“Fly Trans-Love Airways” by Renata Adler, 1967
Renata Adler’s Fly Trans-Love Airways details the Sunset Strip counterculture as Adler saw it in LA during the summer of 1967. The piece begins by describing the boom of the strip culture, citing the Beach Boys’ rise to fame in 1964. Due to police intervention—new laws that made it impossible for underage teens to stay out past certain hours, enter establishments that sold alcohol, or even dance—the strip’s culture struggled to survive, spurring widespread youth protests.
A pioneer of new journalism, Adler’s piece does not attempt to “get” the counterculture so much as describe her experience as an outside observer trying to make sense of the “New Radicals, Zen mystics, aesthetic avant-gardists, and drug proselytizers—already so strangely easy in each other’s company.”
The piece originally appeared in The New Yorker on February 25, 1967, and in 1970, as part of Adler’s first collection of journalism Towards a Radical Middle.