Beatnik Shindig Spotlights 6/26-6/28 San Francisco!

The Beat Museum’s “Beatnik Shindig” to be held in North Beach and at Fort Mason Center is the largest Beat Generation Conference to be held in twenty years. The last big Beat event was organized by Allen Ginsberg himself in 1995 at NYU in New York City.
We’ve designed this event to appeal to a broad audience – novices, experts, scholars and casual observers alike. The themes of The Beats are timeless – travel, exploration, a search for self, sexual identity and a spiritual quest. Everything that most young people consider to be “normal” in the world today The Beats blazed the trail on: racial equality, gender equality, gay & lesbian rights, environmentalism and saving the planet. The Beats were focused on all of these issues decades before they became mainstream. And The Beats influenced everyone – starting with Bob Dylan and The Beatles. And because they were the first group of non-conformists to come of age with electronic media (radio & television) their message went around the world.
A few event spotlights! For full schedule click here
Saturday, June 27
William Durst
Social commentator and political satirist and stand up comedian Will Durst has a seminar on Sat at 10:30 am at the Beatnik Shindig

Herbert Huncke and the Art of Friendship
Beat scholar Hilary Holladay (author of Herbert Huncke: The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation) discusses friendship as portrayed in Herbert Huncke’s stories and memoir, Guilty of Everything.
The San Francisco Beats 1955: Sex, Drugs, Art & Poetry
In an original presentation with images and texts, Jonah Raskin exhumes the lost bohemian world of San Francisco and shows how it morphed into the Beat Generation through Robert LaVigne’s art, Natalie Jackson’s naked body, Neal Cassady’s frenetic energy, Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, Jack Kerouac’s storytelling, and Peter Orlovsky’s innocence.
“I Did Not Lose the Joan Anderson Letter”
For over 50 years Poet Gerd Stern was blamed for the loss of the famed “Joan Anderson Letter” written by Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac. Hear his story and insights now that the letter has been found. With Brian Hassett.
Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder Movie Screening and Q&A with Filmmaker
As film maker Chris Felver’s tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti points out, while Ferlinghetti was not present at the creation of the Beat Generation (he was the publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”) he was one of its midwives. Moreover, Mr. Ferlinghetti’s 1957 acquittal of obscenity charges stemming from the poem’s language is credited with igniting the free-speech movement and the counterculture that followed. Filmed at various locations and times in the Poet’s life, Felver had unfettered access leading to many interesting and Intimate moments captured on film.

Neal Cassady – The Denver Years

Movie Screening – West Coast Premiere and Q&A with Filmmaker…
Neal Cassady was a charismatic, larger than life character. His charm, manic energy, sexual swagger, and free flowing verbosity made him the authentic ‘hero’ of The Beat Generation. The film features interviews with prominent and historical figures including Carolyn Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, David Amram, John Allen Cassady, Jami Cassady Ratto, Cathy Cassady Sylvia, Jerry Cimino, Tom Noel, Ed White and Al Hinkle. Director Heather Dalton along with Producers Joshua Hassel and Hina Chowdhry will be in attendance.
Ryan Cassata: Following in Allen Ginsberg’s Footsteps to Authenticity
Ryan shares his personal story with songs of journey & discovery. A journey of coming to terms with his true identity, coming out with it, and making incredible positive change for the betterment of himself and society. Ryan will explain what it means to be transgender for him and generally what it means to be different, regardless of one’s identity. This is Ryan’s story “Going West” from lesbian to transgender man, from afraid youth to brave young adult while using the story of the Beats as his guide. It’s about having an idea that there’s a better way of living to fit one’s true self and following that idea West. Ryan will be performing original songs that reinforce the topic of his discussion. With confidence he could navigate in a world that oppresses trans* people, he not only made a change for himself, he followed his dreams and visions.
Cafe L.A.: The Beat Generation in Los Angeles
The author of Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles’ Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier and Beatsville presents his slide show featuring more than 500 images of coffeehouses and Jazz joints from Santa Barbara to Laguna, and inland from Pasadena to Sunset Strip (1951 to 1966).


Women of The Beat Generation
It’s no secret the women got short shrift in the story of The Beat Generation. As the poet Gregory Corso noted, “There were women, they were there, I knew them, their families put them in institutions, they were given electric shock. In the 50s, if you were male you could be a rebel, but if you were female your families had you locked up. There were cases, I knew them. Someday someone will write about them.” ~ With the help of many of the original women of The Beat generation, Brenda Knight has done just that.
William S. Burroughs: “We Intend to Destroy All Dogmatic Verbal Systems”
No exploration of counterculture would be complete without the work of William S. Burroughs. Publisher of seminal punk zine Search and Destroy andRE/Search, and a friend of Burroughs himself, Vale and Marian are authorities on his life and seminal influence.
A Session with Allen Ginsberg’s Psychiatrist – Dr. Philip Hicks
In 1955, at a time when The American Psychiatry Association categorized homosexuality as a mental disorder, a young psychiatrist named Dr. Phillip Hicks told Allen Ginsberg it was okay to live an authentic life. As Ginsberg himself said, “Dr. Hicks gave me permission, so to speak, to be myself.”
Sunday June 28:
Wally Hedrick: From The Six Gallery to Jerry Garcia
Wally Hedrick was part of Robert Duncan’s circle, part of the group that opened King Ubu and later The Six Gallery. He had the idea for the reading that became “6 Poets at The 6,” and later taught Jerry Garcia at SFAI. He was also married to Beat artist Jay DeFeo (The Rose).

Ruth Weiss
Born in Berlin, jazz poet Ruth Weiss arrived in San Francisco in 1952 and was instrumental to the establishment of the North Beach scene. Famed SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen called her “The Goddess of The Beat Generation.” Join ruth for an evening of high energy and innovative Poetry & Jazz.
The Art of Animating Howl: A Slide Lecture by Eric Drooker
Visual artist, Eric Drooker was a friend and collaborator with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and designed the animation for the film, Howl (2010). Drooker has painted dozens of covers for The New Yorker, and won the American Book Award for his graphic novel, Flood! His most recent book, Howl: A Graphic Novel contains numerous images that were cut from the final film. Through a memorable series of slides, Drooker will explore the arc of his career-from early years as a New York City street artist, to the evolution of his graphic novels into animated films. The urgent role of artist as activist-and the tremendous power of street art in the digital age-are revealed through hundreds of images, punctuated by Eric’s sly and humorous commentary. The artist plays various musical instruments during the presentation.
Mind Breaths: Learning Buddhism from Allen Ginsberg

“He taught me to meditate, now I’m an old veteran of the thousand day retreat-” Allen Ginsberg imagined Marc Olmsted saying this at his funeral in one of Allen’s final poems, “Death & Fame.” Marc Olmsted’s 25-year relationship with Ginsberg is chronicled in his new memoir Don’t Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg 1972-1997 – Letters and Recollections. Join Marc as he discusses the personal impact of the poet, Ginsberg’s Tibetan gurus, and Allen’s previously unpublished letters.
‘Quest’ Archetypes in On the Road
Though Jack Kerouac’s novel does not have a linear arc to its narrative, Nicole will describe how it linearly follows all of the archetypes in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (The Hero’s Journey).
The Poetry of David Meltzer
David Meltzer brings the unique insight, wit and humor of his poetry to the stage as he reads from his works and discusses his life.

  • Beat Biographers & Historians
  • Professors & Teachers
  • Writers, Musicians, Film Makers
  • Dozens of Poets
  • Music, Movies, Symposia, Panel Discussions, Beat Celebrities and more
Free Events to be held at Friends of The SFPL’s Reader’s Bookstore*
view free event schedule here
  • Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Young Scholars Discussing The Beats
  • How to Self Publish in 2015
  • The Politics of Poetry
  • Developing Your Authentic reading Voice
The event will run the weekend of June 26, 27, and 28. It will commence with a Friday evening welcome party in North Beach and sessions will run all day Saturday and all day Sunday at Fort Mason. It will be educational, fun, inspiring and historic. Most events are ticketed and some events are free.
For more information – interview opportunities – press passes for event coverage – contact Lee Joseph, information below.
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