Freedom Leaf’s ‘Summer of Love Revisited’ Guide to San Francisco
The 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love is in full flower in the City by the Bay. All kinds of events are underway or planned.
It started on January 14 with the 50th anniversary of the Human Be-In at Gray Area/Grand Theater (2665 Mission St.). The event featured the 1960s All Stars (members of Country Joe & the Fish, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Blues Project, the Sons of Champlin, It’s a Beautiful Day, the Electric Flag and the Youngbloods), as well as Wavy Gravy and John Perry Barlow. The original event’s performers included the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary.
The organizers of the commemoration were hoping to stage a Digital Be-In on July 1, but that plan was aborted, as have been all efforts to hold a major concert in Golden Gate Park in August. The city has refused to approve permits, which in ’60s parlance, is a major bummer.
However, there are plenty of Summer of Love-themed events to attend in San Francisco:
• “The Summer of Love: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll” exhibit, at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.) through Aug. 20, features “rock posters, photographs, ephemera, light shows and avant-garde films.”
• The Conservatory of Flowers (100 John F. Kennedy Dr.), also in Golden Gate Park, will be lit up psychedelically until Oct. 21. The “Surrealistic Summer Solstice” lighting event on June 21 included a concert with members of Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Chambers Brothers, the Terrapin Family Band, Ratdog, ALO, Mother Hips and New Monsoon. Attendees were encouraged to wear tie-dye.
• “Love or Confusion: Jimi Hendrix in 1967,” at the Museum of the African Diaspora (685 Mission St.), focuses on how “the Jimi Hendrix Experience represented racial and sexual freedom as goals of the ’60s counterculture.” Photos of Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival are on view until Aug. 27.
• The “On the Road to the Summer of Love” exhibit at the California Historical Society (678 Mission St.), curated by author and former Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally, includes photos, ephemera and lectures, through Sept. 10. “It had roots. It didn’t just pop up out of nowhere,” McNally explains about the Summer of Love. “It started with the Beats; Ginsberg published Howl in 1955. Avant-garde artists were creating light shows, paintings in motion, deconstructing American culture, looking at it in a different way. In Berkeley, they were protesting the Vietnam War and marching for free speech.” The police raid on the Dead’s house at 710 Ashbury St. on Oct. 2, 1967, he says, “was the end of the Haight scene. The band moved across the bridge to Marin County and never moved back.”
• “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at the Summer of Love,” at the GLBT History Museum (4127 18th St.) through Sept. 29, focuses on four queer leaders of the counterculture: Ginsberg, Janis Joplin, filmmaker Kenneth Anger and philosopher Gavin Arthur.
• “Summer of Love and Haight” exhibit, at the Jewett Gallery in the San Francisco Main Public Library (100 Larkin St.), also features photos and literature.
• Jim Marshall’s concert photos from 1965-1970 are on display at San Francisco City Hall (1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl.).
• Elaine Mayes’ photos from the Monterey Pop Festival can be viewed at SFO Airport, Terminal 3.
• The San Francisco Treasures Tour—Summer of Love Edition “takes you on a magic carpet ride through the city that launched a cultural revolution.” Through Sept. 4, the 150-minute tours will make special stops in Haight-Ashbury and Hip-pie Hill in Golden Gate Park. Contact: 415-357-0700 or extranomincal.com.
• The Sound Summit on Sept. 9, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Mountain Theater in Mount Tamalpais State Park, will cap off the celebratory summer with a 50th anniversary commemoration of the original Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Festival. Phil Lesh & Friends featuring Bob Weir are headlining, along with Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Jenny Lewis, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Vetiver and more.
“After the Monterey Pop Festival, the entire music world turned its attention to San Francisco,” Joel Selvin, author of 1993’s Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love and High Times in the Wild West, wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle in April. “Hippies became a subject of fascination by the national media… In their exuberant, joyful rejection of conventional values, the hippies clearly struck a nerve… Like the cowboys and Indians of the original Wild West, the San Francisco hippies have lived to become an enduring American archetype that is recognized around the world.”
Ellen Komp contributed to this article.
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