SCARIEN NATION NOW BE ONE
THE BEAT GYRATION
The summer of 1956 in Greenwich Village was fly time. Things were buzzing. There was something going on but nobody was hip to what it was. The gaggle of beat bohemians began to grow larger as more and more hipsters flocked to the Village from all points across the globe. Nobody had any real reason for falling in, other than the vibe that something was going to go down. Big. There was excitement. No one gave it any lip service, but everyone who came knew.
An eclectic group of musicians hung out around Bleeker Street. Strange music drifted in the breeze. Exotic aromas penetrated the exhaust fumes as reefers were passed, back and forth, to and fro. Droopy eyed cats squatted on the sidewalk, cigarettes dangling from their mouths, as they tapped out rhythms on dime store bongo drums. Wild eyed poets with ragged overcoats and thick goatees paced the sidewalks as jagged poetry flowed from their lips like a crazy discordant bebop serenade.
Wide eyed folk kittens sat cross legged slouched over their guitars with long straight hair draping over sandals. Sad eyed chicks with short hair, black slacks and shades, leaned against bricks and posed pensively. Cheap wine and reefers were shared by all, everyone acting as if there was some religious significance to their rituals. Holy communion for the sidewalk sky pilots.
There was a little park on Bleeker Street where the serious hep cats would make the scene and lay down some riffs. Jam sessions would go on all night long. This was the place to be. As the nights wore on, the poets, writers and artists would begin to cut out. Usually, by 3 or 4 a.m.,
there were only several musicians left. They were the beatest of the beat and the hippest of the hip.
Every night there was Chick and his bongos. Rusty with his guitar. Bud had his big bass and PJ, Bud's uncle, was always there. PJ was the poet. He had gone beyond merely reciting his poetry, he acted out his poetry. He screamed his poetry while the cats jammed. Nutty.
These cats were the misfits of the beat generation. They were a little too intense for many of the Village people. These cats were real gone. Frantic. Chick was PJ's cousin and Rusty was kind of a drifter that had been hanging out. These vipers had all blown their tops. They hung way out.
These guys played one-nighters around the Village for loose change, free espresso or a glass of wine. They played in dark little basement coffee houses for those who dug the intensity of the existentialist act. Their crowds were the strange ones who had been around a long time.
Some people would come every time the cats had a gig. Yokels would usually leave as soon as the combo started jamming. These cats were different but nobody knew just exactly what it was that made this combo the most. Maybe it was just the beat.
Every night you could dig these cats playing their music in the little park on Bleeker Street. After the coffee house gigs, they would book to the park. Wine bottles clanked and reefer smoke hung in the air until the sun would peep over the horizon. Then these cats would split back to their pad at No. 81 Bedford Street
It was either in July or August on a drippy, sweltering New York City night. The air stood still. The humidity made it hard to breath. It was real late. Everyone had split to crash except PJ, Bud, Rusty and Chick.
They were sitting in a circle talking about the meaning of the end. It was too hot to play music. A fine looking chick approached them, walking slowly and gracefully. She was wearing a white robe that swept the ground and covered her bare feet.
She strolled up to the cats and, standing next to a dim lightpost, appeared to be way out of her element. Nobody spoke for a few moments. The chick was very exotic looking. Part African Princess, part Oriental Empress, part All-American Girl Next Door. Her bright soulful eyes were penetrating and her charming smile enchanted these twilight vipers. PJ spoke first.
"Like, hi. You're new on the scene."
"Yes, I arrived just tonight," the woman said softly in an accent that no one recognized.
"Where did you fall in from?" Bud asked with his headlights on high beam.
"I come from everywhere. All over."
"Cool," said the smiling Rusty.
Chick's mouth had dropped open as he gazed into the mystery chick's eyes.
"What's your name?" PJ asked.
"Mirror," she replied.
"This chick ain't no square," someone whispered.
"Like, what are you into?" Chick suddenly asked, coming out of his trance.
"I'm here to spread the word. Would you men like to come to a small party where I am staying?", Mirror asked enticingly.
"Like, when?" Bud gulped.
"Anytime you wish," she said as she handed PJ a little piece of paper with an address written on it.
The exotic lady strolled away silently as the cats watched her fade away. They were all stunned and intrigued by the elegance of this chick. This was not the usual scene found on Bleeker Street at 4 in the morning. PJ carefully folded up the little piece of paper and stuck it in his pack of coffin nails.
"Man, that chick had real class."
"You think she's into one of those weird eastern religions?"
"I don't know, man, but like I'm finding out tomorrow."