Friday, January 4, 2008


Some guy had a brilliant idea -- film all the crazy hippie runaway kids flooding the Haight and make a ton of money selling it to the curious squares! Why not? There were already tour buses jammed full of gawkers, why not some cheesy weirdo lava lamp psychedelic "trip" for the grindhouse? That's a very young Jack Nicholson, who acted in a lot of similar Roger Corman flicks, and Bruce Dern in a frightwig. This was the tipping point, a subculture on the verge of being packaged and sold by waterbed entrepreneurs with pencil-thin mustaches.

This clip reminds me of the Psychedelic Supermarket, a little rundown shop where I bought a blacklight poster and a teardrop-shaped peace amulet on a cheap leather string. It was lame, but to a sixth grader it seemed pretty cool. Squinting at the brilliant Day-glo posters, I literally stumbled into a dark backroom that looked like a sultan's tent with parachute silk ceilings and oriental rugs, and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I saw faint images of hippies sprawled out on beanbag chairs. A pretty girl in a headband swayed to the music, undulating to trippy psychedelica, maybe the Electric Prunes, and there was a whiff of strawberry incense in the room, and the slightly acrid smell of burning leaves. I probably got a contact high just standing there. I was dumbstruck. The baseball team would never believe this. I felt like Toby Tyler, first discovering the circus. There was no turning back now. PSYCH OUT! PSYCH OUT!!!!

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