Re: 'On The Road'

10/14/07 - posted by Paul Judge

For me the impact and embrace of the writings of Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder and musings of Richard Brautigan came a decade and change down the line.

In the late ‘50s my two older sisters being good graduates from Presentation High School were diligent office workers who took streetcars or busses downtown everyday to work while I entered and navigated the mysteries and peril of elementary parochial schooling.

My older sister’s world seemed far more dazzling and quite beyond my reach. With their paychecks they brought home Kingston Trio and Harry Belafonte LPs and a number of jazz recording that they played on a table top Hi-Fi. Overhearing their conversations with friends or dates I’d hear mention of North Beach, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and certain books with odd sounding titles. I remember that their wardrobe included car coats, sack dresses, and bangles & beads. They removed their closet door and replaced it with a curtain of colored fabric. They brought home a Bongo drum, began a collection of oddly shaped clear glass wine bottles filled with water and bright food coloring and would light big candles in the bedroom they shared. One sister started hanging small, dark paintings of people with sad eyes and strange expressions on their faces . My younger sister and I named them ‘the shrunken headed people paintings’.

We heard our parents talking about the beatniks on the occasions when we drove through North Beach. I got a whiff of a different world happening but it didn’t seem like it was going to come to the block I lived on. It might be that the only beatnik I’m certain that I saw was Maynard G. Krebs on the Dobie Gillis show. Maynard was more in line with my nature than say Edward ‘Cookie’ Burns on 77 Sunset Strip. Maynard almost made sense some of the time and made me laugh. The other figure who had an aspiring take on life was Alfred E. Neuman. But my problem was that I worried too much. I knew enough at an early age to keep my admiration for those two figures secret from my dad and the nuns at my school. Learning to live a bifurcated life attending confessions and masses on First Fridays vs. Mad magazines, laughing to Don Sherwood, and thinking the Three Stooges were the coolest; was a tight wire act fraught with the peril. I saw some of the best popsicles of my generation wasted.

As per Karyn Ann Bosso’s reference to Enrico Banducci here’s the send off written in the Chronicle.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/10/MNH4SNBLJ.DTL&hw=Carl+Nolte&sn=001&sc=1000

ENRICO BANDUCCI: 1922-2007 - The impresario of North Beach
Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/09/07
Enrico Banducci, the impresario who was the heart and soul of San Francisco's North Beach entertainment scene during its golden years, died in his sleep Tuesday morning...

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.