The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 21

LOCATIONS

CITY LIGHTS BOOKSTORE, SAN FRANCISCO
by GORDON S. GRICE OAA, FRAIC

he summer of 1967 was a momentous year for North American cities.
Montreal, as host of Expo 67, was the focus for the celebration of Canada's
100th birthday. In Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit and Washington, race
riots were changing the face of those cities, in some cases, permanently.
In San Francisco, there was a whole different groove: it was The Summer of
Love. Even today, 50 years later, when I think of San Francisco, I can't help but picture
euphoric figures in psychedelic T-shirts dancing in the streets with flowers in their hair.
The last time I visited San Francisco was in the autumn of 2013. I've always liked the
city, mostly for its strong independent spirit, not to mention its challenging topography,
its Tiki culture and its relentless grip on my romantic inclinations. To get my nostalgic
fix, I always head to 261 Columbus Avenue, where City Lights Bookstore has been
selling and publishing books for more than 60 years. It's rare enough for a bookstore
to have survived for all that time, but even more unusual for a cultural marker like City
Lights to continue to thrive, and to embody the spirit on which it was founded: the
tradition of beat poetry and freedom of expression, in all forms.
For the complete story, we have to go back to the summer of 1957. In that year, City
Lights owner and founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti was tried and acquitted of charges that
he distributed obscene material. The obscene material in question was Allen Ginsberg's
Howl and Other Poems (City Lights, 1956) - a publication that is still available on City
Lights' shelves, along with the work of many other beat poets and store habitués.
The judgment that was handed down by judge Clayton W. Horn - "that a book with
'the slightest redeeming social importance' guarantees First Amendment protection" - settled an enduring argument and paved the way for a new era in freedom of
expression. Thus a victory won by the Beat Generation in the '50s allowed the Hippie
Movement of the '60s to flourish. San Francisco and, more specifically City Lights
Bookstore, was at the epicentre of this social tidal wave.

Incredibly,
I had
entered a
cultural time
machine.

CITY LIGHTS BOOKSTORE, EXTERIOR, 261 COLUMBUS AVENUE, SAN FRANCISCO
CREDIT: CAROLINE CULLER (USER:WGREAVES), CREATIVE COMMONS

The Right Angle | Winter 2017/2018 | 21



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017

Message from the Board
Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
Index to Advertisers
Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 18
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 22
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover4
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