Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bear's Lair, UCB, Berkeley

The Bear's Lair opened in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union building on Lower Sproul Plaza of the UC Berkeley campus in the 1962. The Bear's Lair was regularly used as a music venue during the second half of the 1960's. Later, the Bear’s Lair saw Robin Williams, Talking Heads, No Doubt, Green Day and many others play on Lower Sproul.  However, in early December 2012, the Bear's Lair has been closed as part of a renovation of the Lower Sproul Plaza area. Eshleman Hall will be razed and the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, will be rebuilt, along with other renovations. The end of an era? I hope not. There follows a partial list of performances in the era we care for:
02/08/1963    Vince Guaraldi Trio
10/04/1964    Vince Guaraldi Trio
23/10/1965    Hoot with Chris Selsor
30/10/1965    Hoot with Chris Selsor
05/11/1965    Carl Shrager (Advertised as "Ballad and Bawd")
12/11/1965    Caberet 
13/11/1965    Hoot with Chris Selsor (Filmed by ABC Television)
20/11/1965    Hoot with Chris Selsor
04/12/1965    Hoot with Chris Selsor
19/02/1966    Chris Selsor
26/02/1966    Hoot with Chris Selsor
11/03/1966    Jesse Fuller, Mike Thatcher Jazz Trio, Mystic Children
18/03/1966    Dragon's Seeds, The Skins, The Exiles (Advertised as "The New Trip")
25/03/1966    Wildflower, Ken Kesey's "Acid Test" Tape, Sassy Sophies from El Cid, Go-Go Limbo, Bethlehem Exit (Advertised as “Frantic Folk-Kick”)
15/04/1966    Bethlehem Exit, The Answer, The Exiles (Advertised as "Trip Dance")
22/04/1966    Mance Lipscomb, PH Phactor Jug Band, A-Go-Go dancing with Mystic Children
29/04/1966    Musa, Kaleem Quartet
12/05/1966    Plastic Mobius Concert 
14/10/1966    Vince Guaraldi Trio
07/01/1967    Big Mama Thornton
17/05/1968    Phil Ochs
21/02/1969    Jorma Kaukornen and Jack Casady
07/03/1969    Vince Guaraldi Trio
11/04/1969    Gary Burton Quartet
11/07/1969    Elvin Bishop 
23/07/1969    NRPS 
01/08/1969    NRPS  
10/10/1969    Fourth Way  
24/10/1969    Mose Allison 
05/12/1969    Dan Hicks And The Hot Licks with David LaFlamme plus Richard Greene 
24/10/1970    Boz Scaggs  
30/10/1970    Elvin Bishop
04/12/1970    Mose Allison  
24/05/1974    Upepo    
25/05/1974    Upepo 
29/05/1974    Holy Smoke
30/05/1974    Garbonza Brothers             
31/05/1974    Jeffrey Cain, Ron Maranian
01/06/1974    Jeffrey Cain, Ron Maranian 


  1. Bear's Lair started a lot, and was famous in its time. The much beloved Leopold Stokowski Memorial Record Pavilion was started nearly next to the front door of the Lair. One time, I saw Jan Wenner in there reading a newspaper, or was it a copy of that new magazine, Rolling Stone c. ??. A much coveted venue! Later even the B-52's showed up c. 1976 (?) to play the traditional free noontime gig in the lower plaza (after the sold-out gig upstairs in Pauley, I think. That's beyond the range of what our favorite era is, but the traditions continued is the point I am making. The exact dates of these rare events and sightings are hazy.

  2. As you say, exact dates are hazy. But I'm pretty sure they played in the lower plaza in 1979. Basing this on where I think I lived at the time, and the fact that I think the first album was out.