Monday, December 14, 2015

The Old Russian Embassy

The William Westerfeld Mansion sits across the street from the northwest corner of Alamo Square in San Francisco at 1198 Fulton Street and is known as The Old Russian Embassy. Constructed in 1889 at a cost of $9,985, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is San Francisco Landmark Number 135.


1928 – A group of Czarist Russians bought the home. They turned the ground-floor ballroom into a nightclub called Dark Eyes and used the upper floors for meeting rooms. The house became known informally as the "Russian Embassy".

1965 – The house was mentioned in the book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Calliope Company, a fifty-member collective, moved in.

1967 – Underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger took up residence. Anger filmed Invocation of My Demon Brother starring Bobby Beausoleil and Anton LaVey, and featuring music by Mick Jagger. According to this blog, "Invocation of My Demon Brother was assembled from scraps left over from Anger’s first version of Lucifer Rising he made in San Francisco. This first production came to a halt after the script was stolen by Bobby Beausoleil. Invocation of My Demon Brother summed up Anger’s feelings about the Vietnam war and is a collection of images intended to invoke a spell and induce a drug-like experience. The film was shot in The Straight Theater and The Russian Embassy in San Francisco. Anger also works in war shots, a cat funeral and footage from a Rolling Stones concert. Mick Jagger improvised a soundtrack for Invocation of My Demon Brother on a Moog Synthesizer." During this time, Stanton LaVey told Marlyn Marynick that he believes that his grandparents, Kenneth, Bobby, Charles Manson and Susan Atkins were all in the same place at the same time.

1968 – Members of the Family Dog occupied the house while promoting acid rock concerts at the Avalon Ballroom. Members of the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company were frequent visitors.

View interiors of the William Westerfeld Mansion here.
 above: friend of the blog Stoner Van Houten recreates Bobby Beausoleil's iconic portrait.