Riff Raff

Things We Did on Grass Now we know why Chet Helms and company waited until October to throw a 30-year anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love: harvest. There was so much weed at the Sunday shindig in Golden Gate Park that you probably couldn't buy a loose joint between Haight Street and Eugene, Ore. OK, take a deep breath: big stanky nugs, kind quarters, handfuls of shredded shake, bongs, joints, blown-glass pipes, pot brownies, pot cookies, pot Rice Krispies treats, "ganja goo balls," hemp oil, hemp clothing, hemp bracelets, hemp macrame, hemp everything. The organizers couldn't have bought a nicer day to smoke marijuana or enjoy the buzz of a free concert. The event, a year in the making, drew all ages -- and a wide disparity of personal hygiene habits -- to the Beach Chalet soccer fields. Cloudless and surrounded by trees, the day looked like a Dead concert parking-lot contingent had wandered onto a pastoral Renaissance Faire. Relegated to the fringes were legitimate vendors and teeming beer pens (hilariously, you weren't allowed to take alcohol out onto the lawn); but that didn't prevent commerce on the field itself: Young hippies plied their wares -- calico sundresses, devil sticks, patchwork jeans, and peacock feathers -- from blankets and card tables. More youngsters with pounds of dreadlocks tried to attract signatures or donations for various political causes. There were plenty of roughshod politics onstage, too. Diane DiPrima, who used to be a talented beat poet, read -- or rather, stumbled through -- something about a war for the imagination. Michael McClure, who also used to be a beat poet, delivered more lyrical lines about hamburgers and rock 'n' roll -- both, he told the crowd, manifestations of, gasp, destructive consumerism. Helms, ever the casual MC, graciously thanked both of them and introduced the Rev. Cecil Williams, who asked the crowd to join hands and sing "Give Peace a Chance." Riff Raff sheepishly went for the paws of our significant other, but nevertheless a smiling middle-aged woman hand-raped the both of us. Jello Biafra's crazy talk went over well, especially when he railed about the United States' foolish drug war. Between speakers, pieces of once-famous rock combos (the Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish) played blues rock, which the tie-dyed and twirling-skirted crowd dug big time. At the end of the day, a ton of musicians all stood together on the massive main stage for the "Spirit of Compassion" jam. (Riff Raff thought it was warm beer, but then Riff Raff had just seen Carlos Santana sit in with Prince and Larry Graham two nights earlier.) Still, the Summer of Love concert people didn't come for the music, really. And not all of them came for the dope, either. Some came for the 1960s vibe, a whiff of what people who were there say was a more potent, dramatic time. For them the show didn't end when the music stopped. They wafted across the Great Highway to the beach, and cheered the sun as it dropped into the waves. (J.S.)

Selvin Watch: Get Thee a Fact-Checker The Chronicle's Joel Selvin is on autopilot again. On Monday, Oct. 6, Selvin wrote that Boz Scaggs' extended run at the Fillmore presented a "rare opportunity" for fans to give his music "close-up scrutiny." If only Selvin adhered to his own advice. Instead, Selvin's live review was yet another dust devil of misinformation. For starters, Scaggs was born in Ohio; that makes San Francisco his adopted city, not his hometown, as Selvin wrote. Selvin said that Scaggs debuted in 1970; that particular album, Boz Scaggs, was released in 1969. (Scaggs actually recorded his debut in Europe a few years earlier, and in the interim recorded with Steve Miller.) Next up, Selvin credited Junior Parker with "Drivin' Wheel"; piano bluesman Roosevelt Sykes wrote the tune. Wait, there's more. Selvin claimed the 1994 album Some Change ended Scaggs' "previous 10 years off the boards," which is true if you don't count 1988's Other Roads (we don't). For some reason, Selvin never mentioned the impetus behind the Scaggs concert series: The day after Selvin's review, Columbia Legacy released a nice big box o' Boz called My Time. It contains plenty of dates and songwriting credits in the copious liner notes. If Selvin can't get his own copy, Riff Raff will gladly sacrifice its own (in the interest of accuracy, of course). (J.S.)

Fly Paper When it comes to chronicling hip-hop culture in the Bay Area, no one does it better than 4080 magazine. Publisher and Editor in Chief Lauchlan McIntyre has blown it up to the phat, full-color monthly rag it is today from the one-page, black-and-white trade journal it was in 1992. This month marks the fifth anniversary of the magazine, and 4080 will celebrate in full hip-hop style: beer, blunts, and, of course, beats. Alkaholiks, Beatnuts (bet on hearing "Psycho Dwarf"), Hieroglyphics, and Jamalski will all wish the magazine a hearty happy birthday. To be a part of the celebration, grab a 20 and a 40 ($20 for the door and a 40-ounce for the head) and stumble down to the Maritime Hall on Thursday, Oct. 16, by 9 p.m. (R.A.)

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