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The First Human Be-In

The first Human Be-In brought more than 20,000 people to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on this date in 1967, as a prelude to the Summer of Love. Among the key organizers of this “Gathering of the Tribes” was Allen Cohen, a founder of the San Francisco Oracle, who had teamed up with the psychedelic […]

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October 7: The “Howl” Premiere

Twenty-nine-year-old Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” in public for the first time on this date in 1955, at Six Gallery in San Francisco — a former auto-repair shop with a dirt floor measuring 20′ x 25′. The reading, which he shared with Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, and Philip Whalen, was a “coming out” […]

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October 14: The First National LGBTQ March

Some 100,000 people participated in the first National March on Washington For Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights on this date in 1979, galvanized by the assassination of Harvey Milk, who had helped to plan and organize the event. The National Steering Committee for the march, with mandated gender parity and 25 percent representation of people of […]

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May 28: The Tropic of Free Speech

Lenny Bruce, Allen Ginsberg, Al Goldstein, and Elsa Dorfman were among the controversial artists and writers featured in Obscene, a 2007 documentary about publisher and free speech warrior Barney Rosset, who was born to a Jewish father and Catholic mother in Chicago on this date in 1922. The owner of the Grove Press (from 1951) […]

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April 6: The Word Is Out about Rob Epstein

Gay filmmaker Rob Epstein, who has won two Academy Awards for Best Documentary for The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, was born in New Jersey on this date in 1955. His other films include Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives, The Celluloid Closet, Paragraph […]

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Jewish Troublemakers in America, Part 1

A History and An Analysis by Lawrence Bush From the Winter, 2014-15 issue (art calender) of Jewish Currents THE STREETS WERE PAVED with stones and cement, not gold, in the so-called goldene medine, “golden land,” of America, but at least a Jew could walk those sidewalks with “none to make him afraid,” as President George […]

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L.S. Asekoff, Judge of Our Poetry Contest

by Gretchen Primack The great poet L. S. Asekoff has published four books: Dreams of a Work (1994) and North Star (1997) with Orchises Press, and The Gate of Horn (2010) and Freedom Hill (2011) with TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press. Between books, his thoughtful poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, American Poetry […]

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June 3: Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg, the author of “Howl,” “Kaddish,” and numerous other stunning poems that brought Jewish and homosexual content, as well as outrage at the inhumanity of modern American capitalism, to the forefront of American intellectual consciousness, was born (first name Irwin) in Newark, New Jersey on this date in 1926. Ginsberg became the most enduring […]

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October 2: Manfred Mann and the “Iron Curtain”

Manfred Mann (Lubowitz) and his eponymous band became the first Western rock and roll band to go behind the Iron Curtain by performing in Prague on this date in 1965. In both Prague and Bratislava, Czech police intervened in the concert and beat up fans. The country was nevertheless more liberal about Western music than […]

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O My America: Lenny Bruce and the Golden Age

by Lawrence Bush LEONARD ALFRED SCHNEIDER DIED 46 years ago on August 3, age 40. He was not the kind of Jewish boy you’d want your daughter or son to date, let alone marry. A hustler, he was arrested in 1951 on charges of falsely “soliciting funds for some non-sectarian organization that had sponsored a […]

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