Acid Heroes

November 14, 2013

How I first heard about Barack Obama.

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:47 pm
Tags: , , ,
It must have been sometime around 2006. I had been illegally living in my office in this office building for 8 years at the time.  It was against the lease to actually LIVE in your office.  So I tried to keep a VERY low profile when I went in and out of the  building.   Trying to pass for a normal guy working at a normal job in a normal office building.  Which isn’t easy to do if you’re somebody like me.

The building was the legendary Koerber building on 2054 University Avenue in Berkeley.  It was one of the last vestiges for hip, bohemian weirdo artists who were actually trying to make a living off their art.  So I sort of fit right in.  It had originally been built in 1924 — this six-story, red brick building.  At the time it was the tallest “sky scraper” in Berkeley.  And it would play a key role in Berkeley’s cultural history.  KPFA — the nation’s first listener-sponsored radio station — had their first office there, as did Ramparts magazine and the Center for Independent Living.  So the building had a history.  During my day the Yoga Journal magazine was the big tenant.  And the Funky Nixons — the well-known radical/political rock band — used the basement for their rehearsal space.  Myself, I had a 6 foot by 12 foot space that was about as big as walk-in closet.  But at $120 a month it was my life raft.  My one little buffer zone between me and living on the streets.

So anyways, one night around midnight I’m sneaking back into the building with a shopping cart full of books that I’d just salvaged from the Half Press Books recycling bins.  I used to work as a vendor on Telegraph Avenue selling used books, and those bins were one of my main sources of books.  Unfortunately, as I’m pushing my funky shopping cart down the hallway, loaded to the gills with all sorts of dumpster-dived crap,  Richard, the owner of the building, just happened to be in his office.  And he spots me going by.  He said, “Ace, I’d like to talk to you in my office for a minute.”

 I figured, “Fuck! I’ve finally been busted!” I’m gonna get kicked out of my office.

So I sit down in Richard’s office expecting the worse.  Like; “Hey Ace, what the hell are you doing in the building at midnight pushing a dirty shopping cart full of funky-ass crap down the hallways of my nice and neat office building?  Hmmm?”

Obama poster and original

But instead Richard: “Hey Ace, are you familiar with Barack Obama?”

And he gives me a big sales pitch about Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.   He’s all enthused about Obama and wants me to check him out and consider voting for him.   He’d just finished reading Obama’s new book, “The Audacity of Hope” and he struck Richard as a real human being  and not a typical politician.  So he was getting behind the Obama candidacy all the way.   This was 2006 and it was the first time I had ever even heard of Barack Obama.  He was running at about 2 percent in the primary polls at the time.  And I’m thinking:

“A black guy running for president? S-u-ure.”


But I told Richard I would surely check him out. Barack Obama.

And I walked back to my office and went, “Whew!!”

PS:  And of course I voted for Obama in 2008.  The guy saved my ass.





  1. And then they gentrified it & evicted everyone?

    Comment by Jon — November 15, 2013 @ 2:38 am | Reply

    • Yeah. New owner bought the building in 2007. Assured the tenants that he “looked forward to working with each and every one of you.” And then he systematically kicked everybody out. Hired a bunch of illegal immigrants to completely remodel the building on the cheap. Then turned it into an upscale office buidling for upscale tenants. Same old story.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — November 19, 2013 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  2. c’mon dude, where’s the cartoon?

    Comment by EyeGee — November 15, 2013 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

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