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Mustache Gang.It was 1972 and Reggie Jackson came to spring training all bearded and hairy when all the other guys were clean-shaved all American ball players.Crazy Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley saw it, loved it and offered $300 to each man on the team to grew a moustache.The roster of 25 all grew their hair and Rollie Fingers even negotiated an extra $100 into his contract for moustache wax.The boys went on to win three world series in a row.Not bad for a hodge podge team of rule breakers from Oakland. I love this story because it’s so emblematic of the Bay Area and its history of transgression.
McGee Tract Free Box.In my youth, living in San Francisco, I was lucky to meet the amazing accordionist Jeanette Lewicki who was affiliated with the Cauliflower Collective who were associated with the diggers, with a philosophy based on “free.”Everything free if possible.Jeanie worked to make free dinners every week open to anyone.It was called the No Penny Opera and I wanted to be part of it.I hung around their printshop hoping to help out and gave out free groceries to residents in the Mission.Every month for the past fifty years the Cauliflower Commune has distributed a list of where to get free food in San Francisco. The men with beards there inspired me to make free art and host my own free dinners.When I saw a house in the McGee tract in Berkeley right near a neighborhood free box, I knew I needed to live there.