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Berkley

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(back to Music Travel)

Café Mediterraneum (2475 Telegraph Ave)

This is the oldest coffee shop in the university area, and it still has a Beat atmosphere.

Blake's (2367 Telegraph Avenue, at Durant Avenue)

This music club opened in the 40s, and since them it has featured every major musical trend.

Owsley’s LSD Factory (1647 Virginia St)

Owsley Stanley had a mission: he wanted to do for LSD what Henry Ford did for the motor car.

In the early 60s, LSD was available only from reputable pharmaceutical companies, who supplied academics and psychologists with the drug for research purposes. The only way to get hold of LSD was via a friendly doctor, and supplies were very limited.

After he tried the drug for the first time, Stanley (like many others) concluded that the drug could transform society for the better, if only it were more widely available.

Stanley set up his first LSD production line in this house in 1964. The police raided the house in February 1965 (Needs Reference); however LSD was legal at this time, and he was arrested for making methedrine (“speed”) instead.

To the consternation of the police, Stanley kept his cool, hired the deputy mayor as his lawyer, and had the case thrown out of court on the basis that no actual methedrine had been found.

Furthermore, Stanley sued the city (successfully) for the return of his laboratory equipment, and then promptly disappeared “underground” and continued producing vast quantities of high grade LSD.

He went on to supply Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters with the material for their Acid Tests, and with his profits, he bankrolled many hippie enterprises in the area (as well as financing the purchase of the Grateful Dead’s powerful sound gear).

To some extent Stanley succeeded in his quest to transform a generation of young minds. The ready availability of LSD changed a lot of lives in the sixties (some for the worse, but many - from their own accounts - for the better), and the psychedelic movement quickly swept across the globe.

People's Park Berkley

This plot of university owned land was one of the key battlefields in the sixties free speech movement. Students appropriated it as a community space in April 1969. However, the university administration wanted to use the land as a car park, and four days later, the police (led by Ed Meese, who went on the head the US Justice Department in the Reagan years) stormed the park and tear-gassed the students. The police injured over 100 people, and killed a bystander.

Following this debacle, a crowd of 20,000 occupied the small Park on May 30 1969 and decorated the fences with flowers. The university administration took the point, and the Park was preserved.

Berkley Community Theatre (1930 Alston Way and Milvia St)

The theatre is best known as the venue for Hendrix’s movie Jimi Plays Berkley (which captured the mood of the times by interspersing footage of student riots with Hendrix’s incendiary guitar noise). The medium sized theatre still presents rock performers.

(back to Music Travel)

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