Perched across the corner from Alamo Square Park is the infamous Kenneth Anger house, also known as the Westerfeld House. First built in 1889, the house managed to survive a 1905 earthquake. In 1928, a group of Czarist Russians purchased the home and turned part of it into a brothel. The house became nicknamed by locals as the “Russian Embassy,” or simply, “The Embassy.” In the 1950s, with the rise of the beatniks, the house became occupied by many jazz musicians. It is said that everyone from Allen Ginsberg to the Grateful Dead visited the house.
By the mid-1960s, the area had fallen into decline and in 1966, the house was rented to filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Although his stay was brief, lasting only until 1967, the house took on a new level of infamy during this period. Anger filmed portions of his short film, “Invocation of My Demon Brother” at the house, which featured Anton LaVey and Bobby Beausoleil, with music by Mick Jagger. Anger also claims to have sighted UFOs from the tower of the house.
A documentary about the history of the home is even in the works, known as “Westerfeld House of Legends.”
LOCATION: 1198 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Beausoleil, who not long after would become involved in one of the Manson Family murders, posed for a famous photo on the front stairs of the building. On decidedly less of a counter-culture note, the house sits adjacent to San Francisco’s famous “Painted Ladies,” which readers might recognize from the TV series “Full House.” The creator of “Full House,” Jeff Franklin, later moved onto the property where the Manson Family murders took place.
In 2014, Kenneth Anger himself made a rare public appearance at the Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles, which was hosting a collection of his films. It was scheduled to feature the first ever public screening of Jimmy Page’s unused film score to Anger’s “Lucifier Rising” (Page’s score was rejected in favor of one by Bobby Beausoleil, who composed the music from prison while serving out his murder sentence). The screening featuring Page’s score was cancelled, however, reportedly due to legal threats. Here is a photo of Anger, who briefly spoke at the event.
Lastly, we leave you with Kenneth Anger’s signature and hand prints, which can be found in front of the Vista Theater, one of L.A.’s best vintage theaters.
LOCATION: Vista Theater, 4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027