Monday, April 27, 2009


Yesterday I attended the Happening at People's Park. (What to call it... a concert? a festival? It was officially billed as An Afternoon of Music, Memories, and Magic.) It marked the 40th anniversary of the riots that gave birth to the Park, attracted the attention of the nation, and made my little town of Berkeley the center of the exploding 60s counter-culture/protest movement.

What can I tell you. It was a beautiful day in Berkeley, and it was just a short walk from my house. Besides, People's Park has a special place in my heart, as the first place I bought LSD in the mid-80s. The music was free, as was the food provided by Food Not Bombs. My buddy and I wished we'd set up a competing booth and called it Bombs Not Food. Or at least Drugs Not Hugs.

It's incredible to people-watch the crowd that appears under such conditions. Where do all these middle-aged hippies come from? Where do they hide themselves between jam fests? How do they make a living... it's impossible to imagine some of those folks in any conventional job.

The scene can't be described in words, so I've devised a little game. Below are a few photos and videos. Each was either taken by me yesterday with my trusty BlackBerry... or is entirely fictional. Can you tell the real from the imaginary? Life is strange, particularly in Berkeley; distinguishing fact from fiction isn't as easy as you may think!

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