Jul 21, Posts about Charles Perry “The Haight-Ashbury” written by jimfriedrich. The Haight-Ashbury explosion of was perhaps the most written-about and least understood event of the sixties. The reporters who descended on the. Feb 26, Charles Perry Haight, Ashbury, hippies. The intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets was a beacon for thousands of hippies, thrill-seekers.

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The riptide of The Revolution went prery with the same force it had surged in with, the ferocious undertow proportionate to the onetime hopes. Everything changed; the world turned holy; and nothing changed: There being nothing to change or chatles change; and everything Still to change and be changed…. In The Limeya Steven Soderbergh film set in contemporary Los Angeles, Peter Fonda plays Terry Valentine, an aging pop music producer, now cynical and corrupt, for whom the idealism of the Sixties is a very distant memory.

His young girlfriend asks him what it was really like back then. A place that maybe only really exists in your imagination? Some place far charled, half-remembered when you wake up. When you were there, though, you knew the language. You knew the way around.

That was the Sixties. The Summer of Love ? I wanted to give the last hours of the Sixties my undivided attention. I parked in one of those big empty lots in Santa Monica, in a pool of lamplight where the asphalt meets the sand.

Out in the darkness, a hundred yards away, the tide was going out, wave by wave. Just before midnight, a police car pulled up next to me. The officer got out, walked over to my window, and aimed a flashlight at my face. Even then, I was eager for readers. He handed back my journal and wished me a Prery New Year. By then it was Whenever haighf Sixties did end, and the high tide of cultural upheaval, political activism, youthful idealism and millennial hope began to run out, many were left to wonder what it had all meant.

Was it a dead end, or a door opening into something larger and more lasting? Did it change the world? Did it change our lives?

Forever dispersed into castles of bourgeois comfort and pockets of principled despair? But as many of us have learned, resignation and despair are not the only options.

We may have lost our innocence about the world——and about the traces of darkness in our own hearts——but we are ahight prisoners of hope. Our formative glimpses of a new heaven and a new earth may have come and gone, but their influence still lingers.

However chastened or weary we may be, a sense of expectation remains. What Jesus called the Kingdom of God is a future of human flourishing and divine blessing that still pulls on us with gravitational force.

It only intensifies our longing. Part of the message board at the Psychedelic Shop, Haight-Ashbury So when I consider the transformative dimension of the Sixties, and the ache of its disappearing, I call to mind a late summer morning inwhen I haigjt awakened at dawn by a pounding on my door.


It was the Rev. Craig Hammond, one of my colleagues in campus ministry at the University of Michigan.


And so it was that I was admitted that night——absolutely free——to a world of wonders and impossibilities. One of the things I haihht most is my sense of letdown the next day, after the circus moved on. Where I had seen trapeze artists defy physical law and visual probability, and witnessed clowns die and rise again, there was now but an empty field.

Like the Kingdom of God, the circus comes and asgbury.

Charles Perry “The Haight-Ashbury” | The religious imagineer

Its appearance is sudden and brief. You xharles only look for its coming again. In a matter of days, it has faded like a dream.

The powers set free within its tents seem but idle fancies.

The Haight-Ashbury: A History by Charles Perry

The attempt to talk now about the CIRCUS, so soon after its vanishing, comes with a price——acknowledgement of my separation from it. And yet, it touched us as it passed, its mad motions opened a space between the calm routines and resignations of our everyday lives, allowing us the briefest glimpse of the darkness and the dance of divinity. But the kingdom is not yet, and we are condemned for the moment to remain audience only.

The circus priests of pain an laughter stand on the other side of an unbridgeable divide, though for a day and a night they seemed so very near. When the next morning found no trace of them, we tried to forget as best we could. In the ordinary round of Episcopal business, a national gathering of clergy and lay representatives happens every three years, but this Convention was summoned in an off-year to address critical issues and questions posed to the Church by the struggles and tensions of the Sixties.

The discussions would focus particularly on race, women, and war. A certain amount of disagreement and polarization was anticipated, and we had been given the mission of making ritual to move people from a place of difference into an experience of shared celebration.

We were scheduled to follow an evening concert in a coffeehouse setting, where about people were seated around large tables. There were no obvious signs that a liturgy was about to happen——no procession forming at the back of the hall, no clergy vested in bright robes, no worship booklets distributed.

Some began to wonder whether the liturgy, publicized only by mimes handing out flyers at lunchtime, was just an unfounded rumor.

Then the lights went down. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! See the eschaton under the big top! Three rings of grace! Come one, come all, everybody welcome!

It seemed meet and right that this Ringmaster, a priest from Washington, D. The spotlight switched off, and in the darkness an anonymous voice in fact the Presiding Bishop, John Hinesread the gathering prayer: God of the Circus, Lord of the Dance, open our eyes to see your show when it comes to town.


I saw monks weeping and bishops dancing, and for one bright moment there were a great many things which no longer mattered very much in the light of this One Big Thing. Pilgrims will be richly rewarded. Summer of Love Part 2. Bantam Books, Williams, Searching for God in the Sixties Newark: University of Delaware Press, A History New York: Wenner Books, Times Books,8.

I am the Messiah. I spent the Summer of Love in a mental hospital ten miles from Disneyland. On my first day, I walked into the glass-walled staff booth overlooking the ward room to introduce myself.

A stern-faced nurse moved quickly to block my way.

I gave her my best smile. Only her eyes moved, slowly scanning me from head to toe. The cognitive dissonance was frying her circuits.

Charles Perry (food writer)

The ward psychiatrist seemed amused. In the Sixties, boundaries were no longer what they used to be. It was a time to tear down the walls, break on through to the other side, explore the wildness beyond the prison house of the social imaginary. And I opened my heart to the whole universe And I found it was loving And I saw the great blunder my teachers had made: The sobermindedness of New Left activists was easy to see: We thought there was going to be a breakthroughand that it was imminent.

So I haihht into as many scenes as I could. Those scenes really started inwhen I was a junior at Stanford, 45 minutes down the Peninsula from San Francisco. I thought they were performing an experiment in noise music.

When a friend at Harvard organized a West-Coast style be-in the next spring, I took charlss youth group to share the experience. In the theatrical spirit of the times, it seemed just the thing to wear costumes from the church Christmas pageant. So it was that Mary and Joseph, shepherds and Wise Men danced hand in hand with hippies and flower children on the banks of the Charles River.

Afterward, I took the teenagers, still in costume, to hear a lecture at Harvard by the controversial Episcopal bishop, James Pike. Our biblical couture made quite an impression when we entered the packed hall. I danced to the Byrds, the Doors, and Love, wore flowers in my hair at be-ins, saw young girls coming to the canyons, and made a trippy experimental film. Meanwhile, a seminary friend was helping to feed and house young people per night at a West Sshbury church.

My year-old grandmother organized the ladies of her retirement home to make them sandwiches. I managed to get up to the Haight once that summer. They politely declined the drawing. A year after the Sixties ended, the artist would die of a heroin overdose.

Or was it a doomed vision with no lasting effect? Shambhala Publications, ,

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