Dunbar Aitkens (redux)

At this point, Dunbar Aitkens reemerges on the arc of this history. Recall that Dunbar had lived briefly at the Sutter Street Commune just as Kaliflower, the intercommunal newspaper, began publication. Dunbar, as Irving said, “always had some interesting project going.” After he left the commune, we can pick up traces of his activities in the summer and fall of 1969 through notices he placed in the underground newspapers. His first project was a Free Book commune he started on Waller Street. They collected and gave away books to all comers. Here’s an article in the San Francisco Good Times that describes the range of books they were giving away “from Dostoevsky to Chairman Mao.” Within a month, Dunbar had started putting up notices for meetings at his commune to discuss a journal of the arts, science and crafts by and for homosexuals. Finally, in late November, Dunbar announces a weekend-long Gay Symposium and Party at Sherwood Forest, the informal name for the Methodist student center across from the Berkeley campus. Notice that the sponsors of the Gay Symposium are listed as Free Particle, CHF and Gay Liberation Theater. Free Particle was Dunbar’s journal by and for homosexuals. CHF of course was the Committee for Homosexual Freedom. Gay Liberation Theater was a collective that included Gale Whittington who were performing street theater on the Berkeley campus.