Talk on The Whole Earth Catalog at Oakland Museum Friday night

I took off early Friday for Oakland, to do my talk on “The Whole Earth Catalog and Alternative Structures” at the Oakland Museum. I went across the Richmond bridge, but when I got out to Hwy. 80, it was so jammed up (late Friday afternoon) that I cut up Gilman and then went along San Pablo all the way into downtown Oakland.

Oakland is always a relief from the preciousness of Marin County and the slightly jaded beauty of San Francisco. The people, the buildings, the civic projects — they got soul. I love the visuals (I Am A Camera). The Hotsy-Totsy Club with its confederate-looking flag logo, the motorcycle shops, the ribs and burger joints, the 1000s of great buildings. Oakland is like the younger sister of a great beauty (SF), more fun to hang out with, more laid-back, not so pretentious.

About 40 people came to my talk, it was a great crowd. I showed them two collectors’ copies, the first Whole Earth Catalog (1968) and The Dome Cookbook ($1, 1967) by Steve Baer and described how the WEC became a pre-computer network for the counter-culture. Plus how it transformed the West Coast publishing scene; by the time it sold 100,000 copies, it got the attention of New York. Random House took over distribution and this led the way to a bunch of West Coast books getting major muscle NY distribution, including Domebook 2, The Tassajara Bread Book, Anybody’s Bike Book, The Massage Book, and in 1973, our book Shelter.

Here’s a photo shot by Zach Klein on his iPhone, of me with Isaiah and Sean, who are living on a piece of land in Aptos, and building tiny houses:

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

One Response to Talk on The Whole Earth Catalog at Oakland Museum Friday night

  1. I so enjoyed your talk– the history that the Whole Earth Catalogue is the poster child for is so rich, and your storytelling was a great contribution to understanding that era and its current energies. Thanks again!

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