Dirt Cheap Productions was part of a "community" that existed at the south end of the San Fransisco Bay Area in the late sixties and early seventies. It was a loose affiliation of college students, ex-college students, radicals, "revolutionaries", street people, musicians, poets, artists, high school kids, roamers, searchers, seekers, bikers, more than a few crazies and anyone else who wanted to work on putting on free entertainement - music mainly. Looking back, Dirt Cheap pulled off some pretty amazing events and provided some cherished memories for a lot of people.
If you were in San Jose, California between about '67 and '71 and were under 30 you probably were either part of, or had a friend who was part of, a Dirt Cheap Production. If you attended a "benefit concert" at San Jose State, or stopped by the "Street Dance" at the GAP Instant Park in downtown (where the Center for the Performing Arts now sits), or if you saw a benefit show in Bezerkly or in the Fillmore District in San Fransisco, or were fortunate enough to be at the three day Aquarian Family Festival held over by Kelly Park, you were a Dirt Cheap beneficiary.
Dirt Cheap existed in a "talent rich, dollar poor" environment and we provided the "talent" with what they needed to share their talent - electricity, a stage, a sound system (of a sort),roadies to lift, move and carry stuff, someone to introduce them and best of all - a crowd of people to hear them. Nobody made any money doing it but everybody got something that money can't buy - a great time spent with old and new friends listening to some fine music in a special hassle free envrionment. and making a lot of great memories.
Even during the Hells Angels: Gypsy Jokers Biker War ,the Dirt Cheap gigs were "neutral territory", a mini Switzerland as it were. Members of both clubs were seen sharing a jug of wine and enjoying the music. And on more than one occassion, a San Jose Police Department Motorcycle Officer couldn't resist the opportunity to try riding an extended fork, low riding, straight piped, flathead chopper. Eastside and Westside Cruisers, who in other settings didn't like each other much, were known to share a joint or two and enjoyed the music together. It was a pretty easy going, very tolerant environment, at least while at the gig.
Perhaps the world has changed and the things Dirt Cheap pulled off can't be done again - too many guns, too many heavy duty drugs, to many short tempers, too much willingness to jump to violence, too much isolation, too much anxiety. Or maybe there's some 15 to 25 year olds out there who know people in bands, can do a "light show" and are pulling off small rave parties and other get togethers, bringing people together to have some fun and not hurt anyone. I'd like to think there are.
Life is short - then you die. In between, enjoy. And if you have the opportunity to provide some good memories for a few people - do it. If that means a lot of work and interim hassle - it'll be worth it. Trust me - it will be worth it!
Enjoy the trip and be good to each other - it's easier that way and a lot more fun.
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