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City Lights Booksellers and Vesuvio Cafe.jpg
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Credit Ashi

City Lights Booksellers and Vesuvio Cafe.jpg

For use with The Sojourner of San Francisco: LTR/03: Loop the Loop, Nostalgia Divide by Zero

In the corner of Broadway and Columbus is the San Francisco Designated Landmark, City Lights Bookstore. The independent bookstore was under national spotlight in 1957 due to its role in the publishing and retailing of the Allen Gingsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, which was charged under obscenity law for using direct language describing homosexual acts. The trial sets the precedent that a book with “redeeming social importance” is guaranteed of [U.S. Constitution] First Amendment protection. Vesuvio Café is famous for being the gathering place of many Beat Generation poets, including Allen Gingsberg, Jack Kerouac, and other celebrities like Bob Dylan and Francis Ford Coppola. The shared path between City Lights and Vesuvio is Kerouac Alley (after the Beat poet), which hosts many interesting murals.




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