17 July 2010

Me and The Wife Go to The Beat Museum -- Plenty of Stuff Here About Movies Too

Went into San Francisco with the wife today. Took BART, the local subway system. The initials stand for Bay Area Rapid Transit system but after waiting 12 minutes for a train going to the City and 14 minutes coming back, I'm convinced that they should drop the R. Kathryn and I reminisced about how in Paris we once had to wait six minutes for a train. Once.

Our destination was The Beat Museum which neither of us had been to before. This would be my opportunity to further worship one of my greatest heroes, Jack Kerouac, not to mention gents like Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady how I also revere.

(I'm excited about the forthcoming film, Howl, with James Franco starring as Ginsberg. Especially so after seeing the trailer. Meanwhile I'm trepidatious about plans for a cinematic version of On the Road. Shooting is scheduled to start next month. It's hard to imagine that any sort of film could do justice to the book, my favorite of all novels.)

So from BART we took the bus in the direction of the museum. We got off said bus and I immediately espied our destination and exclaimed, "there it is!" Kathryn was horrified as I'd come off sounding like a tourist. Point taken.

The museum is nice and has some wonderful memorabilia including one of Jack's old coats. There's a lot of other stuff like old typewriters for which there are no tags. I love the old photos and the display of copies of On the Road in all manner of foreign language edition. There's also a canceled check Kerouac wrote to a liquor store in 1961. I want it.

There's a store affixed to the museum with the usual tee shirts, hats, posters and stuff (but no mugs, I'd have bought one!). There's also rare editions of Beat related books, records and tapes. If I were a wealthy man (I'm not?) I'd have gladly walked away having made many a purchase. The museum was like a lot of things for me in this world -- I wanted more! That said, visiting it was well worthwhile.

A few doors down from the museum are some of San Francisco's more well known strip clubs. Including one I patronized with a phony ID when I was 20, after consuming a great deal of spirits. Outside of one of these establishments stood a lovely young lady whose obvious purpose was to entice men to see more lovelies inside.  Of course,the ladies inside would be wearing little or no clothing. She stood atop these ridiculously big platform shoes that would give an ordinary person vertigo. She was clad in the shortest possible skirt that barely covered her bum. I was of two minds: as a heterosexual male I found the sight of her a perfect delight, as the father of two daughters I was appalled. The tie breaker was being with Kathryn. In other words: shame on you young lady.

From there we crossed the street to visit the famous City Lights Bookstore. It's a swell place but we've got a biblio freaks dream in Berkeley called Moe's that's not nearly as famous but is twice the place for browsing and buying.

We next strolled over to the Caffe Trieste where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay for The Godfather (1972). We'd have had a coffee there but there was a $7 cover charge for the musical act which was a little band of older folks playing and signing traditional Italian music. At no cost I'd have gladly endured them but for a seven bucks, no dice.

We found another Italian cafe with no cover. Kathryn had a latte and I a mocha. Yummy. It was cool to have some authentic older Italian men outside chatting in their native tongues.

There were tourists aplenty wherever we went. This is understandable. Living just across the Bay we take San Francisco and all its sights for granted. It's a great city, though Kathryn and I prefer Paris.

We're home now and Netflix has provided us with a Cary Grant film we've never seen before, Wedding Present (1936) which is fairly new to DVD. It'll be a nice way to cap off our day. Tomorrow I'm off to see Inception and am looking forward to that.

In between time I'll be doing some reading. Of Kerouac, of course.


Colt said...

I recently took a vacation to Bay Area where I lived for two years in 2001-2003.

While there I went to the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto. While there I wondered if you have ever been? It was a great film experience where I saw two double features the first was a Marylin Monroe set featuring Gentlemen Prefer Blonds and Niagara. The following week I saw two George Arliss films The House of Rothschild and The Working Man. The theater itself is the real attraction fully restored to the glory of the past, complete with an organist to play during the intermissions, preludes and postludes.

Richard Hourula said...

No never been there, it's a bit out of the way. heard good things though.