Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love, and Strong Coffee Meet

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9780671767815: Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love, and Strong Coffee Meet

Bohemia has its charismatic leaders, its gurus, gods, and devils - and Herbert Gold chronicles them compellingly in this unique moveable feast.
Begin to read Bohemia and you will wander to the Left Bank of Paris in the fifties, where you will linger with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and Henry Miller. You will sip a dark brew, arguing politics and passion, in a Jerusalem coffeehouse just after the Six-Day War. You will join drug-amplified street theater "happenings" in the San Francisco of Haight-Ashbury, the sixties, and the ongoing Loizaida of Manhattan. From intimate fetes in Greenwich Village to the Art Deco book shops of Miami, the off-center canals of Venice, California, and the college towns of America, and in Moscow, Port-au-Prince, Palma, and La Jolla - wherever you happen to stop and browse - Herbert Gold will be there with stories of art and angst, wit and compassion.
Within these pages, you will meet the famous Upper Bohemians: Woody Allen in one of his first stand-up acts at the new Hungry I ... William Saroyan on a cross-generational "double-date" ... Anais Nin contemplating erotic adventure in New York ... Henry Miller merrily contemplating himself. Here, too, are the "would-bees," like the collagist of "the Oldest Living Coke Bottle Top," and the happy Doctor of Sunamatism with his recipe for virility (proven by testing on the emperor Charlemagne), and the woman whose personals ad "...seeks man with one earring, ponytail or moral equivalent."
So head for the nearest poetry reading. Offer yourself a seat in a cappuccino-scented cafe and enjoy a feast of the past, a set of keen observations and meditations on our fast-forward present. You are welcomed to Bohemia, where art, angst, and strong coffee meet.

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About the Author:

Herbert Gold has been one of "the wiser and wittier voices in American fiction" ("Newark Star Ledger") for decades. The author of many books--fiction and nonfiction, and extraordinary short stories--he lives in the city he loves so well, San Francisco.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Novelist/essayist and professional bohemian Gold (Travels in San Francisco, 1989, etc.) surveys the past three or four decades of his wandering years. It's hard to know whom Gold has in mind as readers for this trip through the echoes of the Beat generation in San Francisco, the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village, the Left Bank and Montmartre, Haiti, Israel, Morocco, and like places where the penniless robe themselves in the dignity of their art. His water- spider prose skims over faces and cafes so swiftly that few register for longer than the glimpse allowed. Gold writes well, paragraph by paragraph, but repeats himself chapter by chapter until once lively statements, quotations, or metaphors get weather- beaten and the mind frazzles with the suspicion that he has nothing to say but is saying it brilliantly. Like a be-bopper working scales, Gold pads and jazzes every page with flurries of notes without feeling and with so little melody or anecdote that the storytelling seems only ten percent, the excelsior ninety. The appeal here is to homecoming--once more having our knee felt up by Jean Genet as he asks, ``Do you masturbate?''; having Gregory Corso reach for a cafe check he has no intention of paying; having William Burroughs prepare a salad while pulling together the first pages of Naked Lunch; having Katherine Ross borrow the car and return it months later with a glove compartment full of unpaid parking tickets; and, in former Clevelander Gold's chosen home of San Francisco, visiting once again the City Lights Bookstore, Vesuvio's, North Beach, the Mission District, the Haight, and the alley named after Jack Kerouac. But it all reads as if recycled from magazine and Sunday newspaper space-fillers that Gold enjoyed writing for his expenses and now can't bear to render up to darkness unwrapped in hard covers. Two cheers for chat, one for content. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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