Strange & Weird Phenomenon Caught On Tape In The World [Natural Phenomena Documentary]
In no particular order: Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase
‘Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked
- “Saturday Night Live’s” 40th season premieres Saturday
- Show has been incredibly influential
- Cast members have become stars in many media
- “SNL” has become big leagues of comedy
(CNN) — On October 11, 1975, “Saturday Night Live” was first beamed into living rooms.
It wasn’t called “Saturday Night Live” then. It was “NBC’s Saturday Night,” because there was another “Saturday Night Live,” hosted by Howard Cosell, over on ABC. And its Not Ready for Prime Time Players — seven youthful comic veterans of theatrical and improvisational troupes — were known only to those who may have seen performances of Second City (both its Chicago and Toronto versions) or “National Lampoon’s Lemmings.”
Almost 40 years later, the show is an institution: its players celebrated, its catchphrases ubiquitous, its very name synonymous with the comedy big leagues.
As the show prepares for the premiere of its 40th season on Saturday, we celebrate “SNL’s” landmark contributions to pop culture.
From the beginning, “SNL” was both cutting-edge comedy and a throwback to TV’s golden era. The show aired live: no retakes, no second chances. Though there’s plenty of taped material — and an occasional delay in case of profanity — it still airs live today.
“From New York”
Also like those golden age shows, it airs from New York. When “SNL” started, the Big Apple was a TV backwater, home of soap operas, news operations and little else. Today, a number of network shows shoot in Gotham, and even talk shows have come back to town.
“It’s Saturday Night!”
Before “Saturday Night Live,” late Saturday night was home to old movies, reruns and local programming. The show not only made the slot a network profit center, it helped bring in a youthful audience, which it still does today.
Studio 8H, 30 Rockefeller Center
When it was built in the early ’30s, 8H was the largest studio in the world, home to Arturo Toscanini’s orchestral radio broadcasts. The NBC studio has been the home of “SNL” since the beginning.
The Not Ready for Prime Time Players
The show’s first cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner. The show has had more than 130 performers in the years since.
Except for five seasons in the early ’80s, the show’s creator and executive producer, a Canadian native and former “Laugh-In” writer, has been in charge for all of the show’s soon-to-be 40 seasons.
“SNL’s” original director for most of its first 20 seasons. He set the tone for the show and was game enough to take part in the occasional sketch.
The longtime NBC announcer introduced the first cast — and pretty much every one after that. All told, Pardo announced for 38 of the show’s first 39 seasons. He died in August at 96. Darrell Hammond, “SNL’s” longest-serving cast member, is taking his place.
Eugene Lee, Franne Lee and Akira Yoshimura
The Lees and Yoshimura created the show’s look; in fact, Eugene Lee, who’s also won several Tonys, has been “SNL’s” production designer for the entire run. For his part, Yoshimura has connections to several other NBC shows, including “Today,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and “Star Trek.” Well, at least the “SNL” parodies, in which he played Sulu.
The show’s midnight hour begins with a recap of the news. It’s been hosted by everybody from Chevy Chase to Cecily Strong and Colin Jost, with notable turns from Dennis Miller, Norm Macdonald and Tina Fey. It hasn’t always been called “Weekend Update”: for a time in the ’80s, the news segment was called “SNL Newsbreak” and “Saturday Night News.”
The “30 Rock” actor leads the way among “SNL’s” most popular guest hosts with 16 appearances. Steve Martin has 15. Other frequent guest hosts include Buck Henry, John Goodman and Tom Hanks.
But to prove that “Anyone Can Host” “SNL,” the show had a contest in 1977 to show just that. The winner was Spillman, a New Orleans octogenarian who did just fine with the program’s drug-fueled humor. Today she’d probably get her own show.
TV’s most famous Play-Doh accident victim was created by Walter Williams as the subject of a Super 8 film. Soon, his adventures with Spot, Sluggo and Mr. Hands were regular features on the program. He later did commercials, game shows and even became Peter Scolari for a real-life TV program.
Not every host was so welcome. Louise Lasser locked herself in her dressing room. She was never asked back. Milton Berle hammed it up. Never again. Steven Seagal, Martin Lawrence and Adrien Brody are also persona non grata.
Paul Simon in a turkey suit
“SNL” is not above making stars look foolish. On the 1976 Thanksgiving show, Simon came out wearing a turkey suit and started singing “Still Crazy After All These Years.” Dolly Parton went along with a skit called “Planet of the Enormous Hooters,” originally written for Raquel Welch. Timberlake put his d**k in a box. You get the idea.
Your musical guest
“SNL” has hosted some of the biggest names in music, often giving them their first taste of the big time. The Rolling Stones played “SNL” — and so did Devo and Fear. Justin Timberlake has taken the stage — and so did Lana Del Rey and Ashlee Simpson. You could set aside a portion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (or Hall of Shame) for “SNL’s” music.
But “SNL” never landed the biggest of them all, the Beatles. (Not that anyone else did, either, after 1969.) It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. After a $50 million reunion offer was made to the Fab Four in 1976, Michaels responded by countering with $3,000. The ploy almost worked: a week later, Paul McCartney was visiting John Lennon in New York and the two almost headed down to the studio from Lennon’s Dakota residence. McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all have appeared solo over the years.
Howard Shore and Paul Shaffer
For musical inspiration, the show has also relied on Shore and Shaffer. Shore was music director for the first five seasons. He’s gone on to really big things since, including composing the music for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which won him three Oscars. Shaffer, who could play music impresario Don Kirshner in a pinch, has been David Letterman’s bandleader for more than 30 years.
Another of “SNL’s” music directors was once married to Gilda Radner and the guitarist in Hall & Oates’ band. Smith led the “SNL” group from 1985 to 1995.
Game show parodies
What would “SNL” be without game shows? The program has taken numerous shots at “Jeopardy” and “Family Feud” and frequently made up its own contests, including “Jackie Rogers Jr.’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad” and one in which Phil Hartman played God. He did very well.
“SNL” has regularly gone to tape to air some short films. Some of the best include Eddie Murphy’s investigation, “White Like Me,” Harry Shearer and Martin Short as synchronized swimmers and the cartoons of Robert Smigel’s “TV Funhouse.”
“SNL“ prime time
The show hasn’t always stayed in late night. There have been a number of prime-time specials over the years, from the ridiculous — a messy Mardi Gras program in 1977 — to the sublime: 2008’s “Presidential Bash,” which gave Tina Fey another opportunity to play Sarah Palin.
John Belushi was a samurai. Phil Hartman was Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Adam Sandler was Opera Man. In fact, some of these characters were so popular they got their own movies.
Your local theater has featured movies based on “SNL” characters almost as long as there’s been a “Saturday Night Live.” “The Blues Brothers” went from a strange skit to a hit album and popular movie; “Wayne’s World” was a huge success. Even Julia Sweeney’s androgynous Pat got a movie — “It’s Pat” — though most folks probably want to forget it.
“SNL“ movie stars
The list of “SNL” performers who have gone on to big-screen stardom is long and influential: John Belushi, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, just for starters. Even Robert Downey Jr. spent a year in the “SNL” cast when he was best known for playing a jerk in “Weird Science.”
Those who have left us
A handful of “SNL” cast members have left the stage entirely. They include John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Danitra Vance and Charles Rocket, as well as writers Tom Davis and Michael “Mr. Mike” O’Donoghue.
The parody commercial has long been an “SNL” stock in trade, whether it’s Dan Aykroyd’s Ron Popeil-like pitchman for Bass-o-Matic (“Mmm, that’s good bass!”) to Chris Farley and Adam Sandler in an ad for “Schmitt’s Gay, the beer for homosexuals.” Don’t take “Colon Blow” or you may find yourself in need of “Ooops, I Crapped My Pants!”
Pushing the limits
“SNL” has battled NBC’s censors over the years, so it’s surprising what did make it on the air. How about “Sofa King,” the New Jersey furniture store? Or the music video “D**k in a Box”? The show was once even sponsored by “Pussy Whip, the first dessert topping for cats.”
Over the years, “SNL’s” parodies of celebrities have become better known than the celebrity’s own persona. Dan Aykroyd nailed talk-show host Tom Snyder and Phil Hartman was a wicked Frank Sinatra (“I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool!”). The show’s been on long enough that its own stars have since been parodied — witness Jay Pharoah’s take on Eddie Murphy.
Politicians and presidents
But when it comes to impersonations, politicians deserve their own slot. Gerald Ford may have been our most athletic president — the guy almost went into the NFL — but when Chevy Chase started falling down, it was all over. Will Ferrell was a master George W. Bush, while Dana Carvey cornered the market for W.’s father. And could Tina Fey have helped decide the 2008 election with her version of Sarah Palin? 1980 independent John Anderson is lucky he showed up in person.
Where you want to start? “Cheeseboogie, cheeseboogie, cheeseboogie”? “Schwing!” “Well, isn’t that special?” “Da Bearss!” A good chunk of the pop culture phrasebook wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for “Saturday Night Live.”
“Saturday Night Live” is, by definition, live, so occasionally the show shocks even the cast. Sinead O’Connor ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II while saying “Fight the real enemy.” Elvis Costello abruptly stopped “Less Than Zero” to play the anti-industry “Radio, Radio.” Charles Rocket let the F-word fly. For all of the planning and preparation, sometimes stuff happens.
Sometimes the shock is on us — especially when there are unexpected guests. Janet Reno dropped by “Janet Reno’s Dance Party,” and the real Sarah Palin showed up next to Fey’s version. Perhaps the most ingenious was Barbra Streisand guesting on “Coffee Talk,” delighting Streisand worshipper Linda Richman (Mike Myers).
Viewers naturally focus on the cast, but without “SNL’s” writers, the show would be a lot of dead air. So let’s pay some tribute to Anne Beatts and Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Al Franken and Tom Davis, Jim Downey and Alan Zweibel, Andy Breckman and Carol Leifer, Bonnie and Terry Turner, Jack Handey and Robert Smigel, Bob Odenkirk and Ian Maxtone-Graham, Adam McKay and Max Brooks, Mindy Kaling and Simon Rich, and the dozens of others who have written all that material.
“Saturday Night Live” opened the door for several other edgy sketch shows. An early competitor was “Fridays” on ABC, which gave us Michael Richards and Larry David. Later came “MADtv,” “Mr. Show” and “Exit 57.” If the old-fashioned variety show is no more, it’s because of “SNL” and its imitators.
“Saturday Night Live” may seem as American as apple pie, but like the Band, there’s a portion that’s as Canadian as a maple syrup-covered moose. Among the show’s north-of-the-border notables: Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Martin Short, Norm Macdonald, musicians Howard Shore and Paul Shaffer, and creator Lorne Michaels.
The show has also used some improv groups as pipelines. More than two dozen of the cast members have come from Second City’s outposts in Chicago and Toronto, and at least 15 have learned the trade with Los Angeles’ Groundlings comedy troupe.
In recent years, word of mouth — “Did you see that sketch?” — has been replaced by viral video and social media. The show quickly adapted to new technology, particularly thanks to Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island troupe, whose “Lazy Sunday” became a Web sensation in 2005.
According to the Internet Movie Database, “SNL” has won 45 Primetime Emmys over the years. It won four its first year — including outstanding comedy-variety series — and, just last month, picked up five more.
The first show of the 2014-15 season will be “SNL’s” 767th, and it’s long since become the longest-running variety series in U.S. history. To put it another way, both the season premiere host, Chris Pratt, and musical guest, Ariana Grande, were born after “SNL” first went on the air. So here’s to another 40 years — except, this time, let’s use more cowbell.
70’s snl original cast
Original cast members of NBC’s Saturday Night Live
Tribute to the SNL Original Cast (1975-1980)
!Peacock Spider Dances to YMCA
So go ahead, clap along…
Throw your hands in the air…
And get down with yo bad self.
These spiders sure know how to party!
Hobo’s Meditation by JIMMIE RODGERS (1932)
DEDICATED TO DAVE CHRISTY
A domino effect resulted as major companies such as the Northern Pacific Railway, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe declared bankruptcy. An estimated 15,000 companies failed. The price of farm products plummeted, forcing many farmers to loose their farms and their livelihood. The crush of so many defaulted loans led some 500 banks to close their doors – taking their depositors’ life savings with them. Unemployment soared.
There was no government assistance. In Ohio, Jacob S. Coxey – owner of a failed business – decided to take matters into his own hands. In a move that foreshadowed the Bonus Army of 1932, he began a march on Washington in order to force the government to provide relief for the unemployed. As he made his way to the capital he was joined by what he proclaimed was an army of 100,000 destitute. However, when he entered the city he had a following of only 500. His plea fell on deaf ears as both the President and Congress refused to meet his demands. Coxey and his followers were subsequently arrested for trespassing.
The nation’s roads and railways were filled with the unemployed searching for a better life. They became hoboes, panhandling their way across the country in search of a job. Among them was eighteen-year-old Jack London, future author of Call of the Wild (1903).
“Thirty days, said his Honor, and called another hobo’s name.”
London described his experiences as a hobo in a book entitled The Road. We join his story as he arrives in Niagara Falls, NY aboard a freight train. Walking into town in search of food, he runs afoul of the law:
‘What hotel are you stopping at?’ he queried.“The town was asleep when I entered it. As I came along the quiet street, I saw three men coming toward me along the sidewalk. They were walking abreast. Hoboes, I decided, like myself, who had got up early. In this surmise I was not quite correct. . . The men on each side were hoboes all right, but the man in the middle wasn’t. . . At some word from the man in the centre, all three halted, and he of the centre addressed me. He was a ‘fly-cop’ and the two hoboes were his prisoners.
He had me. I wasn’t stopping at any hotel, and, since I did not know the name of a hotel in the place, I could not claim residence in any of them. Also, I was up too early in the morning. Everything was against me.
‘I just arrived,’ I said.
‘Well, you turn around and walk in front of me, and not too far in front. There’s somebody wants to see you.’
I was ‘pinched.’ I knew who wanted to see me. With that ‘fly-cop’ and the two hoboes at my heels, and under the direction of the former, I led the way to the city jail. There we were searched and our names registered. I have forgotten, now, under which name I was registered.
From the office we were led to the ‘Hobo’ and locked in. The ‘Hobo’ is that part of a prison where the minor offenders are confined together in a large iron cage. Since hoboes constitute the principal division of the minor offenders, the aforesaid iron cage is called the Hobo. Here we met several hoboes who had already been pinched that morning, and every little while the door was unlocked and two or three more were thrust in on us. At last, when we totaled sixteen, we were led upstairs into the courtroom. . .
In the court-room were the sixteen prisoners, the judge, and two bailiffs. The judge seemed to act as his own clerk. There were no witnesses. There were no citizens of Niagara Falls present to look on and see how justice was administered in their community. The judge glanced at the list of cases before him and called out a name. A hobo stood up. The judge glanced at a bailiff. ‘Vagrancy, your Honor,’ said the bailiff. ‘Thirty days,’ said his Honor. The hobo sat down, and the judge was calling another name and another hobo was rising to his feet.
The trial of that hobo had taken just about fifteen seconds. The trial of the next hobo came off with equal celerity. The bailiff said, ‘Vagrancy, your Honor,’ and his Honor said, ‘Thirty days.’ Thus it went like clockwork, fifteen seconds to a hobo and thirty days.
They are poor dumb cattle, I thought to myself. But wait till my turn comes; I’ll give his Honor a ‘spiel.’ Part way along in the performance, his Honor, moved by some whim, gave one of us an opportunity to speak. As chance would have it, this man was not a genuine hobo. He bore none of the ear- marks of the professional ‘stiff.’ Had he approached the rest of us, while waiting at a water-tank for a freight, we should have unhesitatingly classified him as a ‘gay-cat.’ Gay-cat is the synonym for tenderfoot in Hobo Land. This gay-cat was well along in years — somewhere around forty-five, I should judge. His shoulders were humped a trifle, and his face was seamed by weather-beat.
For many years, according to his story, he had driven team for some firm in (if I remember rightly) Lockport, New York. The firm had ceased to prosper, and finally, in the hard times of 1893, had gone out of business. He had been kept on to the last, though toward the last his work had been very irregular. He went on and explained at length his difficulties in getting work (when so many were out of work) during the succeeding months. In the end, deciding that he would find better opportunities for work on the Lakes, he had started for Buffalo. Of course he was ‘broke,’ and there he was. That was all.
‘Thirty days,’ said his Honor, and called another hobo’s name.
Said hobo got up. ‘Vagrancy, your Honor,’ said the bailiff, and his Honor said, ‘Thirty days.’ And so it went, fifteen seconds and thirty days to each hobo. The machine of justice was grinding smoothly. Most likely, considering how early it was in the morning, his Honor had not yet had his breakfast and was in a hurry.
But my American blood was up. Behind me were the many generations of my American ancestry. One of the kinds of liberty those ancestors of mine had fought and died for was the right of trial by jury. This was my heritage, stained sacred by their blood, and it devolved upon me to stand up for it. All right, I threatened to myself; just wait till he gets to me.
He got to me. My name, whatever it was, was called, and I stood up. The bailiff said, ‘Vagrancy, your Honor,’ and I began to talk. But the judge began talking at the same time, and he said, ‘Thirty days.’ I started to protest, but at that moment his Honor was calling the name of the next hobo on the list. His Honor paused long enough to say to me, ‘Shut up!’ The bailiff forced me to sit down. And the next moment that next hobo had received thirty days and the succeeding hobo was just in process of getting his.
When we had all been disposed of, thirty days to each stiff, his Honor, just as he was about to dismiss us, suddenly turned to the teamster from Lockport — the one man he had allowed to talk.
‘Why did you quit your job?’ his Honor asked.
Now the teamster had already explained how his job had quit him, and the question took him aback.
‘Your Honor,’ he began confusedly, ‘isn’t that a funny question to ask?’
‘Thirty days more for quitting your job,’ said his Honor, and the court was closed. That was the outcome. The teamster got sixty days all together, while the rest of us got thirty days.
London, Jack, The Road (1907).
How To Cite This Article:
“Hobo 1894: Hard Times in America”, EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2007).
BOXCAR WILLIE : Hank And The Hobo (train country song)
Death of the American Hobo (Documentary)
THE HOBO MUSEUM
The Hobo Museum, Britt, IA
Housed in the former Chief Theater, the Hobo Museum celebrates the vagabond lifestyle, which happens to have a stringent code of ethics. It’s full of drifter memorabilia from the likes of Frisco Jack, Connecticut Slim, and Hard Rock Kid. Hobo crafts, art, photographs, and documentaries depicting the unorthodox way of life are also on display. It’s brought to you by the Hobo Foundation, which hosts an annual convention in town. hobo.com
What are Hobo Signs ?
Depression era symbols used by hoboes. In their travels for work, hoboes made marks with chalk, paint or coal on walls, sidewalks, fences and posts. The signs were meant to let others know what was ahead. (some call them the secrete language of the hoboes)
|1. Good road to follow|
|2. Religious talk will get you a free meal|
|3. These people are rich (Silk hat and pile of gold)|
|4. Camp here|
|5. You may sleep in the hayloft here|
|6. Warning: Barking Dog|
|7. House is well-guarded|
|8. This is not a safe place|
|9. Good food available here, but you have to work for it|
|10. If you are sick, they’ll care for you here|
|11. This community is indifferent to a hobo’s presence|
|12. Authorities are alert: Be careful|
|13. Officer of the law lives here|
|14. Courthouse, precinct station|
|16. Free telephone (Bird)|
|17. Beware of four dogs|
|18. No use going this direction|
|19. Dangerous drinking water|
|21. A judge or magistrate lives here|
|22. Here. This is the place|
|23. A kind old lady (Cat)|
|24. Hit the road! Quick!|
|25. A beating awaits you here|
|26. A trolley stop|
|27. “Ok, alright”|
|28. This way|
|29. A gentleman lives here (Top Hat)|
|30. Police frown on hobos here (Handcuffs)|
|31. A man with a gun lives here|
|32. There is nothing to be gained here|
|33. The road is spoiled with other hobos and tramps|
|34. Good place to catch a train|
|35. Hold your tongue|
|36. A crime has been committed here. Not a safe place for strangers|
|38. Dangerous neighborhood|
|39. An ill-tempered man lives here|
|40. Be prepared to defend yourself|
|41. A doctor lives here. He won’t charge for his services|
|42. Keep quiet (Warns of day sleepers, babies)|
|43. The owner is in|
|44. The owner is out|
|45. There are thieves about|
|46. A dishonest person lives here|
|47. An easy mark, a sucker|
|48. Good place for hand out|
|49. There is alcohol in this town|
|50. Fresh water and a safe campsite|
The hobo signs were copied out of a book called
“Hobo Signs by Stan Richards & Associates”
This is a rare example of tramp art in that I have found no references
in tramp art books to this wonderful pillow form. Its rarity is further
exemplified by the materials used: cloth, heavy carpet-like fabric and a
stuffing of sawdust. A great deal of time, skill and passion produced this
sturdy object. It has the classic pyramidic shape repeated with precision in
row after row of a deep red heavy fabric on the top. The edges where the top
meets the bottom are notched similar to tramp art woodcarvings. The bottom
exposes a smooth fabric that probably covers the entire object and displays a
light rust color. The dimensions are 9″ x 9″ square and 4.5″ high, in the
middle. The pillow weighs just under two pounds – 1lb. 15 oz.
The following is a beautiful example of bottle art
done by Carl Worner at some time in the early 1900s.
see more at http://sdjones.net/FolkArt/worner.html
The following are some examples of beautiful old
time wood carving. Notice the intricate detail and the skillful carving of the
balls in cages and chain links.
Next are some great carvings by our modern day
artist “The Tanner City Kid”. Note that the chain links are fully functioning
links as in a steel chain and the balls in the cages are loose movable objects
that are carved from the interior wood during the hollowing out process. I
think you’ll agree with me that Tanner’s work is as skillful as any of the old
Established in 1955 with the purpose of honoring the American cowboys, what was then called the Cowboy Hall of Fame has become today’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The 200,000 square foot facility features Western and Native American artifacts, sculptures, art and historical galleries. It is one of Oklahoma City’s more popular attractions and one of the most respected museums of its kind in the United States.
“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is a song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie. It was written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival
ERIC BURDON & THE ANIMALS-“SAN FRANCISCAN NIGHTS”
“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is a song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie. It was written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival.
dave and myself in San Francisco
Live guitar music still warbles from street corners, tie-dyed t-shirts are hawked by the handful, the smell of pot permanently wafts, colorful peace signs adorn windows of businesses like the Red Victorian Bed & Breakfast — institutions better suited to an earlier time.
(SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS)
But said nostalgia is often overshadowed by the sad realities of a neighborhood that has long since evolved from the remnants of a revolution: the wayward teenagers, the tourist traps, the vagabonds, the $6 corporate ice cream cones sold at precisely San Francisco’s most famous intersection.
During its heyday, which culminated in 1967’s infamous Summer of Love, young dreamers converged in the Haight by the thousands. Historians deem the neighborhood the birthplace of the hippie movement, marked by peaceful protests and psychedelic experimentation. The era’s greatest luminaries, from Jerry Garcia to Allen Ginsberg to Jimi Hendrix, all lived nearby.
Then the movement waned, and the area began to decay along with it. “By the fall of 1967, Haight-Ashbury was nearly abandoned, trashed, and laden with drugs and homeless people,” blogger Jon Newman wrote in his essay Death of the Hippie Subculture. “With the Haight in ruins and most of its residents gone, it was simply unable to operate as a hub for music, poetry and art.”
Of course, the Haight still has a certain appeal. There’s no better jazz-and-pizza combo in the city than at Club Deluxe, Amoeba Music offers a truly epic collection, a parklet just popped up in front of Haight Street Market and the 12-piece band that assembles in front of American Apparel on Sunday mornings always move crowds to dance in the street.
Yet we can’t help but heave a sigh while pushing past gaggles of gawking tourists or stepping over the man sleeping on the sidewalk at noon. While a stroll down Haight Street today certainly evokes nostalgia, it also makes us yearn for a place that was once the epicenter of peace and love and youth in revolt, a place we never had the chance to experience ourselves but will be forever engrained in San Francisco’s complex, progressive history.
A History Of Hippies
This is a short documentary about the Haight Street kids living in San Francisco.
albert hofmann 1943 – a bicycle trip (2009)
Journeying across the North American landscape, The Culture High is the riveting story that tears into the very fiber of modern day marijuana prohibition to reveal the truth behind the arguments and motives governing both those who support and oppose the existing pot laws. With budgets to fight the war reaching billions and arrests for simple possession sky rocketing to nearly a million annually, the debate over marijuana’s legality has reached epic proportions. Utilizing the quirky yet profound nature of its predecessor, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, The Culture High raises the stakes with some of todays biggest names, unprecedented access to footage previously unobtainable, and incredibly moving testimonials from both sides of the spectrum. Top celebrities, former undercover agents, university professors and a slew of unforgettable characters from all points of view come together for an amusing yet insightful portrait of cannabis prohibition and the grasp it has on society as a whole. The Culture High will strip search the oddity of human nature and dare to ask the question: What exactly is going on here?
A Brief History of Spam, an American Meat Icon
For a six-ingredient food product, it’s taken on a life of its own. Spam — the square-shaped mash-up of pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate — recently celebrated its 77th anniversary of being alternately maligned, celebrated, musicalized, or the subject of urban legend (one particularly pervasive myth insists that its name is actually an acronym for “Scientifically Processed Animal Matter”). And despite today’s more locavore approach to food and some unkind memories from soldiers who were served Spam during WWII, Spam has entered its third quarter-century on the rise. More than eight billion cans have been sold since the Hormel Corporation unleashed the product in 1937; it’s currently available in 44 countries throughout the world.
Spam’s ability to straddle highbrow and lowbrow is apparently in its DNA: Since its early days, even Jay Hormel, the man who Spam made rich, had a vexed relationship with the lunchmeat. In a 1945 “Talk of the Town” profile published in The New Yorker, Hormel met writer Brendan Gill over noontime drinks, during which Gill “got the distinct impression that being responsible for Spam might be too great a burden on any one man.” The piece sees Hormel waffling on his brand’s association with Spam, spending equal time distancing himself from it (“Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t have…”) and defending it (“Damn it, we eat it in our own home”).
Spam’s ability to straddle highbrow and lowbrow is apparently in its DNA.
The budget-friendly meat has enjoyed a recent upswing on the American mainland in part thanks to rising meat costs and a floundering economy: When the recession hit in early 2008, Spam saw its sales jump 10 percent compared to the previous year. ACBS News report noted that the increased numbers were seemingly accompanied by a cultural shift: Even consumers who continued to purchase expensive organic vegetables were adding cans of Spam to their pantries. The meat, once relegated as a quirk of Hawaiian or Asian cuisine, started appearing on haute restaurant menus as a nod to that highbrow/lowbrow mash-up, or perhaps to the chef’s feelings of nostalgia for the ingredient. (A quick search of Spam recipes from the ’60s reveals dishes like Spam upside-down pie; and Spam sandwiches topped with baked beans.)
Today, its sometimes-kitsch factor is a point of pride, for both Hormel and Spam fans: You can show your affection for Spam with everything from Hormel-authorized T-shirts (reading “I think, therefore I Spam”) to crocheted, cat-shaped Spam musubi (available for purchase, naturally, on Etsy). Here’s a look back at how Spam first got canned, why it’s currently beloved in Hawaii and South Korea, and why Spam remains on many restaurant menus today.