What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been (February 26, 1976)


“The San Francisco scene started at the Red Dog Saloon, as much as you can say it started at any one place. Most of the elements were there: rock & roll, a sort of light show, the first psychedelic dance poster, the theatrical lifestyle and acid. Lots of acid. The best LSD in the world, in fact, the genuine Owsley. When the Red Dog opened on June 29th, 1965, Owsley Stanley had been making LSD for about four months and the Berkeley contingent at the Red Dog knew him. … Even before Owsley, acid had been spreading fast in the Bay Area for about two years, though at the time nobody had any idea just how fast. Even though LSD was still legal, the scene still seemed to itself a tiny fringe movement, probably not much larger than the circle of acidheads one happened to know. It was a buttoned up sort of psychedelic scene, with self-conscious religious or therapeutic goals. But already down around Stanford University a novelist named Ken Kesey had a scene where people took LSD for adventure, just to see what would happen. And Kesey was pushing the limits of what could happen. He had opened his acid parties to the most notorious outlaw motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels, to whom he had been introduced by a journalist named Hunter S. Thompson. Furthermore, the British-sparked rock & roll revival had been going on for more than a year, and one way or another a lot of people were picking up on the fact that instead of spending your trip on a prayer mat or staring at a Zen rock garden, you could dance. At the time, anybody would have thought the scene in the Bay Area was Berkeley. The Free Speech Movement the year before had made headlines all over the world and there was still a lot of political ferment there. The Berkeley Barb, third oldest of the underground newspapers, was just starting. But the artistic community was restless, caught between the austere late-Fifties avant-garde tradition, the late-beatnik experiments with ‘Events’ and ‘Happenings’ and the Pop Art dalliance with simple fun. The directors of Berkeley’s Open Theater were tired of conventional art presentations. At the San Francisco Tape Music Center, where Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Morton Subotnick and others had been putting on New Music concerts for four years, codirector Ramon Sender felt the same way. The improvisational group called the Committee was reorganizing; the Mime Troupe was performing political satires in public parks. …”
Rolling Stone


The intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets was a beacon for thousands of hippies, thrill-seekers, and the simply-curious during the Summer of Love in San Francisco, California, in early summer, 1967.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg, Bill Graham, Counterculture, Environmental, Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury, Happenings, Hippie, Hunter S. Thompson, Jazz, Ken Kesey, LSD, Marijuana, Merry Pranksters, Music, Religion, Street theater and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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