Left: Cmdr. David Lazar was honored with the Community Recognition Award by the North Beach Citizens group on Sunday night. Right: “Diamond” Dave Whitaker enjoyed his 80th birthday at Adobe Books on 24th Street. (Left: Courtesy SFPD/via Twitter; Right: Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on November 14, 2017 (sfexaminer.com)
Another beloved San Francisco notable was celebrated this weekend: “Diamond” Dave Whitaker.
The beatnik, hippie, noted poet, and locally famed prognosticator celebrated his 80th birthday Saturday night at Adobe Books on 24th Street. Local free-spirited folks streamed into the doors of the small bookstore, with some hanging out on the sidewalk just to hear Dave speak.
Dave first found his way to San Francisco when he was 19 and traces his time in The City back to the Diggers and chillin’ with Bob Dylan. Since then, he’s helped organize Poems Under the Dome and lights up the airwaves weekly on Pirate Cat Radio.
He’s also a lifelong learner, influencing many City College of San Francisco students through his poetry (and he’s still a sometime-student).
Put bluntly: Dave is part of San Francisco’s funky soul, and we’re lucky to have him.
He’s certainly not known for his fancy style, however, which is why I was surprised to see him in a patterned tie and sportcoat at his birthday.
“Someone just gave it to me,” Dave told me, with a shrug. “I didn’t think I’d ever even wear it.”
After Dave thanked the crowd of well-wishers, the band behind him, Trio Cambio, strummed like minstrels from the Summer of Love.
“Salud, Dave,” they chanted. The room chanted back, sing-song style, “Salud, Dave.”