Hip Santa Cruz History Project

HipSCHP is group devoted to to documenting the history of Hip Santa Cruz, ca 1964-1972 or so. This site is a companion to the physical meetings, archival collections, and individual efforts that have been underway for several years.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Newspaper article about impact of the sixties (hippies)

In our last Story Circle sessions there was much interest expressed in questions about what lasting impact our activities in the sixties may have had, that we can still see today, if any.

Joe Lysowski missed these meetings because he is escaping the Santa Cruz "winters", at this time in Hawaii. Without being aware of our currently active interest in this subject, he was excited enough about the following newspaper article, to email it to a couple of friends. It now occurs to me that it might be nice to bring it to everyone's attention. This blog seems perfect for this kind of thing. I hope you find it interesting, meaningful, and maybe even a bit heartening too. Enjoy. leon

Published on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 by //The SanFrancisco Chronicle/ *The Hippies Were Right!* *Green homes? Organic food? Nature is good?* *Time To Give The Ol’ Tie-Dyers Some Respect* *by Mark Morford*

Go ahead, name your movement. Name something good and positive and pro-environment and eco-friendly that’s happening right now in the newly “greening” America and don’t say more guns in Texas or fewer reproductive choices for women or endless vile unwinnable BushCo wars in the Middle East lasting until roughly 2075 because that would defeat the whole point of this perky little column and destroy its naive tone of happy rose-colored sardonic optimism. OK? I’m talking about, say, energy-efficient lightbulbs. I’m looking at organic foods going mainstream. I mean chemical-free cleaning products widely available at Target and I’m talking saving the whales and protecting the dolphins and I mean yoga studios flourishing in every small town, giant boxesof organic cereal at Costco and non-phthalates dildos at Good Vibes and the Toyota Prius becoming the nation’s oddest status symbol. You know, /good/things. Look around: we have entire industries devoted to recycled paper, a new generation of cheap solar-power technology and an Oscar for “An InconvenientTruth” and even the soulless corporate monsters over at famously heartless joints like Wal-Mart are now claiming that they really, really care about saving the environment because, well, “it’s the right thing to do” (read: It’s purely economic and all about their bottom line because if they don’t start caring they’ll soon be totally screwed on manufacturing and shipping costs at/from all their brutal Chinese sweatshops). There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power inD.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.You know it’s true. All this hot enthusiasm for healing the planet and eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and working with nature and developing the self? Came from the hippies.Alternative health? Hippies. Green cotton? Hippies. Reclaimed wood? Recycling? Humane treatmentof animals? Medical pot? Alternative energy? Natural childbirth? Non-GMA seeds? It came from the granola types (who, of course, absorbed much of it from ancient cultures), from the alternative world views, from the underground and the sidelines and from far off the goddamn grid and it’s about time the media, the politicians,the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology. Here’s a suggestion, from one of my more astute ex-hippie readers: Instead of issuing carbon credits so industrial polluters can clear their collective corporate conscience, maybe, to help offset all the savage damage they’ve done to the soul of the planet all these years, these commercial cretins should instead buy some /karma/credits from the former hippies themselves. You know,from those who’ve been working for the health of the planet, quite thanklessly, for the past 50 years and who have, as a result, built up quite astore house of good karma. You think? Of course, you can easily argue that much of the“authentic” hippie ethos — the anti-corporate ideology, the sexual liberation, the anarchy, the push for civil rights, the experimentation — has been totally leeched out of all these new movements, that corporations have forcibly co-opted and diluted every single technology and humble pro-environment idea and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone and Odwalla smoothie to make them both palatable and profitable. But does this somehow make the organic oils in that body lotion any more harmful? Verily, it does not. You might also just as easily claim that much of the nation’s reluctant turn toward environmental health has little to do with the hippies per se, that it’s taking the threat of global meltdown combined with the notion of really, really expensive ski tickets to slap the nation’s incredibly obese ass into gear and force consumers to begin to wake up to the savage gluttony and wastefulness of American culture as everyone starts wondering, oh my God, what’s going to happen to swimming pools and NASCAR and free shipping from Amazon? Of course, without the ’60s groundwork, without all the radical ideas and seeds of change planted nearly five decades ago, what we’d be turning /to/ in our time of need would be a great deal more hopeless indeed. But if you’re /really/ bitter and shortsighted,you could say the entire hippie movement overall was just incredibly overrated, gets far too much cultural credit for far too little actual impact, was pretty much a giant excuse to slack off and enjoydirty lazy responsibility-free sex romps and do a ton of drugs and avoid Vietnam and not bathe for a month and name your child Sunflower or Shiva Moon or Chakra Lennon Sapphire Bumblebee. This is what’s called the reactionary simpleton’s view. It blithely ignores history, perspective, the evolutionof culture as a whole. You know, just like America. But, you know, whatever. The proofs are easy enough to trace. The core values and environmental groundwork laid by the ’60s counterculture are still so intact and potent even the stiffest neocon Republican has to acknowledge their extant power. It’s all right there: Treehugger.com is the new ’60s underground hippy zine. Ecstasy is the new LSD. Visible tattoos are the new longhairs. And bands as diverse as Pearl Jam to Bright Eyes to NIN to the Dixie Chicks are writing savage anti-Bush, anti-war songs for a new, ultra-jaded generation. And oh yes, speaking of good ol’ MDMA (Ecstasy), even drug culture is getting some new respect. Staid old Time mag just ran a rather snide little story about the new studies being conducted by Harvard and the National Institute of Mental Health into the astonishing psychospiritual benefits of goodly entheogens such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA. Unfortunately, the piece basically backhands Timothy Leary and the entire “excessive,” “naive” drug culture of yore in favor of much more “sane” and“careful” scientific analysis happening now, as if the only valid methods for attaining knowledge and an understanding of spirit were through control groups and clinical, mysticism-free examination. Please. Still, the fact that serious scientific research into entheogens is being conducted even in the face ofthe most anti-science, pro-pharmaceutical, ultra-conservative presidential regime in recent history is proof enough that all the hoary old hippie mantras about expanding the mind and touching God through drugs were onto something after all (yes,duh). Tim Leary is probably smiling wildly right now—though that might be due to all the mushrooms he’sbeen sharing with Kerouac and Einstein and Mary Magdalene. Mmm, heaven. Of course, true hippie values mean you’re not really supposed to care about or attach to any of this, you don’t give a damn for the hollow ego stroke of being right all along, for slapping the culture upside the head and saying, See? Do you see? It was never about the long hair and the folk music and Woodstock and taking so much acid you see Jesus and Shiva and Buddha tongue kissing in a hammock on the Dog Star, nimrods. It was, always and forever, about connectedness. It was about how we are all in this together. It was about resisting the status quo and fighting tyrannical corporate/political power and it was about opening your consciousness and seeing new possibilities of how we can all live with something resembling actual respect for the planet, for alternative cultures, for each other. You know, all that typical hippie crap no one believes in anymore. Right?[Ah... that felt good. Of course, while we're at it, we should probably also mention that the Beatniks were right about a lot of that stuff first. Unless the Bohemians were right first. But it's really the same thing, and that's as far back as I go... -psl]

Monday, May 14, 2007

Photograph by Ray Ginghofer

"It was taken around 1975 at the Poet and Patriot pub. Included from left to right are Doyle Forman, Bruce Bratton, Jerry Kamstra and a couple of other people whose names I can't recall. Maybe someone else can remember their names." -Ray

Does this image spark any memories for anyone? -Nici

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Early Catalyst

Some thoughts on the early Catalyst, with help from Patti.....

For several years the early Catalyst was a second home to me. I started working there a couple of months after it opened, lunch time only, and soon took on a split shift for the lunch and night crowd. This wasn’t a job just to get by. At the minimum wage of $2.35 an hour it barely provided that. But it was exactly at the center of where I wanted to be. The Sticky Wicket and Mannie’s were in Aptos; the Barn in Scotts Valley, and none of these places came alive until the sun went down. On Pacific Avenue, the Hip Pocket had folded and Bookshop Santa Cruz was trying to figure out how to get up and running. When Al & Patti DiLudovico opened the Catalyst they breathed life into the downtown, a place that was basically dead. The original Catalyst was one of the hubs of all that went on around here in the 60s. But its success was more than being in the right place at the right time---It was because of Al & Patti’s vision for the place, run by his powerful, larger-than-life energy and tempered by her sweetness and warmth.
The Catalyst started out in the Redwood Room, so called because of the split redwood bark on the walls. This stuff, aesthetic as it may have been, was immediately removed, probably because of the health dept., but also because if you inadvertently brushed up against it your skin would break out in welts. The deli counter was in this room along with a few tables. More seating was in the back, the Fountain Room, with its mirrored walls, tile floor and beautiful fountain set right in the center of the room. Off to the side was a small pub-like bar with an amber glass-paneled ceiling. Out of both love for the place and necessity, Patti & Al were involved with every aspect of the Catalyst, which is how she ended up also being its first bartender.
Except for its name and another fountain, the current Catalyst on Pacific Ave bears no resemblance to the early one. For starters, the original Catalyst wasn’t a club, it was a coffeehouse, in the style of some of the great bohemian spots in Berkeley, Sausalito and San Francisco. Its focus was on high quality deli food, pickles that could sear the skin off your hands, incredible pastries, and coffee and tea from around the world. A 10 oz cup of coffee was twenty five cents, with unlimited free refills. Equally important was the atmosphere---the feeling was Beat, then gradually morphed with the influx of hippies. This ambience was intense, vital and laid back at the same time. For those who couldn’t handle it, there was always the Bubble Bakery up the street with Farmers Bros. coffee.
Much later, the deli counter was moved to the huge Colonial Room. This was the St. George’s former ballroom; for years it had been just a storage space for County Bank records, and its hardwood floors, murals of nymphs dancing among flowers and enormous glass and wood doors that swung open to Front St. were still intact. In fact, the architecture of the St. George was spectacular, and the Catalyst occupied some of its best. A stage was in place for poetry and book readings, folk singers, chamber music and occasional bands. Up till then, performances had usually been pretty spontaneous, with one or two people showing up with a guitar and asking Al if they could play in the Fountain Room.
But with the move to the Colonial Room, table service began and waitresses were brought on. I was now working there most of the day on into the night, just like Al & Patti, but notably without the responsibility. There had never been any question in my mind about where I wanted to work; as far as I was concerned the Catalyst was the center of the universe. With the huge wood and glass doors open onto Front Street, I would stand behind the counter in the late morning, waiting for the unique cast of characters that made up the lunch crowd, knowing I had the best job in the best place in the world.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Dear Hips --- Many thanks to Nici for setting up this blog. It is an experiment. My time is limited, and try as I might, I have been unable to get all our stories, recorded during our seven circles so far, transcribed and posted to our website. So now it is time for each of you to write some stories and post them here. Let's make history !!!

--- rhax (ralph abraham)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

April Meeting

we have a plan:
saturday april 7, 2-4 pm, at leon's place
all respondents affirmed this time


If you have any suggestions, comments, concerns, or questions I'll do my best to address them if you list them here. Just comment on this post and I'll see what I can do.


Test Photo Posting

(Imported from Ralph Abraham's Hip Santa Cruz History Project website)

One thing that could happen here is that people could provide information about images as part of the documentation process. This is along the lines of the project that I'd like to do with the group and this initial step might help show what the group's wants and needs are.

What else could be done?