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San Diego characters: counterculture and crime

Skateboarder Gator up for murder, Karen Wilkening’s arrest and jail time, Metabolife’s brush with law, Michael Page and music underground

Iggy Pop and Michael Page work on Repo Man soundtrack. Whenever the Iggy tour came to San Diego, it was a nightmare.
  • Iggy Pop and Michael Page work on Repo Man soundtrack. Whenever the Iggy tour came to San Diego, it was a nightmare.

Sandals, Bell-Bottoms, a Medallion

The canyon was just a dream for a little boy. We had trails, paths, and forts. There was a lot of bamboo growing in the canyon, which isn’t indigenous to this area, as far as I know. But it took over the canyon. Perfect. We’d cut little trails and then build our fort on the other side, and nobody could see us. Clarence’s brothers taught us how to make booby traps.

By Barbara Palmer, May 1, 2003 | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Mark Anthony in his cell. He will be 43 years old before he is eligible for parole.

Mark Anthony in his cell. He will be 43 years old before he is eligible for parole.

Dude amps out

He became a cause célébre in San Diego. Kids decorated their jeans jackets with the phrase Free Mark Anthony. But there were also bumper stickers that read Skateboarding Is Not a Crime — Murder Is. Mark Anthony Should Die. Skateboarders who talked to the press about it were ostracized. “It was a terrible event for skateboarding. “Skating’s no more inherently violent than heavy metal is inherently satanic…. I think you’ll find that most skaters won’t even talk about Gator.”

By Cory Johnson, Jan. 28, 1993 | Read full article

Tim Joe Key. His first day in San Diego he walked along the San Diego River jetty. Four boys pelted him with rocks.

Tim Joe Key. His first day in San Diego he walked along the San Diego River jetty. Four boys pelted him with rocks.

One Step Ahead of the Devil

One night in mid-1977 he coughed up brown phlegm from his lungs. That told him all he needed to know about smoking's effect on his body. He looked in the mirror on another day and had to admit: he was fat. He stopped smoking. T.J. says he stopped easily. “One day I said I would stop and I did." But he also wanted to lose ten pounds. That was when he went to the SDSU track.

By David Steinman, Oct. 21, 1982 | Read full article

Wilkening speaking at Libertarian Party Supper Club, September, 1991. I couldn't have known that the budget of the Homicide Task Force would be used to track me down halfway around the world.

Wilkening speaking at Libertarian Party Supper Club, September, 1991. I couldn't have known that the budget of the Homicide Task Force would be used to track me down halfway around the world.

My Own True Story

One morning, Hercules had left for work around 6:30 and I was still asleep, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door only about a half an inch. There was a sea of faces in the little hallway, and the first person I saw had a uniform on. He was Filipino, but there were a lot of American faces, and I knew instantly that the jig was up; San Diego police had found me.

By Karen Wilkening, Oct. 3, 1991 | Part 1 | Part 2

Metabolife kiosk at Fashion Valley. Metabolife is a business that sells a diet drug containing the stimulant ephedrine, a key ingredient of methamphetamine.

Metabolife kiosk at Fashion Valley. Metabolife is a business that sells a diet drug containing the stimulant ephedrine, a key ingredient of methamphetamine.

The Drug Dealer and the Real Estate Men

The FBI swooped down on the house and busted Blevins and Ellis on charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The agents said they found lab equipment and chemicals that were capable of manufacturing 50 pounds of meth. During a search of an apartment at 8178 Avenida Navidad in San Diego, which Blevins and Ellis had rented in February 1988, an address book was found with phone numbers for drug figures including that of Chicago mobster Sam Sarcinelli.

By Matt Potter, Sept. 16, 1999 | Read full article

Charles Fries painting at Camp Merritt, Laguna Mountains, 1924. “We made a number of trips up to Laguna Mountain. Mr. Merritt had built a cabin up there, which was more pleasant than camping out."

Charles Fries painting at Camp Merritt, Laguna Mountains, 1924. “We made a number of trips up to Laguna Mountain. Mr. Merritt had built a cabin up there, which was more pleasant than camping out."

Rough Sketch

The Fries family rented a place on 9th and E Street but soon moved out to 30th and El Cajon Boulevard, where Mr. Fries tried his hand at beekeeping. The way Allie told it, her father didn’t like the bees and had to get rid of them. Meanwhile, he couldn’t sell his pictures. Addie got discouraged and left him. She took Allie and moved into the St. James Hotel and sold papers on the street to make expenses.

By Ken Kuhlken, April 7, 1994 | Read full article

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