“The road from appearance to reality is often very hard and long, and many people make only very poor travelers. We must forgive them when they stagger against us as if against a brick wall.” —Franz Kafka

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Meet Beat Baby


Back in the day, Mr. Lee's Dad was a "dirty beatnik". That was in San Francisco's North Beach in the '50s but he wasn't born on the west coast. He grew up in Chicago and started out playing in the Chicago Symphony but quickly discovered the jazz scene and started playing bass on the side in hardcore jazz clubs around town. This is odd for a couple of reasons...

1) He was a teenager

2) ...and a white guy.

But he was a musical prodigy so the band had him play from behind the curtain so the audience couldn't see he was a white guy.

Jim is a giant who, by the age of twelve, was over six feet tall, dressed (with money he made gigging) in pimped-out, hand-tailored silk suits, wore fine fedoras, and sported a mustache.


When he arrived in San Francisco he grew a beard and became part of the North Beach hard bop scene. Hence Mr. Lee, being one of the only babies to make the scene, is Beat Baby.

Sometimes during our off-road rambles through remote places, Mr. Lee tells me odd little stories about his childhood in San Francisco. I named him Beat Baby and decided that he should have his own comic strip but the idea never made it off the page. Today however, grounded because of the knee surgery, I started thumbing through an old notebook and found those first drafts so, rough though they be, I'm posting them here for your entertainment. I've also decided to create a page for Beat Baby on the ashabot in case I want to do more. I like him. He's a simple little fellow. I hope you will like him too.






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