Featured Item: BROTHER PEACE & SISTER LOVE TABLE LAMPS
SUMMER 2018 Newsletter
Article: FLOWER POWER & SAN FRANCISCO’S SUMMER OF LOVE
Lorena 1975, Art class at San Francisco State College during my pseudo hippy-dippy days.
In honoring the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love we created two stylized flower table lamps: Brother Peace and Sister Love designed in the spirit of the 60s Flower Power movement. Very decorative! Check them out in the Featured Item section.
Flashback to 1967 and The Summer of Love: were you a hippie? If so, were you a stoner, activist, earth child or a social hippie? Here in San Francisco we are still celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was a long, strange trip and San Francisco was ground zero. Read about it in the Article section. What a blast!
On a personal note: I moved to San Francisco from Rome, Italy in 1971. After living among the fashion-conscious Italians for two years...I was in for a visual shock. The summer of love was truly over. The Haight neighborhood was left a mess; the energy unruly, the kids disheveled. And yet the effects of the counterculture movement still lingering here were something amazing to experience – a mental and physical self-permission to free oneself from the old and into the new. In other words – do your own thing!
For example: it’s late; feeling restless? Hop on the shuttle bus to the San Francisco airport and take the Midnight Special. It flew to Los Angeles. The cost was $11 cash one way that you paid to the agent at the airplane door. No money? - no problemo! Just ask everyone for spare change. By the time you reached the end of the line you had the $11 fare and were “in like Flint” with the rest of us night-owl hippies.
FLOWER POWER & SAN FRANCISCO’S SUMMER OF LOVE
Note: Each item presented is a one-of-a-kind work of art available for purchase. Should any item sell, there are no duplicates.
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Brother Peace table lamp
Flower Power Table Lamp
Our one-of-a-kind featured table lamp, Brother Peace is designed in the spirit of the 1960’s Flower Power movement.
It's color palate conveys the counter culture’s motto: Peace. The lamp, Brother Peace is blue for peace and tranquility; This word was the most iconic symbols used in Hippie art.
“Flower Power” originated in Berkeley California as a form of guerilla street theater. It was a slogan coined in 1965 by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg as a positive term of nonviolent passive resistance in opposition to the Vietnam War.
A HAPPENING – BACKGROUND HISTORY
It started after WWII, when at no other time in American history had there been such a massive population of youth born. (78.3 million). It was a phenomenon that ultimately impacted the world in the 1960s when these “Baby-Boomers” became young adults.
They were a generation with a belief system that outright rejected strictures of the 1950s’ traditional ethics. They were concerned with our planet, suspicious of governments and authority, opposed to the Vietnam War, condemned consumerist values. They explored free movement, free spirit, free love; embraced ideals of peace, love, tribal recognition of humanity and no money. They believed every new concept except what their parents said. They communicated their ideals through art, music and drugs.
Their crusade of self-expression and freedom was exhilarating as they connected world-wide. They were the “hippies”, (a term derived from “hipster” to describe beatniks of the 1950s.) and their movement became the “counterculture”. Far Out!
Ginsberg provided the protesters with flowers to hand out as props at their staged peaceful demonstrations. Indeed, the simple act of extending a flower towards militarized soldiers served as a powerful symbol of innocence. Subsequently, “Flower Power” became the symbol of the counterculture movement.
The hippies embraced this symbolism by dressing in clothing embroidered with vibrant flower motifs and wore flowers in their hair, becoming known as flower children. They incorporated flower themes in their psychedelic Day-Glo poster art, made flower peace symbols, (a design to symbolize nuclear disarmament), wove unity chains using the common daisy.
THE SUMMER OF LOVE
In 1967 the news media picked up on the unique counterculture movement happening in San Francisco, aided by two smash hit songs, “California Dreamin” and “San Francisco”, (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair); a hippie anthem sung by Scott McKenzie, (1939-2012), and both songs written by John Phillips, (1935-2001), of The Mamas & the Papas.
SEEKING THE HIPPIE DREAM
The songs were a hypnotic call to all youths around the world, and that summer when school was out, over 300,000 newcomers flocked to San Francisco’s iconic Haight-Ashbury district seeking the utopian hippie dream. They arrived barefooted, bearded, beaded, smelling of patchouli oil and broke; anticipating a summer of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. That summer of ’67 was coined “The Summer of Love.”
The locals of this once homey neighborhood were overwhelmed and overrun. Thanks to an open social environment, cheap housing, (not anymore!), food stamps, communal sharing, the hippies settled in and took over. Loud psychedelic rock music reverberated day and night on the streets and from within the iconic San Francisco Victorian "crash pads".
The place to hang out with like-minded strangers to “turn on, tune in and drop out”, score some free grub, good views, good vibes, some acid, was Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park at the end of Haight Street. Hippies held gatherings called be-ins, love-ins and happenings that drew huge crowds. The scene was groovy, man.
Janice Joplin lived in this Victorian House in the Height/Ashbury neighborhood.
Height/Ashbury Headquarters for
The Grateful Dead
THE PARTY'S OVER
But by the fall of 1967 the Summer of Love fizzled. Many had left the scene to return to school, or to hitch-hike Europe or migrate to Marrakesh to stay perpetually stoned. The neighborhood quickly deteriorated with overcrowding, homelessness, hunger, drug problems and crime. Terms like "dirty hippie" were used to describe the drugged-out riff-raff left behind. San Francisco was no longer attracting just hippies, but also tourists, criminals, party-seekers, drug dealers and law enforcement. The neighborhood was a mess, and the word went forth to stay where you are - it’s over; don’t come to San Francisco.
The commercialized Summer of Love impresses mostly tourists.
It took almost 50 years for the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to recover. Today, there is nary a hippie to be seen, (now in their 70’s) - just tour buses and tourists walking around photographing the commercialized Summer of Love.
Techies and young families have moved in gentrifying the leafy neighborhood. Trashed Victorians you couldn’t give away for $40 thou then, are worth $3 mill and up today.
LEGACY OF FLOWER POWER
Their once radical idealism left an enduring legacy that undeniably has improved our world, and which today is accepted as mainstream. Out of it came anti-war movements, equal rights movements, environmental movements, animal rights, freedom of alternative lifestyles - meditation, yoga, homeopathy, grow organic, classic rock music, assimilation of cultures, to name a few, i.e.
“Health Foods” - I tasted my first guacamole in San Francisco. We didn’t have guacamole in the Bronx – we had cannoli.
“Health food stores” – a radical concept. They carried a variety of teas other than Lipton’s black tea - Outta sight! And instead of iceberg lettuce, arrange a pile of bean sprouts on top of your Stone Ground Bread sandwich. (Wonder Bread-not cool anymore). How about chunks of fresh fruit in place of Del Monte’s classic canned fruit cocktail which we served to impress our dinner guests. Health foods - big business today, thanks to the hippies – think Whole Foods.
San Francisco was teeming with world cultures: restaurants, music, dance. Kathak Indian dance classes and sitar music were very popular, Afro-Hattian dance and drumming classes were full. I chose flamenco dance, studying under my first teacher, Rosa Montoya. I still dance and perform flamenco to this day.
It was at this time in 1975 I got into stained-glass and the rest is history.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
In 2017 San Francisco celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love by holding numerous events and art exhibitions. All right!
The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park presents “Photosynthesis: Summer of Love”. At sundown, nightly light art shows of psychedelic flowers are projected onto the building’s façade. Real trippy!
Also, every summer the San Francisco Golden Gate Park Botanical Garden stages “Flower Piano” - a popular event when the public is invited to sit down and plink on the 12 pianos placed about in lush outdoor settings. On weekends professional piano players entertain the crowds with good vibes.
Lorena today is still clicking her heels. Olé!
Hippie Cat, illustration by Cal Haves