There’s a moment in “The End of the Golden Gate” that seems to encapsulate all three things, penned with a light hand and probing eye by comedian W. Kamau Bell:
“I once did a show at Vesuvio Cafe with Allen Ginsberg opening with a new poem. Margaret Cho dropped in to try out some new material. Kirk Hammett from Metallica and Jerry Garcia played folk songs on acoustic guitars. Annie Sprinkle did a visual history of porn. … Armistead Maupin sat in the back writing a book that ended up being ‘Tales of the City.’ And unbeknownst to all of us, Willie Mays and Rick Barry were in there the whole time.”
In his essay, Bell acknowledges: “Um, I don’t think that timeline works” of the fictional gathering he conjures above, only for his friends to reply, “You missed it, man. It was so cool.”
San Francisco is forever dying
Article discusses this book:
The End of the Golden Gate: Writers on Loving and (Sometimes) Leaving San Francisco
Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made.
The cause of the outbreak is unknown, and there is as yet no evidence of contagion. But the doctors who have made the diagnoses, mostly in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area, are alerting other physicians who treat large numbers of homosexual men to the problem in an effort to help identify more cases and to reduce the delay in offering chemotherapy treatment.
The sudden appearance of the cancer, called Kaposi’s Sarcoma, has prompted a medical investigation that experts say could have as much scientific as public health importance because of what it may teach about determining the causes of more common types of cancer.
RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS
Lawrence K. Altman
July 3, 1981
SAN FRANCISCO — In early 2019, a formerly homeless man named Tom Wolf posted a thank-you on Twitter to the cop who had arrested him the previous spring, when he was strung out in a doorway with 103 tiny bindles of heroin and cocaine in a plastic baggie at his feet.
“You saved my life,” wrote Wolf, who had finally gotten clean after that bust and 90 days in jail, ending six months of sleeping on scraps of cardboard on the sidewalk.
Drug overdoses killed 621 people in the first 11 months of 2020, up from 441 all last year and 259 in 2018. San Francisco is on track to lose an average of nearly two people a day to drugs in 2020, compared with the 178 who had died by Dec. 20 of the coronavirus.
“If we didn’t have Narcan,” said program manager Kristen Marshall, referring to the common naloxone brand name, “there would be no room at our morgue.”
San Francisco struggles to stem ‘horrific’ uptick in opioid overdoses, drug abuse
Los Angeles Times
A hippie (sometimes spelled hippy)] is a member of the counterculture of the 1960s, originally a youth movement that began in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world.The word hippie came from hipster and was used to describe beatniks who moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and Chicago’s Old Town community. The term hippie first found popularity in San Francisco with Herb Caen, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
See also – Etymology of hippie
To the Beat Generation that had been active since the 1940s, the flood of youths in the 1960s adopting beatnik sensibilities appeared as a cheap, mass-produced imitation. By Beat Generation standards, these newcomers were not cool enough to be considered hip, so they used the term hippie with disdain. American conservatives of the period used the term hippie as an insult toward young adults whom they considered unpatriotic, uninformed, and naive. Ronald Reagan, who was governor of California during the height of the hippie movement, described a hippie as a person who “dresses like Tarzan, has hair like Jane, and smells like Cheeta.” Others used the term hippie in a more personal way to disparage long-haired, unwashed, unkempt drug users. In contemporary conservative settings, the term hippie is often used to allude to slacker attitudes, irresponsibility, participation in recreational drug use, activism in causes considered relatively trivial, and leftist political leanings (regardless of whether the individual was actually connected to the hippie subculture). An example is its use by the South Park cartoon character, Eric Cartman
San Franciscans who have visited other cities recently also attributed differences to higher expectations for decency and civility elsewhere. Several readers talked about visiting Japan, where cleaners with tidy uniforms and even flowers pinned to their caps whisk into bullet trains between journeys and ensure they’re immaculate. Signs are posted everywhere telling people not to litter. Public toilets are pristine.
“We counted the number of homeless people we saw in Japan. Eight,” said a co-worker who visited Tokyo and Kyoto for her two-week honeymoon in May. “I pass at least that many on my way to work.”
Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle
To count the unhoused and unsheltered population—the shelters are usually full to bursting with waitlists hundreds or a thousand names long—county health or human services agencies, or nonprofits to which the task is contracted out, often resort to the simplest method of enumeration known, the one you learn in kindergarten: They (or citizen volunteers, mostly) go out with flashlights, clipboards and pencils, and literally count heads, or curled-up street sleepers, or RVs, or tents.
How many people an office manager or sales rep guesses are sleeping in an RV or a tent they’re peering at in the semi-dark becomes data. Whether the volunteer presumes two or four is up to them—I can tell you this, for I have done it twice, in 2009 and 2017, and I don’t believe my guessing skills improved much—and thus wholly arbitrary, a snap decision that can result in a variance of 100 percent. Or more. Is that just some old car, or an old car someone lives in? Is that RV the glamping vehicle for an Instagram influencer or some eccentric Burner type, or does it house the family of four who couldn’t afford the landlord’s latest offer? You don’t know and you can’t know. Yet, this is the data the federal government uses, and we arrive at neat numbers like, “500,000 homeless people in America, 8,011 homeless people in San Francisco.”
How California’s Homeless Crisis Grew Obscenely Out of Control, Chris Roberts, Observer.com