Baldwin St. Insanity Festival ’69 Part 1 3

Julian Ayrs / aka Don Holyoak

Julian Ayrs / aka Don Holyoak

 It’s been awhile since I added some new photos. Been busy with my graphic novel, and Dracula, and the patreon campaign most recently. Also, it looks like I’m going to be teaching a lot more, three days a week now. That’s going to introduce some new time management challenges for sure, I’ll be re-evaluating things in the next couple of weeks but this is good news. Still leaves me a lot of time to work on Spilt Ink, while raising my income to the modestly comfortable level of working poor! 😉

I’ve got at least 8 rolls of photos Lionel took at the Baldwin St. Insanity Festival in 1969, and on the way there walking through the UofT campus it looks like. Here are four.

He was using more than one camera, and along with the festivities, he caught some photos in around the time the police arrested Julian Ayrs aka Don “The Dancer” Holyoak. See a note from Julian himself for some of the back story on that at the bottom of the page.

You can also find some shots of the same event, taken by John F. Phillips and Laura Jones, who are probably in some of these photos by my father! I suspect this is Laura? There looks to have been a few other photographers there too but here’s the only face I recognize.

The bands? I don’t know. Who are these guys I wonder?

And It was pointed out to me by John via Arna (hi mom!), and Sue here in the comments, that Canadian science fiction writer, editor and political activist Judith Merril is in the photos! She’s the lady with the great hat here here and here!

And last personal note, 21 years later, in the ’90s I lived in the apt directly over the Baldwin St Grocery, which was a cafe by that time. It still sort of is, though the building I lived in was torn down in the early ’00s and replaced by a modern retro clone of the old. I had the room over the patio on the corner second floor. I loved it, a highlight of my 20s.

Also in the next four rolls are some photos of my mother! I’ll try to get those up later this month.

Some of the negatives are pretty damaged, and for now I don’t have time to retouch them. THIS, along with just getting the rest of them scanned faster, and faster newer scanners too, are among the goals of my Patreon Spilt Ink Drive! If i reached $900 a month I plan to hire someone to do it for me part time!


Footnote, I scanned and posted one of the prints of Julian Ayrs, aka Don “The Dancer” Holyoak, Lionel had made himself. He left this note for us in the comments! Thanks Julian! It gives a bit of backstory to the photos he’s in. The shots of the cops are classic.

Julian Ayrs / aka Don Holyoak says:
April 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm (Edit)
Heh folks!
Yes, I was a student at Rochdale.
My nickname was “The Dancer”.
I was well-known for having been arrested for dancing on a police car on Baldwin Street the summer I attended Rochdale.
Well-known lawyer – Clayton Ruby – represented me in the legal proceedings.
06-20_Baldwinstreetfest69 (18)It was determined that the police caused the disturbance; consequently, the charges against me were dropped.
The whole incident was captured on camera by Morley Markson who promptly inserted the footage in his film:
Breathing Together, Revolution of the Electric Family
The footage also appeared on CBC News (with a Beatle’s hit playing in the background)
The documentary, which also featured John Lennon and Buckminister Fuller, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
But, I did not simply “crash” at Rochdale.
I was a tenant and I rented a room on the 6th floor which is a well-known fact to management at Rochdale.
My “black” room (which I decorated) was featured in “TIME” Magazine (Raquel Welch was on the cover).
Reporters from the Canadian issue of “TIME” visited Rochdale and penned a feature on the controversial “Free College”.
My murals also graced the walls of the 6th floor!
My good friend Judith Merril (the little “Mother” of Science Fiction) was a well-known writer who also resided there during that time frame.
While I attended Rochdale, Coach House Press published some of my prose. The respected book outlet had a workshop at the rear of Rochdale in the alley and was run by Victor Coleman (Editor).
My “murals” also graced the walls in the 6th floor foyer.
The photo above was one of thousand that photographers took of me in the streets of Toronto when I was a street performer.
One day, Gerome Ragni – the writer for HAIR – spied me dancing on Bloor St. West and asked me to join the cast for the Toronto Production which he was directing.
When I moved to California, I changed my name to Julian Ayrs, because casting had difficulty remembering and prouncing my last name which was Holyoak.
I am now a well-known blogger on the Interent and a Los Angeles film critic.
Thanks for the mention!
Julian Ayrs
8424 Santa Monica Boulevard
Suite No. A251
West Hollywood, CA


About Salgood

Sam i am - Salgood Sam - Sadax Golum - Xam Salguod - Max Douglas: Monkey aspires to entertain. Something, something, artist, writer, early protozoa web critter. Max Douglas is a child of ’70s Toronto. A lauded working artist and storyteller who since approximately the mid ’90s has signed his art Salgood Sam, a pen name derived from a reverse spelling of his name.

3 thoughts on “Baldwin St. Insanity Festival ’69 Part 1

  • Salgood Post author

    Thanks for sharing Sue & Pat! i love hearing the stories behind these. My mother is in a couple too, but off in the BG, she’s got some better shots in the next four rolls.

    I didn’t realize that was Judith Merril, I heard it here and from my step father after posting the set. Very cool. I’ll have to update the description.

  • Pat Zanger

    I was Pat Rogers then, living in a “commune” (more like an uncooperative cooperative) on Dundas Street West where most of the residents were with the Yellow Ford Truck — Jimmy & Pat Wilson owned the store, Cliff Golas (his wife Roz Hayhurst made silver jewellery) & my then husband Randy Rogers made pipes & took goods on the road to sell, I did the artwork for the first store “catalog”. That’s me (on the left) of the photo 06-19 Baldwinstreetfest 69 (1)…

  • Sue Allen

    Ah, Judith Merril. My deepest take-away from Julian Ayrs comment. SEED school, the land of system drop-outs like me and Judith Merril sitting round a table, week after week, talking story. My 9th Annual of the Year’s Best SF is inscribed in green ink, “For Sue, at SEED, with Hopes. Judy Merril (May ’84).” What a gift to the ages. Judy.
    The photos are also splendid.

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