domingo, junio 25, 2006

Life Line of the Beat Generation
Sunday, November 26, 1995

-- 1943: Allen Ginsberg meets William Burroughs in Greenwich Village. Within the next few months, both men meet Jack Kerouac. They become the founding fathers of beat literature.
-- 1946: Hipster Herbert Huncke, a hustler, drifter and onetime freak-show shill, turns Kerouac and friends on to the term ``beat,'' an old circus expression meaning beaten down or, in drug-world slang, cheated.
-- January 1947: Kerouac meets the magnetic, freewheeling Neal Cassady, model for Dean Moriarty in Kerouac's classic ``On the Road.'' A few weeks later, Cassady meets Ginsberg, with whom he begins a sexual relationship.
-- 1948: Kerouac uses the phrase ``beat generation'' in a conversation with writer John Clellon Holmes, who popularizes it four years later in a New York Times magazine piece.
-- January 1949: Kerouac, Cassady, his wife, Lu Anne, and Al Hinkle set off in a '49 Hudson on the cross-country trip on which ``On the Road'' is largely based.
-- March 1950: Kerouac's first novel, ``The Town and the City,'' is published.
-- September 1951: Playing a drunken game of ``William Tell,'' Burroughs accidentally shoots and kills his wife in Mexico City. He spends 13 days in jail and is released.
-- 1952: Robert Duncan, Jess and Harry Jacobus open the King Ubu Gallery on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, an important scene for poets and emerging funk artists. It would later become the famous Six Gallery.
-- 1953: Burroughs' ``Junky: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict'' is published. The same year, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin open City Lights on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco, America's first paperback bookshop.
-- August 1955: City Lights Press publishes its first book, Ferlinghetti's ``Pictures of the Gone World.''
-- Oct. 13, 1955: Ginsberg reads portions of his landmark ``Howl'' at the Six Gallery, shaking up the audience.
-- October 1956: City Lights publishes ``Howl and Other Poems.''
-- March 25, 1957: U.S. Customs officials in San Francisco seize copies of ``Howl'' and declare it obscene. In June, Ferlinghetti is arrested for publishing and selling obscene literature; after a much-publicized trial, Judge Clayton Horn rules that ``Howl'' is not obscene.
-- Spring 1957: Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Rexroth and a group of jazz musicians begin a series of jazz and poetry collaborations at the Cellar in San Francisco.
-- April 2, 1958: Chronicle columnist Herb Caen coins the word ``beatnik.'' It immediately enters the language. Beat camp followers flock to North Beach and Greenwich Village with their berets and bongos.
-- April 8, 1958: Cassady is busted in San Francisco for possession of three joints of pot; he serves two years in San Quentin.
-- 1959: The beat fad reaches its apex, making the covers of Time and Life magazines. Bob Denver portrays the goateed beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the ``Many Loves of Dobie Gillis'' TV series.
-- July 1959: Grove Press publishes Burroughs' cult classic ``Naked Lunch.''
-- October 1961: Satirist Lenny Bruce is busted at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco for using four-letter words, the first in a long string of obscenity charges that will dog Bruce until his death in 1966 at age 40. A San Francisco jury acquits him.
-- 1962: Cassady meets Ken Kesey, who has just published the acclaimed ``One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'' Two years later, Cassady is at the wheel of the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus ``Further'' as Kesey and company set off to see America.
-- Feb. 3, 1968: Cassady, loaded with pulque and Seconal, dies in Mexico at age 41.
-- Oct. 22, 1969: Kerouac dies in Florida of an abdominal hemorrhage at age 47.
-- September, 1994: Stanford University buys Ginsberg's archives -- letters, journals, photos, old tennis shoes and snippets of his beard -- for an estimated $1 million.

Source: Steven Watson's ``The Birth of the Beat Generation: Visionaries, Rebels and Hipsters, 1944-1960.''