Sir Francis Drake Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Before he penned Howl, Ginsberg reportedly had a vision of this hotel during a peyote experience. The vision became his inspiration for a being called "Moloch" in the poem. In Levantine lore, Moloch is a god to whom children are sacrificed. However, in Ginsberg's work, Moloch can be interpreted as a destructive system of control.

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Beatnik digs: Stay with the ghosts of Allen Ginsberg and friends (1 of 5)

 Before he penned Howl, Ginsberg reportedly had a vision of this hotel during a peyote experience. The vision became his inspiration for a being called "Moloch" in the poem. In Levantine lore, Moloch is a god to whom children are sacrificed. However, in Ginsberg's work, Moloch can be interpreted as a destructive system of control.
Before he penned Howl, Ginsberg reportedly had a vision of this hotel during a peyote experience. The vision became his inspiration for a being called "Moloch" in the poem. In Levantine lore, Moloch is a god to whom children are sacrificed. However, in Ginsberg's work, Moloch can be interpreted as a destructive system of control. The Sir Francis Drake is a San Francisco icon (known locally as simply "the Drake") due to its red-coated Beefeater doormen and Harry Denton's Starlight Room on the 21st floor. Built in 1928, this Kimpton-run hotel (previously run by Hilton) was long one of the city's most opulent hotels, with a glamourous clientele. On the 21st floor, the famous Harry Denton's Starlight Room has nightly jazz performances set against a backdrop of skyline views. Waitresses in slinky dresses and a classic cocktail menu give the bar a kind of 1930s jazz-lounge glamour on most nights. The hotel is about one mile away from San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, which houses some famous Beat hangouts. Vesuvio Bar -- opened in 1948 -- still pays homage to the Beat Generation and prides itself on its diverse clientèle. After Neal Cassady stopped here for a drink in 1955 en route to a reading at Six Gallery -- where Howl was first performed -- the bar became a regular Beat haunt; Jack Kerouac was a regular customer. Vesuvio Bar is next door to City Lights Bookstore, which was launched into infamy after the owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was arrested on the grounds of obscenity in 1956 for publishing Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems. City Lights has also published the works of other beat artists, including Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs.
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