David Amram Performs at the Beat Museum

by Jerry Cimino

David Amram played The Beat Museum last Monday and North Beach is still talking about it. If you don't know who David is you need to google "Pull My Daisy" and discover a true joy of the Beat underground. To fans he'll always be Mez Mcgillicutty the French Horn player and friend to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and other Beats. His day job is composer, performer and supporter of causes big and small. His list of collaborators reads like a Who's Who in the musical world - from Bird to Dizzy to Willie to Bruce, if you've heard of them they've played with Amram.

We picked David up at SFO. He came walking through the gate on the phone, checking his upcoming gigs, checking on his family and his many, many friends. A film about his life, "David Amram the First Eighty Years" has just been released. Having awakened at 4am in Shreveport, LA David had a layover in Dallas and made it to SFO around 1:30. We figured he'd want to take a nap before his performance so we fixed up our green room real nice but David wanted to hang in North Beach and made a beeline to Caffe Trieste.

The theme of David's event was "The San Francisco / New York Connection - Alive and Well in North Beach." He wanted to celebrate the time he played with two North Beach poets, Howard Hart and Philip Lamantia when they were all in New York with Jack Kerouac. We had trouble locating one poem in particular that David wanted to have read - "Telephone" by Howard Hart.

While we were all having coffee at the Trieste V.Vale, Publisher of RE/Search, heard David was in town and came to find him. The first words out of his mouth were, "I've been wanting to speak to you for years, I used to room with Howard Hart." We all looked around and asked, "Do you have any of Howard's books?" "Well, sure, I have all of them at my place a block away." "Will you come read 'Telephone' tonight at The Beat Museum?"

The night was as magical as the get together at the Trieste. David read from his books, Vibrations, Offbeat and Upbeat. We screened Pull My Daisy. John Allen Cassady jammed with David and read from On The Road (So, in America...). Vince Storti read Philip Lamantia's poetry and Vale read Howard Hart. David closed the show at 10pm and signed books and told stories until 2am. We had to bring in pizza.

Another magical night in North Beach.

We hope to have David back in 2012.