Last episode, Country had drag queens flirting with him and he burned rubber getting across the intersection as soon as the light changed. This type activity hadn’t started back in Texas and Arkansas yet so their ‘come-on’ was something his brain hadn’t had time to process. There were no protocols filed in the vaults of his brain. He had to fly by the seat of his pants and burning rubber seemed the perfect resolve to this issue.
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I glanced back and the lumberjack drag queens were still waving.
Larkin St., Hayes, 9th St. and Market all ran together at one spot. Asi hastily crossed Market I was slightly confused, then jogged left on Hayes, stopping at Van Ness Ave. where I asked a half a$$ normal person how to get to Haight & Ashbury St. I was directed left on Gough St., right on Fell, to Fillmore st. at the southern edge of the Fillmore District, then left to Haight St.
Interestingly enough, the Fillmore District has so much history that most people don’t know about. The Japanese who made up much of the district were removed from their homes and incarcerated in special holding camps during WW2. The black middle class moved into the vacated, Victorian homes.
During this time it was like Harlem in New York. The rich came to the clubs to listen to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holliday. Their Cadillac’s and Lincoln’s lined the street.
Then a racially motivated mayor declared it blight so between 2,000 and 3,000 Victorian homes were torn down. As a result, it turned into a ghetto. Later in the mid to late 60’s The Matrix club was built. It opened with a new band called Jefferson Airplane. From then on it was a Mecca for the new bands playing in San Francisco at that time.
Big Brother and the Holding Company came which was the band Janis Joplin sang with before going solo with her first album. It had a small decal on the bottom left stating “property of the Hells Angels”. Jim Morrison and the Doors, Beau Brummell and the Rollin Stones with Mick Jagger looking like a skinny big lipped kid all came to apply their craft.
In ’65 The Warlocks became the Grateful Dead, Percy Sledge, Lightenin Joe Hopkins and Jimi Hendrix. I could go on and on but I dont think there is another place that influenced future music like San Francisco in the ’60’s.
I turned left on Fillmore and found myself back at Market. Just a few feet before Market I hit Haight St. I found that was a common thing on Market 3 to 4 streets coming together at once. It paid to be alert while navigating. Going right on Haight St. I rode 12 or 13 blocks and skirted Buana Visa Park on the left. From there it was only 2 blocks to Ashbury St.
There was nothing but young people dressed in every fashion imaginable. You could feel the excitement vibrating the molecules in the air and I had arrived – yearning for that illusive fence to jump.
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