Friday, August 25, 2017

SUMMER OF LOVE 1967. A PARADISE THAT NEVER WAS. ART, FASHION, & ROCK'N ROLL. PART 1

1967 was a seminal year in American culture. Over 475,000 U.S. troops were serving in Viet Nam. Anti-war protests were taking place throughout the country. Young people were flocking to San Francisco to escape conventional values with new hopes and dreams. On the radio Scott McKenzie sang: 
"If you're going to San Francisco 
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair 
If you're going to San Francisco 
You're gonna meet some gentle people there…"


The Summer of Love may not have been so groovy or cool as was originally envisioned by the thousands of kids flooding into Haight-Ashbury but they did help propel new styles of Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. 

San Francisco's De Young museum just finished a fabulous exhibit celebrating the fifty year anniversary of this mythical time in popular culture. 

When I heard the De Young Museum was going to feature the fashions of this unique era I immediately flashed back to this image of Marla in Sausalito and her cool jeans. 

The museum exhibit featured this giant wall of buttons from 1967. You wore your credo on your denim jacket. Walking through the Summer of Love exhibit brought me back to Buffalo Springfield's hit song from the day, "For What It's Worth."
"There is something happening here,
What it is ain't exactly clear..."

Marla and I, my 97-year-old Mom (in a loaner wheel chair just for the exhibit), and our good friend from the University of The Pacific, Lea Isetti, loved the museum's gift shop!

  Allen Ginsberg gives his interpretation of the Hippie Movement. 
                                                                                                  Jim Marshall Photography
No one captured the era better than photographer Jim Marshall. He was everywhere with his camera photographing the scene with his artistic view of what was really happening. 

The posters advertising rock concerts were a crowd favorite. We heard people commenting about concerts they attended which were displayed on the walls. I found a few posters advertising concerts Marla and I saw at the Avalon and the Fillmore for The Grateful Dead, The Jefferson Airplane, and The Sons Of Chaplin.

The great poster artists of the day, Alton Kelly, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson, and Stanley Mouse created fantastically vibrant, often psychedelic artworks,  borrowing elements from Art Nouveau and classic poster artists of the past like  Alphonse Mucha.

I remember seeing the black and white poster on the lower left on my brother's bedroom wall.


"Hmmm,...the past is still with us to this day!"



The anti-war message was loud and clear. I remember Country Joe & The Fish's lyrics...
"And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
                                    And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die."

I can't imagine 100,000 young people coming to The Haight! San Francisco's mayor, John Shelley, pleaded for all of them to go home! It became a bad scene with the prevalence of bad acid and worse combined with few health and other services. 

                                                                                                                                Jim Marshall Photography
An image of the Summer Of Love.

                                                                                                                                                  Jim Marshall Photography
I love this image of "Hippie Tourism." People loved driving around the Haight-Ashbury to see all the freaks and hippies.


I loved the fashion of this era and the De Young did a marvelous job displaying the clothes.

The jeans!

Love this!

Fabulous leather fashions!

"Now we're talking!" Marla LOVED the outfit at the top left!!!

Dug Miles designed the hand-painted jeans which are now in the Levi Straus Archives.

We all LOVE our jeans!

Birgitta Bjerke created this incredible crocheted wedding dress in the foreground.


Love the boots!

Jacket with pins.

Fantastical embroidered top.

This is the view of the outdoor cafe of the De Young Museum. The incredible building was designed by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects.

It seemed like the whole San Francisco Bay Area was into a Summer Of Love vibe. Check out the tye-dye at my Mom's senior apartment!

I am in "uniform" while reading about the exhibit. 
 Next week...Part 2...The Music Scene.
(Yes it's true, ...Marla did meet Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane while in line at the Avalon ballroom!)

Images: Dick Gentry, Jim Marshall

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