Encyclopedia Britannica acknowledges Beaux Arts connections

Finally, the editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica online have named the Beaux Arts in their articles on Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison as a coffeehouse which Kerouac frequented in the final years of his life and the coffee house in which Morrison first read his poetry before an audience:
Best wishes ever, Hugh

“…In 1969 Kerouac was broke, and many of his books were out of print. An alcoholic, he was living with his third wife and his mother in St. Petersburg, Florida. He spent his time at the Beaux Arts coffeehouse in nearby Pinellas Park and in local bars, such as the Wild Boar in Tampa. A week after he was beaten by fellow drinkers whom he had antagonized at the Cactus Bar in St. Petersburg, he died of internal hemorrhaging in front of his television while watching The Galloping Gourmet—the ultimate ending for a writer who came to be known as the “martyred king of the Beats…”


The ghost of Kerouac haunts the Alley, facing Specs, between Vesuvio and City Light Books where his books are on full display. The Beat Museum is a block away. I wonder he makes of all this.

“…Morrison’s father was a naval officer (ultimately an admiral), and the family moved frequently, though it settled down in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, where Morrison attended high school and was a good but rebellious student. He began his college education in 1961 at St. Petersburg Junior College (now St. Petersburg College) in Florida and developed his talents as a performer by reciting poetry at the local Beaux Arts coffeehouse. He subsequently transferred to Florida State University and then to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied film. There he met Ray Manzarek, who played the organ in the rock group that the two formed in 1965 with guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore. They called themselves the Doors, taking their name from Aldous Huxley’s book on mescaline, The Doors of Perception (1954), which was itself titled after a line by William Blake…”


I’m going to add a bit to the story and say that Jim was apparently living in an apartment on Rue de Beaux Arts in Paris when he died. So the connections never end. Until it all does.

Many ghosts lurk about the  gum tree that marks the spot of Morrison’s grave at Pere-LaChaise in Paris.

The Beaux, where retiring and emerging artists met and mingled “until the end.”


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