Arts and CultureBAS PrideSan Francisco

The Beatnik Shindig will be the largest gathering of Beat characters in 20 years

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Through sprawls of twisting novels, jolting poetry, and a touch of drugs, a clique of artists belonging to the late ‘50s crafted the Beat legacy. At the peak of their activity, general America viewed them as destructive, wicked, and super gay. Naturally, bookstores and classrooms now showcase their work around the country, relishing the Beats’ 60-year influence in the artistic community.

The movement itself started in North Beach, and the work that followed inarguably reflects San Francisco values. These popular Beat themes include celebrating the restlessness of youth and telling preexisting social norms to go fuck themselves. The Beats slapped San Francisco so hard that even today you can hear it described by Minnesota residents as, “Oh, yeah. That place with those Beatniks.”

 Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and friends in front of City Lights Books shop, 1956. Photo: dangerousminds 

The remaining Beats have therefore rightfully chosen San Francisco, aka “Beat Ground Zero,” to host The Beatnik Shindig. The Shindig will be the largest gathering of Beat characters in 20 years and will feature discourse with poets, scholars, people who smoked weed with Neal Cassady, and more.

The Shindig’s events include live poetry, advice on self-publishing, discussions on women’s and Buddhism’s influence on the Beat movement, and also yoga. Even more amazing is that fact that the majority of these events cost $10 or less (and some are even FREE!).

Most importantly, the conference aims to prove the Beat Generation’s lasting modern influence. For example:

Want to do something literary for Pride month? Come see a speech from Allen Ginsberg’s psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Hicks, who presented homosexuality to the poet as a legitimate way of life rather than a mental disorder. Or see a performance from Ryan Cassata, a singer inspired by the Beats’ work to live an authentic life as a transgender man.

The Beats would approve. 

Do the themes of the Beats’ work sound familiar? Isn’t the desire to kick authority in the face something punks do? Isn’t ‘free love’ a hippie thing? Come see V. Vale’s presentation, “The CounterCultural Continuum: From Beat to Punk and Beyond” and find out if “all undergrounds are the same.”

Didn’t your friends wear these actual outfits, like, yesterday? Photo: tickelmevintage

Finally, since you’re probably too poor to actually buy a sick 1950s Hudson Hornet, you can at least look at some for FREE and exacerbate your fantasies. Walk though the Hudson Car Show and drool as you walk from one mind-altering speech to another.

Maybe one day. Photo: diecast

The Beatnik Shindig
2 Marina Blvd [Fort Mason Center]
June 26-28
Events range from FREE to $25
Buy tickets here.

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Emma Goyette - Creeping it Real

Emma Goyette - Creeping it Real

I'm a really cool person and I have a lot of hobbies. Please stop proposing to me in the street because it slows down traffic and I'm just trying to get to work.