Traveling Back in Time to Telegraph Avenue
Hey there fellow time-travelers!
Today we’ll be traveling back in time to a Berkeley neighborhood that, to this day, embodies the counter-culture movement of the 1960s… today we’re going to Telegraph! A small stretch of road which is all at once the home of the hippy, the apex of alternative living, and the confluence of college elite. I, unfortunately, chose to wander the streets of Telegraph a few days too late… the UC Berkeley campus, usually crawling with students and political activists, was nearly void of activity. Bummer. Never-the-less, there was plenty to see and lots to enjoy!
Most of you probably know that Berkeley is no stranger to political activism, so it should come as no surprise that Telegraph Avenue has seen its fair share of riots and protests. Now-a-days the atmosphere is much calmer… yet just as quirky. Colorful personalities dot the short stretch of the street, which, when school is in session, serves as a hot spot for students, vendors, homeless folk, war veterans, and locals hungry for good food, fun shopping, and some crazy company.
One happy street vendor seemed totally at peace, bobbing his head to his music and smiling at passers-by. When I asked if I could snap a few shots of him and his goodies for sale, he just kept smiling and bobbed his head a few extra times. I have to admit, his smile and happy-go-lucky ‘tude were contagious :)
Mr. Smiles had a smorgasbord of pins, patches, and drug paraphernalia to choose from.
The scent of incense and patchouli perfumed the air as patrons and tourists surveyed the hand-made items the various vendors had for sale.
Tie-die, a timeless Berkeley classic, brightens up the street. Further down the road a friendly Japanese lady, busy at work making beaded jewelry, seemed flustered that I wanted to take her picture. She smiled as she continued to work, happy to show off her her craftiness for the camera.
So many colors. From the painted buildings to the brightly lit signs… from the tie-die t-shirts to the rows of beaded jewelry. The fun people and personalities aren’t the only ones to add to the colorful character of Telegraph.
Not everyone was up for having pictures taken. One vendor gave me the go-ahead to take a few shots of his beautiful bracelets only to interrupt me half-way and say “you can take a picture of some, but not the whole”… these cryptic instructions confused me, so I just smiled, thanked him, and walked away. Another vendor who, to me, epitomized Telegraph Avenue, kept scowling in my direction. I finally gathered up the courage to approach him, but was, unsurprisingly, met with a very negative response. Oops. I still find the whole business of people photography a little bit daunting. I guess I’ll just stick with my “ask first” principle and trust my gut.
I hope you enjoyed our little journey back through time to a neighborhood that harbors the spirit of the 60s yet continues to evolve with the continuous influence of student life.
Have a groovy day, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow!