The Hungry i, Broadway
During the 1950s the anti-conformist Hungry i was center of Beat Generation entertainment. The club featured readings, folk singers, jazz workshops, and edgy social comedy often meant to goad the establishment. Comedians, Mort Sahl, Woody Allen, Dick Gregory, and The Smothers Brothers often tried out new material at The Hungry i. Defying police orders and fighting for free speech, Allen Ginsberg's banned poem, "Howl" was read in public here. Singers and poets performing here included The Kingston Trio, The Limelighters, Barbara Streisand, Maya Angelou, and Rod McKuen.

In 1959, a couple notorious events occurred at the Hungry i; Lenny Bruce's famous arrest for "obscenity" because of his stand-up comedy routine, and the night Jonathan Winters broke down in tears on stage and ran from the theater. The comedian was found several blocks away at the Hyde Street Pier where police had to coax him down from the mast of the Balclutha. Winters had climbed up the rigging shouting, "I'm the man in the moon"! Later, The Hungry i was also credited for launching the career of Robin Williams. But eventually as the drama and Bohemians faded away the night club shut down and was later reopened as a sex and peep show parlor.
[ MAP E-15 ]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

my mom, who wrote her b.a. paper on the beat generation, went there on her first visit to sf. she was shocked to see strippers in it! gotta love north beach!

11:01 PM  

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