Electric Review

Culture & Criticism Since 2003

City Lights Turns 60!

City LightsCity Lights, located at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Broadway in San Francisco’s famed North Beach district, is a seminal bookstore. Founded in 1953 via a partnership between poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin, City Lights was the country’s first all-paperback shop that also ‘moonlighted’ as a publisher, fighting the establishment in truly independent fashion by printing Allen Ginsberg’s beat-classic “Howl” and then defending the poet’s right to speak his mind in the courtroom in an obscenity trial that struck a mighty blow to the hypocrisy and censorship that was McCarthyism. Over the past 60 years, many imitators came along on City Light’s coat-tails, out to recreate the grace and intellectual intensity that remain synonymous with this national treasure. They’ve imitated, yes. But none have come close to this San Francisco landmark that continues to connect random hearts to the magic of the written word. As succinctly as one of his poems, Lawrence Ferlinghtetti describes the intimate journey of his store like this: “It is as if the public were being invited, in person and in books, to participate in that ‘great conversation’ between authors of all ages, ancient and modern.” On Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 (2:00 – 5:00 P.M.), the public is invited to share in City Light’s birthday celebration that includes flash readings, music in Jack Kerouac Alley and special in-store discounts. For more on the store’s anniversary, see here. ~ John Aiello


One comment on “City Lights Turns 60!

  1. Pingback: “Rivers Dreaming Me” | Electric Review

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2013 by in 2013, In the Spotlight, June 2013, Rat On Fiction & Nonfiction and tagged , , .
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