by Tara Rosen
James Henry Beckett b. Oct. 31, 1955 d. Sept. 10, 2022
Jimmy Flowers – born James Henry Beckett – was born Halloween Eve. When he was 4 years old, his mother committed suicide by hanging herself in their Noe Valley flat, which led him to romanticize suicide, though he eventually grew out of it.
He was my boyfriend for ten years and my best friend for the last five years of his life. He was truly and really the most amazing man I have ever known. In his younger years, he worked the carnival where he became a hustler and a showman. They called him “Elvis” over there. He let his sideburns grow out because he couldn’t afford a razor, tucked his long mane under a wig and sang Elvis Presley songs in Spanish.
He later became a showman on the streets of San Francisco. You would see him in his outrageous outfits doing his magic tricks as he would then open his cape slyly showing off his custom-made cigar box, filled with hand-rolled joints for donation, he would say with a whimsical smile.
Jimmy was given a medal of honor for his flower power memorabilia installations along Haight-Ashbury of the many performing idols that passed away, including Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
Jimmy fed the homeless, rain or shine, every single night from the leftovers given to him from Tartin’s Bakery. He would make his rounds finding those in need who would wait for him with grateful hands.