I was one of the many who had flocked to the de Young Museum to check out their new groovy exhibition: The Summer of Love Experience.
Although I signed up for it via FIDM's Alum Event, I had seen advertisements for it before, in London out of all places! I remember fondly looking at the posters and wishing I could attend and some months later, I was one of the many cats coming to see it.
With focus on art, fashion, and rock & roll, I was taken back in time and transported to a city rich in rebellion and thirsty for change.
Psychedelically engaging, it completely hooked me. Whether it was the brilliantly colored posters, the Grateful Dead playing in the background, or complete immersion in the sensations of LSD (but not literally), I felt captured and my heart was once again stolen by San Francisco's rich history.
Looking about, the patronage of the exhibition was mostly older, and one of my most memorable parts of the experience was talking with an older gentleman about the connotation of the hippies.
I think he may have lived in San Francisco during the fab Summer of Love in 1967, for he was reminiscing about his friend "Danny Buttons" who was known for his denim jacket smothered in buttons and pins, and how these hippies were really on the forefront of change during the late sixties, but were instead remembered as being loose, laid back, free, flowy dressed, "free the nipple" types of people, detached from being a traditional citizen.
But being a hippie wasn't about dressing a certain way, it was about having a certain attitude. They came together through their passion for change: artistically, politically, and culturally. And during the Summer of Love, these like-minded individuals came from all over the country to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, which would become one of the most iconic spots during the 1960's counterculture movement.
I don't think it could've come at a more opportune moment, this revolutionary exhibition. Fifty years later, I think these issues are just as prevalent and that another generation of young people will come forth to take action on concerns that matter most: social justice, awareness of the natural world, inclusiveness, and an attitude of participation.
And with weed now legal in some states...
When I finished, my perception and interpretation of the hippie was greatly smooshed and I was left feeling appreciative for those individuals back then, and still out there, that behave in the greater good of spreading awareness and promoting distinctive individuality.
It was definitely an experience in itself, and I can't help but wonder when the next revolution will come, for without a doubt, the times they are a-changing...
do your own thing: hippie is more than a way of dressing. it's a spirit which fills young people.
- Yves Saint Laurent, July 1978
the poster shop: freaky, funny, and fashionable, these are the signs of our times.
-Herbert Gold, Satruday Evening Post, 1968
put you in the mood: the Deadhead is that person (who) wherever they turn up in society... is looking for an adventure in America, you know, something to do that is not like (what) everyone else does, and the chance to get out and scare themselves a little.
-Jerry Garcia, early 1970's
what are we fighting for? every time I hear revolution, I hear evolution alongside it.
-Lenore Kandel, Voices From the Love Generation, 1968