Tag Archives: Golden Gate Park

THE SAGA OF THE TINY TREE DOOR IN GOLDEN GATE PARK, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

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The saga of the tiny tree door in Golden Gate Park

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 Erica Reh richmondsfblog.com
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First, a tiny door makes a February debut  nestled in the roots of a tree in Golden Gate Park’s concourse.The tiny tree door in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is back — with newer, more spacious digs. And this time, they’re up to city code.

Back in April, when curious people wandering through the park’s concourse near the de Young first discovered a tiny door snugly fitted into the roots of a tree, they passed word along. But the news eventually reached city park officials, who removed the door, saying its hinges damaged the tree.

After a small outcry on behalf of the home’s tiny denizens, park officials replaced the door — with a pale imitation of the original, which still stands in the tree.

But in the months since then, the first door’s creator, Tony Powell, has been dreaming up a plan for another home, and it’s finally ready for the fairies, elves, squirrels and other mini tenants to move in, though the exact address remains a bit of a mystery to give them some space, Powell said.

“Go west from the original fairy door, though not quite due west since that would take you into the Japanese Tea Garden,” Powell said. “It’s around the other side of the garden, then down a little ways. There’s a little trail and on it you’ll find a rather long eucalyptus log, about 16 or 18 feet long, under a yew tree. It’s on the westward end of the log.”

The door passes park official inspection because it’s not attached to a living tree. Since the new door was put up around Labor Day, a few intrepid explorers have found  it and left little gifts inside, said Powell, who made this door and the first one with his 6-year-old son, Rio.

The new circular door made of pine and covered in sealant, was inspired by the circular doors favored by hobbits in The Lord of the Rings. It’s about the size of a small plate, but can easily be looked over.

“It’s really amazing how many people have not seen it even though they walk right by it,” Powell said. “I pointed it out to a parks worker the other day, and though she worked in the area, she had no idea.”

Powell posts some of the letters and notes left in the door on a blog about the project. He hopes its new location will keep casual lookers away but still be accessible for curious fans.

The door in the concourse remains in place, though park officials originally said they would take it down.

“We’re going to ask them if they’ll allow that to remain, since so many people still visit that door every day and not a lot of people know about the new one,” Powell said. “We’re hoping they can let the fairies keep that as a mailbox.”

THE COUNTERCULTURE

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The Counterculture

photo Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, Lagunitas, California, 1967. Joplin’s gritty, full-throttle blues-rock style offered a new, liberating image for women in the world of rock music.

Unconventional appearance, music, drugs, communitarian experiments, and sexual liberation were hallmarks of the sixties counterculture, most of whose members were white, middle-class young Americans. To some Americans, these attributes reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, and pursuit of happiness. Other people saw the counterculture as self-indulgent, pointlessly rebellious, unpatriotic, and destructive of America’s moral order.

Authorities banned the psychedelic drug LSD, restricted political gatherings, and tried to enforce bans on what they considered obscenity in books, music, theater, and other media. Parents argued with their children and worried about their safety. Some adults accepted elements of the counterculture, while others became estranged from sons and daughters.

In 1967 Lisa and Tom Law moved to San Francisco, joining thousands of young people flocking to the Haight-Ashbury district. The counterculture lifestyle integrated many of the ideals and indulgences of the time: peace, love, harmony, music, mysticism, and religions outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. Meditation, yoga, and psychedelic drugs were embraced as routes to expanding one’s consciousness.


photo The “Freak-Out” show, Los Angeles, 1965. Rock music, colorful light shows, performance artists, and mind-altering drugs characterized the psychedelic dance parties of the sixties held in large halls in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
photo A concert in the Panhandle, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967
photo The Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, 1967. Students, hippies, musicians, and artists gravitated toward the community’s inexpensive housing and festive atmosphere.
photo Hell’s Angels motorcycle club members, the Panhandle in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967. While some people admired the Hell’s Angels’ audacious style, its members had an uneven and sometimes violent relationship with people in the counterculture.
photo Musician in the Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967
photo “Summer of Love,” the Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967
photo San Francisco, 1967
photo Easter Sunday Love-In, Malibu Canyon, California, 1968. This was a celebration of the counterculture movement.
photo Suzuki-Roshi, a Buddhist teacher, at the Human Be-In, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, January 14, 1967. Also known as “A Gathering of the Tribes,” the Human Be-In was an effort to promote positive interactions among different groups in society.
photo Poet Allen Ginsberg, Human Be-In festival, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967. Ginsberg, known for his poem Howl, lived and symbolized the bohemian ideals of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and embraced the counterculture of the sixties.
It [the counterculture] was an attempt to rebel against the values our parents had pushed on us. We were trying to get back to touching and relating and living.

-Lisa Law, 1985

photo Monterey International Pop Festival, Monterey, California, 1967. Monterey Pop was one of the first large outdoor rock festivals in the 1960s. Lisa and Tom Law sheltered people who were having difficult psychedelic drug experiences in their “Trip Tent.”
photo Timothy Leary, the Harvard-trained psychologist who coined the phrase “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,” at the Human Be-In, San Francisco, 1967