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Our thanks deservedly goes to the following individuals and organizations for their help and acknowledgement of this project;

Christy Kane at The Los Angeles Beat
Jim Gilbert at Curating Los Angeles
Adam Hyman at L.A. Film Forum/Alternative Projections - excellent resource for experimental film history.
Gary Comenas at Warholstars.org - wonderful and well-detailed site for all-things Warhol.
Robin Tung at the Santa Monica Conservancy.




August 1967




December 1967



In 1967, Ramparts magazine editor, Robert Scheer told the San Rafael Independent Journal, The Peace and Freedom Party is the only choice for those who want a presidential candidate against the Vietname war

Considered a 'left-wing splinter group, The Peace and Freedom Party had its roots in Venice, California. Two poets-turned-protesters named Jack Hampton and John Haag met at Venice West, a beatnik coffee shop in Venice. With his interest in civic affairs, Haag became the proprietor of the future city landmark in 1962 and refered to himself not as a "beatnik" but as "bohemian". Haag went on to become the Party's first state chairman. The last remaining beatniks were gone by 1966, as dwindling activity and high rents resulted in the coffee shop being padlocked by deputy sherrifs.

The movement gathered steam in 1968, when the anti-war movement was at its height. A hard-hitting petition drive in California qualified the party for the ballot. A 1968 article in the Long Beach Independent claimed "Its platform for equal rights for Negroes was expected to chip away at Democratic strength and cause trouble for President Johnson".

The members elected to their national presidential convention a slate of delegates primarily favoring Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver (self appointed minister of information for the Black Panthers). Cleaver described the relationship with the Peace and Freedom Party as a "functional coalition."

By August of 1968, Cleaver was nominated as its presidential candidate, and wanted Yippies leader Jerry Rubin as his running mate (this was outvoted). Cleaver received 161 out of the 219 votes, 54 votes went to Dick Gregory. Among the stated aims was "immediate withdrawl of U.S. forces in Vietnam, support for national liberation groups and support for black power".

Within weeks, Cleaver was avoiding arrest charges and went on the run - launching a seven-year exile that ended in France.

The Peace and Freedom Party (the fourth political party) had made the California ballot. Local media reported at the time, "A gaily painted school bus, outfitted with a rooftop bandstand and a shaggy troupe of hard rock musicians, rolled into Los Angeles as part of what may be the most off-beat political campaign in California's history".

Reports mentioned the anti-war groups' song of choice was "We Ain't Marching Anymore". Local County officials reported the party led the American Independent Party in registration in the Valley.

A far more detailed history is available on the PFP website, Peace and Freedom Party, and columnist Robert Scheer can be found on truthdig.com




December 1967



An intriguing event. Hosted by longtime radio host and PR celebrity, Elliot Mintz, the Rock Blues Night featured The Outlaw Blues Band, whose 1968 debut album "The Outlaw Blues Band and the People" was recorded in Hollywood at United and Western Studios in Hollywood for ABC Bluesway records.

And what of the Diggers Creative Society? Speaking to the Valley News in 1968, Paul Johnson, founder and director of the Hollywood-based program explained what they do, "Providing free food, shelter and an unalienated adult ear to young people "experimenting' with life, the Diggers encourage young would-be hippies to avoid drugs and to reunite with their families".

In 1967, The El Monte Church of Religious Science held a "Youth Look-In", which according to church pastor Dr. David Allan Thompson, aimed to bring 'Hippies' and 'Squares' into dialog. The hippies were represented by Richard Pine, head of the Diggers Creative Society.

The Diggers efforts to curb deliquency problems involved visiting high schools to 'put down' drug use. Their position on drugs was unique, as Paul Johnson explained to the Arcadia Tribune in 1968; "The drug scene is so bad. I wish the kids could use marijuana, so they wouldn't get started on LSD or speed. Marijuana is harmless compared to these".

For a time, the Diggers gained exposure on the non-profit Los Angeles station, Community Television of Southern California (Channel 28). The series was called Off-Ramp and in one episode from August 1968, the listing read, 'Paul Johnson and three teen runaways explain the history and the function of the Hollywood-based Diggers Creative Society'.

Of course, if teenage runaways and drug use was a little for heavy for 8:30PM, viewers settled down with Ironside on Channel 4 or could turn the dial to Channel 7 for madcap shenanigans on Bewitched ("Sam has to conjur up a ghost to clear the air after Tabitha's antics convince a babysitter she's in touch with the spirit world").

So, were they hippies? School principal Marjorie Allen, of the West Hollywood Elementary School, was a featured speaker at the Gamma Omicron Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society of women educators. In Febrauary of 1968, many South Bay educators met in the grand ballroom in the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park. Miss Allen's talk, Working with Hippies addressed that very question with four topics; Teeny Boppers, Diggers, Scooter Crowd and Sunset Strip Hippie.

"There are 'Hippies' and there are 'hippies'. It is wrong to put all of them in the same tent and to say that all are 'dope-heads'. There are straight and sincere 'Hippies' who are seeking answers to life and reality and are hungry for communication with adults as well as with their own age group."

- Pastor Thompson. Arcadia Tribune, July 1967



........................

One of the oldest schools in the city, Hollywood High School began in 1903, when the trustees elected principal J.O. Churchill to assume the reigns. Originally from Wyoming, Churchill's starting salary was $1,375 a year.

A year later, around six acres were purchased on the south-west corner of Highland Avenue. Equipped to handle 450 students, the cost for the new premises was listed at $67,000 and used the name Hollywood Union High School. For a time, the 80 students enrolled used temporary quarters at the Masonic temple.

The school suffered its first casualty in 1906, when president of the Junior Class, Miss Leta Baird, died from rheumatism, resulting to spinal meningitis. The "bright, sunny girl" had been ill for two weeks before she passed.

School was dismissed for the day with the flag at half-mast.




April 1966

April 1968



For some reason, I've yet to attend a Renaissance Fair, which is odd. But I'd like to imagine myself parading through an Elizabethan English village like Edmund Blackadder, tossing half-eaten chicken legs into thatched cottages, getting randy with bosomy maidens, making bawdy jokes with jesters, while the maudlin strains of "Fantasia on Greensleeves" plays gently through olde tyme speakers.

Between 1966 and 1989, people made the Easter Weekend pilgrimage to Paramount Ranch (once owned by Paramount Pictures) in Agoura, California. Long before the Faire, the grounds were home to sports car road races, as well as the homey "Camporee" evens held by The Topanga District of the Boy Scouts of America.

The bucolic setting was the place to be for the World Champion Chili Cookoff. A popular event, the 14th annual cookoff in 1980 was attended by 15,000 chili enthusiasts (one assumes the bathroom situation was not entirely comfortable). That year, the esteemed judges were Billy Barty, Slim Pickens, Robert Mitchum and Ernest Borgnine. The winner was a gentleman named Bill Pheiffer from Washington, D.C., who won $20,000 for his recipe, which he called "Capitol Punishment Chili".

The originators of the Faire were husband and wife team, Phyllis and Ron Patterson. Back in 1965, while teaching creative drama to children at USC, the couple were shown a mobile cart constructed for Commedia del Arte and explored ways to perform in public. Meeting the needs of the many Renaissance enthusiasts, they produced the first Faire, complete with strolling minstrels, pipers and vendors. Around 6000 people settled upon the slopimng meadows of Thousand Oaks for the event, known originally as the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and May Market. Proceeds from the pageant went to KPFK radio.

By 1968, the Patterson's (residents of the hilly Hollywood enclave of Lookout Mountain) saw attendance climb to 50,000 Elizabethan enthusiasts. However, objections were raised from the Agoura Chamber of Commerce, citing traffic congestion and fearful the merriment would attract an undesirable element. Patterson answered this claim, saying "This is no hippie happening. The fair attracts a very tranquil crowd."

The event continued to grow and by 1974, the Faire was produced with San Francisco-based Theme Events. The Sir Francis Drake festivities remained at the location until 1979, when the 336-acre ranch was turned into modern luxury homes. In 1980 (when the Patterson's divorced), Paramount Ranch was purchased by the National Park Service. The event bounced back and forth over the years and by 1988, the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission approved plans to build 160 single-family homes on the Agoura site. Despite objections from the Historic Oaks Foundation and Faire devotees, land owner Art Whizin, who had rented the site to the Faire for the past 23 years, gave his approval to developer Brian Heller.

Although the development deal fell through, the Faire moved to the Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernadino in 1990. Oddly enough, a rival event moved in on Patterson's old territory; the short-lived Dragonwood Faire. In 1994, the Faire was sold to a Colorado operator, yet the Faire continued to operate its other location in Northern California, and San Francisco had the Great Dickens Christmasn Faire.

At the age of 82, Phyllis Patterson passed away in Marin County.

........................

In 1972, while discussing vendors and booths, Phyllis Patterson said "We only want finely-wrought, traditional crafts and food concessions oriented to the 16th century". The cost of a booth that year was $15.00. The organizers would receive between 600 to 1000 applications to sell wares, but only 150 would be accepted. At that time, the mailing address was 1526 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046.

Costumes were always an integral part of the Faire, and in the early 70's, you could buy patterns from Simplicity or McCalls. The event must have been a big hit. The Van Nuys News reported in 1973, that "All airplane pilots are requested to avoid flying over the Annual Renaissance Fair and Spring Market". But it wasn't all ribald wenches and fawning jesters. By 1975 they were holding Workshop in the Woods, an educational program focusing on Performing Arts, Everyday Life, and Customs and Handcrafts.

The following quote perfectly captured the atmosphere;

"The Renaissance Pleasure Faire is an authentic re-enactment of counry faires of the medieval and Renaissance times. Lutes and pipes combine with rollicking voices and the sound of vendors and craftsmen hawking their wares; and the air is filled with the pleasant scents of meadow and trees, fresh-baked breads, meat and fruit pies, roast meats and fowls and all the traditional foods that our 16th-century ancestors enjoyed under the warm sun"

- The Fresno Bee, April 1970


There's some wonderful history to be found on the Faire History site , but if you'd like to see some of the revelrie from 1977, please enjoy the following clip.




April 1968



Had I been around back then, a romp in the park would have been just the ticket. You might have found me getting hassled by the man, making colorful kites with bikers on PCP and freaking out rather openly to Canned Heat, while dancing alongside a pretty but simple flower child from a broken home -- a waif-like starchild hitching her way from Big Sur, settling Daddy issues with uppers and whiskey.

Be that as it may, The Easter weekend Festival of Chauli - from the Hindu word meaning "coming together with joy", saw hippies from all over the Southland come together and march on the streets.

Day One began with a parade in front of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (which opened three years prior). The march ran the stretch between Curson Street and Orange Grove Avenue. With their names on the Chauli Committee, the Coburns were all action. Actor James Coburn and wife Beverly were reported to have joined the flower children, carrying "jonquils". When asked what it was all about, the Coburns responded "It's to help bridge the communication gap".

Day Two was all about love-ins and included two other Southland parks. Local reports said Tapia Park near Malibu "suffered the largest invasion of free souls, some 10,000", while Elysian Park found itself inundated with around 4000 people. Thousands more descended on Irvine Park.

However, the flying kites, bubbles, smiles and kisses made way for trouble. Both parks saw many arrests as "sheriff's deputies arrested 40 long-haired teen-agers, nearly all on suspicion of possessing marijuana, and one teen-age girl for indecent exposure for parading through the park clad only in a transparent nightgown".

There is also some amazing footage (no audio), courtesy of Getty Images. If you happen spot me, I'm the malnourished guy sensibly applying sunscreen.




April 1968

There's no shortage of material on Bobby Hutton, but the Oakland Museum of California offers a balanced piece.

More information on the shortl-lived Kaleidoscope can be found here.




February 1967



A Double Trip Show featuring LSD and dance, with a panel debate on LSD seems like an odd choice. But there you have it.

Hosted by "The Mad Doctor", Del Close, noted actor and teacher. The Double Trip Show featured an ecclectic group of panelists:
  • Dr. Sidney Cohen - a leading authority on marijuana, LSD and other mood altering drugs, died in 1987. The New York Times carried his obituary.
  • Dr. Keith Ditman - a physician and head of the Alcoholism Research Clinic at UCLA in the 1960s, studied outcomes for three groups of alcoholics. Dr. Ditman was medical director of the renowned Vista Hill Foundation in San Diego. Dr. Ditman passed away in 2001.
  • Dr. Duke D. Fisher - was a psychiatric resident at the University of California (Los Angeles) Center for the Health Sciences.
  • Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider - was an assistant professor at the University of California (Los Angeles) Center for the Health Sciences.
  • Dr. William McGlothlin - At one time, a member of RAND's logistics department. A psychologiest interested in determining some of the long-term effects of LSD and other hallucinogens on 'normals'.
  • Alan Watts - British-born American philosopher, writer, and speaker. Watts authored an article for the California Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 1, titled 'Psychedelics and Religious Experience'.

Built in 1929 at a cost of $168,000, the two-storey concrete building began as a clubhouse for the American Legion. Also known as American Legion Post 43, the venue hosted a variety of banquets, dances and meetings for Masonic Lodges. In 1950, actor John Wayne took his fight against Communism to the Legion building. Wayne, president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, was fighting Communism in the film industry.

Officialy known as Hollywood Post 43, The American Legion Hall still stands today.




June 1967



Seemingly contradicting the nostalgic graphics, the Victory Day celebration was in fact a mile-long march from Cheviot Hills Park to the Century Plaza Hotel in West Los Angeles. President Lyndon Johnson was in town for a Democratic fundraiser, and the number of protesters ranged from between 3000 and 10,000, with many anti-Vietnam demonstrators turning up in front of the hotel. Newspaper reports stated "long-haired hippies and middle-aged matrons" were involved.

A rally was scheduled that evening with speakers Dr. Benjamin Spock and H. Rap Brown, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Also on hand was Cassius Clay, who addressed the anti-Johnson rally.




January 1970



Zip zop bipity bop. The future Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, Bill Cosby himself was listed as MC, for what I'm sure was a worthy cause.

The linep must have changed, as initial reports listed The Strawberry Alarm Clock and Scott McKenzie scheduled to appear. One artist who did turn up was C.K. Strong - led by female vocalist Lynn Carey. The powerful singer provided vocals for actress Dolly Read (as fictional character Kelly McNamara) in Russ Meyer's 1970 epic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Covering over 40 acres, the Devonshire Downs was a race horse training track and event facility in Northridge, California. The grounds were purchased in 1948 by the State. Fortunately this event took place indoors, as the last thing you want is a rambunctious Clydesdale stage-diving on hungry children.

The facility also hosted the San Fernando Valley Fair until 1959, when the site was turned over to the San Fernando State College. That didn't stop other great events, such as Fred Blassie versus The Great Kojica for the grand opening of Championship Wrestling in 1970. Things were decidely quieter every Sunday, when The International Bazaar and Swap Meet was held.

The Devonshire Downs was also home to one of L.A.'s largest rock festivals, Newport '69. The 3-day event, organized by 24-year-old Stanford graduate, Mark Robinson Jr. was held on June 21, 22 and 23rd. The event was designed to reflect the communion of spirit and fun through music. Among the 33 acts gathered for the event were Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Winter and the Rascals. The handbill, designed by Bob Masse made it clear, "The weekend the giants get it together."

The event drew approximately 45,000 people and unfortunately, the fun wasn't always reflected. Local reports noted "Youths armed with sticks, rocks and bottles clashed with police... at least 100 persons arrested during the 3-day affair". Promoter Robinson acknowledged he hired security from a group known as the Street Racers, but denied using the Hell's Angels.

Residents of an apartment complex across the street said, "they did not dig the sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ike & Tina Turner, Spirit, Jimi Hendrix Experience and Marvin Gaye".

Despite admission being $7.00, The Daily Independent Journal in San Rafael reported "the melee began when a huge mob of hippie-types began jamming entrance gates to the festival in an attempt to force their way inside without paying." Promoter Lee Hochman remained in the business for a number of years, bringing Van Morrison and the New Roger McGuinn to UC Irvine in 1975.

In 1959, the expanding San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) claimed the Devonshire Downs land for expansion, and in 2001 virtually the entire site was razed for a private industrial park under lease to the school.




March 1970


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