653 Chenery Street
in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood

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


Live Streams every weekend!
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But nothing beats being in the room
with the music & the musicians!

New on the shelves…

Hot off the press, on our shelves for your perusal… Three novels we’d be more than happy to read, if only we had the time… maybe you do? Mention reading about any of them in this post, and we’ll knock 15% off the price. Or click on the image and buy it through our online store…

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You Don’t Miss Your Water…

Get Lost Books…Cover to Cover…Modern Times…even Borders! Gone or on the ropes… Stacey’s…Cody’s…Black Oak Books! Just a memory… You don’t miss your water…’til your well runs dry! Can I get a witness!? Send your thoughts to [email protected] and we’ll see if we can use them to make the point in a way that resonates with all those who still think that Amazon’s just the slickest way to get a book!

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PEOPLE POWER! language & voice! BIG EASY PIANISTICS! 3 EVENTS: SUNDAY, MARCH 20th 1:30 pm- A worldwide reading in solidarity with jailed dissident poet Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. 3 pm- POET! Mary Winegarden reads from “The Translator’s Sister” 3/20 – 4:30 & 5:30 (2 sets) – which way west? concert Macy Blackman and the Mighty Fines Answering a call by the Berlin International Literature Festival for worldwide simultaneous readings, we…

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B&B at the Balboa 3/14 – Philip Guston Event

B&B at the Balboa-Philip Guston: A Life Lived + Discussed The Balboa Theatre (Balboa at 37th Avenue) has invited Bird & Beckett to collaborate with them from time to time to present book events paired with films! And so, with great anticipation, we offer you as our first event: Monday, March 14 – 7 pm Bill Berkson + Clark Coolidge in dialogue on the artist Philip Guston, with a rare screening of the 1980 documentary “Philip Guston: A Life Lived.” Program introduced by Patrick James Dunagan UC Press has just published Philip Guston: Collected Writings, Lectures and Conversations, edited by Clark Coolidge, noted poet, musician and a collaborator with Guston in 1991 on the book Baffling Means: Writings/Drawings. Bill Berkson, who himself collaborated with the artist on the 1975 book of poems, Guston: Enigma Variations, is a poet, art writer and corresponding editor for Art in America who for many…

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POETS! David Gitin

Poet David Gitin reads from“the journey home” Sunday, March 13th 2 pm Gitin came of age in Buffalo, NY — where he came to know such giants in American poetry as Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, Ed Dorn, John Wieners, Robert Kelly and Diane Wakoski.  He traveled out to San Francisco in the late ’60s… co-founded Poets Theater with Jim Wilson at the Straight Theater in the Haight-Ashbury…with broadcasts on KPFA…a few brief months…di Prima, Whalen, Geo. Hitchcock… took the tools at hand to publish Bricoleur, whose first issue came out in late 1969 with poems by Michael McClure, David Meltzer, Janine Pommy Vega, Clark Coolidge, Clifford Burke, Charles Amirkhanian, George Oppen, poems from Biafra, from Nahuatl poets,  and others… (hear an audio interview on the occasion of the publication of this first issue at http://www.archive.org/details/C_1969_11_29)

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Pramoedya Ananta Toer

The Buru Quartet read it! Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) The sequence of novels comprising This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass were composed orally while Pramoedya was imprisoned on the Indonesian island Buru,  in the Malay Archipelago, where the Suharto regime held thousands of political prisoners.  Denied writing materials, Pramoedya told these stories to his fellow prisoners; only later were they written down, smuggled out and eventually published — and banned by the Indonesian government. They reveal much about the human reality of colonial oppression, and Pramoedya’s life speaks volumes about the nature of authoritarian regimes.

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www? Time is now, not money

lorin benedict scat vocal scott r. looney piano bishu chatterjee bass bryan bowman drums an afternoon of spontaneous music interrupting the expected sun., mar. 6 4:30/5:30 which way west? a weekly concert series at Bird & Beckett

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POETS! Foust, Rader, Stein

3 poets – 1 reading Sunday Mar. 6, 2pm Rebecca Foust – Dean Rader – Melissa Stein                     fresh voices, award winners all, speaking with assurance & grace…  

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Community trumps Amazon

You can help us beat Amazon to kindling! Our sales were 22% lower this February than last… and this, despite a supposedly recovering economy. Thank goodness for the strong community that’s grown up around the bookshop; we’ve got a lot of faith that that’s what will pull us through. Ultimately, nothing will beat the power of individuals pulling together as a group when they recognize their role in keeping their neighborhoods vital. Bird & Beckett is proud to be a community hub in San Francisco, and one that’s particularly keen on giving writers, musicians and others a venue through which to reach the rest of us. But we’re also a bookstore; we need to sell books to stay viable. And, in fact, we’re very keen on helping to keep the physical book itself viable and central to the culture. For some purposes, e-readers have their place, we don’t doubt.  And…

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Previously perused & priced right

Previously perused & priced right ALL USED BOOKS 20% OFF THROUGH SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27th AT BIRD & BECKETT! It may soon be a bookworld without borders, but let’s do keep it a bookworld, shall we?  Throw your kindle on the fire and pull up a comfy chair… adjust your reading light just so… pour a cup of tea.  You can paddle up the Amazon another day… Through the end of the month, sneak off to Bird & Beckett to shop for a real live used book and we’ll knock 20% off the tab… Join us Friday evening for jazz in the bookshop with Chuck Peterson’s 230 Jones Street Local 6 Literary Jazz Band… Sunday afternoon, come for Walker’s retelling of Dostoevski’s “The Idiot”… and later that day, hear Pakistani vocalist Riffat Sultana with Ferhan Qureshi on tabla and Shiraz Ali Khan on guitar. Ah bliss!

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www? Caton/Winne – SF Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival

Don’t let the old-time pass you by! Alex Caton & Pete Winne fly in from Virginia to play Bird & Beckett Sunday, Feb. 20, at 4:30 pm on the final day of this year’s Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival. Fiddle, banjo, guitar & sublime Appalachian vocal harmonies bring old-time and sacred tunes to life. From Bird & Beckett, hop BART to Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to catch the Festival’s closing show: SF’s own, sublimely wonderful Crooked Jades, backed by Portland’s Water Tower Bucket Boys, following Central Valley young’un & old soul Frank Fairfield . Here at Bird & Beckett, we hosted Seattle-based Cahalen Morrison & Eli West last weekend, and it was a smash success. Cahalen’s an amazing songwriter and their vocal & instrumental blend is heartstoppingly gorgeous. And Monday, we caught San Francisco’s own Emily Bonn & the Vivants at Amnesia, and were floored by their classic country spunk.

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books, ideas, insights: North Africa

Thinking about North Africa Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian author of dozens of important and compulsively readable books and Nobel prize winner in 1988, is known for his masterwork, the three-volume Cairo Trilogy, completed in the 1950s; however, after a hiatus of several years, numerous books followed until his death in 2006. Bird & Beckett patrons are invited to email us at [email protected] (using the subject line “books, ideas, insights”) with your assessment of any of his books and the insights they provide into modern Egyptian life, economics and politics. We’d also like your feedback on the work of other writers, so that we can all broaden our view — fiction, history, economics, politics; it’s all important.

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POETS! Robert Anthony & Larry Maykel hosted by tru-bop master Jerry Ferraz

POETS! hosted by tru-bop master Jerry Ferraz Jerry Ferraz, a native of this soil – Eureka Valley born – a wandering bard of the San Francisco back lanes – painter of the zen comedy, has kept Glen Park and Bird & Beckett on his peripatetic route for many years, tuning the space twice a month for pairs of featured poets and a revolving and ever expanding cast of open mic denizens. Read his poem “Dharma Dream Walk” and others at www.sfheart.com/sfpoets/jerry_ferraz.html Tonight at Bird & Beckett, Monday, Feb. 7, 7-9pm, Jerry presents Robert Anthony and Larry Maykel. Sign up for the open mic at 7pm; open starts at 8. Carlota del Portillo and Priya Kailath sponsor the series, allowing us to pay a small honorarium to the featured poets; your addition of a dollar or two to the pot allows us to honor them, and their art, more fully.

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www? Tango No. 9

Tango No. 9 Today, Sunday, Feb. 6, 4:30 to 6:30 pm Two sets of classic, nuevo and original tangos from San Francisco masters of the genre, with vocalist Zoltan DiBartolo!

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Performers Under Stress

Beckett / Pinter / Wine –  PUS plus B&B Saturday, Feb. 5th, 7:30 to 9:30 pm. Wine tasting, food from Destination Bakery, The Cheese Boutique, Canyon Market, Monterey Deli and more, and performances of short theatre pieces by two Nobel prize winning playwrights dear to our hearts, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.  Proceeds benefit both PUS (Performers Under Stress) and Bird & Beckett.

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www? Moh Alileche

Moh Alileche: Flag of Freedom Moh Alileche, hailing from the mountainous Kabylia region of Algeria, is a renowned Amazigh (Berber) player of the 12-stringed mondol.  Based for the past two decades in the Bay Area, he brings his ensemble back to Bird & Beckett on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 4:30 pm as part of the store’s ongoing Sunday concert series dubbed “which way west?”.   

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POETS! Rockpile

Rockpile Revisited Sunday, January 30, at 2:00 pm, the poets’ roadshow known as Rockpile rolls into Bird & Beckett.  David Meltzer and Michael Rothenberg spent several months crisscrossing the country in 2009 with numerous forays out in 2010, converging with poets and musicians in a couple dozen localities, making art from their moment-to-moment experiences.

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Piano Marathon a huge success!

Piano Marathon a huge success! From Si Perkoff’s opening Monk tune to Macy Blackman’s killer closing set that encapsulated the whole history of New Orleans piano styles, from Jelly Roll Morton to Dr. John and Henry Butler — with stops along the way for brilliant turns at the piano by Don Alberts, Jon Jang, Randy Craig, Steve Shapiro, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong, Dorothy Lefkovits, Nora Maki, Allison Lovejoy, Rebecca Whittington and Bonnie Knight…

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Piano Marathon

Noon to 9 Piano Marathon on Saturday 1/22/11- A Bird & Beckett Benefit! Bring your checkbook! This Saturday, a cavalcade of pianists will coax beautiful music from the Yamaha P22 studio upright piano that we’re raising the money to buy from Oakland’s Piedmont Piano Company. If 100 of you put up $25 apiece, the job will be done! More’s the better! No donation is too small, too big or unappreciated! Since its early years on Diamond Street, Bird & Beckett has kept a piano on the premises- some good, some not so good, but none as wonderful as the one we’ve borrowed at no cost from Piedmont Piano this past year. Now, they’d like us to buy the thing, and we’d love to do it! Betty Wong, who plays at 4 pm Saturday, just gave it a workout and told us it “plays like butter”- she urged us, “don’t let…

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Walker Brents III on Goethe’s Faust

Faust’s Deal with the Devil – Sun. 2:30pm On the fourth Sunday of each month, Walker Brents III plumbs the depths of subjects literary, mythological and historical…  always a fascinating excursion into the realm of human imagination… Through the years, Walker has gained a loyal audience for his monthly talks at Bird & Beckett… for reasons that will become abundantly clear once you grab a seat and open your ears… This month: Walker takes a look at the classic deal with the devil through the lens of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust. 2:30 pm, Sunday, 1/23/11

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www? Nancy Wright Trio

Nancy Wright Trio @ which way west? 4:30 to 6:30 this Sunday, January 23, in our weekly concert series, we present a wonderful organ trio, with Wayne Delacruz at the keys and Kent Bryson on the skins, led by the fabulous tenor player Nancy Wright… you heard her here before (with Macy Blackman’s band called the “Mighty Fines”), now hear her in an intimate setting that recalls moments in the best fire-lit lounge in which you’ve ever sipped a highball…

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www? Rudy Mwongozi & Paula Hackett – jazz/poetry

Rudy Mwongozi w/Paula Hackett Rudy Mwongozi left Oakland for NYC a few years ago, but he’s here on a visit, and we’re thrilled to have him back on Sun., Jan. 16 at 4:30 at the Bird & Beckett piano — a might better piano than before, we might add — one we’re saving up to buy (come back Jan. 22 to help us pull that off!)  Rudy’s a marvel & plays every part of the instrument, digging into those keys and strings like no one else.  Today, he’ll be joined by his good friend and collaborator, Paula Hackett, a poet who Rudy backed to terrific effect on her cd, “Roulette.”

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POETS! OR: The Otis Review

OR: The Otis Review Editor & poet Paul Vangelisti will be up from Los Angeles for this reading, joined by Neeli Cherkovski, Art Beck and Michael Rothenberg.  Sunday, January 16 at 2 pm.

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Scholars of the Arab Empire

Scholars of the Arab Empire Dr. Wajih Ibrahim Saadeh has synthesized his knowledge of the development of Arab thought, its roots and its influence on Western ideas in a series of books.  His lecture on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 1 pm will set forth an overview of Arab philosophy and its effect on the European enlightenment.

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www? A Re-Coronation of Norton I, Emperor of These United States and Protector of Mexico

A Re-Coronation of Norton I, Emperor of These United States and Protector of Mexico Sunday, January 9, 2011, at 4:30 pm, join us for a Re-Coronation of Norton I, Emperor of These United States and Protector of Mexico, on the occasion of the 131st anniversary of his death.  During his 21-year reign, the good Emperor abolished the political parties, dissolved Congress, and called for alterations in the existing laws of the Union that might ameliorate the evils under which the country did labor, and to thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in the stability of our great land.

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Celebrate the New Year with Bird & Beckett

Celebrate the New Year with Bird & Beckett $35 buys a convivial evening of music, food and- at midnight-  free champagne, plus the company of neighbors and friends. Don Prell (bass) and Raymond Scott (guitar) will kick off the evening at 8:00 pm, and then the Chuck Peterson Quintet will swing it on through ’til the new year begins. So long 2010, hello 2011!

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New Books on the shelves- Cleopatra, Stephen Sondheim and More

Stacy Schiff’s new biography of Cleopatra and Stephen Sondheim on Stephen Sondheim Two terrific books on the shelf in the bookshop (and orderable through our online store): Stacy Schiff’s biography of the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra: A Life has received raves in the press (see the New York Times review here) and from bookshop patrons as well. As for Finishing the Hat, Steven Sondheim’s “Collected Lyrics with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes”, it’s bound to give any fan hours of pleasure…  Both come highly recommended!

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Bishop Norman Williams passes away December 8, 2010

Legendary alto player Bishop Norman William passes away, December 8, 2010 We’re saddened to note the passing of Bishop Norman Williams, a much loved and respected alto player born in Kansas City in 1938, and a fixture on the San Francisco scene since 1961.  He played with top-flight musicians from Phineas Newborn to George Coleman to Max Roach, and countless others, and was a teacher on the bandstand to a whole generation of bop-inclined San Francisco musicians who are among the finest of the young players around today.  Read more on Bishop on our tumblr blog.

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Autobiography of Mark Twain

Autobiography of Mark Twain One of the really big books of the season. Stands to reason! Twain dictated this material (which will run to three volumes when publication is complete) in the last four years of his life- charging his executors with the instruction that it was to remain unpublished until he’d been dead a hundred years. One of a handful of America’s greatest writers, handling material he’d been anxious to compile for three decades or more- during which time he’d made numerous false starts. Beginning in January 1906, however, he dictated to a stenographer almost daily, working in as well some of the earlier attempts, and declared the job done in December 1909. Here’s the first third, in all its glory!

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Books for the holidays, and for the moment!

Books for the holidays, and for the moment! Patti Smith‘s new memoir about her youthful times with Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids, went to paperback in late September and won the National Book Award in mid-November. It’s been a moving and gratifying reading experience for dozens of people we’ve talked to in the shop. And then there’s Keith Richards‘ biography, published last month in hardcover, called Life. Keith’s lived a baker’s dozen of them already – lives, that is – and writes about them with terrific narrative drive and humor. Rock stars, both- and as it turns out, prose writers to the core. Keith had more help than Patti, we understand, but proved his mettle as an editor with this one.

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Cease Fire


Your donation to the Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project helps us pay for a multitude of operating expenses necessary to present, promote and preserve local music, poetry, and more.

Help us keep the arts alive and thriving!

The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project was created in 2007 "to present, document and archive the creative work of significant living writers and musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, for a neighborhood audience and future generations." We've been doing that very thing for more than a decade and a half, continuing the work we began when the store was established in 1999.

Due to lapses in tax filings during and post-pandemic, the BBCLP's status as a registered nonprofit was suspended at the beginning of April 2024 while we reapply, which is expected to take about six months. Donations made after April 1st will not be tax-deductible until nonprofit status is restored.

However, we continue to present a full slate of programming live music and poetry, and producing literary chapbooks, and we seek and welcome your continued financial support in the interim. If a tax-deduction is not a major reason for your support to date, we hope you'll continue to ride with us while we navigate these next several months.

Click on "donate" in the navigation bar above, drop off a check at the bookshop, or drop one in the mail to:

Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project
653 Chenery Street
San Francisco, CA 94131

Call us at (415) 586-3733 to find out how else you might lend your support.

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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