Acid Heroes

January 28, 2016

Bench One and Bench Two

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 11:53 pm
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Hate Man, 1994

Bench One and Bench Two on the Berkeley campus.   That’s what we used to call them because they were the first two benches when you hit the campus.  This was Hate Man’s main hang-out spot in the 1990s.  And you’d find Hate Man there most every day, all day long, holding court, usually surrounded by 10 or 20 people hanging around him.  “Hate Camp” as it was called.

And Hate Camp was a pretty eclectic bunch of people.  Street people, artists, writers, painters, musicians, philosophers, druggies, complete lunatics, college students,  high school kids, teenage runaways, gangbangers, blacks, whites, latinos, young, old. . . Just about anybody and everybody would drift into the stew.

Hate Camp was sort of part street party, part art happening.  It was a salon, basically.  This non-stop conversation that went on for decades.  And the talk ran the gamut from the latest gossip of the day, to debating the great philosophical and spiritual issues of humanity.  Hate Man primarily saw himself as a philosopher.  A self-styled street guru.  And a therapist.  He dubbed his philosophy “Oppositionality.”  As therapy it was part Primal Scream, and part Gestalt Therapy.  Involving endless arguments and confrontations and screaming back and forth about any and every disagreement.  Until the disagreements were either resolved, or considered “at an impasse.”  At which point we’d revert back to talking about the gossip of the day.

Over the years, there was always a “second in command” at Hate Camp.  A series of different “Hate Boys” as they were called.  Who emulated Hate Man’s philosophy and lifestyle.  Often exactly.  And acted as sort of Sancho Panchez to Hate Man’s Don Quixote.

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Krash, 1994

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One of the most prominent and long-lasting of the Hate Boys was a guy named Krash.   Crash had graduated from Yale and was a post-graduate student at Cal  majoring in Rabbinical studies (to give you an idea of the eclectic nature of the Hate Campers).  When he happened to notice the Hate crew on Bench One one day while he was on his way to class.  Crash joined the party.  Dropped out of school.  And hung around for the next 20 years.

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