The celebration of the artist and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti will begin in Vallejo

VALLEJO — The Vallejo Center for the Arts celebrates poet, publisher, bookseller and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti with a slate of activities beginning this weekend.

The celebration opens Saturday with world-class jazz trumpeter Jeff Bordes and friends and an exhibition of Ferlinghetti’s art on loan to the Vallejo Center for the Arts courtesy of the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Artworks Trust and the Rena Bransten San Francisco Gallery.

Bordes has performed live and recorded on projects with artists such as Jon Faddis, Branford Marsalis, Alex Acuna, Giovanni Hidalgo and most recently John Mellencamp. He has toured Japan and across the United States with various bands such as the Bill Berry Big Band, Dizzy Gillespie and others.

Highlights of the month include readings on June 2 by San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin followed by a performance by Drew Harrison and the Sun Kings. A Beat Brunch continues the June 12 celebration in the Empress Lounge with music from the Yuppie Liberation Front.

June 17 will feature screenings of three films, including a two-minute short of Bob Dylan singing the 1965 recording “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which ranked 187th on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. of the Rolling Stones. The film festival will also include the classic short ‘Pull My Daisy’, written and narrated by Jack Kerouac, then ‘Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder’, a definitive documentary by Chris Felver that reveals Ferlinghetti’s true role as a catalyst. . for many literary careers and for the Beat movement itself.

The show closes June 25 with the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra led by trumpeter Erik Jekabson, the San Francisco Bay Area’s own 17-piece big band comprised of many of the Bay Area’s top jazz musicians. bay.

Ferlinghetti helped launch the Beat movement in the 1950s and embodied its curious and rebellious spirit well into the 21st century. In 1998 he was named San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate, and in 2005 the National Book Foundation cited his “tireless work on behalf of poets and the entire literary community for more than 50 years”.

Doubleday in 2019 released Ferlinghetti’s “Little Boy,” a book he had been working on for two decades that he called the closest thing to a memoir he would ever write.

Few poets of the past 60 years have been as well known or as influential. His books sold over a million copies worldwide, a fantasy for virtually all of his peers, and he ran one of the world’s most famous and distinctive bookstores, City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

Although he never considered himself one of the Beats, he was a patron and kindred spirit and, to many, an enduring symbol – preaching a loftier, more ecstatic American Dream. He died on February 22, 2021 in San Francisco.

For more information, visit the Empress Theater website at https://empresstheatre.org.

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