The (Almost) Navy Jack
Kerouac's military service records provide a remarkably intimate portrait of the 20-year-old aspiring writer and would-be Navy man.
Allen Lived Here
Allen Ginsberg’s living arrangements in San Francisco tell a compelling story
Miles: A Conversation
Credit: Kurt Hemmer & Tom Knoff, Harper College. Miles: A Conversation reveals what could have been a banal story of Barry Miles’ plan to start a bookstore with his friends in mid-1960’s London that took a pleasantly bizarre turn. What began as a simple idea led to Miles cavorting with the most influential pop stars […]
ruth weiss at Monroe, June 15, 2016
Video from ruth weiss' June 15, 2016, performance at Monroe (formerly the Jazz Workshop), accompanied by Doug O'Connor (bass), Rent Romus (sax), and Hal Davis (percussion).
Arrested for Selling Howl: The Shig Murao Story
Soon after Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin opened the City Lights Pocket Book Shop in 1953, they hired Shigeyoshi Murao as their first clerk. Shig was young and charismatic, with an infectious geniality that became as integral a part of the bookstore’s culture as the paperbound volumes on its shelves. Shig Murao was born in […]
Credit: Kurt Hemmer & Tom Knoff, Harper College. An intimate portrait of legendary photographer Larry Keenan capturing the transformation of the Beat Generation into the burgeoning 60’s rock counterculture and his visionary work beyond.
Kerouac’s Letter Home, July 29th, 1947
A letter from Jack Kerouac to his mother, Gabrielle, after reaching Denver, includes some fascinating details at a pivotal moment the nascent writer's career, during his first journey west.
As We Cover the Streets: Janine Pommy Vega
Credit: Kurt Hemmer & Tom Knoff, Harper College. As We Cover the Streets: Janine Pommy Vega intersperses photographs and descriptions of Vega’s peripatetic life with an extraordinary performance of her reading poetry from 2002. Vega, inspired by reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, joined the burgeoning Greenwich Village Beat scene in the late 1950s. As […]
Wow! Ted Joans Lives!
Wow! Ted Joans Lives! is a visual and aural collage by Kurt Hemmer and Tom Knoff examining the life and works of the legendary, tri-continental poet Ted Joans, who was born in Cairo, Illinois on 4 July 1928 and went on to become one of the significant poets of his generation performing his work in […]
Sorry, Bay Area. Herb Caen did NOT coin the term “Beatnik”
For the last sixty years, a commonly held belief by many “in the know” San Franciscans is the term "beatnik" was coined by the legendary San Francisco columnist, Herb Caen. It was Caen, of course, who first used the term in his daily column in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 2nd, 1958.
The Murder that Almost Wasn’t
The libertine circle that was to assume the mantle of the “Beat Generation” and become literary outlaws through the 1950s had its first brush with notoriety in August of 1944, when Lucien Carr murdered David Kammerer in Riverside Park, New York. The story is no doubt familiar to even the casual reader, and it’s been […]