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July 2014

CATALYSTMAGAZINE.NET

SALT LAKE HISTORY

Cosmic Aeroplane: A love story One man’s memories of the rise and demise of a game-changing establishment in downtown Salt Lake and the era that spawned it BY JAMES TAYLOR And yes, the cops came a time or two. There were oddly appealing echoes of the lifestyle my mother and her friends lived on the streets of San Francisco and the smell of

Salt Lake’s Cosmic

“If you remember the ’60s, you weren’t there.”

Aeroplane (1967-1991) was a major nexus of

— variously attributed to Robin Williams, Paul Kantner, Timothy Leary and Grace Slick

cultural changes that were rippling through the youth culture in America in the mid- to late ’60s. The Civil Rights Movement — an insane war that still had the support of the country at large — the birth of the modernday environmental movement — the call of psychedelics and the mind-opening possibilities they presented — a growing interest in Eastern philosophies— and an abiding interest in the new music of the day: These concerns coalesced in a little store that expanded the minds of many people who walked through its doors.

T

husbands. She was a free-thinker he Summer of Love, 1967, was who exposed me to Buddhism, an exotic and mind-blowing astrology, D. H. Lawrence and year for this 13-year-old aspirHenry Miller before I was a teen. ing hippie. With my grandpa, There was a little after much white house cajoling, I travbehind my eled from grandfolks’ Bountiful, Utah home to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, epicenter of the hippie movement. This trip was more like a pilgrimage in that I had avidly been folwhere lowing the media she lived back home on from time to the “flower chiltime. Counter to dren” who were the white, flooding in to homogenous, that city. These conservative exuberant, freeSherm and customer opening day. ward, or Mormon spirited and church precinct, that we lived in, openly counter-cultural types I saw my mother’s house often hosted there were early role models for parties with black musicians, me. Latino reefer-smoking reprobates I was the son of a beatnik beauty and lots of alcohol for all involved. who had jazz musician lovers and

Without the permission of grandparents who would have been worried, I began to regularly travel into Salt Lake City to immerse myself in the burgeoning youth culture that was springing up there. burning hemp was something I was familiar with. I had already begun to let my hair grow long, and had made myself a pair of bell-bottom pants, which were otherwise only available in war surplus stores. I wore beads and wild shirts that I scored from Deseret Industries, the local thrift store, and thus wearing the uniform I proudly proclaimed myself a hippie. Also, without the permission of grandparents who would have been worried, I began to regularly travel into Salt Lake City to immerse myself in the burgeoning youth culture that was springing up there. I lived on Main Street in Bountiful which happened to also be Highway 89, running from Canada to Mexico. The bus stop was right in front of my house. I took the Lakeshore bus 10 miles to the south for 30

CATALYST Magazine July 2014  

CATALYST Magazine July 2014 issue

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