San Francisco in the Sixties – Kenneth Rexroth’s complete columns for the “San Francisco Examiner”


In January 1960 the San Francisco Examiner offered Kenneth Rexroth
a job writing a weekly column. He accepted. The column proved popular
enough that he was soon asked to do two and eventually three per week.

All told, Rexroth wrote more than 760 columns for the Examiner until he
was fired in July 1967 (apparently due to a controversial article he wrote
about the American police).

During the last seven years I’ve been posting all of these columns, 50 years
after their original appearance. They’re now all online at my website.

Needless to say, they vary widely in topic and interest. Some offer
incisive commentary that remains astonishingly relevant on all sorts of
general issues — social, political, cultural, ecological. Others are more
dated, such as reviews of particular musical or theatrical performances.
I think you will find, however, that his remarks about even the most
ephemeral topics are full of amusing observations and perceptive
insights, and that the ensemble constitutes a unique and fascinating
chronicle of those eventful years.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of different topics he treats:

Beckett and Ionesco
Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, and the Modern Jazz Quartet
In praise of amateur Shakespeare
The Civil Rights movement
The execution of Caryl Chessman
The HUAC riot
Merits and faults of the San Francisco Ballet
Kabuki theater
Chinese opera
The Tao of fishing
Japanese art
Aida and Ornette Coleman
Mathematical elegance and classic fiction
An appeal for Kenneth Patchen
Radio KPFA
The Peace Corps
The death of Hemingway
Rigoletto and Coltrane
Henry Miller
Pablo Casals at the White House
The San Francisco Mime Troupe
Golden Gate Park
Camping in the Sierras
Igor Stravinsky
The death of Marilyn Monroe
The Cuban missile crisis
Why not abolish Market Street?
Brecht’s philosophy
The film Elektra
Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary
Diebenkorn at the De Young
The Kennedy assassination
H.L. Mencken
The Coit Tower murals
Tom Jones and The Ginger Man
Ideas for replanning the city
Charles Mingus
Greeks and Buddhists in Afghanistan
The Harlem riots
Mysticism, ethical and chemical
Wagnerian Tartuffery
The fall of Khrushchev
The Vatican Council
The Mafia invasion of North Beach
Proposals for Chinatown
The assassination of Malcolm X
Bob Dylan
Cowboy diplomacy
The strategy of peace
Wine – French versus Californian
The Watts riot
Harassment in Haight-Ashbury
Urban alienation renewal
Marxism and the persistence of alienation
The international cultural revolution
Camouflaging the rape of the environment
What I will miss in San Francisco [as he starts off on a nine-month trip around the world]
The crises in Germany
Wandering the streets of London
The Amsterdam Provos
Bolshevism as state capitalism
The arts of Finland
Sexual liberation in Denmark
Wandering the streets of Paris
The architecture of Gaudi
The undergrounds in Spain
Power struggle in Italy
Tintoretto and the Painters of Venice
The Italian Communist Party
Ruins of ancient Greece
Iran’s “two culture” peril
India’s political demoralization
Buddhism and Hinduism in India
Thai Buddhism

I plan to continue by posting all of Rexroth’s articles and columns for
the San Francisco Bay Guardian (1967-1972) and San Francisco magazine
(1967-1975). But meanwhile, you can now peruse the entire Examiner
series here:

*Republish from

**The Bureau of Public Secrets website features writings by Ken Knabb,
Knabb’s translations from Guy Debord and the Situationist International,
and the Rexroth Archive (texts by and about the great writer and social
critic Kenneth Rexroth).
P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley CA 94701

“Making petrified conditions dance by singing them their own tune.”


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