Next time you run across a brat of schoolchildren -- "brat" being the collective noun for any assemblage of kids under age 11 -- try to imagine which will be the first to get his or her mind blown by seminal William S. Burroughs
books like Naked Lunch
. How will they respond after their first exposure to Burroughs' wild narcotic imagination? Will WSB's tales of gutter junkies, insane surgeons, and sinister control agents warp the readers' brains for better (freeing them from society's psychological jail cells) or worse (sending them into a drugged-up death race to the asylum/morgue)? Maybe some of those kids will end up here tonight, when two lifelong subculture chroniclers -- publisher V. Vale
and photographer Charles Gatewood
-- host a party in honor of what would have been Burroughs' 95th Birthday. The two will read WSB texts, show rare pictures, and dish insider gossip based on their personal experiences with the author. If your Burroughs knowledge is limited to Steely Dan band trivia, this should be stop number one on the way home from work. The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Beat Museum, located at 540 Broadway (just east of Columbus) in North Beach.