A Comical & Musical Journey
Through San Francisco’s Golden Age
North Beach Stories is Ray Hanna’s searing comical and musical journey through the nightlife of the West Coast. Master storyteller, musician, and shameless name-dropper, Ray Hanna has seen it all, on the streets of North Beach and beyond—all the sleaze, drugs, trailblazing strippers, and punks acting out, Timothy Leary performing at a Broadway nightclub, sheer rock-and-roll madness at the Mabuhay—all in a night’s work in Hanna’s world. He was also in San Francisco to encounter Lenny Bruce’s legacy, and shares the real story behind Lenny’s most outrageous moment, purported to have occurred right above the Beat Museum. It’s all here—all true, all first-person and verified accounts of real showbiz Babylon tales compiled over the past 45 years by musician/comedian/actor Ray Hanna. He remembers, “I was so lucky to be here at a golden age and time. It was a wild, wide-open, rip-roaring kind of town. This city was luring people with ideas, a cosmopolitan place filled with performers and bon vivants from all over the world who had seen a lot. All these comics, musicians, and actors relocating here to develop and do the work, artists re-inventing ourselves in front of your eyes.”Drawing on his current one-man show 50 Songs; his play The Devil and Lenny Bruce, co-written with Lou Gottlieb; and his book Screams from the Road, Hanna fills the evening with his own oddly detailed perspective on a lifetime in and around San Francisco, including his encounters with the famous and the near-famous. Based in the city, Ray headlined comedy, cabaret, and theatre venues all over the world, logging some 6000 appearances over 24 years. North Beach Stories marks Hanna’s first Bay Area appearance of any kind in over 20 years. During the last two decades, Ray has upped his commitment to the music, and has appeared regularly with a number of working rock bands in Oregon; for the past 11 years leading the Reckless Rockhounds. Ray remembers, “In the comedy clubs, I was known as the ‘piano guy’. Since then, I have worked very hard at the humbling process of removing the quotation marks from piano guy.”
An awe-struck seeker, a father, and a worldly-wise, but not-yet-jaded troubadour with a lifetime of experiences, Ray Hanna delivers the emotional truth behind a remarkable era in San Francisco.