Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

“Starving, Hysterical, Naked”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2015

We stumbled onto the Beat Museum after checking out Kerouac's hang-out across the street, Vesuvio. Both venues honoring the Beat legacy are on the same block as a concentration of neon-blasting strip-clubs, some pretty legendary.

The Beat Museum store is in the front (sort of overlit...but then Beats usually wore shades, right?). Kerouac's car is well-preserved and actually made me choke-up a little. (Like many, "On the Road" changed my life as a high schooler.) The Museum is in the rear. Excellent artifacts, posters, buttons, vinyl, tons of books, vintage Playboys. The owner, Jerry, was very hospitable. We had a nice chat about the links and differences between the bohemians, Beats & hippies. He said that Ferlinghetti strolls around the 'hood. On foggy nights.

I was too young to experience the Beats when they were at their peak, but was surely influenced by them as a youth and now. They were creative, iconoclastic and ironic in the Ike Era, when such behavior was frowned upon. They were unheralded wordsmiths, satirists, adventurers. The world is a better place because of this little slice of a literary/cultural movement.

After visiting the Beat Museum, I came home and read "Howl" out loud for the first time in awhile. Check out the Beat Museum.

Visited August 2015

Order My Books Here