Preface to My Odyssey

My Odyssey: The First Human Be-In

By the artist Michael Bowen


Love Portrait Michael Bowen painting 1966

In the year 2007, of the Christian era, comes an epic story, written from the Northern reaches of Europe, in Stockholm Sweden . Forty years have passed since the grand performance art known as the Human Be-In. According to the New York Times article, Welcome back, Starshine, (May 19, 2007, by John Leland) “The Summer of Love, by most accounts, began on Jan. 14, 1967, with a gathering known as the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco .” In addition, Lisa Leff in her AP story, Summer of Love rekindles a hip time , (June 25, 2007) which has been reprinted in hundreds of newspapers around the world, “Conventional wisdom holds that it (The Summer of Love) got kicked off in January 14, 1967, with the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park .” The theme of the Human Be-In as the seminal event that defined the counter culture is further related by T. Michael Testi when he states that, “The Summer of Love is said to have begun on January 14, 1967, at the Human Be-In that occurred at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Human Be-In focused the ideas of personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, ecological awareness and of course, consciousness expansion. These ideals became the 1960′s counterculture. What the Be-In did was allow the mass media to focus in on this counterculture and what was happening in the area around what was the corner of Haight-Ashbury streets.”

Forty years have now passed, it is the time to reveal to the world the complete story of how and why the Human Be-In was created. This summer, the 40th anniversary of the legendary 1967 Summer of Love, has attracted media attention to once again focus on remembering, celebrating, and honoring that magical dawning of the Age of Aquarius. The grand performance art that was the Human Be-In not only was the necessary initial catalytic commencement for the Summer of Love, but it was the pivotal high point for the awakening of new consciousness. It was the all-important bridge between the Beat generation of San Francisco’s North Beach and their descendants, the flower-power hippies, who used the Mandala hub of Haight Ashbury to spread a worldwide message of Love.

The January 14th event partook of serious ideas from Conceptual and Performance Art creating a kind of media circus that would bring worldwide attention to the now fabled Haight-Ashbury district. Nevertheless, how ever important the year 1967 and the Summer of Love are to the world, the authentic story of how and why the first Human Be-In came into existence has never been told. Historians and scholars only have small portions of the complete story of the inception, inspiration, planning and great care necessary for the creation of the Be-In. Now, 40 years later, the length of time that was necessary to pass before this astonishing story could be told, artist Michael Bowen, the producer, organizer, and creator of the first Human Be-In, reveals the entire history of this world-shaping event, from the inside out. It was artist Michael Bowen who took the ideas of conceptual art to their extreme and created a grand performance art un-equaled to anything that had ever been created in the world.

Scroll to Top