Lenny Bruce, on a shared billing with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, treated this Fillmore audience to what would end up being his last performance. Less than two months later, on August 3, he was found dead in his Hollywood home of an accidental morphine overdose. He was only 40 years old. Caught here in a shaft of light by premier photographer of the Summer of Love Gene Anthony, this image recalls the legacy of one of standup comedy's most enduring and influential figures.
Thousands of people flocked to the corner of Haight and Ashbury during the Summer of Love, but few saw the unfolding phenomenon as clearly as Gene Anthony did. From his apartment one block up the hill, he witnessed the extraordinary pilgrimage of young people from across the country as they trooped to San Francisco in search of answers, approval and love, and he captured the compelling vignettes through his telling lens. Anthony's photographic talent, subjects and well-deserved acclaim extend far beyond the psychedelic period, but his ability to capture a mood on a face or the essence of an era from a simple street sign was recognized and refined during that time. His photographs have, in turn, become the myriad faces of the Summer of Love.