The Dark Magic of San Francisco

May 11th, 2012

Every major cultural, social and political movement of the modern era seems to be anchored in its own place and its own decade. Post war sensibilities were shaped by and centered in New York in the1950’s. It was the time of Mad Men and The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. In the mid to late 70’s the youthful freedom of the time was enshrined by the golden age of a new independent Hollywood film industry. In the 80’s Washington was front and center as the Reagan revolution changed America. There’s no question that in the 90s Wall Street, set the stage. In the 60s however San Francisco was the center of gravity.

The culture wars that still shape every aspect of our lives today, had their roots  in the San Francisco of the late 60’s; what we hear proclaimed today as San Francisco values. It was a unique flowering that would ultimately destroy The City. But San Francisco would fight back. Its’ people, its geography its intellectual heft would ultimately make its day.

David Talbot, founder of, recounts the turbulent years of San Francisco between 1967 and 1982 in Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love.

My conversation with David Talbot: