On the bus

On the bus
Reviewer: mdurshimer
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The Haight:
Love, Rock, and Revolution
304 pages
October 14, 2014
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

Tells the complete and comprehensive story of the revolutionary aspects of the day.

Hippies. They didn’t start out as peace-sign wearing, bell-bottom wearing, free-love thinking, and drug-ingesting harbingers of change. That came later, and to those who were there in the beginning, this transformation largely ruined the counterculture movement. It’s all documented in The Haight, Love, Rock and Revolution, by Joel Selvin, featuring the incredible photography of Jim Marshall.
This coffee-table sized book is an homage to the work of Marshall, who photographed The Haight from its birth to its death as the nexus of the 1960s revolution. The images tell the story as much as the text, and feature many photos you’ve seen before, but more you probably haven’t. Of course, there are plenty of striking images of the musicians at the forefront of San Fran in the ‘60s: Joplin, Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and many more. But there are also lots of interesting shots of the people who lived in The Haight, your average hippies who sought a different, more communal lifestyle. And then there’s the photos of those who shaped the norms of the day: Kesey and The Merry Pranksters, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, and even the Krishnas.
The photographs, perhaps unintentionally, chronicle the physical transformation of the hippies as the movement gained in popularity. At the start, the hippies looked like middle-American kids who decided to ditch their parents and move to California. Their attire would not be considered outlandish, perhaps a little different, but nothing radical. As LSD took hold, the changes become evident as hair grew longer, fashion became more psychedelic, and behavior became freer. The photographs evolve from groups of people sitting around to scantily clad women dancing in the streets and at festivals. Drugs erased inhibitions and opened minds (at least that’s what the hippies thought).
Just as the hippies evolved, the music of the day got trippier. And as the bands in and around the Haight grew in popularity, a bevy of history-making festivals cropped up, from the Human Be-In to the Monterey Pop Festival, which kicked off the now infamous Summer of Love. Marshall captured all of it on film, including the iconic photograph of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire.
The story of the hippie movement, documented by Selvin, is just as fascinating as the photographs. The reporting of this slice of history adds to the importance of the pictures.  It’s a great marriage of images and text.
The 1960s was one of those rare decades when society seemed to change at lightning speed with a great equalization for all, and we can thank for the hippies for that. The effectiveness of their philosophy helped bring about radical change for women and minorities. Unfortunately, as with many societal upheavals, the hippies turned on, tuned in and dropped out a little too much and The Haight eventually became a place to avoid. Still, their impact on American society cannot be denied. And this book is an outstanding look at the Hippie movement.
The times, they definitely changed.