Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and many of the writers of the Beat Generation started a revolution in San Francisco. Hear how and why while you tumble in and out of the same bars, cafes and bookstores they did.
When the poets and novelists of the Beat Generation first found San Francisco, most were nobodies. A bunch of working class guys with poetry in their pockets and an intense desire to break free from the oppressive norms of the 1950s. But within a few years, they had changed this City - and this country - forever.
Kerouac and Ginsberg and a lot of the Beat writers are gone now. But they really did leave their hearts here. Walk in their footsteps through North Beach, ride a cable car to their homes, and feel them pulling you into their "living rooms." Listen to their words and look back at 1950s San Francisco with people who actually lived it: poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure and Joanne Kyger.
Tips & Hours
This Detour can be taken any day of the week. The essential stops are open until at least 10pm and every hour has its own magic.
You’ll need about $12 to take full advantage of this tour - $7 in cash for a cable car ride (unless you already have a ticket or clipper card) and about $5 for an espresso and tip Vesuvio café.
Also, it’s hard to predict when the cable cars will be packed. Don’t be deterred if a full one passes you up -- another will come by!
It's nice to take your time on this Detour. If that's your plan, just make sure you leave more than the minimum hour and a half.
Narrator & Producer
Ninna Gaensler-Debs is a writer, radio producer, and enthusiastic punner. She is the founder of Litography, an online magazine mapping the Bay Area's literary culture in audio, print, and illustrations. Ninna also works at KALW doing a lot of different things including but not limited to telling stories, producing stories, playing on social media, and planning live events.
Producer & Editor
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and co-founder of CityLights Booksellers and Publishers; Michael McClure, Beat poet and playwright; Joanne Kyger, poet; Dennis McNally, historian and author Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America
Brian L. Frank
To the many Beat historians and to the Beat Museum for the wealth of information they have collectively amassed since the Beats hit San Francisco.