Decline of Hip
by Steed Dropout
April 26, 2016
PEOPLES PARK AT 47
WAVY AT EIGHTY
Funky Nixons were smoking a joint with Jesus.*
Wavy-Gravy* announced he was almost eighty and was grateful to be not dead*.
Food not Bombs* was cookin.
Dead Berkeley counter-culture gods were memorialized.*
Elder radicals did meets and greets. They sentimentalized over past feats of demonstration.*
An old hippy complained that Funky Nixons did the same songs at each of these Peoples* Park birthdays (47, Sunday).
Cal students living in a small bus alongside the park, congratulated themselves on living at the scene of the tribes.*
Berkeley Reporter, processing his Peoples Park pics, proclaimed, “Egads! I’m documenting the decline of the counter-culture.”
Peoples Park itself symbolized that decline last year. There were the usual brutalities in the park, incursions by Cal, unbearable rest-rooms, and always the threat from “Amerika.”*
An old hippy told me he lost three teeth in a suckerpunch attack. Bystanders, and police, came to his aid. They said the hippy was bleeding from the mouth.
The beating was over a few drink cans tossed beside a bench at the park’s periphery. “I didn’t litter the cans,” the old hippy said.
An old friend showed up, full-clown. “This is what I do,” the fashionable clown told me. I’m a costumer.”
Old hippies started the art of daily costume changes at SF State, 1965. The costumes, right out of central casting, came from a theatrical costumer on Market street—long gone.*
Berkeley’s most notorious “naked girl” did not disrobe. But she danced with her old man. A few years ago, a nudist guy was almost busted. A park crowd encircled him, and the cops left.
Peoples at the park birthday were all naked, though.
Their hearts were hanging out.* Photographers shot those hearts.
ELEVEN STARS (count them!) ************ EXPLAINED
* “…joint with Jesus. From their hit single, “I’d like to smoke a joint with Jesus.” According to the Catechism, it’s all right to desire this because it shows you care.
*Wavy Gravy,” a famous hippy from the summer of love—the Haight-Ashbury. A legendary performer, he founded a music camp, WinnaRainbow, in the woods of Mendocino, County.
* Not dead. Reference to the Grateful dead who have a lot to be grateful for.
*Food not Bombs, a famous food-giveaway, giving it away in Peoples Park for more than twenty years. Occasionally, some numb-nuts will try to ban FNB from Peoples Park. FNB’s response: we beat SF in court when they tried this.
*Memorialized. David Nadel, and Cecil Parker. Nadel was Murdered, 1996, by an irate customer at Nadel’s Ashkenaz, a music/ folk-dance, concert shrine. A counter-culture ‘heavy.’
* “…past feats of demonstration.” Like the park Volleyball protests, and the CAL Memorial Stadium two-year tree sit.
* Peoples, without an apostrophe. A conscious decision by park founders to show that no one, in particular, owns the park. Cal owns the park. That’s your laws. Park law says the land may, just may, belong to Cal, but the park itself belongs to no one and to everyone.
* “Tribes.” Some hippy’s identified with tribalism. Berkeley’s other counter-culture rag was, “the Berkeley Tribe,” and also a commune.
* “Amerika” was a cult term for the USA in the Vietnam era. The word is from a Franz Kafka novel, “Amerika.” Kafka never saw America and the book is not about America. The latest conspiracy theory involving Amerika is: THEY are readying concentration camps for U.S. protestors and bums.
*…long gone theatrical costume stores. The store on SF’s Market closed decades ago. A small theatrical costume store on Berkeley’s Alcatraz, Ave., closed more than five years ago. The Sgt. Pepper look will now be hard to get.
* “…hearts hanging out…” A metaphor for warm folk on a sunny, if breezy, day in Peoples Park.
More photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/berkboy/