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SHIG’S REVIEW


In 1983, Shig revived Shig's Review, a journal first published in 1960. The review  featured poems, photos, letters from friends, flyers for  poetry readings, collages, and other items from his collection of Beat memorabilia.


When he was ready to publish an issue, Shig would photocopy the items he had selected for inclusion, staple the copies together, rubber- stamp his hanko on the front page in red ink, and walk to the Caffe Trieste to give them away. He  published about seventy issues of this quirky zine.


Read a brief history of Shig’s Review here. For more detail, including links to sample issues and a catalog of all of the issues I have been able to locate, click here.

 

New Content:

Since the October 3, 2011, launch, readers have provided new content and/or photos and several blogs have commented on the site. This new content can be found in the Updates page.



Shig Murao is primarily remembered as the clerk who was arrested and taken to jail for selling Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems at the City Lights Pocket Book Shop on June 3,1957. But he was much more than a clerk. Shig managed the bookstore for its first twenty-two years and crafted the unique atmosphere that made San Francisco’s legendary bookstore into the storied institution it remains today.


Even so, Shig is in danger of being written out of the history of City Lights and of the San Francisco Beat era. When Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman made their film of the trial in 2010, for instance, Shig was nowhere to be seen. Yet at the trial itself, Shig and Lawrence Ferlinghetti were codefendants and sat next to each other throughout the proceedings.


It is my hope that this website will serve as a resource for those who are fascinated by the bohemian culture of the mid-twentieth century and will illuminate Shig’s little-known role as the soul of City Lights during its heyday.


I came to know him in 1976, and we remained friends for the rest of his life. After he died in 1999, I decided that his story needed to be told and began work on this project.


His biography is divided into thirteen chapters (right navigation bar).  I have also attempted to catalog Shig’s Review, the zine he produced from 1960 to the mid-nineties. For more on Shig’s Review, check out the box at the lower left of this page.


For a 1,000-word condensation of Shig’s biography, see this version, published by ZYZZYVA.



In 2013, the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley took over hosting this site to insure that it will remain available for future research.


—Richard Reynolds



 

Collage by Janet Richards, circa 1970, courtesy of Charles Richards.

Shig’s Story Starts Here

Shig Murao: The Enigmatic Soul of City Lights and the San Francisco Beat Scene

SHIG’S STORY


SHIG'S DREAM JOB (1953) Dream_Job_2.html

AT THE
COUNTER:
THE EARLY
YEARS
(1953)At_the_Counter.html

SHIG’S
INNER
CIRCLE
(1953)Inner_Circle_2.html


THE
HOWL
TRIAL
(1957)The_Howl_Trial_2.html


SHIG’S HEYDAY AT
CITY LIGHTS
(1960)CL_a_la_Shig_2.html


THE END
OF AN
ERA
(1975)End_of_a_Era_2.html


10:00 A.M.
AT THE
TRIESTE
(1975)10_00_A.M._%40Trieste_2.html


LIFE AFTER
CITY LIGHTS
(1976)Life_After_CL_2.html


A SAMURAI
FAMILY
(1920)Samura_family_2.html



SHIG’S
PLACE
(1976)Shigs_Place.html



SHIG’S
REVIEW
(1983)Shigs_Review_2.html


THE
FINAL
CHAPTER
(1984)Final_Chapter_2.html
 

Copyright information here.