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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Haight Ashbury Street Fair 2007

Translation in French will follow shortly / Traduction en Français dans quelques jours

Click to enlarge photographs / les photos sont cliquables

I went to the Haight Ashbury Street Fair today, not really knowing what to expect. The Summer of Love has long come and gone, so what would I find? Well, first of all, I found this:

... this...

and more of this!

The street was so crowded, it was almost impossible to put one foot in front of the other! I suppose, today, if nothing else, I've developped some new found respect for the journalists and photographs who are dispatched to cover such crowded events.

As usual in San Francisco, the crowd was diverse. You had man's best friend (those two were fortunate enough to have been assigned watch duty over this handicapped parking place a few yards away from the main street; some less fortunates ones were made to walk through the thick of the crowd with their air-headed onwers. Just imagine what this (below) must feel like, if you're a dog!)

As you'd expect in this district, there were a few punks around ...

... and a few hippies ...

(something tells me that the guy on the right might have been around when the movement originally started in the 60's, but I didn't really get a chance to go ask him)

These kids were definitely NOT around in the 60's, but the spirit lives on ...

Speaking of spirit of the 60's, I suppose Haight-Ashbury wouldn't be Haight-Ashbury without the glass pipes and/or miscellaneous drug paraphernalia ...

... the tie-dye T-shirts and peace signs...

There was all kinds of live music around, sometimes overlapping. You had this...

and that...

Even the guys singing "Harry Krishna" were there. I never thought I'd say this, but I was kind of happy to see them, and so was the crowd. There must be something reassuring about familiar sights... After all, most people my generation have seen these guys since ... well, forever, really!

There was plenty to eat, barbecued stuff mostly, which created a huge cloud of smoke at each street corner and a strong ambiant smell of burning meat ...

... but they didn't plan for anyone seating down, so this generation of people did exactly what others had done 40 years ago: they sat down wherever they could, on the sidewalk, in little groups, and consumed ... well food, actually. (OK, some had chairs, as you can see.)

Whoever was smoking marijuna did not do it in public when I was around. Most people there were strictly eating and/or drinking, and even the drinking was done more or less out-of-sight, inside the bars and/or at private parties. Like this one, on the roof, for instance.

smoke comes from the barbecue 1/2 a block away!

Oh, why not, the entire district was having a party, might as well join them ...


Not everybody cared for the crowd, however, and some managed to find a quiet spot to make a phone call ...

or just chill.

Before I left the event, I got into a conversation with an older lady holding a sign to remind people to please register to vote. She asked me what I thought about the fair. I told her in all honesty that I thought things had changed quite a bit since I first set foot in the Haight District more than a generation ago, but I couldn't say that it had changed for the better. To my great surprise, the lady then responded in French with a very slight accent "Le plus les choses changent, le plus elles restent les mêmes." [The more things change, the more they stay the same] see Comparison between the Summer of Love and Today ])

So, Haight Street Fair next year? I'm sorry to say this, but ... I don't think so.

* * * * *
Additional Resources:

Haight Ashbury Street Fair (English)

Comprehensive article by the Chronicle with videos and photographs on the Summer of Love well worth a look (English).

The Haight District : an overview (English).


Anonymous Gabrielle said...

What a fabulous post! I've stayed in a B&B just off Haight and love the area, and you captured it perfectly. Especially love the peace, love and compassion shot with that tiny dog looking a bit bemused by it all.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Ackworth Born said...

I just love the expression on the face that yorkshire terrier with the yellow jersey (10th photo down).

Not quite the same but our local village fete is next weekend -- we've had lovely weather for several days now so it'll probably rain on Sunday!

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Philippe said...

Merci pour ce voyage!

12:40 PM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

Gabrielle: glad you like the pot! The photographs are not the best quality because of 1)tons of barbecue smoke all over the place, 2) crowd of people everywhere makes it nearly impossible to get a good shot of anything, 3) the sun coming straight down.. but oh, well, atleast you get an idea! ;)

ackworth: where is that dog? Seriously, I can't see it! There is a little yellow dog next to that hippy guy but I think it was his original coat?

Philippe: de rien, et merci d'etre venu! :)

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Hana said...

I agree, that was a pretty good tour! For my part I love the flats and houses and people standing on "terraces". Strange balconies, and very dangerous, it looks like old far west lol.

7:01 AM  

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