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chronicles of starting an art bar / cafe in san francisco

Tag Archives: high times

November here and I have one thing on my mind: DRUGS. “Why?” You may ask. Well, because on November 2nd Californians failed to legalize marijuana. I’m not going to go into the politics of any of this, but I will tell you that it lead to me spending all week bidding on back issues of High Times magazine on ebay. And no, I wasn’t stoned.

'Sup Cheech & Chong

Certain things come to mind when people think of San Francisco and the Bay Area – the amazing food (the whole local and organic thing is sort of our trademark), the abundance of iPhones (techies for days), the gays, the liberals, the activists, and certainly, the hippies. In certain parts of the the US, people think that we are all homosexual vegan potheads wearing organic hemp tie dye outfits and sipping kombucha. That might not be quite accurate, but if you put the staff of The Summit in a blender…

some of us at The Summit are working the steps.

The point is – our little city has a reputation, a reputation that involves liberalism, free love, and red eyes, goofy grins, and the munchies. And we kind of deserve it, in the 60s San Francisco was the city of free love, hippies, and a whole lot of smoking pot. Not to mention dropping acid, eating mushrooms, smoking salvia, and let’s not forget peyote or mescaline, alcohol and quaaludes and hash. You throw all that into the mix and things are bound to get interesting.

These hippie babes look dazed and confused. Also, those are boobs. Almost. You're welcome.

Thankfully, all that drug experimentation was accompanied by a whole lot of amazing art, music, and literature. Some of my favorite writing is the beat literature that came out of our city in the 60s, and authors like Jack Keroac and Allen Ginsberg are some of the first that come to mind when you think about literature in San Francisco.

Jack Kerouac. Babe Alert.

But this city isn’t just happy hippies in a cloud of pot smoke writing novels, it’s also junkies on 6th Street and the corner of Turk & Taylor. It’s dealers hustling heroin on Mission Street and gutterpunks selling hits of acid on Haight Street. It’s club kids tweaked out on e and coke and meth. It’s AA, and NA, and MA, 12-step programs, and sober homes, and rehabs. Drug culture is as much about addiction as it is about experimentation, and the literature that is born from dependancy can be compelling. Think William S. Burroughs’ “Junkie” or more recently, Nic Sheff’s “Tweak” and James Frey’s (semi-fictional, but compelling none-the-less) “A Million Little Pieces.”

So, for November, with Prop 19 and marijuana on everyone’s minds, I decided to put together a collection of literature pertaining to drug culture. I’m titling the collection “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,”  a phrase coined by Timothy Leary in the 60s to promote the benefits of LSD. Obviously the collection isn’t just about marijuana, and you should expect to see quite a bit of anti-drug propaganda (back issues of TIME magazine discussing the “menace of cocaine”, and guides for parents who suspect their children of drug use). I hope that it will peak the interest the people who wander over from a 420 session at Dolores to satisfy their munchies, and to the people whose drug of choice is the caffeine in their Blue Bottle Coffee.

Just scored this on ebay - pretty stoked.

There will be an opening reception for the collection on November 9th… more details to come!

You guys can use the front door, I promise.


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