Gerd Stern 3 (Gerd Stern Remembers Harry Smith)

[Harry Smith with his mural, “Jimbo’s Bop City”, San Francisco, 1950 – Photograph by Hy Hirsch]

Gerd Stern: “It was a great success. The auditorium was always full; everybody paid except Harry Smith. Harry Smith was someone who was a spectacular creative being who died recently [1991]. I first met Harry–I think the first time I came to San Francisco he was working as a photographer for the Examiner, and he was living in a black hotel–he was pale white–in the Fillmore. He had done these way-ahead-of-their-time murals at Jimbo’s Bop Citywhich was just like it

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Gerd Stern – 2

Gerd Stern

[Gerd Stern]

Gerd Stern‘s vivid memories – from  From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist 1948-1978. The complete text is available on-line from the University of California  


“So I came and saw him [my father], and he dragged me to my uncle the doctor. My uncle supposedly discovered I had some kind of a problem with my kidneys. They put me into  the hospital. After the hospital, they made me go see a psychiatrist who was a friend of  my uncle. The psychiatrist says to me, “Look, I can’t help you because your father can’t afford to pay … Read More

Gerd Stern – 1

Gerd Stern – Here’s an interview with the truly extraordinary Gerd Stern – Gerd Stern, who, allegedly lost that legendary Neal Cassady manuscript, Gerd Stern, artist, poet and multi-media visionary, at eighty-six years old – what remarkable stories he has to tell!  – his oral history, From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist 1948-1978  was  published, and is available on line from University of California, Berkeley. We’ll be quoting, tomorrow, salient paragraphs from it – But first, this. (Those with an interest in modern music should, also, on no account, miss this – Stern’s vivid first-hand memories of

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Summer of Love / Human Be-In

Three years ago, we presented a fairly extensive post on the January 14, 1967,  legendary San Francisco,  “Human Be-In”.  We’d like to direct your attention to it here 

Meanwhile, fresh up on You Tube, is this “Be-In” documentary, with priceless footage of Allen, Gary SnyderMichael McClure, and all the participants/celebrants who took part in that extraordinary occasion. The event that ushered in “the Summer of Love” – (tho’, yes, as early as January!) – Re-visit the Summer of 1967 in the Summer of 2014.  Peace and Love everyone!

[original (signed) posters for the 1967 Human … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Parinirvana

[Allen Ginsberg, Bob Rosenthal, James Grauerholz, Michael McClure, Peter Orlovsky – from Colin Still’s No More To Say And Nothing To Weep For – An Elegy For Allen Ginsberg 1926-1997 (1997)]

Saturday April 5th – Allen Ginsberg’s Parinirvana. Two Perspectives on Allen’s Last Hours  First, Gelek Rinpoche We lost Allen [Ginsberg], but believe me, he died very well – extremely well. We would be very lucky to go like he did. He was absolutely ready. It is interesting. It looked like he was always thinking that he had another ten years to live. Last year, after the summer retreat, … Read More

Mark Ewert

[Mark Ewert – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg  c. The Estate of Allen Ginsberg]


Mark Ewert’s colorful sexual revelations – “He lost his virginity to Allen Ginsberg and maintained an eight-year relationship with William Burroughs” – hit the internets this weekend with a vengeance – courtesy this article, in vocative, but further flamed and considerably amplified by this provocative header – “Allen Ginsberg Teaches You How To Give A Blowjob” – on that gossip-site par excellence, Gawker. The paragraph excerpted, and the justification for that lead, a direct quote from Ewert, runs as follows:
“Basically he blew … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac – 1

This week (Wednesday) is Jack Kerouac’s birthday. As a warm-up, we present today, a little fugitive item – Allen’s “Letter on Kerouac”. It appeared in the inaugeral (Spring 1970) issue of the magazine Madrugada Dear Barry (Gifford) – Thanks for your kind letter made sense – Someone mentioned reading Desolation Angels (not in paperback yet!) [editorial note – it is now!] and I’ve been thinking about (The) Dharma Bums – those two plus Lonesome Traveller come into focus this decade [the 1970’s] as Gary Snyder also comes into focus. Put all the books side by side and perhaps Vanity of … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on John Wieners – part two


[John Wieners, Gloucester, MA. 1999 – Photograph c. Jim Dunn]

Allen Ginsberg on John Wieners part 2 – continues from here 

[Allen continues reading from “The Hotel Wentley Poems” beginning with a reading from  “A poem for early risers”] –  “I’m infused with the day” – Well, this is for people who’ve been up all night, “early risers” means people who’ve been up all night or (are) getting up at five a.m and going out to score on the streets for either ass or cock or junk or whatever, amphetamine(s).. – “I’m infused with the day/I’m out … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on John Wieners – part one


[Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, John Wieners, and David Meltzer in North Beach, San Francisco, 1958 – Photograph by Gui de Angulo (included in “Literary San Francisco – A Pictorial History from its Beginnings to the Present Day” (edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Nancy J Peters), 1980]

Today, from 1982 and Allen’s “Literary History of the Beat Generation” Naropa class, Allen on John Wieners (tho’ he begins with a somewhat lengthy background-setting, Frank O’Hara, the Cedar Bar, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Yugen.. Given the length of this piece, we’ve decided to (somewhat arbitrarily) split in … Read More

Jack Kerouac’s Christmas

carte de voeux ancienne

NOT LONG AGO JOY ABOUNDED AT CHRISTMAS  “I think the celebration of Christmas has changed within the short span of my own lifetime. Only twenty years ago, before World War II [sic] it seemed that Christmas was still being celebrated with a naive and joyous innocence whereas today you hear the expression, “Christmas comes once a year like taxes”. Christmas was observed all out in my Catholic French-Canadian environment in (the) 1930’s, much as it is today in Mexico. At first I was too young to go to midnight mass, but that was the real big event we hoped to … Read More