There's much ado being made about the Summer of Love, that glorious time in 1967 when anyone on the East Coast who smoked pot, opposed the Vietnam War, believed in free speech and free love, let their hair grow long, listened to rock music, believed in black liberation and wanted to have a good time looked west to San Francisco where the hippies of Haight Ashbury had created a youth culture utopia on the wings of LSD. As the media looks back on the 40th anniversary of that miracle moment, it's quick to remind us that it was not all love all the time that summer, as the meth-using street people came in to kill the buzz.
But for kids like myself living in New York and reading about it in the Village Voice and Time, it didn't much matter. It was still the experience of a lifetime, a defining moment that launched me into a world of possibility and magic. Sure there were bad trips, bad drugs and bad people but the vibes, man, the vibes. You had to be there! The San Francisco Chronicle is running a series of articles interviewing some of the people who were around then including Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, one-time digger now actor Peter Coyote, writer Paul Krassner, Steve Wozniak and many, many others. So don't believe the anti-hype.