Wednesday, June 7, 2017


San Francisco, All Decked Out for the Summer of Love Anniversary.

A Pictorial


By Paul Iorio




< i>Even in the shadow of City Hall, relatively far from the Haight, San Francisco is celebrating the spirit of '67. Here's a billboard for a Summer of Love exhibition at the Asian Art Museum. [photo by Paul Iorio]


From City Hall to the Haight -- but especially in the Haight -- San Francisco is all decked out in paisley, flowers and tie dye for the 50th anniversary of the summer of love.

Never mind that the marquee event of that season, the Monterey Pop Festival, happened in Monterey, a good two hour drive away. San Francisco was home base for the renaissance of American music and pop culture that occurred in the late sixties, spawning some of the greatest recording artists of the rock era.

The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin -- and members of lesser-known acts like Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother & Holding Company -- were all, at one time or another, residents of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, which remains a sort of hippie haven, albeit a pretty pricey one for such an anti-materialist population!

I photographed the nabe and the city on June 1, 2017 to see how it's celebrating the Summer of Love and discovered the district is almost obsessed with its counter-cultural history. Nearly every shop, lamp post and window for several blocks had some sign of '67 displayed, it seems.

So, you don't have to go to an actual museum to see an exhibit about the era, though several galleries have related exhibitions; the Haight itself is a sort of living museum of the sixties. Even a casual stroll is telling. You can see, for example, that the Jefferson Airplane lived in a mansion facing Golden Gate Park -- which shows what a couple top ten singles can do for one's standard of living! -- while Janis Joplin, whose records didn't sell as well, had to settle for an apartment just off the panhandle. Meanwhile, the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix lived as close to the intersection of Haight and Ashbury as humanly possible.

Their pads are still around, and so is plenty more freakiness. Here's a picture tour of the Haight, fifty years after. Feed your head!




< i>Haight Street reflected in the window of a store selling Summer of Love t-shirts. [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>Bet you couldn't guess that Jimi Hendrix once lived here at 1524 Haight, near Ashbury! Today, it's a vape and smoke shop. [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>"If you've got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in." goes the Grateful Dead song. And that's probably what members of the Dead said when cops knocked on the door of the band's residence at 710 Ashbury to bust them for drug offenses in '67. [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>A psychedelic VW van turns at the intersection of Haight Ashbury -- on June 1, 2017! [photo by Paul Iorio]


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< i>Jefferson Airplane had top ten hits and so could evidently afford to live at this house on 2400 Fulton Street, right off Golden Gate Park. (I shot this photo in the early 2000s.) [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>As you can see, Janis Joplin, less commercially successful than The Airplane, had to settle for a less cushy place off the Panhandle at 122 Lyon, her longtime residence (and it was even listed under her name in the 1967 San Francisco telephone directory). [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>The Haight seems to have a fetish for...the Haight. [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>This fabled intersection is NOT an "anything goes" zone, or so the sign says. [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>"Love is the answer," says this sign on Haight. (Unless the question is, "How do you pay to live in such a pricey area?") [photo by Paul Iorio]

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< i>Ads for the Summer of Love exhibition at the DeYoung Museum, which runs through August 20th, are everywhere in the city. [photo by Paul Iorio]

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