The Kooks and The Gathering
“When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning.” - Yukio Mishima.
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Since we are celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Human Be-In today, here are some writings about it from a past Signal…
Today in 1967, in my home town of San Francisco, in the park that I grew up hiking around in, a magical event took place that jump-started the hippie movement and the Summer of Love: The Human Be-In. The Be-In was a reaction to the law making LSD illegal, creating a common ground for the beats, the hippies, and the radicals to get together, love one another, and drop some prime Owsley White Lightning. It was a passing-of-the-torch moment from one counter-culture to another with Allen Ginsburg, Laurence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder sharing the stage with The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane (some of the event can be viewed here). Dizzy Gillespie was there…Jerry Rubin was preaching. Just incredible.
The national press was present reporting to the outside world the sites and sounds of a new way of being, and many minds were blown in many different ways (the United Press headline: All Kinds of “Kooks” Gather for “Happening”).
“C’mon people now…smile on your brother…everybody get together…going to love one another right now.”
For a Generation X’er who grew up in the shadow of the flower power era, that part of history has such a romantic feel to it…almost forgetting that there was a heinous war going on which was such a driving force. This idea of bringing your family…and incense…and flowers…and animals…and being together to celebrate something bigger than the self, something communal…an ideal that we can make a collective positive difference. Just thinking that on this day in history this crazy invitation was put out to a whole city…a whole Bay Area..and beyond…still gives me inspiration that we CAN create light from the darkness. This taste that the present day has stained in our mouths can be rinsed out with manna-dew and sweet elixirs. And vaccines. And great music and poetry and camaraderie.
There is much speculation of what the new world will look like when we are finally able to be together again. Maybe it will look a little bit like that moment of time in Golden Gate Park—more diverse this time around too—when we usher is a new period of awareness and do it in a welcoming, joyous way.
Pretty incredible headline to wake-n-bake over. The above link is from the Bloomberg article, which gives the story a certain stamp of authenticity. For a deeper dive into the details, Oregon State press, where the research was done, published a more comprehensive piece.
AnOther magazine aways delivers when it comes to their look at modern photography and this list they have put together gives something to look forward to in 2022.
415 Records provided the soundtrack to 80s life in San Francisco, especially if you were a fan of the Nu Wave. The local alternative radio station The Quake was always playing Translator (Everywhere That I’m Not…my favorite), Romeo Void (“Never Say Never), Red Rockers (China), and Wire Train (Chamber of Hellos). This excerpt from the book dovetails nicely with the The Signal from last Friday about Tom Donahue and KMPX. Tom is working at KSAN now…the freeform radio station that started in the wake of the free-form KMPX era…and I leave it to Bill Kopp, co-founder of 415 and Aquarius Records…to tell the rest…..
This new take on Macbeth looks just incredible…and CNN does an unexpectedly thorough deep dive into the techniques Coen used to make it: “Displacing the audience out of time and modern cinematic convention, ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ looks as if it could be 100 years old -- closer to a stage play and, at times, more a dream (or nightmare) than real life. Like if you reached out to touch it, your hand would pass right through.” Great journalism by Thomas Page.
The Electric Prunes: one of the greatest bands to come out of the psychedelic era and truly one of the most experimental in the studio. We caught up with James Lowe last year in The Signal, and it is exciting to see the band being celebrated with this boxset (James never understands why people care about this music). The set contains incredible outtakes from the early recording period, pre-Prunes recordings and the Live and Stockholm 1967 recordings…all great…as well as records made under the Electric Prune moniker after the original band left…not as great.
Aftab’s nomination in the Grammy Awards’ best new artist category has given heightened recognition to this Pakistani/Brooklynite 36-year-old musician and composer whose music is on the left side of pop. That being said, her record Vulture Prince is exotically spellbinding and one of my favorites of 2022. The “hits”, Last Night and Mohabbat are both beautiful, the former having that torch song allure that feels so nice on a moon-lit evening. The whole album is quietly wondrous and addictively intoxicating with inspired musicianship and I cannot stop listening to it.
Birdwatchers Of America
By: Anthony Hecht
It’s all very well to dream of a dove that saves,
Picasso’s or the Pope’s,
The one that annually coos in Our Lady’s ear
Half the world’s hopes,
And the other one that shall cunningly engineer
The retirement of all businessmen to their graves,
And when this is brought about
Make us the loving brothers of every lout—
But in our part of the country a false dusk
Lingers for hours; it steams
From the soaked hay, wades in the cloudy woods,
Engendering other dreams.
Formless and soft beyond the fence it broods
Or rises as a faint and rotten musk
Out of a broken stalk.
There are some things of which we seldom talk;
For instance, the woman next door, whom we hear at night,
Claims that when she was small
She found a man stone dead near the cedar trees
After the first snowfall.
The air was clear. He seemed in ultimate peace
Except that he had no eyes. Rigid and bright
Upon the forehead, furred
With a light frost, crouched an outrageous bird.
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