Reader’s Corner: Keep City Lights Open

A lot of businesses are closing down during the shelter-in-place order. Among them is San Francisco’s storied City Lights Bookstore. Very simply put, it’s one of the finest book emporiums in the country, if not the world. It’s hard enough keeping a low-margin indie store open in the Bay Area these days, much less post-pandemic. They need help in order to get back in business once the state gives the OK.

A GoFundMe page has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Throw a few bucks in.

You can also buy books from them via Bookshop. Check out some of the offerings from their decades-old publishing line, particularly the Pocket Poets Series titles like Ginsberg’s Howl or O’Hara’s Lunch Poems.

Soundbooth: ‘Wise Up Ghost’

elviscostelloroots-wiseupghostcover1Apropos of nothing to do with music, it must be said that the cover for the new Elvis Costello and The Roots collaboration, Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs, is likely the album cover of the year. Clean with about being overly minimal, with an elegant serif typeface, it’s the sort of thing more bands should aspire to.

That remains true even if Elvis, Questlove and the boys are just paying homage to copying the cover for the classic City Lights edition of Allen Ginsberg’s first poetry collection Howl; a work that most likely had little direct influence on any of the artists working on this album.

When in doubt, steal well.