A Telegraph Avenue hallucination

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I was just hallucinating about classic Telegraph Avenue.

Moe was at the cash register at Moe’s Books, smoking a big fat cigar, as he nonchalantly rang up customers.

Across the street Julia Vinograd was at the Caffe Med, strolling up to the various tables, hawking her latest book. “Would you like to check out my latest book of poetry?”

Down the street at Cody’s Books, Andy Ross — the Woody Allen of Telegraph Avenue — was nervously fidgeting back and forth as a world-famous author gave a talk to a large crowd of people. Later, a long line of people would wait on line to get their books signed by the great man.

Around the corner Food Not Bombs has just served a delicious free meal in Peoples Park — it’s “Tasty Tuesday” by Judy the cook — and now all the street people are happily lolling on the grass under the sun, strumming on guitars and smoking pot.

Up the street in front of Cafe Botega, the Naked Guy is sitting on the sidewalk, buck naked of course, selling bumperstickers that say “IT’S JUST A DICK.” And the Rare Man is shirtless and doing chin ups and roaring: “HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?? RAAAARRRREEEE!!!”

Across the street St. Paul — the world’s most fanatical and brain-damaged Deadhead — in his brightly colored tye-dye t-shirt is flashing peace signs and shouting at the bewildered pedestrians over and over “JERRY GARCIA GRATEFUL DEAD!! JERRY GARCIA GRATEFUL DEAD!!”

On the Berkeley campus Rick Starr is crooning out his oldies into his fake plastic microphone. And Hate Man is hanging out at Bench One with Jaguar, Warpo, Krash and the rest of the Hate Camp crazies, getting into loud arguments, cursing at each other, pushing shoulders, and smoking many cigarettes. Until it’s time to bring out the drums for the drum circle and the nightly tribal stomp.

Meanwhile, Backwords and Duncan are hanging out at their vending table selling weird underground shit in between drinking many 24 ounce cans of Olde English.

Its ten o’clock and the Campanile Tower rings out ten times — that haunting, melancholy sound — and it’s one more weird and magical night in Berkeley. . .

Popular misconceptions about “the homeless”

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Its funny, the stereotypes — and misconceptions — that so many people have about “the homeless.

My friend B.N. Duncan was a fairly eccentric-looking guy. He had a long, bushy beard down to his chest, and wild, unruly hair. And his clothes were often ragged and stained, and pitted with cigarette hole burns.

While I was fairly bland and clean-cut looking (at least compared to Duncan, ha ha).

And we’d be walking down the street together, and on many occasions, strangers would assume Duncan (who had never spent a day of his life homeless) was homeless, and offer him food or money or clean socks or etc.

While I (who had spent 13 years, and counting, homeless) rarely, if ever, received such largesse from the general public.

It’s a funny world, ain’t it??

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When my friend Moby was filming a movie about the street scene, he cast Duncan as “the homeless guy.” Unfortunately, I didn’t look “homeless” enough to get the role.

Some random pages from Twisted Image #1

I always get a kick out of stumbling across bits and pieces of my past on the internet. Not the least because some of it is from so long ago — this issue of Twisted Image #1 is from the summer of 1982 — that I barely remember it myself. Last night I came across two different people who were selling this issue on eBay. Merely 30 bucks . . .  With my luck I won’t attain “highly collectible” status until long after I’m dead.

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The staff.

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An ad.
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The back cover to Twisted Image #1.

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