This entry refers to a departed business — a business that has closed or left town. Information here is mostly for historical reference.

Former Location
1500 Block of Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
(St. George Hotel)
Ronald Bevirt, Peter Demma
Business Lifespan

The Hip Pocket Bookstore was a bookstore downtown that featured 'free-thinking' literature.

The Hip Pocket Bookstore was located in the space that the Saddle Rock Restaurant had previously occupied in the St. George Hotel building.

Owners Bevirt and Demma were close to the Merry Pranksters, and Neal Cassady worked at The Hip Pocket from time to time. The Further bus could be seen parked outside of The Hip Pocket once in awhile, with Ken Kesey on hand. A poster for the first Acid Test was displayed at the Hip Pocket in 1965.

Backlash in the community did result when nudist magazines were sold and two controversial art exhibitions were held at The Hip Pocket. In September of 1964, two nude sculptures were installed by artist Ron Boise over the front door of the bookstore. A St. George Hotel resident complained. Later Bevirt and Demmer were taken to court over charges that photos they had up in the store by Walter Chappell were obscene. The photos were of nude men, close-up. Part of their defense in court in November of 1965 was testimony by psychologist Leon Taberly who said he believed the photos to be on a, "Higher Plane."1Taberly later went on to open The Barn in Scotts Valley, a psychedelic music venue. Some of the evidence introduced by the prosecution during the trial was pictures of cabbage. Peter Demma recalls in an interview with Ralph Abraham, "One of the items that was confiscated was a photograph of a cabbage cut in half and you could see all the erotic things taking place in the design of the cut cabbage. That was evidence."2

Leon Taberly was a friend of Bevirt and Demma's, and he had also been a presenter in the series of free speech nights at the bookstore, which were held with a different topic each week. Taberly's presentation was on marijuana, and Peter Demma recalls it was a time, "before anyone besides ethnics and musicians and gangsters had anything to do with marijuana."2

One of Boise's last art works created, a kinetic sculpture, was on exhibit at The Hip Pocket and caused a fire after hours, which was extinguished by authorities. This was in the final months of the business.

When the Hip Pocket Bookstore closed, its stock of books was sold and went on to establish Bookshop Santa Cruz.

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