Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Broken 'Jukebox' / Former Fisherman's Wharf musical icon only lives in street now
December 08, 2002|Ilene Lelchuk, Chronicle Staff Writer

Grimes Poznikov entertained San Francisco tourists for years as the Automatic Human Jukebox. He now lives under Interstate 280. Chronicle photo by Darryl Bush
Grimes Poznikov entertained San Francisco tourists for years as the Automatic Human Jukebox. He now lives under Interstate 280. Chronicle photo by Darryl Bush
Credit: Darryl Bush

Before he disappeared, he was the Automatic Human Jukebox, that famous Fisherman's Wharf street performer from the 1970s and '80s who once compared his popularity to that of the Golden Gate Bridge.

His wacky act, where he popped out of a phone booth-sized cardboard box and played the trumpet, was featured in San Francisco guidebooks and mentioned in Penthouse magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He also appeared on "The Mike Douglas Show," "Charles Kuralt on the Road" and "To Tell the Truth."

Now, after years of anonymity, the trumpet-playing, anti-establishment hippie Grimes Poznikov has reappeared -- at a dump in the southeast sector of San Francisco.

There, Poznikov lives under a rotting baby grand piano that is covered in a heap of clothes, blankets, liquor bottles, naked Barbie dolls, suitcases and a tattered American flag.

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