BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN-- August 28, 1959 LOS ANGELES (AP)--"I went to 'the Gas House' and saw a bathtub in the middle of the room--with a man just sitting in it. Just sitting in it!" A.S. Roberts, a conventional sort of guy, was telling the police commission Thursday why he doesn't like beatniks. Beatniks--in case you don't dig the term--are a curious collection of queerly dressed convention-haters in full flight from the world and in fresh pursuit of art. They express themselves by flailing bongo drums and by painting and writing--and apparently, by just sitting in bathtubs. The police commission is holding a hearing to determine whether the "beats" should get an entertainment license for an establishment called the Gas House, one of their hangouts in the beach community of Venice. Many citizens are appalled by the idea. Take Mabel Hardy, who lives in an apartment across from the Gas House. She complained of bongo noises and said some beatnik has been parking a 1933 hearse in front of her apartment. "A lot of us are old and don't feel very good," she said. "That hearse didn't make us feel any better. AGENT VISITS Another witness was Michael S. Kelly, who said he posed as a beatnik and visited the Gas House as an agent for the Civic Union, a civic improvement group."There was drinking going on," he said. "There were some juveniles drinking wine." The beatniks assert only coffee and sweet cider are served at their haven, but Kelly insisted there were stronger potions. "How do you know it was wine?" he was asked. TASTED IT "I tasted it," he said. Kelly also said he saw nude models working at the Gas House. "How long did you stay on this occasion?" he was asked. "About 1 1/2 months," he replied. Kelly later explained he thought he was asked how long he had been spying for the outside world. Eric (Big Daddy) Nord, a 6-foot, 7-inch 300-pounder who has been running the Gas House, said during a recess: "The world just can't stand the sound of bongo drums pounding out a message of peace. But people are afraid of bongos. The sound of bongos would be better than the beep-beep on inter-stellar hardware." The hearing continued today.
1959: "GAS HOUSE"--VENICE, CA
Posted by James LAngelle on August 1, 2012 - 9:23pm