Gilded Serpent presents...
Bellydance in '70s Berkeley:
Cedar Sposato's Photo Archive
Original photos by Cedar Sposato, rescue and restoration by Lynette Harris
posted 4-11-07, reposted 10-30-10
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Linda was my housemate at the time. I was living in Berkeley, having graduated from the Syracuse University Art School, state of New York, in 1967. The lure of California counter culture pulled me to the West coast in 1968. I came across the country listening to Credence Clearwater Revival, Jim Morrison, and Inna Godda Davida by Iron Butterfly. I was trying to get a job in alternative television and ended up doing boring drafting work in San Francisco; then I finally moved to Berkeley.
In 1970, I came back from a trip back East to find I had new housemates, Linda and Mark. Luckily, we got along very well and soon were living with lots of cats and dogs. It was a very large household. Linda asked me to shoot some photos of her for a portfolio so she could get a job on a cruise line. This job never materialized because the cruise boat people decided she was too exotic looking for them! Eventually, she moved to the East coast and I lost contact with her.
Linda was a member of Masha Archer's troupe called, I think, The San Francisco Classical Dance Company. The troupe had a huge rehearsal space downstairs on Geary boulevard in San Francisco. For a while, I was their troupe photographer taking pictures of them on their gigs. I had learned photography at the Berkeley Adult School. These pictures where produced in a darkroom I built myself in a garage.
Gilded Serpent staff scanned and photographed Cedar's photographs that you see on this page. They were found in a seriously deteriorated state. They have since been laboursly restored to the condition you see here. Please do not steal these images. Contact the editor for more information.
Fat August Berkeley in 1973 or '74. This event was held at a large Spanish Mission style apartment complex, built in many levels on a hilltop. We danced in the apartment house courtyard. The"keyhole" pond shown below was also at this location. One of the musicians, Ron, was an underground comic book artist. Mark Wedder another musician was Linda's boyfriend.
Erotic Art Museum Opening 1973
Sproul Plaza at University of California at Berkeley 1973.
Cedar can recieve text only messages at firstname.lastname@example.org
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So, at age 4, my world was good. I had a rich imagination sparked by images of Egyptians in the crawlspace and iron ore waiting to be turned into gold. I had a family that consisted of pirates, genies, fortune tellers, wanderers and minstrels. Most of all I had been captivated by the bejeweled beauty in the dancing tattoo. It was 1957 and I knew, like my Uncle Omar and great Aunt Katie, I would one day grow up to be someone who would follow a special calling. I decided, at age 4, that it was my destiny to become a Belly dancer!