The California Historical Society teaches that Jay and Ron Thelin’s Psychedelic Shop at 1535 Haight Street opened on January 3, 1966, “one of the earliest and most influential in the neighborhood. It provided informational literature on popular drugs like LSD; books on eastern religion and metaphysics; and other paraphernalia necessary for a ‘good, enlightened, and safe trip’ such as records, posters, madrases, incense, beaded necklaces, and pipes.”
By the fall of 1967 it had flamed out. Ron Thelin organized a funeral for the hippie combined with a three-day celebration ending Oct. 6, 1967.
The rock musical Hair opened in New York 11 days later.
Be that as it may, I so enjoyed my random look at Berkeley’s counterculture stores that I went back for seconds, limiting my examination to 1966. Now a third try – I went through all of the 1968 issues of the Barb and came up with these stores, or in a few cases these advertising graphics that suggested counterculture.
The flea market was not a new deal, but they embraced hippie graphics in their advertising like nobody’s business.
I didn’t include bookstores in my first counterculture store post, but I include Granma here if only as a marker that it opened in 1968.
Which was it, 2361 or 2136? Come on people!
Lord Buckley means so much to me that I include this ad for an album of his here. He died in 1960.
I include this because (1) the Magic theatre deserves its own quirky historical Berkeley post and it will get it; and (2) the Venue – Seppenwolf on San Pablo, sold by Max Scherr to Bill Miller, both in the pantheon of Berkeley Greats.
Oh no – another venue! Just a marker that it opened in 1968.
ANOTER VENUE – another marker, opened in 1968.
Nova Express sound familiar? Published in 1964, Nova Express by William Burroughts was written using the ‘fold-in’ method, a version of the cut-up method, developed by Burroughs with Brion Gysin.
Burroughs enfolded snippets of different texts into the novel. It is part of The Nova Trilogy, or “Cut-Up Trilogy,’ together with The Soft Machine and The Ticket That Exploded.
Yes, I know – another bookstore. Yes, I know, technically Oakland. But – I never heard of it. That’s enough.
Also found in the Barb were a couple of delicious oh-so-straight-it-hurts ads.
As Harry Carry was prone to say – Holy Cow!
This I would love to see. I see no evidence of its existence. Russia, if you are listening, please help me find the missing Hip Guide to America.
Granted – it’s San Francisco, but it you were reading the Barb and you really wanted to fit in but didn’t, you could trip over to the City and buy yourself some “hairgoods.”
As I finished the draft of this, my friend wandered in, drawn by my playing Marty Balin singing “Today.” Loud.
“In Detroit it was Plum Street for the hippie stores.. The mayor and Governor Romney came to the opening. I don’t care if George Romney was born on a polygamous Mormon “community” in Mexico, he was a square’s square. Him and the mayor about killed it.
“The Grande Ballroom though was the real deal. Except for Elvis at the Fox Theater with my sister in ’57 my first concert was Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels at the Grande. My oh my but those boys rocked hard.”
My friend held out a photo.
“That’s me on Plum Street in ’66. Detroit pulsing in me.”
I thanked him for the trip down Detroit memory lane. What about the Berkeley counterculture stores?