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City Lights Books Turns 50

June Events Will Kick off the Celebration

From a "poetry dance" & silent auction to a rollicking street party to special evenings with renowned poets, the many festivities celebrating City Lights' 50th Birthday offer something for everyone. City Lights Books and its publishing wing have been an institution in San Francisco since the early 1950's when Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin co-founded this first all-paperback bookstore in the United States.

When I lived in Boston, I used to carry around ratty copy of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Coney Island Of The Mind, treating it like a long-lost religious text, loving the shape of the poems on the page and their seeming simplicity. When I first visited San Francisco 10 years ago I made a beeline right for City Lights Books; I've since found this literary pilgrimage a common experience for many lovers of the written word.

Named a San Francisco Cultural Landmark in 2001, City Lights has published and continues to publish some of our world's well-known and, sometimes controversial, writers, like Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, and Roxane Dunbar Ortiz. The bookstore has always been a place that celebrates "the freedom toread, write, dissent, and to gather in public meetingplaces in a spirit of engaged inquiry"(from a Ferlinghetti broadside).

For more information about the following events,
visit City Lights Books


Thursday, June 5th, 7 pm
David Amram and friends (including Michael McClure) in an evening of poetry and song. The Boston Globe has described David Amram as "the Renaissance man of American music." He has composed over 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas, and early in his career, wrote many scores for theatre and films, including Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate. He plays French horn, piano, guitar, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and a variety of folkloric instruments from 25 countries. David will be reading from his two books, Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac and Vibrations - and shall be performing his music with guest poets and musicians from the Bay Area.
City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach
Free

Friday, June 6th, 7:00pm - Midnight
"Poetry Dance" to Benefit the City Lights Foundation
Join Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anne Waldman, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Jack Hirschman, Michael McClure, Youth Speaks, and others
Music by the Marcus Shelby Orchestra
Slide show, Silent auction, Food, Wine at the Italian Athletic Club
1630 Stockton Street, on Washington Square, North Beach
All ticket purchases may be considered charitable donations.
Tickets available at City Lights Bookstore, or email eric@citylights.com for more information

Sunday, June 8th, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
City Lights Anniversary Celebration!
With Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Nancy J. Peters, Elaine Katzenberger, devorah major, Andrei Codrescu, Kevin Starr, Dave Eggers, Daniel Handler, and Emcee James Kass, Director of Youth Speaks (other guests TBA)
261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach
* Columbus Avenue partially closed between Broadway & Pacific
Free

Week of June 9th
Walking Tours of North Beach with Bill Morgan, author of The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour Published by City Lights & available in June
Sign-up areas will be posted at City Lights Bookstore (Days/ Times TBA)
Free

Thursday, June 12th, 6:30 pm
Bill Morgan, author of The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour Slideshow & talk
San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium
Free

Thursday, June 19th, 2003, 7 pm
An evening with Diane DiPrima
A special evening of readings spanning a broad range of work from one of San Francisco's living poetic treasures.
City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Ave. in North Beach
Free