a novel, Tipton, and Herbert Huncke: The Time Square Hustler Who Inspired Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation.
Michael Imperioli
As an aspiring actor in New York City, Michael was introduced to the Beats by Gregory Corso himself when they would often talk in a Manhattan bookstore they both frequented. Not long afterward Michael’s career took off with Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas which led to his memorable role as Christopher Moltisanti in HBO’s The Sopranos. When he’s not reading the Beats, Michael remains very active in theater, film and television.
Penn Jillette
Best known for his work as half of Penn & Teller, Penn Jillette is a magician, juggler, comedian, social critic, and author of several books, including God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales. When Penn first visited us a few years ago, he dug the place so much he wrote an entire chapter about what Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Museum meant to him personally in his book Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!.
Joyce Johnson
Introduced to the Beat circle by Elise Cowen, Joyce Johnson would become the first published woman of the Beat Generation with her novel Come and Join the Dance. Other books include Bad Connections, In the Night Cafe, Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters (her correspondence with Jack Kerouac), Missing Men, Minor Characters, and The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac.
Jerry Kamstra
Author of Weed: Adventures of a Dope Smuggler and The Frisco Kid, among many other literary achievements as a poet, editor and publisher. He is a designer, artist, lecturer and educator. He lives in Santa Cruz, CA.
Brenda Knight
Editor of the award-winning Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution
Kit Knight
Through the 1970s and 80s, when public interest in the Beat Generation seemed to wane, Kit Knight and her late husband, Arthur Knight (1937-2012), kept the flame burning with their publication, the unspeakable visions of the individual, anthologizing a vast array of work by Beat writers, whose productivity by no means slowed in those later years.
Huey Lewis
Musician and frontman of Huey Lewis and the News, Lewis’ career has spanned five decades, nine studio albums, countless live performances, and numerous appearances in film and television. His stepfather was Beat poet Lew Welch.
Dan Macchiarini
Long time North Beach artist, designer, and merchant Daniel Macchiarini carries on the tradition of his father, Peter Macchiarini, for whom the Macchiarini Steps are named, and among whose many commissions include the creation of Neal and Carolyn Cassady’s wedding rings. Dan Macchiarini continues to operate Macchiarini Creative Design on Grant Avenue.
Gloria McDarrah
Manages the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah, along with sons Patrick and Timothy. As the photographer for New York’s Village Voice newspaper for 50 years, Fred W. McDarrah was a preeminent chronicler of the Beat Generation. The 250,000-image McDarrah Archive includes the most comprehensive collection of Beat images by a single photographer in the history of the medium. His many books include The Beat Scene, Kerouac and Friends: A Beat Generation Album and Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich Village.
Dennis McNally
Author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead, Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beats, and America, and the recently-published On Highway 61.
David Meltzer (in memoriam)
David Meltzer was one of the key poets of the Beat Generation, and author of such works as The Clown (1960), No Eyes: Lester Young, and When I Was a Poet (City Lights Pocket Poets #60), and editor of San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets.
Bill Morgan
Author, editor, and artist, Bill Morgan is best known for his work as archivist for Allen Ginsberg, author of I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, The Typewriter is Holy: An Uncensored History of the Beat Generation, and editor of numerous poetry collections, letters, and a series of literary walking tour guides.
Michael Marisi Ornstein
Painter and actor in film, television, and stage, Ornstein’s first film credit was in Crossing Delancey, and he’s since appeared in Homicide: Life on the Street, Third Watch, Seinfeld, the Law & Order series, the stage play Angels in America, and most recently played “‘Chucky’ Marstein” on Sons of Anarchy
Jonah Raskin
Author of American Scream, the first critical and historical study of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and most recently, Wild Ones, about Natalie Jackson and the Beat Generation. Raskin studied literature at Columbia College with Lionel Trilling, and later moved to England to study literature at the University of Manchester.
Al Ribaya
Al opened his first shop at the age of 18, and quickly became a household name in the footwear industry. Since then, he’s branched out into vintage clothing, custom, hand-made shoes, and most recently, custom tailored clothing. Al’s Attire in North Beach has gained a cult-like following, ranging from international visitors to neighborhood fixtures, from local San Franciscans to world-renowned artists the likes of Carlos Santana, Win Butler, Herbie Hancock, Jeremy Fish, and more.
Walter Salles
Filmmaker and producer, whose films include Central Station (1998), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and On the Road (2012)
Jim Sampas
Music and film producer, and founder of Reimagine Music, Jim Sampas has produced numerous tributes for major record labels, and worked with independent artists on new arrangements of classic songs. He’s also the producer of One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur, plus the soundtrack to that documentary by Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar, and co-produced Big Sur (2013), directed by Michael Polish.
Vincent Silvaer
Vince is Jack Micheline’s son, and publisher of Sixty-Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints, a 200-page collections of poetry and sketches of Jack Micheline’s work. Vince has been one of our earliest supporters since we brought The Beat Museum to San Francisco in 2006.
Byron Spooner
Literary Director of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Spooner has produced three SF International Poetry Festivals, and with Poet Laureate Emeritus Jack Hirschman, has run the acclaimed poetry series Thursdays at Readers for the last eight years. With Poet Laureate Emeritus Alejandro Murguia he presented Flor y Canto en el Barrio, a festival of Latino poets. He is founder and current co-editor of The Readers Review, the Friends’ literary blog, where he writes about books, music, film, and bookselling.
Marc Eliot Stein (nom de plume Levi Asher)
Founder, principal writer, and developer of Literary Kicks, the oldest continuously operating literary website on the internet. He has earned recognition as a pioneer of the online literary scene, and one of the earliest proto-bloggers.
Gerd Stern
Poet and artist, Gerd Stern has published numerous books, and his work has been exhibited in museums around the world. He was recently vindicated with the finding of the “Joan Anderson letter” which his friend Allen Ginsberg had accused him of losing over fifty years ago.
Matt Theado
Author of Understanding Jack Kerouac and editor of The Beats: A Literary Reference, Theado currently teaches American Culture at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies in Japan.
Magnus Toren
Director of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur since 1993, Toren has played a major role in keeping Miller’s legacy alive in Big Sur and around the world. A leader in the Big Sur community, he has steered the growth of the Library’s archives, building enhancements, and the protection of the Library from the ravages of nature’s fires.
Ron Turner
Founder of Last Gasp, publisher of a vast array of underground comix including Zap, Slow Death Funnies, and many others. Last Gasp continues to distribute counterculture books from their headquarters in the Mission District.
V. Vale
Publisher of seminal punk zine Search and Destroy, and founder of RE/Search Publications, publisher of many books documenting modern primitives and other subcultures, cult music and films, pranks, punk rock, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and other authors, and a variety of other underground subjects.
George “Hardly Visible” Walker
One of the original 14 Merry Pranksters who gathered at Ken Kesey’s La Honda home along with Neal Cassady (“Speed Limit”), Ken Babbs (“Intrepid Traveler”), Cathy Casamo (“Stark Naked”), Ron Bevirt (“Hassler”) and Steve Lambrecht (“Zonker”). George’s memories of Neal Cassady are included in his book, Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind.
Helen Weaver
Author, astrologer, and translator of over fifty books from French, Helen Weaver met Jack Kerouac in 1956. Their short, tumultuous love affair against the backdrop of the mid-1950s Beat scene in Greenwich Village is the subject of her 2009 memoir, The Awakener. She appears pseudonymously in Kerouac’s Desolation Angels as “Ruth Heaper.”
Regina Weinreich
Co-producer and director of Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider, scholar on the Beat Generation, writer on The Beat Generation: An American Dream, author of Kerouac’s Spontaneous Poetics, and editor of Kerouac’s Book of Haikus. Her work has appeared in numerous collections and literary journals, including The Paris Review and Five Points. She is a Professor of Humanities and Sciences at The School of Visual Arts in New York.

ruth weiss
Jazz poet and key figure on the Beat scene in the 1950s, ruth was the first to read poetry with live jazz accompaniment at The Cellar on Green Street in 1956. She is the author of many poetry collections, including Desert Journal and her latest, Can’t Stop the Beat; has appeared in several films; was friends with many well-known poets, artists, filmmakers, writers, and musicians; and continues write and perform with her band.

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