About Beatnik Shindig

The Beat Museum’s Beatnik Shindig to be held in North Beach and at Fort Mason Center is the largest Beat Generation Conference to be held in twenty years. The last big Beat event was organized by Allen Ginsberg himself in 1995 at NYU in New York City.

We’ve designed this event to appeal to a broad audience – novices, experts, scholars and casual observers alike. It will be a great opportunity for Beat fans to gather, network and interact. There is a huge interest in The Beat Generation today, especially with younger people, likely because the themes of The Beats are timeless—travel, exploration, a search for self, sexual identity and a spiritual quest. Everything that most young people consider to be “normal” in the world today The Beats blazed the trail on: racial equality, gender equality, gay & lesbian rights, environmentalism and saving the planet. The Beats were focused on all of these issues decades before they became mainstream. And The Beats influenced everyone—starting with Bob Dylan and The Beatles. And because they were the first group of non-conformists to come of age with electronic media (radio & television) their message went around the world.

Official Beatnik Shindig Program
PDF, 4.1 MB
Quick Schedule Page
PDF, 739 K

Featured Speakers

  • David Meltzer – Beat poet, part of the 1950s SF Beat scene
  • ruth weiss – Beat poet, “Goddess of the Beat Generation” -Herb Caen
  • The children of Neal & Carolyn Cassady (Cathy, Jami & John Allen Cassady)
  • Al Hinkle – friend of Cassady, Kerouac & Ginsberg and featured as Big Ed Dunkel in On The Road
  • David Amram – internationally acclaimed musician & composer and featured in the 1959 cult film Pull My Daisy with Kerouac & Ginsberg
  • Dr. Philip Hicks – the psychiatrist who in 1955 told Allen Ginsberg it was OK to be gay and quit his job & write poetry – this led to the writing of Howl
  • Gerd Stern – the man blamed for 50 years as the person who “lost” the famous Neal Cassady “Joan Anderson Letter” that has recently resurfaced and is expected to eventually be sold for millions of dollars.


  • Beat Biographers & Historians
  • Professors & Teachers
  • Writers, Musicians, Film Makers
  • Dozens of Poets
  • Music, Movies, Symposia, Panel Discussions, Beat Celebrities and more

Free Events to be held at Friends of The SFPL’s Reader’s Bookstore

  • Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Young Scholars Discussing The Beats
  • How to Self Publish in 2015
  • The Politics of Poetry
  • Developing Your Authentic reading Voice

The event will run the weekend of June 26, 27 & 28. It will commence with a Friday evening welcome party in North Beach and sessions will run all day Saturday and all day Sunday at Fort Mason. It will be educational, fun, inspiring and historic. Most events are ticketed and some events are free.