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Hippies Inc.: San Francisco and the commodification of the 60s

Hill, Sarah ORCID: 2009. Hippies Inc.: San Francisco and the commodification of the 60s. Presented at: Popular Music Worlds, Popular Music Histories: 15th Biennial IASPM Conference, Liverpool, UK, 13-17 July 2009.

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Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its distinct character, with its own evolving history of in-migration and gentrification; but the Haight-Ashbury is perhaps the only area with an enshrined sense of chronological moment. Though that moment was brief, the Haight has both benefited and suffered from continued interest in the hippie era. Sixties psychedelia and optimism have been refined, rarefied and commodified. Forty years on from the Summer of Love the corner of Haight and Ashbury is as popular a tourist snapshot backdrop as the zebra crossing in Abbey Road. The street signs represent more than a famous street corner, however: they represent the intersection of nostalgia and commerce, heritage and myth. In this paper I will travel the hippie streets of the Bay Area, from the Summer of Love Hotel to the weekly Grateful Dead DJ nights in Berkeley and evaluate how the musical legacy is exploited. By exploring the mutable sense of hippie ideology with original members of the Haight community and some of those whose livelihood depends on the adaptation, perpetuation and selling of it, this paper will examine the notion of the Haight as a museum, and the tie-dyed hippies that still patrol the neighbourhood as its grey-haired curators.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2023 02:32

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