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THIS IS A JOURNEY, NOT A BOOK, Before you begin: I embarked on this journey over the course of two days, three hours each day. Each day, each hour, and each minute, I learned something new about myself, the culture but, most importantly, the creators of this amazing culture and environment. This is an interpretation of the culture of Haight Street, from the individuals of Haight Street. I believe culture is based on the people that work, reside, and believe in the area. The idea of this journey is to get a little closer to these amazing people and hear their stories, step into their minds, see this area from their perspective, and lastly embrace Haight Street for what it is now, has been, and is going to be. Start in the beginning, start at the end or anywhere in the middle.



An o ld gentleman reading the comics section of the newspaper outside a market and cafe.

I ta lked with this gentleman for a bout 10 minutes. We ta lked out what I am studying in schoo l then he to ld me a stor y a bout how He was in marketing for festiva ls and raves for a long time, He was par t of the stunner shades movement. He to ld me he had a company, got the name of the company tattooed on his skin, All his friends to ld him that was bad luck, but he didn’t care. T hen three months later he lost his company.

An o lder gentleman carr ying a stick that he created the night before, wrote this. T he stick was ta ller than him, made out of a piece of PVC pipe that he covered with trin kets and cloth that he had found around the street and in the park. He enjoyed the way is sounded when he shook it back and for th, It made a sor t of jingle and swoosh sound.

When I asked this young lady if she wanted to par ticipate in the project, she was more than excited. I handed her the bag of pens, pencils, and sharpies and to ld her to ta ke her time. She sad down and flipped the deck of her skateboard over and began to draw.

T his was done by David. When I approached him, he seemed puzzled but then willing to par ticipate in the project under one condition, I had to return the favor and draw something in his sketchbook. As we sat on the co ld sidewa lk we ta lked a bout meeting people and the power behind it. We ta lked culture, a bout Haight St, a bout our schoo ls we attend and a bout San Francisco. We ta lked a bout traveling and exploring the world. We a lso ta lked a bout connecting with people and how once you know enough people those people know people and sudden ly mutua l friends begin to pop up ever y where. He to ld me that he was going to tr y and sell some of his ar twork for the first time today because he wants to get a tattoo.


I approached this man as he was sitting on a stoop enjoying the sun. He didn’t say much but he seemed pleasant. T he sym bo l is un known.

A French man,

A woman that asked to be anonymous wrote this powerful response. She works in a shop on Haight St.

A business professiona l that lives in the Haight-Ash bur y neigh borhood. He wrote the first par t, then added the second par t because he didn’t want it to seem like a tota lly negative place.

An ar tist waiting for his bus.

T his is one of the most interesting and intriguing responses I got from the entire project. She was hanging with a few other indivua ls including a man named Acorn. She is a “fair y” of Acorn. She wrote this, handed it back and said “T han k You.”

A Hispanic shoe repairer that has a store front on Haight St. T he words directly translates to: “I feel comfor ta ble.�

When I entered the hardware store on Haight St, where this gentleman worked, I asked him if he would like to par ticipate. He to ld me that he wasn’t sure what he would do but then began to explain to me a bout how he moved there a bout 10 years ago and it was a great thing, His rent is cheap and he has a jo b he enjoys at the hardware store. T hen he to ld me a bout the Haight-Ash bur y neigh borhood, how amazing it was, but around this time (Octo ber 2013) he said he noticed a change in the people. I to ld him to write something like that. He said, “give me 20 minutes...�

An ar tist selling “75 Year Anniversar y of LSD� posters on the street.

One of the last guys I asked on my first day out on the project. He ca lls himself PINK and ho lds a piece of cardboard with nothing on it, I asked him why? “T hat’s the point.” He a lso had a sma ll stuf fed husky placed right next to him as if it were his pet.

T his man to ld an amazing stor y, he explained that he was origina lly from michigan but has nothing better to do other than travel. He was covered in tattoos, hair was messy and he was asking people to give him money for a beer or some whiskey. He to ld me that he just got done travelling through a ll the southern states but was now out here for the first time and he loved the relaxed environment. He said it look him a long time to get through a ll the southern states and out here. All he had with him was a backpack.

T his was the on ly person that approached me, not for the project but he asked if he could sing to me. He sang me the Star Spangled Banner and made me stand directly under the Haight-Ash bur y cross street signs because there were better acoustics there. He explained to me that where “om� is written is where we were and the other par t passed the bridge was a place he doesn’t understand.

Written by a man on the street ho lding a piece of cardboard, On it was: ‘don’t worr y it on ly seems kin ky the first time.’ He had an unforgetta ble laugh as we chatted a bout how he went to the store to by sharpies but was unaware that they were fine point, So his sign was hard to ma ke. I of fered him a sharpie, he denied it.

A gentleman that was hanging around on the streets, He to ld me that he is new here but he is currently working on getting his GED and then wants to attend community co llege.

A young lady with scattered tattoos on her face drew this for the project, We ta lked a bout San Francisco and Haight Street. T hen we found a mutua l connection, she explained to me that she was here because she was origina lly from Por tland, OR but got in trouble and was no longer a llowed to be there. I to ld her that I went to schoo l there and we ta lked a bout how we miss cer tain par ts of Por tland and how we don’t miss other aspects. It’s amazing how when you open up to people, you can connect with them no matter each other’s pasts.

I approached this man, not knowing what to expect. T his was written by Acorn, an o lder gentleman that has been in this area for the last 40 years. He to ld me how the energy here was amazing because of the way the moon was lining up with the ear th and the way the stars were placed in the sky. He to ld me that he lives in the sunset and owns a lot of homes that he rents out. He said that it’s getting towards the end of the month so he has to cut back on the beers until people pay their rent because he lives of f of rent. As we were ta lking, many people both young and o ld, stopped to great him or give him a hug. He explained to me that those were a ll his fairies and no matter where he goes, the fairies fo llow him. He showed me some astro logy images on his phone and we exchanged names. We ended the ta lk with a handsha ke.

Anonymous, una ble to decode what this means, in the second drawing i see the word “evo lve.�

A retail worker that has worked in various shops on Haight St. for the past 9 years.

A girl that works at a bike renta l company. Bruta lly honest, in my opinion.

I sudden ly got the smell of incense as I wa lked down the street, which is a frequently scent, but when I looked around, I saw Brandon burning two incense sticks. He ta lked a bout how he was here because his friend had a ticket to the world series. He to ld me he came because it was a free trip to San Francisco a lthough he didn’t have a ticket to the game. I asked him what he does. he to ld me he grows weed up in Nor thern Ca lifornia. After we ta lked for a bit a bout what we both do, he drew this, he described it as a ven diagram of a ll the dif ferent people clashing together but some overlap and work well together. He found a face in the diagran and turning it into a Jack-O-Lantern because it was getting close to Ha lloween. On the back side he write his contact info so we can “get lin ked.�

A lady that has worked in a thrift store on Haight St. for the past 17 years. She had true fear in her eyes when she to ld me what she wrote.

As he sang a song, I stopped to listen. when he finished, he to ld me to turn around an see that he was singing to Janis Joplin, I hadn’t rea lized it but there was a mura l on the side of the building across the street of some of the major musica l influnces of the 1960’s counterculture movement, including Janis. He continued to sing as he wrote and drew this.

A restaurant worker.


Two responses from tattoo ar tists that work at a parlor on Haight Street, I love the contrast in responses.

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