It’s His Party; You’re Invited: Celebrate at Doc’s Lab in San Francisco, Carol and John Steinbeck’s Kind of Place

Poster image of John Steinbeck's birthday bash at Doc's Lab in San Francisco

“Lovebattles: Carol and John Steinbeck in the 1930s” is an odd theme for a party, but the author’s 2015 birthday celebration in San Francisco perfectly embodies the bohemian lifestyle of John Steinbeck, his wife Carol Henning, and the colorful circle around Doc’s Lab, Ed Ricketts’s legendary gathering place down the coast on Cannery Row. The new Doc’s Lab—a San Francisco club and restaurant with a storied past of its own—will feature spoken word, food and drink, and songs by Woody Guthrie beginning at 7:00 p.m. on February 28. Dramatic entertainment includes the writer Susan Shillinglaw as Carol Henning, the actor Taelen Thomas as John Steinbeck, and the music of Woody Guthrie (The Ballad of Tom Joad) performed by Steve Mortenson.

Image of Susan Shillinglaw, author of John and Carol Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage

Susan Shillinglaw will also read excerpts from Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage, the popular book she wrote that inspired the idea for the unusual evening. Doc’s Lab’s intimate cellar—former home of the famous Beat-era club, Purple Onion—is party-central for the February 28 event, and City Lights Books, the Beats’ literary home just down the street, is the co-sponsor. Doc’s Lab is located at 124 Columbus Avenue on the western edge of San Francisco’s Jackson Square Historic District. But remember: Carol and John Steinbeck were always casual, even when they argued, so come as you are.

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  1. herb behrens says:

    Hey, I used to work at a bookstore on Columbus avenue that was NOT City Lights. It was two doors down from Vesuvius’s. I think it was at the Purple Onion that I saw Mort Sahll, Prof, Irwin Corey and the Limelights.

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