All posts by Aaron Cometbus

Tuli Kupferberg – 1923-2010

Tuli Kupferberg died on July 12, 2010. Unlike many of our countercultural heroes, his death did not come at the hands of security forces, nor was it the result of a long history of substance abuse. Tuli lived to the ripe age of 86. His passing, while sad, was not unexpected.

Tuli had always been an elder in the scenes he was a part of. Ed Sanders was only 25 when he opened the Peace Eye bookstore in New York’s Lower East Side in 1964; Tuli, the bookstore’s weird upstairs neighbor, was 42. Together, Ed and Tuli formed the Fugs, one of the most outrageous and groundbreaking bands in history, whose music still has the power to shock and please after nearly half a century. They became lifelong collaborators and friends.

Tuli was legendary for his songs and poetry, but also for his irreverence. His disregard for sacred cows and social niceties landed him many admirers but also alienated many potential allies. “Goodbye to Tuli and the Fugs and all the boys in the front room,” wrote Robin Morgan in her breathtaking Feminist break-up note to the New Left, Goodbye to All That. To Morgan, Tuli was just another guy who hated the women he loved.

But what exactly had he done to piss her off? I rode down Robin’s street tonight to ask for details, but she was not out. Rent-stabilized apartments had kept her and Tuli a stone’s throw away from each other for forty long years after she’d trashed him in her essay. I wondered: was it awkward when they ran into each other at the laundromat or the Chinese restaurant — or did close proximity provide chances for reconciliation?

That and many other questions would now remain a mystery. Tuli’s meal of choice before facing a firing squad? His planned escape route in a disaster, or if implicated in a crime? Had anyone ever used him as a doppelganger — or as an alibi? I’d attempted to interview him several times, but always without success.

However, Tuli did come by my sidewalk book stall once, and stopped to chat. His long illness had already begun but not yet advanced. With his layers of dirty, multi-colored clothing hanging down in strips, he looked like a cross between a biblical prophet, a bag lady, and a clown. Imagine the town crier moonlighting as the village idiot. The wild gleam in his eyes burned like hot coals, though he was already well into his 80s. His playful, prankster nature was clearly in evidence, as well as his pride at being a lifelong rascal and full-on freak. When the M21 bus rolled up, he shuffled off to catch it with surprising speed.

Tuli will be missed. Now we the living must step up to fill his shoes, at least the parts that fit. His late start should be an inspiration for those still waiting to take a chance or to form a band.

The East Bay Foot

BOOK REPORT: When Cody’s Books closed in 2006, everyone rushed in to point fingers and make self-serving claims. The owners lamented about how no one reads anymore, the media bemoaned “the end of an era,” and politicians blamed the homeless and demanded more cops on the beat. But no one did anything to save Cody’s or find something to fill the space. The building, located at the crossroads of Berkeley culture–and in some ways symbolic of it–stood vacant for years. Enter Ken Sarachan, local mogul of schlock, who already owns half a dozen businesses on the Telegraph. Since he has likened my writing to the National Enquirer, I feel it’s safe to say that that he’s a fat jerk who has made his fortune marketing the worst aspects of hippie and college cultures. His evilness is legendary and oddly lovable, like a wound you can’t help but pick at. According to informed sources, he is a zit. A tenant had finally been found for the Cody’s building: Brainwash, the South of Market laundromat and live music venue–when Ken bought it out from under them. That was the surprise news of 2009, arriving unfortunately two days after last issue’s deadline, thus depriving me of the scoop. Ken’s first move was to evict the adjacent flower stand that had been there 35 years–but what would be next? Word on the street spread: the old Cody’s would soon be Rasputin’s Books, another link in Ken’s ever-expanding chain. Ace Backwards heard the news and knew that his days selling paperbacks on that corner were over. But Ken is as unpredictable as he is evil. “Why leave?” Ken asked him. “You should stay.” Ace took that as a sign and left anyway, heading to southern pastures. He will be missed.

MORE BOOK NEWS: The millionaire man-boy from Connecticut who “rescued” Black Oak Books has found a new way to turn the once-proud business into a joke and a financial loss. Too cheap to pay the North Berkeley rent, he purchased a dilapidated nightclub in the no-man’s land of San Pablo Avenue and relocated the store there, reasoning that “plenty of parking” will lure bibliophiles right in. Veterans of 80s Hardcore fondly remember the building as the former location of seminal punk club Ruthie’s Inn!…On the 86′d list at Book Zoo: Fat Bob, Bird Sound Paul, Drunk Ethiopian Guy, and One-eyed Rodriguez. Try your luck at Black Oak instead.

FOOTNOTES: The recent police crackdown of street kids in the Haight has sent many over to this side of the bay, making for a noticeable change. Telegraph feels surlier and seedier than usual. “Spare change for alcohol? Fuck you then!” That sums up the traditional American attitudes we’ve spent our lives trying to escape–or replace–yet it’s hard to make it from Durant to Dwight without hearing it at least once. Don’t get me wrong: I like loitering, don’t mind drug dealing, and panhandling is a business like any other kind. But it’s bad enough to walk through frat row and get threats and catcalls–now it feels like fucking Fleet Week on Telegraph too. Berkeley should be a haven for everyone, yet we should be wary of predators and thugs who drain our energy and take advantage of the institutions we’ve helped to create and sustain…Latenight bites: The Burrito truck on International Boulevard by the lake is good if not great, and open til 2:30. Further towards Fruitvale are the 24-hour trucks, but those can be prohibitively far for those on foot or bike.

FINANCIAL TIMES: Berkeley’s Wingnut Economy shows signs of recovery after November’s crash following the closing of Semifreddi’s Bakery. Dumpstered bread remains at a high premium, even the universally despised and inedible Ezekial 4:9. The day-old bagel is stable. Peet’s “Free Coffee” cards were somewhat devalued with the Caffé Med issuing its own competing currency, but Peet’s “Any Drink” cards continue to be a hot commodity. Stale Luna Bars are still the Gold Standard, acceptable as currency anywhere in town or for three Clif Bars or six day-old bagels in trade. Persistent rumors of a hidden, hoarded Aileen Street-area Food Not Bombs Luna Bar cache threaten to destabilize the whole market and throw the exchange rate into chaos, but FNB spokespeople have sought to soothe public fears by issuing reports that the Luna Bars in question are all Chocolate Peppermint Stick flavor anyway.

FRESH INK: The enthusiasm I’ve expressed for new local mags in this column seems to be the kiss of death. Both Asscactus and Coupons ceased publication right after my glowing reviews. Perhaps my praise was premature, since both rags had more personality than actual content. Diamonds in the rough, I looked forward to seeing them develop–to watch the mags and their editors grow up. Alas, the world of self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Evicted from their HQ in front of Peet’s, the Asscactus editors chose to pursue music instead. The Coupons crew succumbed to the traveling itch (and I don’t mean scabies, in this case). Luckily, several new mags and their editors have arrived to take their place. I’ll keep my descriptions short, lest I continue the curse and have no one to keep me company at Kinko’s and to commiserate with over deadlines. No Gods No Mattress, though barely a year old, already has seven issues out. Editor Enola manages to be playfully whimsical and painstakingly honest at the same time, tackling difficult subjects as well as the mundane, all with an engaging, disarming grace. Later Daze is more music-oriented, but not impersonal in any way. The editor’s essay on his Polio in the latest issue is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. Medatrocity is all about the Med, Berkeley’s oldest and wisest cafe. A hundred people share the same room for years, yet each has their own story to tell, and each has a completely different perspective on the place. Hell Times, the house organ of dystopian community Hellarity Ensues, is the same, but with a hundred people and twenty dogs sharing a much smaller space.

POST-COLONIAL CONFLICT: A man in a khaki uniform and pith helmet boarded the SF-bound BART, and soon an irate voice could be heard. “You think that’s funny, do you? You think it’s a joke? The Boers wore outfits like that when they beat my grandfather! People who looked like you forced my family into the mines!” It was a man from Kenya talking, and he was struggling to hold back his rage. The suburban passengers grumbled, shaking their heads. “One more crazy guy,” they said. “Even on the train, there’s always some homeless person who wants your money or your sympathy–I’m sick of it!” The man in the pith helmet appeared to be from Pleasanton, out for a drunken night on the town. He and his friends laughed at the Kenyan. “It’s Halloween,” one patronizingly explained. “It’s just a costume, man.” Instead of taking the Kenyan seriously, everyone either ignored him or called him crazy, which made him understandably pissed. “That’s the same as wearing a Nazi uniform!” he yelled. “You’re a Nazi! Do you know anything about colonialism? Do you know anything about history?”

THAT WAS TOO MUCH for the liberal passengers. Nazis are pure evil, as everyone knows, to which nothing else compares–not even colonialism, whatever that is. All at once, everyone started yelling. So I joined in. Too often I’d kept my mouth shut in public transit situations when someone was being threatened or sexually harassed. I always worried that by stepping in I would make the situation worse, but afterwards I felt cowardly and wished that I had taken the chance. Now people were yelling at the Kenyan, saying he was an idiot and he didn’t know what a Nazi was. Comparisons are never perfect, but his was close enough. So I stood up and yelled, not very eloquently, that Kenya had concentration camps too, in the 50s, with racist guards dressed exactly the same as the pith helmeted man. Of course, I may as well have been yelling about Bigfoot or Atlantis, so ridiculous was the idea of Kenyan concentration camps to the other BART Passengers. The people sitting near me fidgeted or just got up to move. Great, another crazy guy–who knows what he’ll do.

THE KENYAN CAME and sat next to me. “I have to ask you a favor,” he said. “Hold my hand.” And so, as the train rumbled through the tunnel underneath the bay, the Kenyan and I held hands tightly as he tried to calm down and everyone else on the train looked on in terror. A woman behind us made an attempt at empathy. “Everyone has a story like that about their family,” she said. “You can’t let it get you down, or take it personally.” Was she Asian-American, perhaps? Or from one of the tiny handful of Italian-American families who also got interned? No, she was as white as me. What family experience did she have that was “like” that? Her sympathy was as bad as the rest of the passengers’ ignorance. In fact, it was the same: a refusal to listen and understand that other people’s experiences shouldn’t be casually dismissed. When the Kenyan and I both got off at Powell, those seated near us breathed a huge sigh. That made me happy. For once, I wasn’t the only crazy guy. I was riled up, but not left feeling isolated and alienated, like I so often do on the commuter train crossing the bay.

Have a tip for the Foot? Tie it to a brick and throw it through the window of B of A. Write it on a grain of sand and leave it on the waterfront. Give it a paint job and some overpriced pies and call it Temescal.

Samantha Dorsett 1975 – 2009

The death of Samantha Dorsett came as a terrible loss to all of her friends in the queer and trans- community, the punk community, and the anti-war movement; also to the clerk at the South Berkeley post office, the waitress at the Vietnamese restraurant, and to all of us on the Slingshot staff. Her life (and death) touched many, including those she had never met, who knew Samantha only through her creative and institution-building work.

In the 90s, in Bloomington, Indiana, Samantha founded Plan-it-X Records and the Secret Sailor bookstore (now Boxcar Books), both of which continue to thrive today. She published a fanzine, Strap Yourself In. After touring with her puppet troupe and several bands, she moved to Pensacola, Florida, where she worked tirelessly to organize protests (and a culture of resistance) against the war in Iraq. She also staffed Subterranean Books, and packed orders for the local Books Through Bars program.

Samantha came to the Bay Area next (“settled” was never the right word for Sam) and was actively involved at the San Jose Peace Center, the Long Haul, and the Book Zoo. She continued to write articles, fanzines, poetry chapbooks, broadsides, and a novel (“Troubled Sleep”) under her own name and several pseudonyms. One of her final published pieces, about the Women’s Choice clinic, was on the cover of the last Slingshot.

Plagued by physical and mental ailments, unable to overcome or escape from the scars of her difficult life, and unable to find a dignified, fulfilling place either in the larger society or in the alternative communities she’d help foster, Samantha took her own life in June 2009.

She was a sweetheart, a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a scholar, a lover of bunnies, and more. We will miss her always.

Another journey with the East Bay Foot

RIDING UP TELEGRAPH on the first day of spring, I was lost in a revenge daydream. My enemies were crowding onto a tiny boat bound for the South Seas–but just as I was leading the pink unicycle guy down the plank to join them, something jolted me out of my reverie. It was the insistent, incessant cry of a street hawker. I glanced around, expecting to find the faux biker who passed out fliers and ogled women on Telegraph throughout the Eighties, who quite recently returned from his two decade-long ride looking like he’d stopped along the way at the kind of rest areas where one spends years at a time. Much to my surprise, in place of the biker was a pair of young punks who’d commandeered his corner to peddle copies of Coupons, the newest fanzine in town. My heart was warmed by the sight: teams of dirty miscreants street-selling underground mags on the Ave., something rarely seen in Berkeley since the heady days of the Barb and Tribe. I hit the brakes, but they were none too effective, and three co-eds and the Joke Guy were forced to scatter as my rusty steed and I went careening over the curb. Coupons, however, proved well worth the crash. The rants of co-editors Hella Bekka and Rugrat acted as a soothing salve for my wounds, bringing comfort and inspiration that made me forget my physical pain. Do yourself a favor and find them on the corner, buy your own copy, and see if you feel the same. Comparisons to other new and mighty mags about town are not to be made lightly, but in this case “Asscactus with politics” is no idle boast.

MEANWHILE, the local mainstream media is a mess. The Daily Cal, not daily in ages, failed to bring out their annual April Fools edition, the only copy all year worth picking up. Instead, the Eastbay Express stole the idea, but the result was an even less laughable version of their already unreadable rag. Hopes that the recent employee takeover would make the Express a decent paper have been dashed. The Oakland Tribune also continues to limp along towards extinction, with a major merger the only real chance to save it. The question on everyone’s minds is: if the Trib weds the San Francisco Chronicle, can it keep its first name? Like the Raiders and the A’s, without the “Oakland” it just wouldn’t be the same. Oakland Chronicle, anybody? With that on the masthead of the Bay Area’s main news source, S.F. would finally have to acknowledge the cultural hegemony of the Eastbay. Yeah baby, who brought you the Black Panthers, Philip K. Dick, riots, Blatz, Sheila E., Too Short, and Fang? Without Oakland and Berkeley, the Bay Area would have just been Ferlinghetti, the Grateful Dead, and Herb Caen.

RUMOR HAS IT that DeLauer’s new owners are considering trimming the newsstand’s beloved all-night hours; also that Black Oak Books may soon be moving downtown. Somewhat more certain is the relocation of Semifreddi’s Bakery, displaced from their longtime Emeryville digs by a land grab by Pixar Studios, the giant corporation next door. Semifreddi’s plans to resettle in an offshore retirement community moored ten miles south. Their departure to Alameda will leave E-ville with not one redeeming feature, and their dumpster (literally the breadbasket of the Eastbay) will be sorely missed.

THE OAKLANDER IN ME: I took my date for an after-dinner drink at Colonial Donuts, the jewel in Lake Merritt’s necklace of lights. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven–who should we run into there but the Avengers, Bay Area punk legends! Penelope & co. sat there idling after their show at the Uptown, looking as cool as ever, and didn’t even kill us when we joined them uninvited. Thirty years of waiting in all-night dives for just such a chance meeting had finally paid off! The conversation was sparkling, with band members offering up opinions on German cultural mores, among other things. Then came the moment I’d been dreaming of my whole life: the queen of punk turned to me with a burning look in her eyes. “You of all people would know,” she purred. “Foot, where the fuck can we find food in this town after two A.M.?” Beaming with pride–but careful not to make eyes–I gave her the answer. Silly Avengers, everyone knows Chinatown is the place to go! Several restaurants there stay open till three, but Fortune at Ninth and Webster is by far the best, with reasonable prices and a staff that doesn’t care what you look like, smell like, or do. Rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, old school and new–all are equal in the eyes of Fortune, unlike anywhere else in the world. Heeding my advice, the former art school idols departed, leaving the two of us alone in the post-show Colonial glow, feeling both glazed and old-fashioned, with nothing left to hope for but a visit from the Dils.

THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of the closing of UC Berkeley housing co-operative Barrington Hall is coming up in October, and discussions about what refreshments to serve at the celebration are already rekindling old divisions among former residents. Those from the second floor suggest their traditional LSD-laden punch. Third floor denizens vote for speed, while fourth floor veterans are nostalgic for the long lost lady of their youth, heroin. Old habits are hard to break. Entertainment is also an issue: an Idiot Flesh reunion or Deadly Reign? Joking aside, Barrington was the cradle from which much of the Eastbay’s present counterculture came, including the paper you’re holding now. It was a beautiful and volatile place, a factory for turning college freshmen into wingnut freaks. Drugs were undeniably a part of the mix, but so was every kind of art, activism, and sex. The anniversary celebrations–whatever form they take–should not be missed.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: On a recent trip to the neighborhood where I was raised, I was sad to see a “for sale” sign on the house on the corner, home to the only Black family on the block. Growing up, I’d known the parents and played with the kids, and my family faced some of the same problems that theirs did. The kids ended up with drug habits and jail time–as did my brother and I. But their options were not as bright and their lawyers not as good as ours; their family fell upon hard times. When their parents died, their house fell into disrepair, making them even more conspicuous in an area that grew increasingly affluent. Ours was a relatively diverse block, with two Asian families, one Indian, and two Jewish–but that didn’t change the fact that it was overwhelmingly White. And not just our block, but the whole neighborhood. Despite Berkeley’s boasts of multiculturalism, the city remained badly segregated, with the 30% Black population living almost entirely south of Gilman Street and west of MLK. In fact, I knew of not one other Black family in all of North Berkeley. Now, not even one. I’m sad to see them go, and see my old stomping grounds get less diverse and less home-like every year, one sign at a time.

FOOTNOTES: What local market has an abandoned upstairs that has been turned into a squat? Foot sources say it just may be under the same roof where Berkeley’s most famous innocent bystander was shot…510-BAD-SMUT, the hotline for local events of interest, is back up and running. Call for info on the latest lectures, protests, and under-the-radar gigs, or to leave news of your own…Rod’s Hickory Pit, “Where the elite meet to eat meat,” remains a boarded up shell on the hill by the graveyard, but Layonna Vegetarian, Chinatown’s fake meat outlet, remains a thriving Mecca (and cheap!). A contest for a counter-slogan seems in order…Wind chimes have been mounted on North Berkeley telephone poles, and interactive art on the lampposts of North Oakland, but in the downtown area of both cities the dead trees bear no leaves. A free Slingshot subscription is offered to anyone seeking to remedy this problem who gets caught (free to prisoners, we shall always be).

Got a tip for the Foot? Leave it on the Bank of America building, in dripping red paint.

A Salute to Tim Yohannon

Tim was such a control freak, he even planned his own death. No memorial service, he said. No tributes. Not even a mention in his own magazine, Maximum Rock-N-Roll.

Jo said it to his face. “You can’t tell us what to do about it,” she said. “You’ll be dead.” But Tim just laughed.

Now we laugh too, talking about the Tim Yohannon statue we should build, part in tribute and part in spite. At as many tributes and memorials as possible, we get sappy and sentimental. He would have hated all the nostalgia and reverence. Why mourn the past when there’s work to do? Because, Tim, it helps us see where to go from here. For someone who made so many enemies, he sure had a lot of friends. I wonder who will miss him more.

Those who respected Tim for his stubbornness, his morality, his demands for responsibility and accountability; or those who hated him for it, and used his fanaticism as a defense for their own lack of character and hard work.

Of course it wasn’t that simple, because Tim was a pain in the ass to deal with, and often wrong. But he carried on, and that’s what really matters to me. Through personal attacks, physical threats, and years and years of hard work, he carried on without bitterness or a crippling sense of nostalgia. Working his day job of loading crates at the Lawrence hall of Science, spending all his free time working on the Maximum Rock-N-Roll radio show and MRR magazine, then turning all profits back into the community.

These profits and Tim’s knack for organization launched the Gilman Street Project club, Blacklist Mailorder, and the Epicenter record store and community center. In short, his hard work provided the radio show we could all listen to while doing the dishes, the magazine we could be bored by, the club we could stand outside, the place to mailorder our shitty fanzines, the record label to put out our shitty local bands, and the record store where we could play free pool and use the bathroom. Even taken at its lowest level, and taken for granted, it was the scenery and soundtrack for our community and the framework for keeping that community alive and self- sufficient. It’s easy to be critical of institutions, including Tim Yohannon, who was himself sort of an institution. But who has the passion and patience to create and uphold those institutions for everyone else to be critical of, take for granted, to measure themselves against?

I remember one show at Gilman, a young cute boy up at the microphone giving an impassioned speech against Tim and Maximum Rock-N-Roll. At the end of the speech a young beautiful girl came up and gave the boy a rose. The crowd cheered, the boy and girl congratulated themselves, and in a house across the bay Tim Yohannon continued typing and typing and typing. Where had the boy and girl been years earlier when Tim was breaking up fights at shows, confronting the skinheads, doing more than anyone to further the political agenda of punk? Where were they two years later? Naturally, they had moved on with their lives. The boy quit doing his fanzine and moved to Santa Cruz, the girl grew out her hair and got a job as secretary for a slumlord. They still stopped by Gilman occasionally, but they had their own lives to think about now. Meanwhile, Tim kept on typing and typing, and that year donated the MRR profits to fifty fanzines and small newspapers, including Slingshot. What the moral of the story is, I don’t know, except that life is cruel, Tim deserved the rose, and being right once is not as admirable as being wrong ten times and right ninety.

For someone so serious and hardworking, he sure laughed a lot. He had a way of laughing not just at your jokes, but also your troubles and criticisms and almost everything. Laughing with you, not at you, even though he started laughing first. I don’t know how he did that, but it was a good trick. It got you laughing at your troubles, and life itself, and at Tim for having such a weird, annoying laugh. It was contagious and really comforting.

It’s to sappy to say that when they made Tim they broke the mold, but also funny, because if they hadn’t, two or three Tim Yohannons would be running around working everyone to the bone and laughing that annoying laugh, and we would have lost our fucking minds. But though there’s no more mold and no more Tim, you can still see his imprint on a lot of lives.

Shopping in Berkeley

I’m always ranting about supporting small local businesses instead of the big chain stores, but then I go into the small businesses like Watson’s or Morley’s and bargain with them until they sell to me at cost. I see if the bakery will give me half-price at the end of the day. I give the rotting old guy on the corner of Euclid and Ridge Road a dollar sixteen plus half a cigarette and a small plastic giraffe for two books, instead of the two dollars he’s asking. Who can put a price on stories, knowledge, and history? But then the books turn out to be two of the best books I’ve ever read, and I have to return to that corner every weekend trying to find the rotting old guy to appease my guilt. Probably he was a dollar short on rent, got kicked out on the street, and caught pneumonia. No wonder the small businesses are dying. I’m killing them.

I’ve got all these systems. A small coffee in a large cup. One large coffee split between three large cups. A small burrito in a large tortilla. Confusion tactics. It’s almost impossible for them to give me as little as I’m paying for without feeling like a cheapskate, though of course I’m the cheapskate. I dream my cheapskate ideal: cooking only rice while buying sauces by the quart from every restaurant in town. Knowing a bartender who’s trying to invent their own drink and wants to use me as the test subject. A dry cleaner who’ll give me all the unclaimed clothes, plus friends at the ice cream place and movie theatre. Unfortunately, even a free bagel is getting hard to come by now that my friends are successful musicians. I was happy for them when they got to quit their lousy day jobs, but sad for me. You can’t eat, or wear, promo records, although they do help pay the rent.

It’s hard to support smaller businesses when the chain stores are the only ones that can afford to stock up on low-selling items like size fifteen shoes. They are a rare item, also a conversation piece, so I end up meeting more people while I’m out looking for a new pair than I do at any other time of year. Everyone has something to say about large feet, and it’s usually sort of sleazy. It’s also hard to avoid office supply chainstores and go to Barlow’s instead, especially when I find out that Barlow is a scumbag. I cry everytime I pay a dollar fifty each for pens, twice the price of Office Depot, but I’d still rather support a local scumbag than a multi-national one.

I go out shopping in Berkeley, and I end up in the middle of a moral crisis. Should I get beer from the liquor store which shortchanges me and rips me off, or the grocery store which overcharges and rips off the entire community? Should I go to the copy shop owned by Iranian refugees who fled persecution from the shah and who now support the Ayatollah, or the copy shop owned by the Iranian refugees who supported the shah and who were later persecuted by the Ayatollah because they are Jews? What business is it of mine anyway? But in Berkeley everything is everybody’s business. It’s think globally, act locally taken to its lowest common denominator.

Even at a garage sale, I get all involved in someone else’s life. There’s the usual tell-tale trinkets from lost lovers, exercise bikes, and clothes that no longer fit, just like garage sales everywhere, but in Berkeley there’s also ideologies, movements, and lifestyles that no longer fit. With the rows and rows of self-help books, you feel like you’re at a 12-step meeting, except there’s no free coffee. Men who Beat the Men who Love Them, Men who Hate Women and the Women who Love Them, Women who Drink, Women who Love Sex, Women who Walk Through Fire, Women whose Lives are Food, Men whose Lives are Money. Children of Alcoholics, Children of Intermarriage, Children of Dune. How can anything be a bargain when you know that by buying the junk, you also get the emotional burden that comes with it? No wonder old photos are so cheap. I got a funny feeling when I bought a strobe light for a dollar at Country Joe’s yard sale, and, sure enough, he’s looked younger ever since.