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Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love, and Strong Coffee Meet

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This book, in the grand tradition of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, looks at the extraordinary world of ideas known as Bohemia. It takes the reader to a party on the Rive Gauche of 1950s Paris to meet William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, to sit in a Tel Aviv coffee-house just after the Six Day War, sipping expresso and arguing politics and stumble across a troupe of This book, in the grand tradition of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, looks at the extraordinary world of ideas known as Bohemia. It takes the reader to a party on the Rive Gauche of 1950s Paris to meet William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, to sit in a Tel Aviv coffee-house just after the Six Day War, sipping expresso and arguing politics and stumble across a troupe of LSD-inspired street actors in San Francisco at the height of the 1960s.


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This book, in the grand tradition of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, looks at the extraordinary world of ideas known as Bohemia. It takes the reader to a party on the Rive Gauche of 1950s Paris to meet William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, to sit in a Tel Aviv coffee-house just after the Six Day War, sipping expresso and arguing politics and stumble across a troupe of This book, in the grand tradition of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, looks at the extraordinary world of ideas known as Bohemia. It takes the reader to a party on the Rive Gauche of 1950s Paris to meet William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, to sit in a Tel Aviv coffee-house just after the Six Day War, sipping expresso and arguing politics and stumble across a troupe of LSD-inspired street actors in San Francisco at the height of the 1960s.

30 review for Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love, and Strong Coffee Meet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    The thing about Herb Gold is he comes off like one of those "...and I was there!" types. Yeh, I knew Kerouac. Yeh, I bought Ginsberg a beer. Yeh, I did this. And then I did that. And along the way, we the misfit, outcast, self-respecting ne'er do wells; we created this iconoclastic, rebellion of nonconformist conformity... and bla bla bla. Hep cat Daddy-O Herb Gold, weighing in on what counts for authenticity in hipness. Mainly by observing "how it's done" in Paris, Haiti, and supposedly, a San The thing about Herb Gold is he comes off like one of those "...and I was there!" types. Yeh, I knew Kerouac. Yeh, I bought Ginsberg a beer. Yeh, I did this. And then I did that. And along the way, we the misfit, outcast, self-respecting ne'er do wells; we created this iconoclastic, rebellion of nonconformist conformity... and bla bla bla. Hep cat Daddy-O Herb Gold, weighing in on what counts for authenticity in hipness. Mainly by observing "how it's done" in Paris, Haiti, and supposedly, a San Francisco I barely recognize (and I am a Native.) So that you will "get hip with it" too. He doesn't seem to take the unoriginality of his vaunted "gypsy gangs" to be more than his just and due adulation. Like, I was there, Daddy-O. I been around. You punks think you're all so hot. Well let me tell you whippersnapper. The thing I most remember about Herb Gold is his writing stale articles for Playboy about a beatnik life that was stale then and is even staler now. The hipster disdain for people who actually manage to work for a living (he says) is a hallmark of his "Bohemia" was stupid then and is still stupid today. I know a bunch of guys who make a living out of not working. Coincidentally, they are all homeless. And he gets so many fine little details Wrong. Like the title of Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee." As if coffee, itself, were the principal moving substance neither pot nor peyote nor acid. Like Charles Bukowski's name ("Bukowsky"[sic]) -which to me only indicates he probably never even actually read him. I was reading Bukowski while he was still self-publishing, so that probably puts me at a higher level of Upper Bohemia even than Herb! I guess he must by now have bought his own Starbucks franchise. Give me a break. I'll finish it but 2/3 into it, I got the f'n idea already.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ian Forsyth

    There's some good passages and quotes, (chapter 1, 2, 3, 7, 8) but it didn't all keep my interest. Also Gold obviously hated the Linklater movie "Slacker" which I think is genius, even if it's about a lack-luster sort of bohemian of austin texas 1989 according to his standards. Good video to watch that I got the hint to read this book from is on youtube: Rebel, the Journey Underground, him and joanna richardson (who wrote about parisian bohemian circa 1830-1914) talk on it, and it's a series There's some good passages and quotes, (chapter 1, 2, 3, 7, 8) but it didn't all keep my interest. Also Gold obviously hated the Linklater movie "Slacker" which I think is genius, even if it's about a lack-luster sort of bohemian of austin texas 1989 according to his standards. Good video to watch that I got the hint to read this book from is on youtube: Rebel, the Journey Underground, him and joanna richardson (who wrote about parisian bohemian circa 1830-1914) talk on it, and it's a series going to the beats, ecoactivists, punks, then hackers/ravers Quotes: in all the interstices of a society that still requires art, imagination, laziness, adventure, and possibility unwilled by family and employment Conformity is inevitable when folks huddle together in rebellion. when Henri Murger in la vie de boheme wrote about demenagement par la cheminee--the process of moving by burning your furniture for heat Bohemians are not what weekend visitors, bridge and tunnel folks, think they are. Bohemians may look like outcasts and scapegoats, cultivators of private gardens, but in fact, they want to run things, define the taste, preach the theories, support the arts, make the music, write the literature, and drink the coffee and wine that keeps society jumping, vigorous, and fun. It may be that, unlike gypsies, who roam in their gypsy raiments because of convenience, a love of color, and ancient tradition, the Bohemians wanders and dresses peculiar in order to shock the bourgeoisie (read: his/her parents). Enveloped in a particular history and support system, the gypsy finds it difficult to become a non-gypsy. The bohemian can drop back into the bourgeoVoluntary poverty is not the same as poverty. And the bohemian, however poor, considers himself among the elect, chosen to an elite of abstention from workaday society. is world by changing their wardrobe, switching their style to a new channel. Bohemianism is a role even if it acts like a race, class, or ethnic affiliation. The element of play makes it unusual among allegiances. Voluntary poverty is not the same as poverty. And the bohemian, however poor, considers himself among the elect, chosen to an elite of abstention from workaday society. The fortune they tell is mainly their own. Risky voyages of discovery are part of our routines. le cafard--that special French melancholy, the Paris blues, named after the cockroach. True existentialists headed out at night to proclaim their doomed loneliness, a public no-exitnicity, le cafard, because it was cold and damp in their rooms

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Read this book and gave it a good review in a magazine when it came out in the UK. It's relaxed, conversational and loaded with interesting anecdote.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Holloway

    Not a bad book by any means, some really solid chapters here and there, but overall a pretty ineffectual read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    It was alright, though I found it a bit unbelievable (and not in a good way.) The book was an examination of Bohemian culture from the 40s to the 90s through the eyes of the writer. My first problem was that "everything was wonderful with full on rose colored glasses" way of describing the entire scene. Calling everyone "gypsies full of love for life" does not cover it all. What about the drugs? The poverty? Also, there were so many people that the writers knew and every one of them was an It was alright, though I found it a bit unbelievable (and not in a good way.) The book was an examination of Bohemian culture from the 40s to the 90s through the eyes of the writer. My first problem was that "everything was wonderful with full on rose colored glasses" way of describing the entire scene. Calling everyone "gypsies full of love for life" does not cover it all. What about the drugs? The poverty? Also, there were so many people that the writers knew and every one of them was an eccentric character. Most only get a half a page description (" there was this great character I knew in North Beach. He used to dance on tables at restaurants for his dinner...") Of course, the author knew EVERYONE important. He knew Allen Ginsberg, Burroughs, Rexroth, Henry Miller, Anias Nin... if they were any kind of famous artist or character from the subculture, this guy name drops him. That got pretty annoying fast. Then there was the idea that this guy was EVERYWHERE. The Beat Hotel in the late 50's? He was there. Greenwich Village in the 60s? Yep, he was there too. San Francisco? Why, he's lived there for 40 years!!! So, in the end, I found it a bit boring and full of hot air. It also did not help that the book was released by a small press. There were several misspellings and formating problems that should have been caught. All of this was disappointing since I really do love the subculture.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    In Bohemia, a book of essays describing Gold's own adventures in bohemianism with the beat generation, Gold acts as a fly on the wall, collecting stories, ideas, philosophies, and theories of some great and memorable minds. Each part ranges from so-so to excellent, depending much upon the reader's interest in the current topic. The writing is excellent, as is the humor and insights Gold puts forth, although at times, especially to a younger generation, the subjects themselves seem a bit dated. In Bohemia, a book of essays describing Gold's own adventures in bohemianism with the beat generation, Gold acts as a fly on the wall, collecting stories, ideas, philosophies, and theories of some great and memorable minds. Each part ranges from so-so to excellent, depending much upon the reader's interest in the current topic. The writing is excellent, as is the humor and insights Gold puts forth, although at times, especially to a younger generation, the subjects themselves seem a bit dated. The first half was intriguing, entertaining, and captivated my interest, whereas the last half (or perhaps third) kind of flagged for me. All in all, however, an interesting and amusing read, though I wouldn't pass it on to anyone not interested in culture studies, bohemia, or the writers and artists mentioned within its pages.

  7. 4 out of 5

    patty ramona

    "Janice" Joplin ?!? Much like the Barry Miles book read recently, I had to hold myself back from taking a pencil to several pages to make necessary corrections. Do writers hire editors anymore? Note this book was published in the early 1990's. That being said, I did enjoy this book once it became less scholarly and more conversational. The writer has some good stories to tell, and he tells them in a non-linear fashion as we jump from one country/city/neighborhood/scene to the next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Reese Forbes

    The author knew everybody and lived the Bohemian life - I only vaguely recognized his name from some old Playboy articles. From Henry Miller and Anais Nin to William S. Burroughs and Ginsberg, from Paris to North Beach to Soho and everywhere else the Beats congregated - Herb gold was in the middle of it all. His writing is clever and this is a highly enjoyable read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Although I liked the grouping of various counter-cultural movements under the "bohemian" label, I didn't find as much of the connecting tissue between the variants (Beats, Hippies, Anarchists) as I was hoping would be revealed. A bit too much name dropping, albeit very interesting names...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Prose poetry about Bohemian culture in the fifties and sixties.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Excellent writing. Herb was my literature professor at Cornell and he writes about me and my back from the future ideas in this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    I read this a while ago...I remember being very excited about it at first...but then losing enthusiasm as things wore on...still, overall, I have fond memories of it...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Blackstock

  14. 4 out of 5

    G. Vachon

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ron Antonucci

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tony Peterson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tibor

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Ervin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  20. 4 out of 5

    Howard Dewitt

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ted

  22. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Feliciano

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

  24. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Long

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ron

  26. 4 out of 5

    MoJo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juanito Jones

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Wick

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert Ross

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

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