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Thiel sought his literary fortunes in San Francisco in 1963, where he moved into the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and discovered the burgeoning scene of Beat poets centered around Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights bookstore. Allen Ginsberg was a familiar face in the neighborhood, and, for a time, an unknown singer named Janis Joplin rehearsed beneath his poet’s loft. He later relocated to New York City, where he sold poems on the streets of Greenwich Village for a quarter apiece; saw W. H. Auden hanging out in the back at poetry readings; and encountered Andy Wharhol as a “white ghost” always hovering silently around the literary and artistic scene. He also witnessed the Stonewall Uprising, the acts of protest and civil disobedience that launched the Gay Liberation movement

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