Acid Heroes: the Legends of LSD

March 29, 2013

Telegraph Avenue Street Calendar 2000

 
 

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“How do you like it? RARE!!”

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Hate Man and Gypsy at the Hate Man drum circle.

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Kim and street artist Dave, working on sidewalk chalk art.

 

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B.N. Duncan.

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A mysterious young homeless woman on Shattuck with her shopping carts full of her possessions.

Ray Winters, doing his thing in People’s Park.

Gutter Punks. Literally.

 

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The Telegraph Avenue Street Calendar 2000 was the 11th issue of the series. And it was kind of like “the end of an era” for me. And it wasn’t just because the 20th century was coming to an end. Though that was symbolic, of course.

Up to that point, the colorful, zany, crazy Berkeley street people on Telegraph were not only tolerated. They were downright celebrated. It’s one of the reasons our calendar was such a local hit. Berkeley took a certain pride in it’s offbeat, weirdo charm. It was part of what made Berkeley Berkeley. And there was a strong artistic and bohemian flair to the Telegraph street scene up to that point.

And back then, the Berkeley liberal do-gooders mostly had genuine concern for “the plight of the homeless” (who were viewed as primarily victims of Reaganomics through the prism that was Berkeley progressive politics).

But around 2000 you could sense a definite shift in the prevailing attitude. There was more talk about “those bums that are ruining our nice shopping district.” And headlines started blaring from the local papers: “What’s Wrong With Telegraph Avenue?”

What indeed. The Berkeley street scene just kept getting grimmer and more barren every year after this. And when 9-11 hit in 2001, there was definitely a sense that the party was over. And that we had indeed entered a new era.

Bring back the ’90s, man!

Crash. Hanging out in front of Blondie’s Pizza.

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5 Comments »

  1. The beautiful girl seated next to the shopping carts is a haunting photo. Story behind that?

    Comment by Jon — March 30, 2013 @ 12:55 am | Reply

    • She’s a mystery to me. She was only around for a couple weeks, usually hanging out on Shattuck Avenue, usually alone, sometimes late at night, dressed in an expensive-looking dress and long, high-heeled boots (which really made me wonder what she was up to). She had a boyfriend who’s face was completely covered with tattoos and he was always in a rage, which gave him the impression of an insane clown. I took photos of her a couple of times, and gave her copies of the photos, and that was pretty much the extent of my interactions with her. She’s like a lot of people on the streets: you don’t know where they came from, or where they went to, they just flash in the present moment and then vanish. Streetpeople largely exist without a past or a future, just a very weird present. . . R. Crumb did a beautiful drawing of this photo and published it in one of his books.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — March 30, 2013 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  2. “Drug free zone” means: we ain’t sed nuthin ’bout alkiehawl!

    Comment by Coca Lero — March 30, 2013 @ 2:37 am | Reply

  3. I’m happy to report that the guy in the “Star Stix” sweat pants is still alive and well up here in Portland. What amazing synchronicity to come across this blog totally randomly and then see someone I know. His name is Ray and I call him my “Ray of sunshine.” Ray still juggles in the park. His Star Stix are an amazing thing to see him play with though lately he’s gotten into RC battery-operated helicopters. Such a beautiful human being (hard to talk to though).

    Comment by borgbike — April 9, 2013 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the update, Borgbike. Glad to hear Ray is doing good. We were neighbors for 10 years, we set up our vending table right next to his on Telegraph Avenue. He sold hand-made Star Stix, hacky-sacks, and very far-out computer-generated paintings. Hey, just ask him his opinion on anything “spiritual” and he’ll talk your ear off for hours. A very sweet cat. He’s like an original hippie. Tell Ray, Ace Backwords says hi.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — April 9, 2013 @ 7:49 pm | Reply


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