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Archive for the ‘hippie’ Category

Reinvigorating This Blog

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 22, 2018

I’m ensconced in my favorite office-away-from-my-home-office at The Octopus Literary Salon. It’s the day after my Mechanics’ Institute Indie Publishers Working Group where I learned a lot about positive and negative strategies for self marketing/self promotion. First, blogging is still a thing, and so I’m going to get regular about posting to my blog Playing for Keeps. Second, display advertising deals offered by Kirkus Reviews and others are a bad deal and ineffective in generating sales let alone self promotion. Third, I should seriously consider doing my 10,000 word prequel to my novel as a taste of the novel proper and should be giving it away for free. Lots to think about.

I’ve just submitted my next MRR column to my copy editor, but in doing so I’ve depleted the column reserve I keep as a cushion dangerously low. So this weekend, I’m working on columns. The one about defending the left of the Left is going slowly. Instead I’ve got one about comparing countercultures, from beatnik and hippie to punk. I’m only covering those countercultures I have a working knowledge of, but I hope to draw some conclusions that can be universally applied.

Posted in 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, counterculture, hippie, life, Maximum Rocknroll, punk, self-publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

San Francisco and hipsters

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 21, 2014

Here’s a humorous Lonely Planet inspired video of “tourists” finding out about hipster San Francisco:

And here are two “man-in-the-street” interviews of folks in San Francisco speculating about what exactly constitutes a hipster:

Finally, all you really need to know about hipsters in San Francisco:

Posted in hippie, hippies, hipsters, life, Lonely Planet, Millions of Dead Hipsters!, San Francisco, The Mission | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

City living

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 8, 2007

I couldn’t have said this better myself. You can find the original commentary here in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.



By Steven Jones

City living isn’t for everyone. It gets messy, crowded, stinky, loud, scary, and downright weird. Sometimes people block your car even when you have a green light and pound their fists on your hood if you honk. They wear outrageous costumes, play silly games, and follow ridiculous trends. They yell and laugh too loud right outside your window when you’re trying to sleep. Occasionally they pee in your doorway, graffiti your wall, grab your ass, or barf on your shoes.

But that’s city living, and I love it.

If you want clean and orderly, there are plenty of small towns and suburbs to choose from. You can probably even get front and back yards and a roomy house big enough for 2.5 children and assorted pets for what you’re paying for your apartment here. Tempting? Then you should do it. Really. We’ll all be very supportive of your decision to leave if it comes to that, no hard feelings. I might even help you pack and find a new occupant for your place.

But if you want to shut down our party or expect us to dance around your delicate sensibilities, we’re gonna have to fight. And guess what? We’ll win. There are more of us in this crazy town than there are of you … and we aren’t afraid. We dodge SUVs on bicycles, brush past ranting lunatics, stand tall against cops in riot gear, pierce painful parts, bring strange people home to do unspeakable things, cavort with revolutionaries, and take way too many drugs. So there’s no way we’re caving in to the NIMBYs, the conservatives, or the complainers who want to banish our beloved chaos.

The Guardian
has long embraced true city living, from the Summer of Love and its hordes of hippies to the summer of 2007, when our glorious urban messiness is being threatened by the forces of gentrification, corporatization, homogenization, normalization, and stagnation. Once-radical neighborhoods like the Castro and the Haight are increasingly filled with aging homeowners, some of whom have grown frustrated with aspects of city living they once embraced.

Increasingly, however, these tragic naysayers are being confronted by groups such as the San Francisco Party Party, which was created to oppose the forces that are suburbanizing our great city. Last Halloween I donned a beard and stovepipe hat and joined the Party Party’s Abe Lincoln brigades as they cruised the Castro. Why Abe? Why not? Two dozen Abes strolled past the phalanxes of cops on overtime whose presence the nervous Nellies had urged (and who couldn’t stop violence from breaking out anyway), whooping it up until the party was shut down at the ridiculously early hour of 10:30 p.m. and city water trucks chased the partyers away, a sight that almost made us weep – and provoked the crowd into a state of restless frustration.

City living is about keeping the party going, not ending it. It’s a massive pillow fight in Justin Herman Plaza. It’s placing your body and bike in front of the angry guy in the Hummer who wants to cut through Critical Mass. It’s the drunken decision to get another tattoo or the hungry impulse to try an unfamiliar taquería. It’s wearing a chicken suit to confront a cowardly mayor. It’s watching Willy Wonka or the World Cup on massive screens in Dolores Park that somebody set up just because they thought it would be cool. It’s a bonfire on Ocean Beach, a blog argument over the latest city hall scandal, a giant purple head suddenly appearing in Golden Gate Park, street dancing at the late, lamented How Weird Street Faire, a bunch of wasted Santas bar crawling through North Beach, a sunny afternoon at Zeitgeist, a shopping trip to the Haight for a good pair of Burning Man goggles.

Or maybe for you it’s something else, something I’ve never thought or heard of, just some eccentric thing you and your freaky friends like to do. San Francisco has thousands of dynamic social pockets, big and small, each with its own passions, routines, and language. And not all civically spirited events are exotic, either. I’ve felt the abstract joy of the Bay descend during the most pedestrian of tasks, like when this great old guy in the Mission fixed the loose soles on my combat boots (bought used on Haight for $20 a few months ago and walked down many wild paths since) and made me a new key for my dog walker, a woman whose control over a large and combustible crew of canines borders on the miraculous.

Whatever our ideas of city living may be, there’s a reason we’re all living in the city, making San Francisco what it is. Some of the corporate-owned publications in town seem to enjoy mocking the free-living, forward-thinking sensibilities we embrace, dismissively deploying their “only in San Francisco” eye roll or casting progressives as somehow floating outside the country’s political spectrum.

Don’t let them put a ding in your wa, as my DJ friend Syd Gris likes to say. We know that it’s the rest of the country that’s the problem, not us. Luckily, there are a million things to do in this beautiful and bountiful city while we wait for the rest of the world to catch up

Posted in anti-suburbanization, Bay Area, City Living, gentrification, Giulianism, Haight Street Fair, Halloween in the Castro, hippie, hippies, How Weird Street Fair, life, NIMBY, NIMBYism, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Party Party, Steven Jones, Summer of Love | 3 Comments »

Oh joy!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 11, 2007


Both my Guardian Weekly and Monthly arrived on Friday of last week. I’m in heaven. There’s nothing more civilized than spending a leisurely Sunday morning reading newspapers over breakfast.

I’ll get to the Weekly later. The Monthly has two articles of particular interest. In “Slogan’s Run,” Catherine Rapley talks with Ji Lee, a disgruntled New York ad man who does these great detournements of billboard and online advertising with cleverly phrased and placed word bubbles. His stuff can be seen here.

Then there’s Ed Vulliamy’s retrospective on the 1967 Summer of Love (“Peace, Love and Understanding”), done through interviews with survivors like Country Joe, Bob Weir, Paul Kantner, and Barry Melton. Generally a worthwhile piece, although I have a few criticisms.

The writing is done in a staccato style that is a bit jumpy, and makes the interviewees all sound the same. He clearly states that the Summer of Love was seen “to reach what was for some the revolution’s climax, for others its nadir.” Yet no one who soured on the hippie ideal is interviewed. What we are left with is at best a flashback, and at worst nostalgia.

Which brings me to my final criticism. For the most part, I’m positive about the hippie counterculture in particular, and about the 1960s in general. However, I just don’t buy the cliched reasons for the collapse of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury that started even before 1967, which Vulliamy repeats ad nauseam. It was the hordes of young people that flooded the Haight which the community wasn’t prepared to handle; it was hard drugs like speed and heroin that started to replace soft drugs like marijuana and LSD; it was the commercialization and exploitation of the hippie experience. To my mind, even all three of these reasons combined don’t entirely explain why the hippie counterculture went bad. Perhaps having a few disgruntled and dissenting voices could have helped shed new light on the subject.

The then-and-now photos of some of those interviewed are fun.

There’s also a horrific article about a ruthless Nigerian militia, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, and a nicely eclectic music section, among many other interesting features. I’m glad I subscribed.

Posted in 1967, Bubble Project, counterculture, Guardian Monthly, Guardian Weekly, Haight-Ashbury, hippie, hippies, Ji Lee, life, LSD, marijuana, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Nigeria, Peace Love and Understanding, Summer of Love | 1 Comment »

Hippie to yuppie

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 30, 2007

I subscribe to the Guardian Weekly. Occasionally, I get the latest issue on Friday, but more often it arrives on Saturday. That’s “on time” as far as I’m concerned, and I can still enjoy reading it over the weekend. Once in a while it doesn’t get to me until Monday, which meant Tuesday this week since Monday was Memorial Day.

Ah well.

John Harris quotes British rock writer Charles Shaar Murray in his opinion piece “Tune in, turn on, drop out, cash up” in the 25.05.07 issue. I thought I’d pass it along:

“The line from hippy to yuppie is not nearly as convoluted as some people like to believe,” Murry said. “A lot of old hippy rhetoric could well be co-opted now by the pseudo-libertarian right, which has in fact happened. Get the government off our backs, let individuals do what they want — that translates very smoothly into laissez-faire yuppie-ism, and that’s the legacy of the era.”

Posted in Charles Shaar Murray, culture, Guardian Weekly, hippie, John Harris, life, yuppie | Leave a Comment »