(Chapter 3 of
Dreaming As One
Poetry, Poets and Community in Bolinas, California
1967 - 1980

by Kevin Opstedal


The beginnings of a real community of writers and artists was taking shape in Bolinas. From various places, and for a variety of reasons, there was a steady influx of newcomers. Notable among these was Ebbe Borregaard, a poet who had been part of the Duncan-Spicer circle in North Beach—he moved to Bolinas in '69 and was living in a tent on Boyce's property. Also on the scene were the graphic artists Arthur Okamura (who had lived in Bolinas since 1960) and Gordon Baldwin (who moved there in July of 1968), along with poets Michael Bond and Lawrence Kearney. Poet Philip Whalen lived at the Doss house for most of the winter of 1968.

Tom Clark, meanwhile, was busy writing letters to poet friends in New York, urging them to visit Bolinas. And they did. Lewis Warsh and Anne Waldman, Larry Fagin, Jim Brodey, Tom Veitch, Ted Berrigan and Bill Berkson, to name a few, all visited, staying for varying lengths of time in Bolinas between 1968 and 1970.

Another New York refugee in Bolinas at this time was underground comics pioneer and cofounder of the East Village Other, Bill Beckman. He and his family were renting space in a building called the ''Cliffhouse'', on the mesa, until they could find more permanent accommodations. Beckman wasted little time before making his presence in Bolinas known via the publication of a crazy little production called The Bolinas Hit.

The bastard dream-child of Bill Beckman, The Bolinas Hit was a magazine/tabloid publication consisting of eight pages of pure anarchy. The first issue (May 1, 1969) carried a cover photo of two men, pictured from the waist down, dressed in some sort of military or police uniform, complete with jack-boots. One man is kneeing the other in the groin. Inset is the following quote attributed (via Frank O'Hara) to Franz Kline' ''To be right is the most terrific personal state that nobody is interested in.'' The Hit contained poems, a procedure for the manufacture of LSD, a first-person account of an escape from a Mexican jail, Bill Beckman's ''Laying the Foundation'' (first in a four part series on the sport of card/house building), and a photo of the bloated tongue of a dead whale (''courtesy of the Hit Culinary Corner'').

With a cover price of 25 cents, The Hit was printed by the infamous underground comics publisher Rip Off Press in San Francisco. The staff was listed as follows - Publisher: Bill Beckman, Guest Editor: Tom Clark, Hostage Editor: Jim Brodey. In the second (and last) issue, dated June 1, 1969, the staff was listed as Publisher: Bill Beckman, Guest Editor: Tom Clark, Photography: Tom Goodwin, Artists-in-residence: Bill Oetinger and Gordon Baldwin. The cover of the second issue featured a photo of Bolinas resident Bill DesLoge on Brighton Beach wearing a gorilla mask and holding a sign that read ''God is getting pissed''. The issue featured a brief excerpt from Bob Dylan's Tarantula, poems by Richard Emil Braun, Ron Padgett, John Giorno, David Henderson, Gerard Malanga & Tom Clark, and an article entitled ''An Overdose of Hasheesh'' reprinted from Popular Science Monthly, February, 1884.

The Bolinas Hit was an exercise in social and artistic anarchy, with flourishes of dada-inspired goofiness, as demonstrated in the following bit in the Want Ads -

amount sufficient. Send details
to Hit, box 242, Bolinas.

It was an inspired and somewhat crazed, totally bohemian, and seriously twisted publication, and in that, a suitable document of Bolinas in 1969.


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