Miramar Beach: The Tsunami Rangers Party Party

Burt and I arrived at Michael Power’s unique homestead in Miramar Beach about 2:30 in the afternoon. We missed the big kayaking event but here’s what we did see:

Parked at the end of the road was this really cool “ride.” Nobody knew what the make was. I suspect the South City Blues Band drove over the hill in it.

We saw the international flags and a kayak parked by the side of the road. The sound of the South City Blues Band drew us into the courtyard of Michael’s place, first walking through an unusual walkway studded with enormous rocks and carved, the work done by Michael & his friends. And however “down” Burt and I might have been before we arrived–that feeling was wiped away as we transformed to another time and place. Pete Douglas, of the Bach Society down the road, burned up the dance floor with Miramar chanteuse Susan Pate.
But the star was Michael Powers himself; scroll down to watch the “proverbially wild man.” I also posted a little quicktime video below.

Pete Cake & El Granada Power Outtage: Story by Jim Elliot

Story and photos by Jim Elliot

 

Hi June,
Pete Douglas’ party was particularly notable, not just for the presence of the
Coastside Curmudgeon himself

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(Photo: Pete Douglas’s image atop a festive cake)

 

and a few hundred fans of the Bach Dynamite and Dancing Society, but also for the presence of any number of people who have lived and worked at the Bach and have been inspired by the experience.

As you are aware, the power was off in El Granada froma bout 8:00 am to about 9:00 pm. The outtage was due to a failed high voltage switch, underground, in a vault at the corner of Santiago and The Alameda, across from El Granada Elementary School.

 

You’ll find a picture below of Burt Blumert

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supervising the repairs. His contribution was invaluable to the success or the fine work
performed by PG&E crews.

 

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Jim Elliot

Coastside Realtor / Owner: Del Mar Properties
(H) 650-726-0473
(c) 650-743-4086
(o) 650-712-6800

www.cdelmarrealestate.com

EVER DREAMED OF LIVING RIGHT ON THE BEACH?

WITH EACH SALE WE MAKE A DONATION TO IMPROVE THE MEDIAN STRIPS ON THE
COASTSIDE

Ah ha! How The Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society Got Its Name

This is how Pete Douglas explained it to me in 1979–

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“There was another spontaneous party going on. We were playing jazz and some of the people who visited were engineers from some of the electronic outfits down the Peninsula. And they got hold of this dynamite–and so like the boys they were, they have to try it out. I didn’t pay much attention to their interest in the dynamite. I was partying and dancing. So they disappeared on the beach. Fortunately they didn’t do it right in front of the house.

“And like I often do, after running the record player a little energetically, I wanted something a little laid back. I had classical records. I put on the Bach Brandenburg Concerto as a kind of relief from this jazz. We were feeling happy and continued to dance to Bach. Nothing is more powerful than Bach. Bach is very dramatic. When I heard the dynamite go off it sounded slightly muffled. But it reverberated very big down in Half Moon Bay–but the sheriff never go on to it….

“Bob Swift, the local science teacher, coined the phrase, Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society.”

1959: When the “Beat Scene” Hit Miramar Beach, Part IV

Armed with a sociology degree from UC Santa Barbara, Pete Douglas set out to create what he called “a spontaneous scene” at the Ebb Tide Cafe at Miramar Beach–(today the home of a reborn Ebb Tide Cafe and the longtime location of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society).

Surrounding the Ebb Tide was a knee-high fence and within it a picnic table. On weekends Pete dangled the speakers of his hi-fi out the windows–and played big, round 78 rpm records like the lush soundtrack to the hit movie “Black Orpheus”.

“And,” Pete told me, “I used to sit out there in my captain’s hat and occasionally wave in some interesting people driving by. I didn’t have any money–I had to create my own social scene. Where else could be better than Miramar Beach?”

People were everywhere on that very warm fall Sunday in 1959 and Pete Douglas recalls it as a magical day. Here was the Beat Generation, fictionalized in books, creating the real thing on our beautiful Coastside.

On the other side of the hill, on the Peninsula, the temperature had soared and thousands of people hopped into their cars and headed for what they expected to be the air-conditioned Coastside.

They were disappointed: Instead of relief, the stream of vehicles caused what was then a rare occurrence–a major traffic jam on Highways 1 and 92. Some of the more adventurous drivers glimpsed the odd assortment of people “cavorting and pirouetting” on Mirada Road and veered toward the beach.

….To be Continued…

RonS.jpgPhoto: For years Ron Swinnert was a familiar face at the Bach Society.

1959: When the “Beat Scene” Hit Miramar Beach, Part III

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“The idea of running a little joint appealed to me because, after all, the fantasy of every former beatnik or would-be beat type was an espresso shop,” Pete Douglas recalled. “Not that I had that directly in mind–but that was the fantasy, to drop-out and run your own little joint…”

Pete told me that “the stereotype of the laid-back beat was to have his coffee shop with cards, poetry books, chess, etc.”

In 1959 Mirada Road, sometimes called “the strip”, still retained a flavor from rumrunning days when the Coastside was “wide open.” The once stunning Palace Miramar Hotel stood brooding at the southern end of the road–while at the northern end the Ocean Beach Tavern (the present-day Miramar Beach Inn) was a roadhouse with official Prohibition era bona fides.

In the middle of the road stood Douglas’ tiny coffee shop. It had once been home to the notorious Drift Inn Cafe, where, Pete said, the bartendress often passed out dead drunk and kept an oak club handy so she could bonk undisciplined customers on the head.

…To be continued…

I Hear From Maria Demarest, The Photographer

Maria with daughter Marika_2.jpgPhoto: Playing in the flower fields of Half Moon Bay, 1970s: Maria Demarest with daughter Marika.

Aloha June! It’s me…Maria. Just got back from the coast to photography Noel’s wedding (Pat and Juliet Powers’s daughter. Remember Little Marika – she’s still little. She’s going to school in Flagstaff and spent the summer with dear old dad Michael Powers. We ate peas until we were sick,kayaked and took enough photos to crash a computer. Promise,,,next time I’m back on the Mainland, I’ll give you a call. Most memorable breakfast was at Johnny’s with Pete Douglas and irwin Cohen – like no years had ever passed! Spent quite a bitof time there last winter as my brother (he used to live on California st. died – held a raucous memorial at the marine reserve. Hope things are well with you – I’m still living on Maui, though HMB will always be “home” – can’t say I misss the fog. Sawsome awesome pix of my grandmothers from way back when – they’re driving doewn the OLD coast highway, stading on the floorboards trying to navigate thru the fog on their way to the beach!

Give me a call or write – anytime

Aloha,

Maria

Maria,Pat.jpgPhoto at Miramar Beach, L-R: Me, Maria Demarest, John, Pat Powers, 1975, photo by Michael Powers

Birth of the Ebb Tide Cafe: Interview w/Pete Douglas Part 4 (1979)

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June: And so then you ran it as a café.

Pete: For about a year after I got it. I was still working for the county probation department. I worked for about four years before I was canned on a technicality. I won’t get into the politics…So I was working…I was living a double life you know. I was going over the hill being a respectable official. Even wearing a button down collar.

But over here, you know, we were…the difference in my dress was the fact that I had tennis shoes on more often.

I guess it was around 1958—even though I was working we had to do this little business thing. You know, we were just going to have hamburgers and coffee and whatever. A sandwich shop needs a beer license. That was all I wanted was a beer license.

I was going to bring the matter up to the probation department. And there is no law against a probation officer having a booze license as there is for police officers, by the way. No law against it.

Right away they got all upset over there—invented policy to say I couldn’t have one.
None the less we opened up. We made good hamburgers….

We just opened as a social thing, that’s all, no money in it. We ran it for about a year, a year-and-a-half, weekends only

We gradually met some people and they became my friends. Speaking of some of the early hanger-outers, there’s some still on the coast, one of them, Bill Bragg, do you know him?

June: Not sure.

Pete: Bill Bragg and his wife, Jackie. There were other couples like that. I won’t get into that. But that’s all it ended up being—they always knew they could fall in on the weekends, we were open, so to speak.

There were constant parties, lots of parties.

About that time, early 1959, I was a probation officers and I got a guy referred to me, his name was Pat Briggs. He got busted for stealing baloney in a supermarket.

At that time we only handled felony cases—but I got him and he was only 19-years-old. He was going to San Mateo College. When I was interviewing him and laughing at the police report, about stealing baloney and wondering why he was even here. I asked him what his interests were. He did play saxophone and he was being very straight with me.

I said, ‘Oh, yeah,’ what kind of sax? And he said baritone sax.

‘What are you, a poor man Jerry Mulligan?’ I said. He looked like Jerry Mulligan. So, I said I don’t want you on probation. I’m not going to recommend probation. I’ll recommend a fine and forget it. I said, why don’t you come out and play [at the Ebb Tide Café] sometime?

A few months later Pat Briggs was on the phone a Saturday night about 11 o’clock we were having our usual party. And here comes Pat. He says, ‘I picked up some good players in a band that’s coming through town.’

I said, ‘You want to come down?’

He came down, two guys dressed in suits. They came in and set up in that little room down the hall.

One, two, three,–wham! That started the whole live music scene.

End

The 4-part 1979 interview with Pete Douglas, Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society was taped and later transcribed by Linda Goetz, Coastside Secretarial. Don’t worry, I interviewed Pete many times and there is more detail to come.

The Fantasy: Interview with Pete Douglas (1979) Part III

(At this point, Pete had moved to Menlo Park with his wife, Pat, and their daughter, Linda).

June: And then you moved to the Coastside?

Pete: Well, to give you a little background on that, I was going nuts in Menlo Park; you know, isolated, we didn’t know anybody. You are socially in, or you are nowhere, you know Menlo Park. I like Palo Alto, but I wasn’t happy with the job, that was it.

It was the summer of 1957, a hot day in Menlo Park, and it was night, and I thought: I have to get out of here. So the light bulb flashed on and it was I’ve got to get back to the beach and everything will be all right—especially after a year-and-a-half of Vacaville; it was– I just had to get back to the beach.

That very next day I grabbed Linda (Pete’s daughter) and tore out to Half Moon Bay looking for something on the beach. Now, I had only been out there once or twice, and like most people, I had no idea what was around.

Then I drove to Miramar and saw this road, and I crossed the bridge and saw the old Miramar Hotel and kept driving and found this place (the Ebb Tide Café). It was for sale.

I wasn’t thinking of buying, just renting, and I pulled up in front. There wasn’t a fence. It was just a yellow stucco building sitting in a bunch of weeds. Pulled up and the windows were soaped up with something and I got out to peer into the windows.

There was the bar and the old fluorescent lights and the hamburger grill, and I looked in there, and obviously it was a commercial place. Beer joint, hamburger joint, something.

I was just going to get back in the car and keep driving—but then Linda jumped out—she was 3-years-old, barely, always moving fast. My back was turned and she was in the garage over there (he pointed across next door).

Over there was old Charlie Jacobs, he had retired and built a house with his wife Mary. They were retired except for speculating on land. I ran into the garage after Linda and started chatting with Charlie. He saw me looking at this building, and he said: :’Why don’t you buy it? You ought to buy that building”.

I said I’ve got to have a place to live but the idea of running a little joint appealed to me—because, after all, the fantasy of every former beatnik or beat type would be an espresso coffee shop.

Not that I had that directly in mind, but that was the fantasy…to drop out and run your own little joint. Including crafts, arts, anything.

Charlie Jacobs says, ‘You can live in it’– he says there’s a bedroom back there and a separate bathroom with a shower. I said, Ok, I’d like to see inside. He says Mrs. Hastings, who I incidentally work with right now (1979), I still have my real estate license. Mrs. Hastings, who owns Sandpiper Realty, had a real estate sign out there. We walked right over there and “Liz” said, ‘Yep, Grandma Treadwell wants $12,500.’

But it had been on the market for a year—nobody around here wanted the dump (ed. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Mirada Road!).

We offered $8,000 and Grandma Treadwell accepted $8,500. And she took the mortgage because no one would finance it. It was rough but that’s how we got the Ebb Tide Café.