Summer of Love lost on those living in Summer of Discontent

By Caille Millner : sfchronicle – excerpt

In our Summer of Discontent, what can we learn from the Summer of Love?

Since the Summer took place before I was born, I have no nostalgia, passions or bad memories about anything that happened in San Francisco in 1967.

I can tell that for some people it was a seminal event, judging by the extent of attention I’ve seen around the 50th anniversary. There have been at least 10 Bay Area museum exhibits celebrating some aspect of the Summer of Love this year. There have been endless free concerts, tours and tie-dyed public posters. There’s been even-more-extensive-than-usual glorification of the Grateful Dead.

I appreciate how all of this is an opportunity for a segment of Bay Area Baby Boomers to indulge in youthful memories of the good times. (Have fun, kids!)

But for those of us far too young to have been there, the Summer of Love has never felt as far away as it does in 2017.

On my way to the de Young Museum’s “Summer of Love Experience” exhibit, in Golden Gate Park, I traveled through the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. My misgivings began there.

San Francisco’s advanced state of economic inequality and neighborhood gentrification have led to strange street-level juxtapositions all over town. But the Haight is still a special place; these juxtapositions maintain a hard edge…

Continue reading “Summer of Love lost on those living in Summer of Discontent”

City to throw free Summer of Love concert in Golden Gate Park

Sam Whiting : sfchronicle – excerpt

People signed the banner celebrating the Peace Sign at the 2009 Summer of Love Concert. photo by zrants

After twice rejecting an independent producer’s plan to hold a free concert in Golden Gate Park to honor the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will throw its own free concert on June 21.

The Surrealistic Summer Solstice boasts it will feature members of the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Chambers Brothers, as well as “over 40 legendary musicians” in a jam that builds to a lighting of the Conservatory of Flowers in mandalas of psychedelic color.

“This is fundamentally a light installation where we are going to have music,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of Rec and Park.

That is not how Mill Valley promoter Boots Hughston sees it. Announcement of the June 21 event comes less than a week after Rec and Park staff rejected his second application for a scaled-down free concert to be held Aug. 27 in Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadow.

“Basically, they are trying to steal our event,” said Hughston, who was first denied a permit for a huge Summer of Love 50th anniversary concert June 4 at the Polo Field. In late May, he was offered the Aug. 27 date at smaller Sharon Meadow, pending permit approval, but that, too, was nixed when he allegedly violated terms dictated by Rec and Park staff not to announce the event… (more)

San Francisco City Hall is drenched in controversy over the on again off again Summer of Love Concert. They can’t seem to understand the importance of tradition when it comes to celebrating this event. Hint, it is not about a light show in the Conservatory of Flowers. It is a about Flowers in our hair and peace signs. Remember Peace signs?

 

Artist Activist Quandry

This letter is dedicated to all those artists, historians, and humanitarians who find themselves in this quandary of deciding what is important and what is not. I certainly do not have the answer. I do not believe there is one, only questions about the role history plays in the life of our planet  Earth.

Does preserving material artifacts and records of our historical achievements and failures have a lasting effect on the living? How important is it to preserve our art and historical and cultural history? Is it worth losing a life over? Many lives? Like I said, this is not an easy question to ask and impossible to answer, but, if we do take a moment to think about it, it may help us get past our own limited abilities long enough to feel we have a path forward that make sense because we took some time to think about our actions and our reasons to care.

Let us start at the beginning, or the beginning of history as we know it. How do we know it? We look at the ancient material things that were left by earlier civilizations and we ascertain much about how they lived on this earth. But, we do not actually experience any of these physical realities. We rely on “expert” humans who claim to know what the bones of dinosaurs mean. We rely on scientists to explain would they suspect happened when observe the remains of these civilizations and the physical pieces of what is left to indicate they existed. Few of us will ever see any of these articles in person or visit the ancient world and if we do we are not “educated” to understand what we are looking at…

Continue reading “Artist Activist Quandry”

Artist and Scavenger Stronghold Booted from SF Mission

By Laura Waxmann : missionlocal – excerpt

The new year marked the end of an era for the proprietors of Junko’s, a once clandestine thrift-store cabaret in the Mission and a two-decade stronghold of the city’s underground scavenging movement that unearthed everything from a letter from Ronald Reagan to a manuscript by Beat icon Neal Cassady.

The owners, Derek Felten and Michael McQuate, made careers out of a shared passion for dumpster-diving. They cited a city-mandated seismic retrofit of the property as the main reason for shutting down the converted storefront at 3527-29 20th St. near Mission Street.

It is a two-story commercial space that they built out and stewarded as a thrift store for 21 years, a time when it became the home for the city’s misfits and creatives.

On Wednesday, Felten, a performer and musician, and McQuate, a carpenter by trade, were rummaging through piles of stuff and sorting out valuables. But instead of salvaging thrown away treasures, the self-styled “scavengers” were reluctantly downsizing.

“They’re using [the seismic retrofit] as an excuse to get us out,” said McQuate, who was renting the space on a month-to-month lease. The building is managed by Greentree Property Management, a management firm that took over after the building was sold three years ago, said McQuate.

Adjacent to Junko’s, a 27-year-old botanica called Lucky Candle, also managed by Greentree, was evicted at the end of last year because of seismic retrofit work… (more)

This sounds so much like Beaux Arts and Tom I had to post it. Unfortunately I never heard of it and it is too late to check it out now, but it sounds interesting, flashy and chic at the same time. Add the history of film screenings piles of trendy trash, dumpster diving, and cats and you have a pretty close proximity to Tom Reese and his Beaux Arts.

At least Tom got to live out his years in his own place. He never got kicked out of his home. That is what is happening now to the elderly. They are the first to go. Rent control is no protection.

Continue reading “Artist and Scavenger Stronghold Booted from SF Mission”

In tribute to Tom Reese and Rational Radicals Everywhere

I am so understanding the confused state of mind Tom must have had when he, as a Navy Veteran from WWII who was stationed in England during the war and experienced the bombing in London, was confronted by the anti-war hippies that invaded his place during the 1960’s. As an earlier Beat, he probably took a less political stance at first. Gradually he was drawn into the other side.

I am feeling that confusion now, with the new administration we are facing. In many ways I am feeling that confusion as I have been dealing with the excesses of the Democratic Party and their embracing of the development industry that is destroying our cities.

Living in San Francisco my perspective is shattered. How can a benevolent society that takes on the mantel of being so open to freedom and choice, be so connected at the hip to the digital industry that is responsible for the robotization of our society and the surveillance state that we are fast becoming against our will?

I hope that the readers of this site will respond with art and poetry that we may share to express our feelings on these matters. At this strange time in history it feels like we need to rely on art more than ever. Please think of this as an invitation to send your art and your feelings about what feels like a cultural revolution. Go out and make films and write songs and send me your links.

Sincerely,

Mari Eliza, A keeper of the Tom Reese tradition of radical rational politics in these troubled times.

Kerouac in Encyclopaedia Britannica

I finally managed to convince the editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica online that Jack Kerouac did indeed frequent the Beaux Arts coffee house (Pinellas Park) and my first college pub The Wild Boar (Tampa) as well.

But the EB editors found my lines about finding Kerouac still drunk in his car outside The Wild Boar the morning after unsuitable for publication. I don’t understand why really. After all, they report that he was nearly beaten to death by fellow drinkers whom he had “antagonized” in another bar. Then what’s so dangerous about saying that he slept off his hangover in the car outside The Wild Boar?

Anyway, I thought you would be happy to know that the Beaux Arts has now been immortalized by the EB online in their narrative of Kerouac’s life.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year ever!

Love,

Hugh

P.S. Follow this link: additions-and-corrections-to-the-eb-online

“Is This the End of the Underground?”

By Jessie Schiewe : sfweekly – excerpt

Bay Area cellist Zoe Keating takes to Facebook to laud warehouses as the impetus of her career and poses questions about what the Ghost Ship fire means for the future of underground, DIY spaces.

Though she now lives in the forest near Occidental in a decades old house made of redwoods, when Keating first moved to the Bay Area, she lived in a warehouse on Natoma Street in San Francisco.

“I wouldn’t be the artist I am today if not for living almost seven years in an “illegal” warehouse at 964 Natoma St in S.F.,” she wrote. “We hosted many cross-pollinating, genre-busting experimental events that could never have happened anywhere else. Not only was it inexpensive to live there, so I could focus on my art, but I was attracted to this alternative way of living where life, work and art were merged, meals were shared and social serendipity was built-in. The things I saw and heard and the people I met and talked to and the work I did as a result…it all made me the person I am today.”… (more)

The live-work art studios in the old warehouses did make the underground art scene a special place. the communal nature of mixing art and life and the 24 hour energy is not easy to replicate, but It can be done and will happen again, although maybe somewhere new. Someone must be building a new art scene somewhere.