They opened numerous Free Stores in Haight-Ashbury, in which all items were free for the taking or giving. The stores offered items that had been discarded but were still in usable condition. The first free store, in a six-car garage on Page Street that they found filled with empty frames that they tacked up on the side of the building, was called the Free Frame of Reference and was later superseded by the Trip Without a Ticket on Frederick Street. It was unclear how the stores were funded. The 1% Free poster, showing two Chinese Tong assassins under the Chinese character for revolution, was thought to be demanding a 1% tithe from merchants, but that was not the case. The poster was a challenge, implicitly suggesting that 'free' people were the minority, and inciting others to step up. They also opened a Free Medical Clinic, initially by inviting volunteers from the University of California, San Francisco medical school up the hill from the neighborhood.
They threw free parties with music provided by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and other bands. They also staged street theater events, such as driving a truck of semi-naked belly dancers through the Financial District, inviting brokers to climb on board and forget their work. In October 1967, they staged The Death of Hippie, a parade in the Haight-Ashbury where masked participants carried a coffin with the words "Hippie--Son of Media" on the side. The event was staged in such a way so that any media that simply described it would be transmitting the Digger message that Hippies were a media invention. This was called "creating the condition you describe" and was used skillfully by the Diggers to control the media. Their own publications, notably the Digger Papers, are the origin of such phrases as "Do your own thing" and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life". The Diggers fostered and inspired later groups like the Yippies.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Diggers did not "fall apart," but evolved into the larger and more complex Free Family. While the Free Food and Medical Clinics were responses to necessary conditions caused by the enormous influx of young people during the heyday of the hippie scene; conditions that the San Francisco government was ignoring, the central Digger tenet was to be "authentic." Running soup kitchens and medical clinics was not the authentic, long-term concern of the Digger founders. After passing those institutions onto a local Church and Dr. David Smith to continue, the Diggers moved out of the City, created various land bases in Forest Knolls, Olema, Covelo, Salmon River, Trinidad, and Black Bear California. In those places they integrated with other groups: The Free Bakery, the Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers, the Gypsy Truckers and created The Free Family. That larger group still exists informally, and many of the Digger children and grandchildren remain close and in contact with one another, and many (children included) are still involved with progressive causes.
Drive on over to the drive-in ; Open-air theaters still dot area landscapes, providing the perfect nostalgic escape for the movie-goer in all of us
Jun 08, 2008; Aclassic symbol of Americana, the drive-in movie theater turns 75 this weekend. Dayton's first drivein theater opened in 1942 on...