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.