Boulder Beat Column
“Great Caesar’s Ghost!” thundered Editor Eric. “This is the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love! Write something about how it came down in Boulder!”
Easier said than done, chief. The Summer of Love — 1967, in case you’ve forgotten, or weren’t born yet — happened on Hippie Standard Time (HST).
In Hippie Standard Time, things that happened last month really happened next Tuesday. And vice-versa. During the Summer of Love, things that happened next Tuesday in Boulder happened last month in San Francisco. And con-versa. Got it?
Boulder’s Summer of Love started in San Francisco in the dead of winter, on Jan. 14, 1967. The occasion was the first Be-In. Psychadelic psychologist Timothy Leary, by then fired from Harvard, dropped in to Golden Gate Park to tell people to drop out.
At the same time, he was at a Be-In in Boulder on June 2, 1967 (HST), arriving on Sept. 22 (HST).
Other counter-culture A-Listers from the San Francisco Be-In also made the scene in Boulder — on HST, of course.
Allen Ginsberg materialized at Macky on April 14, burned incense, chanted mantras and read poetry. He’s never really left.
The Grateful Dead did their thing in the Glenn Miller Ballroom — on April 13, 1969. To make up for being late they jammed until 4 a.m.
Jefferson Airplane actually played during summer of ’67 — only the concert took place in Colorado Springs Hippie Standard Space-Time).
About the only people who showed up more or less in real time were the hippies. Most CU students barely noticed.
During the spring semester, some Colorado Daily stories were still putting the word hippie in quotation marks.
The real issues at CU were student power, education reform and the Vietnam War (which was taking place in Terrible Urgency of Now Time).
Students were starting to sweat over the draft.
The Student Peace Union was organizing teach-ins.
Paul Talmey (A&S’67; MBA’78) and I (then a grad student) ran for student body president and vice president on a student power platform. We won.
The Boulder Community Free School got started.
There was a lot of student activism — and hippies weren’t into it. Neither was Sigma Nu. It had a meeting over whether the brothers should be allowed to flash the peace sign.
CU’s General Electric College Bowl team won the nationally televised competition. Back on campus, the team was treated like royalty for winning. (The CU Trivia Bowl was patterned after the show.)
Nationally, the big news that summer wasn’t the Summer of Love. It was Israel’s seemingly miraculous victory in the Six Day War and riots in Newark and Detroit.
Still, the counter culture did manifest on campus a little, as when dozens of buses from the Wavy Gravy Bus Caravan showed up outside Baker Hall.
And that’s the way it was. Next Tuesday.
Photo by © iStock/Tar_Heel_Rob