Some might say that the counterculture movement began with the first hit of acid. Once your mind was blown, there was no turning back, and what emerged was a changed creature. There was a pattern to this change, and it happened gradually, like a three-phase operation. First, everything stripped away, as your own Great Truth was revealed, anything useless had to be eliminated, off came the clothes. There were so many naked people dancing in the sunshine of the park, throbbing to the band and light show, or just running around the house, that it became a common sight, actually a little boring!
The second phase bloomed as the spiritual change, which was inevitable. Intensity doesn’t begin to describe the permeation of profound thought forms that wafted throughout the City. It infused the air you breathed, like no other place, especially at night. San Francisco emerged as the playground of the freak, the stoner, the acid head. The cloak of evening bedecked bodies in wild whimsy. Wearable art was born on the street, sometimes in the gutter. The spiritual phases suffused the scene with swaths of colored fabric, and robes became essential gear. Pure color and textile, usually cotton, linen or silk, wrapped around one’s glorious form. Body consciousness was a big shift of the time. During the ’60s, fashion was graphic, coming out of the Bauhaus and Art Deco, making body perception very two dimensional. Twiggy was popular for a reason!
But flesh was In, and the spectacle on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park on any given day was unparalleled in the world, I’m sure. Bodies painted, swirling colored robes, flowers everywhere, little babies, people meditating, talking or standing on their heads for hours. And the drums, always, all the time, a drum circle of one or twenty which could be heard for blocks as one approached the park from Haight Street, a sight full of loving, joyous freakiness.