Notorious SF: Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev is the Soviet ballet star who defected to the U.S. in 1961. Nureyev took a shine to freedom in America and to the lavish lifestyle his celebrity afforded him. He was known to party with the rich and famous and on the evening of July 11, 1967, he did so here, at 42 Belvedere Street in the Haight. Nureyev, who died of AIDS in 1993, was performing at the San Francisco Opera House in the summer of 1967, along with his longtime partner, the British Royal Ballet's Dame Margot Fonteyn. Police started arresting people after responding to noise complaints at the Belvedere address where they found people smoking pot. The story goes that Nureyev, unaware of the presence of cops, swung into the front room from a window and announced that, with his arrival, the party could begin in earnest. A dozen joints were confiscated and 18 people were arrested including Nureyev and an official with the Seattle Opera. After the charges against Nureyev were dropped, hundreds of hippies danced in front of the Opera House on Van Ness Avenue to celebrate Nureyev and Fonteyn.

Copyright 2001 Hank Donat home