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Life Arts

OWS = Recycled Beatnik Complaints?

By       Message Bob Patterson     Permalink
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Jack Kerouac wrote about one particular San Francisco poetry reading in 1955 in his book "The Dharma Bums."   Kerouac fictionalized the names of the participants in the actual poetry reading at the 6 Gallery.   Kerouac also included some of the participants, Neal Cassady and Alan Ginsburg, with yet other fictionalized names, in his classic beat novel "On the Road."   Tom Wolfe, one of New Journalism's founding fathers, wrote about the exploits of Neal Cassady in his work of nonfiction titled "The Electric Kool Aide Acid Test."  

When the line of those getting items autographed disappeared and we noticed that there was one copy of the new book left, we decided that it was time to start our Christmas gift shopping (Is this a manifestation of doubt concerning our claim that when JEB wins the November 2012 Presidential Election, we will do our Christmas shopping in Paris [France not Texas {should we put a visit to the town in Texas on our Bucket List?}]?) and buy the last copy and have it inscribed.   (The recipient will never know we read it before giving it . . . unless they read this column and that's not bloody well likely.)

Hjortsberg said that a great amount of material had been cut from the original manuscript to pare it down to the massive volume which was printed.   During a period of skimming through the book, we encountered several topics which might warrant use as a subject for a full column in the near future, so we appreciated the challenge of the task of figuring out (as the song goes) "what to leave in and what to leave out."   If this new book becomes a runaway best seller, does that mean that sometime in the future Beatnik fans can clamor for a "director's cut" edition which will be twice as big?

We noticed that many of the complaints of the poets and writers described in this new book sounded very familiar.   That brought up a question for another potential column topic:   Are the Occupy Protesters recycling the Beatnik's criticism of "the Establishment"?

The Vesuvius Cafe', which is just across Jack Kerouac Alley from the City Lights bookstore, is mentioned in the book but not listed in the Index.  

One of the passages Hjortsborg read described a Brautigan project that combined poems with plant seed packets "published" with the title "Plant this book."   Brautigan gave them away in the late Sixties and Hjortsborg said that ones in mint condidtion are now valued at a thousand dollars by collectors.   This columnist lived in San Francisco in 1969, but we don't know how valid our "oh yeah, I remember seeing that" memories are because this column's closing quote is the current folk axiom:   "If you can remember the Sixties; you weren't really there."

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Now the disk jockey will play "The Age of Aquarius," Country Joe's "Fixin' to die rag," and "Big Bad Bruce" (that may have been a regional hit played only on San Francisco jukeboxes).   We have to go and search for a way to exceed our life time best (in a letter to a high school classmate in Vietnam) of a quadruple end parentheses punctuation.   Have a "solid!" type week.

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)
 

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