Who's Who on Mural #9

Mural #9

Beatnik Alley - Celebrating Hermosa's Counter Culture in the 50's & 60's


The period leading up to the 1950s was considered as the Era of Conformity. At this time the majority of Americans were living in suburban areas called Levittowns, felt threatened by Communism and were driven with conspicuous consumption. Men would go to work all dressing up in a gray or blue flannel suit while women  stayed home to cook, clean, and tend the children. For Americans at that time eating a family dinner and watching TV every night was considered a conservative tradition. However this all soon changed during post WWII. People were tired of the routine and they felt "beaten" down by the traditional life style. 

It was in 1948 that Jack Kerouac and John Clellon Holmes stated that the period after the Second World War should be called the Beat Generation. Those who were a part of the Beat Generation did not believe in straight jobs and they lived in dirty apartments selling drugs and committing crimes. Some of the Beat Generation beliefs include the rejection of mainstream American values, exploring alternate forms of sexuality, and experimentation with drugs.The beat generation was meant to echo the Lost Generation in the 1920s but it made a bigger impact that it’s historical counterpart.

The Beat Generation was composed of poets and writers. The originally three that started the Beat Generation were Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs  who met  each other at Columbia university 1948. In the Mid 1950's the Beat Generation expanded when the original three began to be associated with other writers in the San Francisco Renaissance. The majority of the Beat Generation's fame come from the development of Ginsberg' book "Howl", Burrough’s "Naked Lunch", and Kerouac's "On the Road" and it was because of those books did people start to pay attention to beat literature.

For a while, those associated with the Beat Generation were viewed as rebels. Those who identified as Beatniks were willing to print or publish anything that society did not view appropriate. Of course those topics included sex, drugs, homosexuality, and zen Buddhism. In 1958, Journalist Herb Caen from the San Francisco Chronicle  coined the term “Beatniks” as a reference to  the Russian “Sputniks” because the Beat Generation was considered a threat to American Society. When Kerouac hosted a talk show, he enlightened middle Americaby explaining the Beat Generation. It was on that show where he read "On the Road" for the millions of Americans watching and became a household name. 

The Beat Generation had a significant impact on changing what was considered the norm. It was because of the Beat Generation that people began to question the society they lived in and began questioning the status quo. The Beat Generation also set the stage for the next generation of hippies and anti-war movement. They  influenced musicians such as Bob Dylan, Beatles, and Elvis Presley.  They helped bring awareness to racism in American. Jazz greats Dizzie Gillespie and Charlie Parker were inspired by the movement to play Jazz music without the worries of racial barriers.  

We thank everyone who joined 
Hermosa Beach Murals Project and muralist Timothy Robert Smith


Wednesday, October 23, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
to Celebrate the Unveiling of Mural #9 on Pier Plaza

with a Fundraiser Reception immediately after
at Waterman's Surfhouse @ 22 Pier Avenue 

We had such a good time and $$ was raised to continue the support of 

our Murals Project. 

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