Legendary cultural icon John Law to speak on 'How Everything Started in San Francisco'


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/09/legendary-cultural-icon-john-l.html



I know I’m not supposed to take the title of the talk seriously, but I’m going to anyway: it’s my understanding that most things did not start in San Francisco (e.g. “Beats, Situationists, Dada”), but migrated there. Therefore, I suggest retitling it “How Everything Ended in San Francisco”, which sounds more correct to me, especially given the current state of affairs. (Ok, I lied. I only took the title semi-seriously).


Yep.In particular, ‘psychedelic’ music started in Houston before migrating to SF.


Indeed. The Hippie movement started long before it showed up in SF. The beats began in NY. Situationists began in Paris. Dadaism began in Europe and quickly arrived in NYC. Pulp fiction began in England. B-movies or 2nd features began in original American film production mecca, Fort Lee, New Jersey.


So it’s not the John Law from Woodstock? He had a long braid, and was teaching yoga. I thought he was connected to the Hog Farm, and married for a while to Eileen Law of the Grateful Dead ticket office and the photography book “Flashing on the Sixties”.


Ah - the San Fransisco version of the New Yorker cartoon. Yes dears - you’re very, very important.


And yet, the famous night of Beat poetry was in San Francisco, the one where Ginsberg read “Howl”.

Yes, it mostly started in New York city, it took a long time to take of. And some of it came about due to long drives across the country, to see Neil in Colorado and Gary Snyder in the San Francisco and the North West.

LSD was a west coast thing, and the counterculture comes out of the Merry Pranksters trip to NY in 1964. Imagine being that weird before it was common, and in retrospect they were pretty “normal”.

Maybe “hippies” or whatever had spots of independent growth elsewhere, but the history is well documented. People got tired of rock and roll, as it aimed for an increasingly lower age group, so musicians got interested in folk and jazz and bluegrass, until the Beatles hit and everyone wanted to do rock. Along comes long hair. Artists had an easier time being “freaks”. It took off in San Francisco, a custer if artists that influenced society in general. Warm weather, cheap rent, used clothing so “diversity” took off, posters, a science fiction fan introducing instant zines, a crowd already primed by all the LSD testing.


Yet somehow - both the Independence Mall Demonstrations and Dewey’s in Philadelphia preceded both Compton’s in SF and Stonewall in NY.


so, really, the title should be “How Everything Was Perfected In San Francisco,” or something…


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