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”


Mayor Ed Lee – Support the 50 year Anniversary of the Summer of Love

Open Letter to the Mayor of San Francisco:


Mayor Ed Lee,

So far this concert has had more interference than Super Bowl and it is coming from City Hall. You wasted no time in supporting big sports events that close down major sections of the city for days at a time and cost the taxpayers and small businesses millions of dollars. Why not support a free concert that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love festival when the world needs Peace and Love now more than ever?

Where are all those liberated people who filled the streets with protest when Trump was elected who marched for women’s rights, LGBT rights, human rights and peace? Where are the protests and support for a free music event that celebrates the movement that started it all? Are we so jaded that we forgot all those who fought for our freedom and sanctuary status? Why are there no new protest songs on the top 40 list?

Does San Francisco only support events that involve millions of dollars and walls and fences in SF while protesting Trump’s wall with Mexico? Get with it Mayor Lee. Dig out your 60’s gear, peace signs and pipes and lead the parade for the Summer of Love, or at least kick it into high gear now.

Concerned Citizen of the world

The right to remain

By Rupa Marya : 48hills – excerpt

Thanks to capitalism, the rate of change of culture now does not let deep roots settle–anywhere. But it doesn’t have to be that way

This story is about a place that once was in San Francisco, but it could be anywhere in the world. We watched the phenomenon in Pinellas Park in the 1980’s and now we see it everywhere. It is important to remember where we came from and this is a special place that deserves recognition. This is the story about the capitalist society that eats its own.

Seven years ago, on a weekend like this past one, we would be sitting at The Revolution Cafe in the Mission district. All day. Until about 3am. It was highly unproductive and totally productive. Listening to live music, greeting friends who stopped by. It was the place so many of us would migrate to in the middle of our weekend and then get stuck at as a revolving crew of musicians would show up before gigs, after gigs, and take up the microphone and drop some wizardry down.

Conversations would strike up between unlikely folks, all sitting on the wooden benches that local John Kyle built, before the benches themselves were evicted. We were undocumented, we were hungry and totally full. We were vibrating with a certain cultural evolution that only happens when people have time and space and density to rub up against one another. We were teachers, artists, writers, social workers, librarians, janitors, doctors, students, musicians, seekers, dreamers, busboys, hairdressers, flight attendants, travelers, filmmakers, wanderers. We were bilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual even. Highly unproductive. And pulsing with possibility…(more)

Looking for a story

I know there are a number of writers who are getting these messages and now I need some help from you.

The big story is how Beaux Arts was one of the first cultural institutions to be shut down. Your shutdown came about early but the damage and the shutdown of arts and culture is now universal. San Francisco culture is pretty much on life support. More on that later.

I have my theories on why Beaux Arts was one of the first, but, you who stayed there should be better qualified to answer that question. How do you explain a city that kills the independent artists at Beaux Arts and embraces the international fame of Dali? Or did I just answer my own question? Is it all about embracing money and fame?

Maybe someone has already written this story. If so let me know. Our concerns about the culture are much broader than just art and creative endeavors.

What spurred this request is my concern that San Francisco’s fresh produce stands in the Mission District and most of our ethnic neighborhoods are at risk due to the extreme anti-car policies that are making it difficult to deliver fresh produce.

I was shocked by the lack of fresh produce stands that were left in St. Petersburg the last time I was there. Does anyone know how they disappeared? I would like to know if any of the issues that killed yours are at play in San Francisco. We are literally looking at a fresh food deprivation situation that is being exacerbated by the anti-car mania at City Hall. Eliminating produce shops in San Francisco will kill the small farms that are providing the produce to them. This also applies to the cafes and restaurants serving local food that San Francisco is famous for. Killing our traditional food sources would usher in a new wave of formula retail that many neighborhoods are fighting against.

For anyone who is not aware, the Interior Department threw out a huge Oyster Farm that reportedly supplied 40% of California’s fresh oysters, claiming that the farm was an environmental hazard to the area. Oysters clean the water. They do not soil it. Now the state is considering how to “develop” the area. Across the street from the Oyster farm there is an organic beef farm. Wait till they close that. Less organic beef will drive the costs of beef up. During a drought, the ocean side grass grows because of the fog. No need to irrigate. Perfect place to produce food. This is why many people around the area are up in arms with the government.

I am working with SF merchant groups to warn people and we are hoping to turn that around during the next election. Many of us feel this is the last stand. In November we either win or lose the heart and soul of San Francisco.

We have many examples and sites about the vestiges of our fading San Francisco culture, and the fight to salvage it, but the following video by a New Yorker explains our situation really well:

Just watch a few of the first minutes of this video if you don’t have time to watch any more. He goes into a lot of economic theories etc. later in the tape if you are interested and have the time.

Douglas Rushkoff Deconstructs the Digital Economy

New Yorker writer who used to come to San Francisco for respite from the Wall Street rat race comments on how tech has sucked the soul out of San Francisco.

Douglas Rushkoof : 92Y (video) part of the transcript below…

In my early writing days I would go to SF to find out what‚s happening next and get this sort of spiritual, deeply humanistic recharge and then come to New York and argue why all these great things are going to happen and how human potential is gonna∑ and I would be arguing against publishers who would just laugh me out of the room.

I remember my first book on San Francisco internet culture, it got canceled in 1992 because the publisher thought the internet would be over by 1993 when the book would come out. And they saw those crazy San Francisco people and their peace and love stuff.

And I was out there for a week, and there was really not a vestige of that sensibility. If anything it felt to me, this New Yorker was going to San Francisco to remind them of the humanity underneath these technologies and the possibility for peer to peer interaction and all that. And it is strange.

And now I come back to New York and you would think, oh here it‚s this New York thing and we are in the Bloomberg Bubble and all, and∑ it‚s very relaxing for me. It‚s a strange sort of homecoming. And you would think, this is Wall Street, that this would be the more severe place. And it‚s actually the opposite. And I don‚t know quite how I‚m going to deal with that.

I guess I should be glad I didn‚t move out. I stayed and you know if you wait long enough, you end up in the human place∑

What‚s going on there, it‚s in the title of the book. it was really crystallized by my twitter stream when I saw that people were laying in front of the buses that Google was using to transport its workers from San Francisco to the Google place down in Mountain View… (more)

– Douglas Rushkoof


More later. Just need some help figuring this out. What are root causes are to fight the cultures we love. All Theories welcome.


Cultural challenges on the globle stage

Editorial – for the Beaux Arts community who remember when…

Elif Safak, is a Turkish author discussing discussing theories about the cultural aspects of violence on France 24. She feels the violence is based on cultural conflicts born out of unmet economic challenges and not so much rooted in religious conflict. I shall leave it up to you to investigate that further.

In San Francisco we are going through a more subtle version of a cultural shift away from art and cultural diversity toward a didactic capitalist Disney Vegas sports arena transient lifestyle. Artists and cultural leaders are fighting to preserve our historical roots and keep our cultural institutions intact and out of the hands of gentrifying developers who want to destroy them. Our goal is preservation of our lifestyles and cultural institutions. Their goal is unlimited personal wealth and power. They want to lease the Palace of Fine Art, one of our most famous historical tourist sites, to a hotel for 55 years, and have already tainted it with a hideous sports label seen here.


The ultimate in crass commercialism on display at the Palace of Fine Arts now.

San Francisco is going through the cultural revolution that destroyed Beaux Arts during the 1980’s. It is also easy to see how the battle is lining up.

Their tools are money, political power, corruption, (for which there are ongoing investigations) forced gentrification and housing density leading to displacement of long-time San Francisco citizens. They are hire young, inexperienced, out-of-state socially primed urban planners from outside to re-design our city. These planners are  promised a piece of the shrinking economic pie. They do not live in San Francisco, have no knowledge of our history, land or communities. The ultimate insult is the PR and lobby machine they use to push their plans at our expense to convince us that we have no choice in how our communities are is developed.

Our goal is to keep our historical roots and the properties that have weathered earthquakes and the strains of time. We are trying to protect San Francisco’s heritage and reputation as a cultural and spiritual center for creative people who revere peace, love and understanding to keep the dream alive.

Our tools are a strong political will that has crossed many social barriers. We know how to use the law to protect ourselves and we have truth on our side. The Bay Area natives are getting restless and preparing to rebel.

The local transit authorities have overplayed the anti-car position by creating one of the worst traffic zones in the nation. You may not be concerned about a new tower going up downtown, but the traffic jam outside your door will get your attention. Irate drivers know who to blame. Add the tent cities filling up the sidewalks all over town by the growing homeless population and you have an uncomfortable populace demanding changes.

Here is how San Francisco got here and why the Mayor barely won the last election.

First they claimed “parking is a privilege not a right”.  Some of us fought them and we won a few battles. Next they told us we don’t need our cars (the ultimate symbol of independence). More people fought back but some folks trusted them and gave up their cars. Now they are coming for our homes, jacking up the rent, Ellis Act evictions, foreclosures, owner buyouts, threats, fires, whatever they can do to grab more land, claiming, “If you can’t afford to live in San Francisco, you shouldn’t live here.” 

Now imagine this happening in the middle East or a trendy European city full of disenchanted youth. Could that be the cultural divide Elif is talking about?



Paradise Lost

San Francisco is selling its soul. Watch out because they are coming after your city too.

I used to be rather involved in the local San Francisco music scene when there was one. Did a little PR for bands and artists. One of them was the Paradise Lounge. Hanging out Above Lounge, I wrote song called, “Everybody’s got an angle”, because everybody I knew one. Nothing has changed in that regard, except that now, all the time we had to be creative, socialize, and have fun is taken up just getting around town. It used to take 20 minutes. Now it takes up to an hour depending on when and how you go. We might as well live in LA. Many musicians moved there when the rehearsal studios closed down.

The city that used to know how has forgotten how to live graciously in peace and harmony. It has turned into a stressed out society that seduces itself by playing with small screens. Being creative now means sticking it to someone else so you can climb up the ladder of your idea of success. My description of the disruptive “sharing economy” is taking as much of everyone’s share as you can grab.

Here is a sample of what we used to see Above Paradise:

With gallery in the living room, S.F. home is where the art is

With gallery in the living room, S.F. home is where the art is

Anna Conti and husband David Sumner have made opening their home to fellow artists a cornerstone in their lives in the 25 years they’ve rented the Spanish-style typical Sunset District row house at 41st Avenue and Judah Street.

“We had a weekly dinner for a time on Wednesdays, we hosted artist roundtables on Fridays here, and I don’t know how many variations on open studio days we’ve participated in,” Conti, a painter, says from her former living room.

Now the house is giving artists sanctuary in a new way. Conti and Sumner have transformed the front rooms of their home into a roughly 372-square-foot gallery they call BigCrow Studio, with an emphasis on showing works by local artists, many of whom are longtime friends and part of a vanishing working-class artist population in San Francisco that has found itself in a kind of diaspora because of rising rents.

The idea for BigCrow Studio’s public opening came to Conti, 63, and Sumner, 56, in the fall after they sold much of their furniture to pay for medical expenses relating to Sumner’s eight-year fight with leukemia and in anticipation of eventually downsizing their living situation. The couple, who are retired and rely on Conti’s Social Security, looked at the empty walls and saw an exhibition space. After ripping up the wall-to-wall carpet, cleaning the hardwood underneath and giving the walls a few coats of paint, Conti and Sumner curated BigCrow’s first show, “Premiere,” which opened in October, featuring 40 works by over a dozen artists. The show, like all shows thus far at BigCrow, mainly utilized the former living and dining rooms and eventually spread out into the foyer and hall.

“It may seem like we uprooted our lives to do this, but really, the gallery is just a logical extension of what we’ve done for years — inviting our friends to share their work,” photographer Sumner says. “Now we have official hours for the public to visit on Fridays and Saturdays.”

In addition to giving artists opportunities to present work, it was also important to Conti and Sumner that they not take a commission or consignment fee… (more)

This is a story about some San Francisco artists who have the BeauxArts spirit. They are creative people who are getting by and sharing what they can. The italicize the word sharing because it has taken on a dark new meaning in San Francisco. It is part of the language that describes the disruptive technologies that may be coming your way soon if they have not already.

But this is a warm and friendly sharing. Read on for more inspiring ideas coming from Anna Conti, David Sumner, and friends.