Costume Carnival 2017 Echoes 1960s Counterculture

Costume Carnival 2017 echoes 1960s counterculture

Bob Webb as Timothy Leary.


Nameless liquid shapes dance on a concert screen, protest slogans are hoisted into the air, music creates surreal shapes in the sky, young people rally for a new utopia and the United States Presidency is shrouded in scandal. Apparently, not much has changed since 1967.

The School of Illustration’s Spring 2017 Costume Carnival was designed to evoke the counterculture of 1960s America, which holds deep roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Costume Carnival, held on Saturday, March 25, was received with great enthusiasm by those students who came to school on the first day of spring break. 

The carnival’s cast of characters included Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Richard Nixon, Timothy Leary, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale and Jacqueline Kennedy. These characters were chosen because they each continue to influence the views of American society. In the 1960s, young people flooded the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco (a.k.a. The Haight) to escape from the fear-mongering of their conservative parents and the real possibility of being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. They lived in cars and on street corners. They slept on benches in Golden Gate Park and gorged on half-eaten garbage pizzas in North Beach.

Costume Carnival 2017 echoes 1960s counterculture

India Parker as Nina Simone

Costume Carnival 2017 echoes 1960s counterculture

Aaron Borgan as Jimi Hendrix

Costume Carnival 2017 echoes 1960s counterculture

Anna Muravitskaya as Janis Joplin

Costume Carnival 2017 echoes 1960s counterculture

Veronique Bonne as Jackie Kennedy

From the tie-dyed, bell-bottomed, homeless youth to the White House, it was an iconic time for fashion, and students witnessed this as the characters roamed Bradley Hall amongst four sets: the Woodstock Concert Stage, the Nuclear Family Stage, the Protest Stage and the Psychedelic Stage.

Each character portrayed at the Spring 2017 Costume Carnival stood for something individual. They represented an ideal, an archetype, a philosophy, a gift or a passion. Fifty years later, these people are remembered for shifting the tides of the American social climate, and the global perception of freedom and art. If nothing else, it was a time of originality and exploration. Most of these people are not alive anymore to see how much technology has changed, and yet how similar things are from 1967 America to 2017 America.