Carbondale After Dark chronicles hippie haven and radical outpost
From panty raids to riots, Carbondale After Dark (1982) is a profusely illustrated anthology of history, essays and short stories centered on Southern Illinois University and Carbondale, Illinois, in the 1960s and ’70s, when that sleepy little college town in the Midwest became a hippie haven and radical outpost. Some call that Carbondale’s golden age, while others say it was the city’s hippie phase. Either way, it left a mark on the town and those who went through those tumultuous times, and it remains a period of interest to those who came after.
Carbondale native H.B. Koplowitz composed the manuscript on a used typewriter in Buckminster Fuller’s former dome home. Deb Browne did the design, layout, typesetting and much more. They also filled CAD with memorable photos and illustrations by the likes of P.S. Mueller, Dan Wood and Marvin Hill, who drew the cover art.
In 2007, Koplowitz and Browne collaborated on a 25th anniversary edition. Both of those editions are now out of print. In 2018, Koplowitz used his home computer to produce an expanded third edition in print-on-demand paperback and hardback, ebook, Kindle and PDF formats.
In addition to a new preface, the expanded edition includes three new stories. “Carbondale Before Dark” is about growing up in the town in the 1950s and early ’60s. “Bucky’s Dome” is about living in futurist Buckminster Fuller’s dome home in the early 1980s. “Ghosts of Carbondale Past” is a reflection on a 2017 reunion concert of Carbondale bands from the 1970s.
The third edition preserves the original text and layout, warts and all, while some photos have been remastered to improve clarity. The hardback version is suitable for libraries and makes a great gift. The ebook and PDF versions can be viewed as seamless double-page spreads, which highlights the graphics and layout.
Printing and distribution of the paperback and hardback editions are being handled by Ingramspark, a subsidiary of Ingram, the world’s largest book distributor. The books and ebooks are available on Amazon, while a PDF version suitable for all screens is available here.
More about Carbondale After Dark
“The following is not a fable — it all really happened and it has no morals.”
So begins a “Layman’s History of ‘The Strip,’” a self-described “chronology of events that have contributed to Carbondale’s reputation as a party town, drug den and radical outpost.”
“The Strip” takes up less than half of Carbondale After Dark And Other Stories, but it is one of the things that makes the book memorable. “The Strip” begins with the founding of Carbondale in 1852, and Southern Illinois University in 1869, and ends in 1982 (A new preface updates events in Carbondale to 2019). But CAD focuses on the decades of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, when Carbondale was invaded by hippies and freaks, protest rallies and massive street parties.
The chronology provides a blow-by-blow account of the political and cultural upheavals that led to the May 1970 riots in Carbondale, and how protests evolved into street parties and a massive Halloween celebration. It also chronicles streakers, bands, bars, hangouts, protest movements and street people, and efforts by city and school officials to control the madness. In other words, all the things that get left out of official histories and Chamber of Commerce brochures.
Ironically, Koplowitz wrote “The Strip” only after he realized that the book he started out to produce — an anthology of his writings going back to high school — would never sell. By focusing on the strip in Carbondale he had limited his audience, but found one.
The rest of CAD is what the original book started out to be — a collection of Koplowitz’s writings from what he calls his “Blue Period.” Included are such titles as “Kidnapped by Jesus Freaks” and “Kid Clyde: An Existentualist’s Horror Story”; rants on such subjects as women’s lib and “niggercommiekikes”; and a poem called, “The Horny Blues.” Let’s just say the author’s instinct was correct — it never would have sold. But added to “The Strip,” the stories continue to explore the terrain of teenage angst, and the illustrations are fun.
H.B. Koplowitz was born and raised in Carbondale and graduated from SIU in 1976. He has reported for the Southern Illinoisan and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and edited for City News Service in Los Angeles. He also ghostwrote a book for an Illinois governor who did not go to prison. He is currently a writing consultant in Boca Raton, Florida.