653 Chenery Street
in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood

[email protected]

Open to walk-in trade and browsing
Tuesday to Sunday
noon to six


Live Streams every weekend!
Refresh your browser
to catch a show in progress!
Visit our Facebook page or
YouTube channel!

But nothing beats being in the room
with the music & the musicians!

coronavirus considerations – the proprietor is in and out, taking orders and making deliveries, seven days a week.

Live music on the bookshop’s stage every Friday and occasional Saturdays & Sundays, live streamed to the world, without an in-store audience

5/5 update:

Slow down, people! Just kidding, but really, the onslaught of orders is hard to handle. We’re in it for the long haul, so we need to slow it down. Twenty years and counting now…

When the City announces that you can come to — though not into — the shop, we’ll ask you to grab a clipboard and an order form and a stubby little pencil to give us your order. We’re getting way too many emails to handle. That said, we’ll continue to do our best. Once you’ve placed an order, wait 24 hours for confirmation, then check on it. All you really need to say is, “checking on my order.” That’ll git it!

Two days later, check on it again. With luck, and our diligence, it may already have arrived. Orders are mostly available three days after they’re placed — on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

We intend to close the shop for two hours midday everyday to catch up. Figure on finding us with the doors open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. When there’s extra staff, the doors may be open other times, on a catch-as-catch-can basis.

From 11-1, we’ll be catching up on orders, running errands and getting a breather, and after 4, we’ll be running around making deliveries to those resolute about sheltering in place — a practice we heartily endorse and recommend. The proprietor is enjoying the delivery routine. In the evening, he’s generally back in the shop figuring out where we stand, so it’s an ok time to call. At the least, you can leave a message. Be sure to give your phone number at the top of the message, slowly enough that we have time to write it down.

Thanks for helping us survive our great success!

May we all survive the great pestilence.

5/4 update: 

live streamed shows scheduled for the next two Fridays and Sundays–scroll down for detail

Have an order in to us for a book? The books are flowing through — still, we’re thinly staffed and stretched, and your order may need some attention.

Give us another phone call today to see where it stands! 415-586-3733. If we don’t answer the phone, we’re probably out delivering; so give us a few hours to get back to you. But don’t take silence for an answer. Shake our tree!

We want to fill your needs and keep you happy & steeped in good literature and escapist fare alike.

– – – – – – – – – – –

R.I.P. Richie Cole!

Gaea Schell just let us know that Richie has passed — from what, we do not know. But we do know he was a genius and a madman, and an alto player without peer.

Gaea played piano in a quintet led by Richie and assembled by Richie’s good friend, the Neapolitan drummer Peppe Merolla at Bird & Beckett just before Halloween of last year. The concert was a harmonious maelstrom of tempo, rhythm & melody. Trumpeter Modesto “Mo” Briseño was on hand for some lovely and brisk counterpoint and soloing, and the great Eric Markowitz, a pillar of local jazz, handled the bass with aplomb. And Richie? He was amazing, amusing and altogether great.

Here’s an audio clip from that show–

Alto saxophonist Richie Cole at Bird & Beckett, October 25, 2019

And you can hear more at this link, nestled into a post
about Gaea’s most recent Bird & Beckett performance,
a duo date with bassist John Wiitala on March 3, 2020.

Don’t we long for the days when live jazz
can be presented to an in-store audience once again!

We’re not there yet, but the live music continues here at Bird & Beckett and continues to please and amaze. After you’ve read enough of this, scroll down the store’s homepage and check out some of the concerts we’ve presented via live stream, with no audience in the shop, over these past many weeks.

Next streamed concert live from the bookshop stage is this Friday, 5/8, two sets — 5:30 and 7:00 pm: Pianist / improviser / composer / producer Walter Earl! The music flows from Walter’s huge heart through his hands and the instrument to create a soulful experience you won’t be able to, and won’t want to, shake. Help us help Walter meet the bills in this time of few gigs and short bread! If you find $10 a stretch, then contribute $5. Give $20 if you’re able, more if you’re flush! It’s all crucial if we want to keep our treasured musicians healthy, vital and productive. Here’s where to donate: https://tinyurl.com/Donate-B-and-B

Sunday, 5/10, 7:30pm: Nashville Honeymoon.
Lynne Maes and Hank Maninger are the Tammy Wynette and George Jones of our time and place, though with much less alcohol. Two voices, two guitars, two songwriters. Cohabitating and so contagious!

Friday, 5/15, 5:30pm: Saxophonist David Boyce. A long-time force on the Bay Area jazz/hip hop/afro-funk music scene, is revered for his work since the mid-1990s as a founding member of the Broun Fellinis as much as for his connection with the soprano saxophone genius of New Orleans jazz pioneer Sydney Bechet. He’s one of the towering intellects of the music, graced with ample good humor and kindness. We’re always honored and pleased when David comes to play, and floored by the music, by turns titanic and lovely, that pours from his horn.

Sunday, 5/17, 7pm: Vocalist Sherri Roberts and pianist David Udolf are collaborators in music and life and household chores, including much dog walking. Incidentally, they’re wonderful musicians, both! They’ll present an evening of jazz standards, familiar and surprising, charming and impeccably performed. Settle in for a cozy hour of lovely music.

Sherri has several albums to her credit, supported by tremendous jazz colleagues from both coasts. David is a top flight pianist, arranger and musical director who works with such top talents as Mary Stallings, Denise Perrier, Jules Broussard and many more. Note the 7pm start, for David & Sherri’s east coast fans, friends and colleagues…

– – – – – – – – – – –

For book orders and to arrange delivery, phone us at 415-586-3733 to alert us to your needs, and then email [email protected] with good detail. If you don’t get a reply in 24 hours, let us know you’re still waiting. A few days later, check in with us to make sure everything is on track. We’ve made some gaffes getting our routines to work, but every day we learn a little more and improve our service. Thanks for putting your faith in us. We know it’s a deliberate effort to help this bookshop survive, and we appreciate it very much. 

and so ends our May 3rd update
thanks for hanging with us

the rest is history


the backstory:

4/28 update: Deliveries only, but we’re sure doing that. Dozens of orders are flowing through every week and just one worker to take care of them, so please call AND email your order, then follow up a day later. Glad to keep you in the books, but it takes  some doing!

The City has asked that non-essential businesses refrain from selling “at the door” — so that nice era a few weeks back has ended. Apparently, open air hand-offs may be ok, so when the proprietor isn’t out on deliveries it’s possible you can pick up on Chenery Street “at the curb.” [NB 5/1/20: that possibility has gone away, perhaps it was a pipe dream of ours. Now it’s really delivery only.]

Do get in touch if you’ve ordered a book and aren’t sure whether we have it for you at the shop. Chances are we do, and we do want to get it into your hands!

Thanks to your patronage, we’re keeping the lights on, paying the staff 100% of their wages while they shelter in place and paying the rent in full. That’s amazing, and don’t think we don’t appreciate it.

And don’t forget that the live music continues at Bird & Beckett — solo and co-habitating artists only, playing their charming hearts out for you. You can listen and watch from the comfort of your sheltering home, pretending you’re right back in the shop — right down to the ritual of throwing a $20 in the bucket to help us pay the musicians! They shouldn’t be playing for free, especially in these times.

If times are tight for you, we suggest a $2 donation. If you’re flush, we suggest $200. Anywhere you feel comfortable in that continuum is where we want you to be. It’s all about giving some gigging musicians a helping hand, as their paying work is dead in the water right now. Here’s where to donate:

3/24 update: more of same! and more still! 

The proprietor has been in the shop 11am to 7pm every day, now that we’re closed Mondays just six days a week, taking phone and email orders, passing books at first over the locked gate and now through the dutch door to patrons, and working to get the shop ready for the day we’re able to reopen to the public.

Our small staff is being paid for six weeks, and fingers are crossed. Good thing we run a lean machine here at Bird & Beckett!

So give the store a call at 415-586-3733 if you’d like to order a book or see if we have what you want on hand.

You can swing by to pick it up at the curb or up at the corner, if delivery is impractical for you.

Check or cash payment is preferred, but credit/debit cards are also fine.
Keeping cash in circulation seems always a good idea and checks are easy for us to deposit.
As for cards, we’re never anxious to give 3% of each purchase to the card issuers — we can better use that 3% towards rent and payroll, though we accept that it’s a cost of doing business.


3/19 update:

Tuesday the 19th is lost in the miasma of history, but Wednesday the 18th, we recall that we were very pleased to sell books over the locked gate to neighborhood folks Suzie, Matt, Mary and Ulrike and a pair of greeting cards to Denis, ordered a couple of books for Sherry and Carrie, put books on hold for Greg and Michelle and took a call from Emma to send a gift certificate to Kelsey. A banner day!

The pace let up a little on Thursday, but still a lot of books were being sold. And things have continued apace. Here it is the 23rd, at this writing, and the business is still in business, though the proprietor is considering reducing the store hours a bit and pressing on.

Musicians will slip into the empty store during the hiatus to play for the camera, live streamed out to anyone who’s alert to the possibility.

If you watch, or even if you only mean to, donate same as you would at a show to help us pay the musicians in this time when they’re taking a massive hit.  donate here! 

The live stream, if you’re registered on facebook, can be viewed here: facebook.com/bird.and.beckett. After the fact, you can view the recordings whether a facebook member or not.

Special thanks during this period to Reno & Kenny for working to replace some weak floorboards and tweak the stage lighting while the audiences have been held at bay, and to Allison for offering a computer and technical assistance to facilitate an e-commerce presence. Kicking & screaming only a tiny bit, we hope to let Bird & Beckett be prodded into the modern age.


Check our facebook page with the lingering evidence of the live-streamed performances of the Michael Zilber Trio on Friday the 13th and the Rebecca Kleinmann / Julio Lemos Duo on March 15th, just before it became necessary to bar audiences altogether. They were both great shows for small audiences, and the live stream allowed us to collect enough donations online to supplement what the audiences were able to do, so that we were able to pay the groups their basic guarantees and keep a few dollars for the shop. Wonderful performances and each an unqualified success!

This past weekend, the 20th to 22nd, we mounted three more shows, each time with no in-store audience whatsoever (not counting a roommate of the bassist and pianist on the 3/21 Kai Lyons show, and the wife of the pianist on the 3/22 Potrero Hillbillies show) and each time live streamed. For each of those shows, we garnered enough donations online that we’ve paid out anywhere from $150 to $200 per musician for their performances. It doesn’t make up for all the work the musicians have lost since the shelter-in-place situation began, but it’s something. Two of the three shows this coming weekend are scheduled, and we’re figuring out the third, plus a date for poet Tongo Eisen-Martin. Stand by and stay tuned!


Speaking of modern, check out our facebook page for video of the latest shipment arriving. New Rebecca Solnit, lots of appropriate books for homeschoolers (atlases of the world’s oceans, mythology, and much more).

Thanks for your support during trying times,

/s/Eric Whittington, Prop., since 1999





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The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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The Independent Musicians Alliance

Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.


Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site

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