Why did the Fugs perform in a parking lot in Los Angeles, in late April or early May of 1968? My friend Bev Davies - who acquired the above button at the parking lot show in question, and who knew Tuli Kupferberg in passing from her trips to New York - wants to know, and readers of this blog may be able to help her. The question has created a rabbithole of further questions and provided a unifying theme to diverse observations - so if you have time for this, I think you, dear reader, may enjoy exploring some of this with me.
The context of the issuing of the button is explained in the bottom right of this newspaper clipping that Bev tracked down - although it is written (in the bottom right hand corner under "Hollywood") with a literate and witty style, unknown to today's newspapers, that may require some unpacking. It seems to suggest that the Fugs visit to Los Angeles corresponded with a Los Angeles County "D-for-Decency Week" - some sort of anti-porn movement - and that the Fugs (who are, the article explains with an apparent typo, "closely related" with anti-smut campaigns - ha, ha) were exploiting this fact, making fun of it, by issuing the above buttons for their tour. You have to get to the very end of the clipping before the author tips his hand as to which side of said anti-smut campaigns the Fugs were related to, at least in the mind of the US government, who have a curious definition of the obscene, famously questioned by Fug Tuli Kupferberg, who had his own ideas about obscenity, discussed in this must-hear clip.
About that tour, Bev - intrepid and curious soul that she is - has also tracked down this list of tour dates for the Fugs, including that time period. But no mention of the parking lot concert is included (could that actually be the BC band the Collectors, touring down the coast in April? Do any of you, like, say, Rob Frith, have the contacts needed to very this, that the Collectors shared a bill with the Fugs?).
April 12-14, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA with Ace of Cups, Allmen Joy
April 19-21, 1968 The Cheetah, Venice Beach, CA with Collectors, Genesis
April 26-28, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA
May 3, 1968 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR with Kaleidoscope, Lights by Dr P.H. Martin's Magic Medicine Show
May 4, 1968 Lemon Tree, Eugene, OR with Kaleidoscope, Hammond Typewriter (advertised but canceled)
Note that I have included the cancelled May 4th show in that excerpt to demonstrate that some Fugs shows at that time did get cancelled, but that was in Eugene, Oregon, and Bev wasn't, so it doesn't explain the parking lot show. A cancelled concert WOULD explain a parking lot show, however, so perhaps another show on that tour was cancelled?
Anyhow, it's all making my head hurt now a little, because things are starting to ping off each other in ways that they haven't since my acid years, when I was reading Robert Anton Wilson and being chased around by the number 23. For example, Jeff tells me, Jeffrey and Peter actually played the same Crystal Ballroom in Portland awhile back. And of course, this brings to mind the song "Crystal Liaison," by, yes, you guessed it, the Fugs!
Bev Davies was there, she wants to know. And now, though I was not there, so do I!