The Great Lemming Migration to San Francisco was still a few years away in 1965, the year this photo of Marilyn was taken. In those days, if you were young in the Haight, you had probably been born and raised, in descending order of likelihood, in San Francisco, Marin County, the Peninsula, Los Angeles, or New York City. Wanderers from other climes were not unheard of, but they weren’t common. Marilyn was part of the important LA contingent.
She was a seamstress, a costume designer and she lived upstairs from the Pondering Pig at the Page Palace along with Beatle Gary (this was so early that a Beatle haircut was an identifying mark), a drummer named Johnny Chance who refused to deny his collection of Beach Boys records, a pimply guitar player whose name I’ve forgotten but who wrote a song about the ‘moire patterns of his mind’ – very op art, and Al Nieman, who deserves a blog post all on his own.
Marilyn was the lone chick, and as such had a certain flurry of activity around her at all times. Besides, as you can see, she was a babe.
I lived downstairs with a much grungier assortment of beatniks and proto-hippies, including Allen Cohen, who later became editor of the San Francisco Oracle. He was one of the significant influences in my life and well deserves his own post.
I took Marilyn out to dinner one evening, to Connie’s West Indian Restaurant, the only cool, but a little bit nicer place on Haight Street. Whatever I had hoped to gain from the evening, if anything, came to naught when I discovered I had not the wherewithal to pay for the meal. How embarrassing! Fortunately, Marilyn had funds of her own and saved the day, but at the cost of any coolness credential I could claim. Especially when I forgot to pay her back.
What a scuzz. I had a lot to learn about how you treat a lady.
Anyway, Marilyn was a class act. She’s wearing one of her creations. Check out that Nehru collar – sleek, elegant, minimalist, very mid-Sixties.
The photograph, by the way, was taken by an interesting young Spaniard named Paco Bautista. He grabbed Jackie DiNapoli, one of our own, married her, and hustled her back to Europe where I heard they became rad filmmaker revolutionaries, but I never seen either one again.