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I hope you all don't lose all respect for me. I bailed on the show yesterday.

Oh I went to the park. And I walked all the way around the stage where Patti was going to play--from a distance of about a quarter of a mile, that is. Maybe half that at points.

The stage was elevated about six or eight feet from the ground and was separated from the crowd by what looked like a 10-foot moat with chain link on each side and filled with yellow jacketed security personnel. The only way I could have communicated with anyone on stage would have been to throw something at them and I don't think that is likely to be a good way to get anyone to read my book--that is, to throw it at them.

I thought about staying anyway, with the crowd of thousands filling the little valley that functioned as the stage's amphitheatre. Honestly I had thought they were going to set it up on one side, the lower side of the gully, and let the opposite side be the seating area, since it is would have more naturally have placed the crowd on an upslope in front of the stage. Instead the stage was at one end and the crowd stretched out the length of the hollow and up onto the one side that wasn't covered with trees.

I hadn't anything to sit on and nowhere really that would have made for a good spot to sit.

And did I mention the place was overflowing with--and I don't mean this in a derogatory sense really, but there is something about them that makes me want to scream and run the other way--old San Francisco hippies. And young San Francisco hippies. Although it was foggy and chilly I still got the distinct feeling that I was surrounded by Burning Man regulars. They were all wearing a full complement of clothing so as not to freeze in the fog, but the young woman standing with the "Free Hugs" cardboard sign summed up fairly well the general atmosphere of the place.

Straight couples were making out in the woods everywhere. Like, every ten feet and behind every tree or thicket.

I fled.

I crossed the green and walked up into the trees on the other side, turned east, and walked until I got to the bus stop on Stanyan St. The 33 arrived within ten minutes and deposited me on Mission Street about fifteen minutes after that. I thought about offboarding at the Castro Street Fair, thinking that at least there probably would not be straight couples making out on the sidewalks, but the hike back out of the park had soaked me through to the point that my leather jacket was damp from the inside out and although I had brought extra shirts I did not have another jacket on me. And by this time the fog had overcome Twin Peaks and spilled across the whole city. So I stayed on the bus and came home and fell asleep until about 3am this morning.

So. That's my sorry tale. It's not that I don't like being outdoors. I love being outdoors.


Crowds of people belong in auditoriums.

And the next time Patti plays in one, I will go and camp out in front of the microphone. Most of the clubs here let the artists and audience actually interact with each other. I thought that was why we went to see people play. Just hanging out on the grass with a billion people I don't know is not really my favorite way to hear music.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 4th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
i'd be put off by the moat and the chain link fence, with security guards, but i guess they have to worry about bad things happening to the star. though it sounds like that crowd was too hippiefied to commit aggressive acts! sorry it was disappointing.

(in late high school and early college, i wanted so badly to be a SF hippie. probably was the wrong personality type, but i loved the look.)
Oct. 4th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
I wanted to be a hippie when I was six. Not to say it is a childish thing--it's just that when there really were hippies here, I was six!

These days there's something about that scene that reeks of bad boundaries. Or maybe it's just something about me not really wanting 'free' hugs from strangers. I dunno.

Loved bell-bottoms. Still like them, when they are in style. I think they've been in style at least three separate times in my lifetime so far.

The stages were all set up like that, like these were megastars that needed to be protected from their fans. Most of the music I see is still played clubs that are small enough that you can shake hands with the musicians if they are feeling generous. I guess I forgot what the big time was like. ;)

It was ok. In a way I was relieved not to have to figure out the best way and time to try to hand Patti my book. Of course, if she plays the Fillmore or anywhere else in town in the near future, I still think I must try.
Oct. 4th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
i just went trolling for photos of hippies but found nothing that was quite what i have in my mental viewfinder as what i wanted. ended up looking at photos of jean shrimpton and thinking about how she's what i wanted to be in the mid-'60s. no wonder i never measured up, ever! i think i gave up, and that's why i schlep around in cheap polyester from walmart. poor poor me. ;D
the shrimp

i'll be hoping for that fillmore gig so you can give patti a book!
Oct. 4th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Before I knew who Jimi Hendrix was, I think I wanted to be Joni Mitchell. Dunno if she is exactly a hippie, but I always liked her music and thought she seemed friendly and happy, like the hippies were supposed to be.

Then it was Jimi, Jim Morrison, and on to David Bowie, when the big question was did I want David Bowie or did I want to be David Bowie and it was not at all easy to answer.

I just turned out me. I think I've been having a hard time getting used to that.

Patti will play here again eventually, gods willing.
Oct. 4th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
i was a big joni mitchell fan, too. i've probably told you what a folkie i was back then.

>the big question was did I want David Bowie or did I want to be David Bowie and it was not at all easy to answer.

i've probably told you how much i know what you mean by that, too! (witness all my male avatars, etc.)

>I just turned out me. I think I've been having a hard time getting used to that.

oh yeah. being just me so often doesn't feel like enough somehow.
Oct. 4th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Patti Smith?

Sorry you didn't get to see the show but I understand perfectly the fleeing -- some situations are just not conducive to a positive listening/music-absorbing experience.

My son and I had to flee a club Fri. night in the middle of a second set by the band, the crowd was so loud and rude, showed no respect to the work of the musicians.

Patti and Robert were once old hippies ;)

And of course hippies would be there, as her messages of Fight the Power and all ......
Unless it's a different Patti you speak of, in which case... never mind ;)
Oct. 4th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
They were hippies but they had the decency to become punks when the time was right. ;)

I think this festival in general draws a laid-back, long-haired crowd. It's free and it's all fairly mellow music (except, possibly, for Patti. And this year, MC Hammer as well!) and it's a good excuse to lay about drinking beer in the park all day.

Which I would have enjoyed once upon a time, but now is not that time.

It's no big deal really. I imagine she'll come back and play a smaller venue where I'll feel at home with all the other 40 and 50something punks. :)
Oct. 4th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Why do hippies get such a bad rap? Both Patti and the Clash - yes, punks, embraced and promoted roots n dub reggae, which is pretty parallel to hippie culture in terms of Ital/natural foods, promoting peace, fighting social injustice.
All those who are outside of mainstream society need to stop knocking each other, if you ask me, which you didn't, but Ima saying it anyway ;)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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