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‘Establishment wig’ allows hippies to pass for squares, 1969
10.24.2017
01:45 pm
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In the United States, August 1969 will primarily be remembered for two things: the concert at Woodstock (August 15-18) and the Manson slayings (August 9-10). Another thing that happened that didn’t get as much attention at the time was that a Detroit band called the Stooges put out their first album (August 5).

One wonders which of these events made a sufficient impression on Bob Woodford (no, not Bob Woodward—he wouldn’t become famous for a few years yet), who made a minor splash in the last week of August when he came out with a special wig for men, designed to conceal the existence of long hair.

According to news reports at the time, Woodford was a 31-year-old resident of Washington, D.C., who worked as “a developer of prototype scientific instruments.” His wigs cost in the $40 or $60 range.

Hilariously, an AP report insisted that Woodford “operates the Underground Wig Establishment” in Washington. WTF?? I can scarcely believe that such a thing actually existed. Anyone with a long, loooooong memory care to corroborate?

At some point that summer, Woodford had the insight that some people might be torn between expressing their true nature as a scruffy longhair and yet desire employment in the armed services—or, in an example that probably would not spring to mind today, pumping gas: “When you own a gas station you don’t want a guy with long hair pumping gas. The customers will go to another station.” 
 

 
Anyone who is currently enjoying The Deuce on HBO (which takes place two years after the advent of the “establishment wig”) will appreciate Woodford’s quasi-admission that he was hawking a ridiculous product when he stated that “I was in New York City, and nobody needs a short hair wig in New York for anything.” But that concession was made in the service of bringing up the New Jersey Turnpike, where the police were purportedly targeting longhairs. “I drove into the Holland Tunnel with long hair,” he said, “and when I came out I had short hair.”

As that example implies, Woodford had something in common with the proprietor of another hair-related enterprise, the Hair Club For Men, in that he was not just the president, he was “also a client.” One of the articles depicts Woodford himself wearing the product, as seen above.

The AP story made the rounds across the country during the last week of August. The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, alerted readers that “Wigs Puts Longhairs Straight,” while the Adirondack Daily Enterprise blared, “Short-Hair Wig Handy for Long-Hair Crises.”

The ad for Sir of Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard let potential customers know that they also offered “MOD CUT, CURLY, NATURALS.”

Almost precisely one year later, the August 12, 1970, edition of the Los Angeles Times ran a story by Robert Rawitch on Woodford’s wigs—or a similar product, anyway. The featured customer of that article was named Gabe Kanata, a teenage drummer employed as a stock clerk, who was pictured letting his freaky locks fly and then wearing the wig. The difference was indeed striking, as seen below. Kanata had a court appearance that made the “establishment wig” a desirable option. “Judges just don’t dig long hair,” he was quoted as saying. 

A couple months later, in October, the Lansing State Journal in Michigan ran a story on the wigs, with a Kanata mention, under the headline “Men Don Wigs to Avoid Shearing, Stay in Establishment.”
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Newly unearthed footage of Kraftwerk—with long hair and leather jackets! Live 1970
Pictures of Henry Rollins with long hair

Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.24.2017
01:45 pm
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Grateful Dead seen in San Francisco local news footage at famous ‘Death of a Hippie’ ceremony, 1967
06.09.2017
12:57 pm
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In the spring of 1967 a tourist bus to transport curious gawkers through the new “hippie” district of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco sprang into existence. The bus actually drew a great deal of attention at the time, including derisive commentary from newspaper columnist Herb Caen and Hunter S. Thompson as mentioned in this DM article from two years ago. This was perhaps the most noteworthy manifestation of the media frenzy that descended on the city of San Francisco in 1967.

After the famous Summer of Love had come and gone and a reported 100,000 young people descended on the heart of Haight-Ashbury, the local residents began to tire of the hubbub. R. Crumb was exercising his usual skepticism of idealism but also probably simply reporting accurately when he commented:
 

The Haight-Ashbury was appealing. ... It was much more open than any other place. But the air was so thick with bullshit you could cut it with a knife. Guys were running around saying, “I’m you and you are me and everything is beautiful, so get down and suck my dick.” These young middle-class kids were just too dumb about it. It was just too silly. It had to be killed.

 
Thus it was that a group calling itself the Diggers arranged a mock wake and a mock funeral to mark the death of “Hippie, devoted son of Mass Media,” as the sardonic invitation had it. The event was scheduled for Friday, October 6, 1967.
 

 
As the Berkeley Barb reported just hours before the funeral, “Purpose of exorcism is to ‘free the boundaries of the Haight-Ashbury district’ and destroy the ‘we/they’ concept inherent in the idea of ‘hip’ community according to one member of the Committee for Community.”
 

 
It’s stated at the end there that Ron Thelin would also be closing the Psychedelic Bookshop “for good.” The Psychedelic Bookshop had been an important epicenter for the hippie movement, so the decision of Thelin and his brother Jay to shut down the store on the same day as the hippie funeral surely marked the end of an era.

Keep reading after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.09.2017
12:57 pm
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The time that Judas Priest looked like a hippie band back in 1975 (Rob Halford had HAIR. Lots of it)
10.21.2015
09:30 am
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Judas Priest early 1970s
Judas Priest, early 1970s
 
So I’ve been sick with the flu for the last few days which means I’ve been spending WAY too much time online buzzing through the Internets in order to entertain myself. Of the many fantastic things I came across was the following footage from 1975 of Judas Priest performing on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
 
Rob Halford performing with Judas Priest on the Old Grey Whistle Test, 1975
Rob Halford? Yup, Rob Halford!
 
Not only does the mighty Rob Halford have hair (see above), he has lots of it. It also appears that he may have raided Marc Bolan’s closet for the fancy top he’s wearing. And, as the title of this post alludes to, one of the bands that made heavy metal synonymous with leather and spikes looks like a gorgeous bunch of pot-smoking hippies.

In the following two clips, Priest performs the title track from their 1974 album Rocka Rolla, and the somewhat mellow track, “Dreamer Deceiver” (in which Halford appears to be channelling the bare-chested prowess of Robert Plant) that would later appear on the band’s 1976 record, Sad Wings of Destiny.

If you are at all a fan of Priest, you are in for a wicked treat today as the band absolutely kills it visually and sonically in both of the videos that follow. I also find the quiet, laidback delivery of OGWT host “Whispering” Bob Harris amusing—it’s almost like he’s introducing Priest at the damn library. HA!
 

Judas Priest performing “Rocka Rolla” on The Old Grey Whistle Test, 1975
 
After the jump, Judas Priest perform “Dreamer Deceiver”...

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.21.2015
09:30 am
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The first use of ‘hippie’ in newsprint makes hippies sound like boring, self-absorbed assholes
09.09.2015
10:21 am
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George and Pattie Harrison in Haight-Ashbury
 
The Haight-Ashbury story that always resonated with me the most came from George Harrison, who had visited San Francisco in 1967 with his wife to visit her sister. At some point they decided to take some acid and visit hippie ground zero, expecting a scene of artists and beauty, but finding instead what Harrison later described as “just a lot of bums, many of them who were just very young kids.” Everyone was burnt out and impoverished, and while a crowd initially followed him adoringly, they quickly turned hostile at his lack of engagement. The whole thing was enough to put him off acid and send him to intensive meditation.

There is a widely held impression of deferred dreams or abandoned idealism to the subculture, as if the kids were initially utopian visionaries who just got caught up in drug culture, but honestly… if one is to go by the contemporary media reports, it seemed like the whole hippie scene just kind of sucked from the get-go. Take the alleged first use of the word “hippie” in the mainstream press. The article below (from 1965) was the first in a series for the San Francisco Examiner—the “new bohemians” of San Francisco represented an emerging wave of youth culture, though not one that sounds in any way appealing or groundbreaking (mostly they sound like boring, detached slackers). Later, the series made a point to distinguish between hippies and artists, the latter of which wanted nothing to do with the former, preferring to sell their wares to professionals who had both the money and the interest.

A New Paradise For Beatniks
by Michael Fallon

Five untroubled young “hippies,” scrawled on floor mattresses and slouched in an armchair retrieved from a debris box flipped cigarette ashes at a seashell in their Waller Street flat and pondered their next move.

It was 5 in the evening. Dinner was not yet on the stove; the makings for dinner were nowhere in sight.

No one appeared worried, though. Or even interested.

The same apathy controlled the discussion of their next pad, a move forced on them by a police marijuana and drinking party raid the week before. “Maybe we’ll move to the Fillmore,” said Jeff, 21, the oldest. The proposal drew loud snickers and seemed doomed.

In all likelihood the hippies will drift—together, separately, or in new combinations—to other quarters in the Haight-Ashbury district.

Haight-Ashbury is the city’s new bohemian quarter for serious writers, painters and musicians, civil rights workers, crusaders for all kinds of causes, homosexuals, lesbians, marijuana users, young working couples of artistic bent, in the outer fringe of the bohemian fringe — the “hippies,” the “heads,” the beatniks.

It is, in short, “West Beach.”

By and large, the Establishment of Haight-Ashbury—longtime residents and businessmen—are not in the least disturbed by all this. They are optimistic about the future of the district, welcome “new blood,” and point to commercial growth.

Haight-Ashbury indeed seems to be experiencing a renaissance that will make it a richer, better neighborhood in which to live.

LOW RENTS

There, too, are hundreds of San Francisco State College students, in flight from Parkmerced and in close contact with the hip world, and more aloof delegations from the University of California Medical Center and the University of San Francisco.

They fit into a mosaic of races and nationalities unique in the city—Negroes, Filipinos, some Japanese, Russians, Czechs, Scandinavians, Armenians, Greeks, Germans, and Irish.

Newcomers and old-timers both are attracted to Haight-Ashbury by the low rents. A high-ceilinged, six-room apartment worth $250 a month or more elsewhere in San Francisco may be found there for $150 or even for as low as $85.

The neighborhood is sprucing itself up. Dozens of splendid pre-earthquake Victorian homes have been refurbished and acquired fresh paint. New businesses are moving in to cater to the new bohemians. Older shops are enlarging.

Yet there are troubles. The threat of urban renewal projects in adjoining districts, or in Haight-Ashbury itself, raises slum fears. “Planning” is not a kindly received word, by and large, among the 30,000 people live east of Stanyan Street, south of Fulton, west of Divisadero and north of 17th Street, Upper Terrace and Buena Vista Park.

The neighborhood’s problems had little importance in the flat at 1446 Waller St., where a visitor was cautioned by a four-year-old Negro girl playing on the front steps: “Don’t go in there. That’s the wrong door. That’s the beatnik door.”

In the previous week’s marijuana raid, police had jailed eight tenants and rounded up 14 suburban juveniles, nearly all neat and well-behaved.

POT SALES

The five survivors in the third floor flat said that the gathering had been a “rent party,” advertised in the hip world to raise — as effortlessly as possible — $100 for another month’s rent.

Like many hippies, they defended marijuana. “It’s not habit-forming, you know,” they said. “To equate it with smack (heroin) is wrong.”

Marijuana sells for about one dollar a stick (cigaret) or $15 an say [sic] it is easily obtained and far healthier than a few shots of whiskey.

Would the five consider taking jobs to raise bail for comrades unfairly incarcerated?

“It would be a lot of work.”

“They wouldn’t expect it of us.”

If they weren’t worried about their friends, or the next pad, or anything else, then how about dinner? Where was that next meal coming from?

“A lot of us have ‘straight’ friends. They bring us food.”

Without lifting a finger, hippies share, too, in this age of affluence. On the menu that evening was lasagna

(Tomorrow: Coffee-housing in the MTA)

After the jump, George Harrison discusses the Haight…

READ ON
Posted by Amber Frost
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09.09.2015
10:21 am
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Square people gawk at Haight-Ashbury hippies from the safety of a tour bus, 1967
04.24.2015
11:55 am
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Between January and April 1967, the following albums were released: the Doors’ first album (January), Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow (February), Donovan’s Mellow Yellow and the Grateful Dead’s first album (both March), and the Electric Prunes’ first album (April). Four of those albums were recorded in California, and as a group the albums helped define the psychedelic scene of the Bay Area; just a few months later San Francisco would be immersed in the Summer of Love.

Something was brewing in the city, and the word had gotten out. The Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park in January; for the April 26, 1967, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter J. Campbell Bruce and photographer Art Frisch collaborated on an article by embedding themselves (to use much later terminology) on a tourist bus that would cruise by the Haight-Ashbury district so that regular folks could see real hippies in action. According to Brian J. Cantwell, the bus was called the “Hippie Hop.”

In the pages of the Chronicle, legendary columnist Herb Caen sniffed with bemused contempt at the tour buses:
 

 
What’s striking about the pictures from the perspective of today is that the ostensible “hippies” seem indistinguishable from most young adults today. The “little old lady” cited in the original article as saying “You’re sure they’re not beatniks? WE have beatniks in Cleveland” surely had a point. My guess is that the intervening 48 years (!) have made it difficult to see what was so gawk-worthy about these young people; also, by the end of the summer, things were likely looking quite different on Haight-Ashbury.

The tours were well known at the time. Just two weeks later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote about them in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, in an article titled “The ‘Hashbury’ Is the Capital of the Hippies”:
 

The only buses still running regularly along Haight Street are those from the Gray Line, which recently added “Hippieland” to its daytime sightseeing tour of San Francisco. It was billed as “the only foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States” and was an immediate hit with tourists who thought the Haight-Ashbury was a human zoo. The only sour note on the tour was struck by the occasional hippy who would run alongside the bus, holding up a mirror.


 
That article appears in HST’s collection The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. The first thing I thought of when I saw this story was Renata Adler’s 1976 novel Speedboat, which is mostly set in New York; it includes the following passage:
 

At six one morning, Will [the narrator’s boyfriend] went out in jeans and frayed sweater to buy a quart of milk. A tourist bus went by. The megaphone was directed at him. “There’s one,” it said. That was in the 1960’s. Ever since, he’s wondered. There’s one what?


 
All pics except the Caen column will spawn a larger version if you click on them. Be sure to see the full gallery at SF Gate. All photographs by Art Frisch.
 

 

 
Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.24.2015
11:55 am
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Psychedelic ‘Flower power’ PEZ dispensers inspired by the Summer of Love
04.04.2014
09:40 am
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Psychedelic PEZ
 
Ah, PEZ, you bewitching sweet Austrian treat with your collectible mechanical pocket dispensers. Is there any trend or franchise you can’t coopt? The fantastic dispensers pictured here came out in 1968 and were created to tie into the “Flower Power” of the Summer of Love that had just happened a year earlier. (1968 would be a considerably darker year, but the dispensers still fit in fine.) There was a “flower” design and a “hand” design; both featured eyeballs. [Could these have inspired The Residents to adopt their trademark eyeball masks?]

According to Nina Chertoff and Susan Kahn in Celebrating PEZ, the flower flavor didn’t go over very well:
 

When psychedelic eyes were produced in the 1960s, [Eduard Haas, founder of the PEZ company] insisted that the candies be flower flavored to tie in with the “flower power” theme of the times. Their taste was unpopular, and they were finally pulled off the market.

 
Oh well. Wikipedia lists “Flower” alongside “Chlorophyll Mint,” “Coffee,” and “Yogurt” as one of eight “retired” PEZ flavors. Aren’t you curious what it tasted like?

They came out in 1968 and there was a limited reissue in the late 1990s—available by through a mail-in offer only—but I can’t tell the difference. Experts can, I presume. An original “Psychedelic Hand” model with a black hand can go for more than $500.

You can buy a pretty groovy mug with a “psychedelic PEZ” motif on it.
 
Flower Power PEZ
 
Flower Power PEZ
 
Flower Power PEZ
 
Flower Power PEZ
 
I know this is a total cliché, but here’s a Christian song in the new wave style called “Love Dispenser” with a stop-motion animated video, done with PEZ. It’s actually not bad!
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Anton LaVey Pez Dispenser

Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.04.2014
09:40 am
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Revisiting ‘Sean,’ the four-year-old child of Haight-Ashbury hippies, 1970
10.01.2013
02:40 pm
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Sean
 
In 1970, amateur documentarian Ralph Arlyck made a short film on his downstairs neighbor’s four-year-old son, Sean. The eponymous 15 minute interview is one of the most stirring relics of hippie-era America. In the movie, a dirty child struggles to list off the days of the week, runs barefoot through the streets of San Francisco, and discusses smoking pot without a hint of discretion. Expressing anxiety at “getting busted,” Sean is unsure of the role or purpose of the police, and you can hear the stress in his voice as he parrots the anti-authoritarian rhetoric of the hippies. He’s too young to really understand “fuck the police,” and he’s left apprehensive about his own safety and security, and that of his parents, I’m sure.

When Sean (the documentary) made the rounds—even landing a screening at The White House—reactions were as strong as they were varied. Some saw Sean as the first in a new generation of children free of bourgeois values. Many others were (understandably) concerned. Sean’s purported drug use alone was enough to raise eyebrows, but even without a mention of pot, you see a dirty, somewhat nervous child that doesn’t appear to be receiving proper care. Predictions of his future ranged from stockbroker to drug dealer, but Sean quickly disappeared from the public eye.

In 2005 Ralph Arlyck made a follow-up to the film, called Following Sean, which is now streaming on Netflix. Hoping to sate his own curiosity about Sean’s adult life, Arlyck found Sean was neither a stock-broker, a freak, nor a name in an obituary, but a working class electrician with a confident industriousness and a quiet humor. The film filled in the gaps of Sean’s life; he and his siblings (at least one of which didn’t fare as well as he did in terms of life success) were split up and moved around during his younger years. Sean’s father practiced free love, and once brought Sean with him to meet a teenage girlfriend. Sean’s mother eventually took the children after separating from their father, and she began to follow a guru.

Sean admits that he wasn’t keen on the guru, but at least his mother was more committed to providing him stability than his father. You can see how Sean’s childhood formed his adult values, which are at least somewhat of a reaction to his father’s erratic parenting. While he doesn’t complain much about his upbringing and appears to have a good relationship with his father (who is now financially dependent on his children), he’s clearly not a fan of the hippie lifestyle, especially not for families.

When you see Sean with his own son, he’s engaged and dedicated, determined to be maintain a consistency that he never had. Adult Sean values family and security above all else, and he truly seems happy. Still, the image of a young Sean has so much impact; while no one can predict the trajectory of a child, you get the impression he escaped a rough life by the skin of his teeth.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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10.01.2013
02:40 pm
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Happy Earth Day Hippies! Let’s ‘F*ck For Forest’


 
WOW this film looks AMAZING! And NOT in the way that the creators intended!

Fuck For Forest is a new documentary following the titular eco-activist group FFF, who have a simple modus operandi: convince strangers on the streets of Berlin to film gonzo porn with them, which is then sold with all profits going to help save the Amazon rainforests. The movie makers travel with FFF to the wilds of South America to meet the people they aim to ‘help’, only to discover, unsurprisingly, that the locals are not enamored with their unique brand of spirituality (which seems to entail a lot of nudity.)

It sounds like it came from the mind of Sacha Baron Cohen, but alas, it’s real. Here is the Fuck For Forest group’s Wikipedia page, which states that they are the world’s first ‘eco-porn’ org.

In its first year of existence,[when?] the organisation’s website netted over $100,000 for rain forest protection through the sale of paid memberships. In their first six months of existence the group received seed funding from the government of Norway. They are the world’s first eco-porn organization.However, the organisation’s unorthodox methods have made it difficult to distribute the money it makes. The Norwegian chapter of the Rainforest Foundation Fund as well as the WWF both in the Netherlands and in Norway have refused to accept donations from FFF. As a result, Fuck for Forest is working on a project to work directly with indigenous communities in Costa Rica and the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

The film has just gotten a very limited cinema release in the UK, and the reviews have not been good. In fact, it was a damning review by the Guardian that seemed to imply unintentional hilarity that really piqued my interest, making me seek out the trailer and to place it immediately on my “to see” list.

Seriously, check out the additional footage in that Guardian video review after you watch the trailer, it has me wondering if Fuck For Forest is the damning, hilarious portait that this “eco-punk” (or neo-hippy, crusty, whatever you want to call it) scene has always needed?

Fuck For Forest [NSFW]
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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04.22.2013
01:56 pm
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‘Mondo Hollywood’: When the world went from B&W to color

image
 
Mondo Hollywood, Robert Carl Cohen’s poetic 1967 documentary, begins not as you might expect, with shots of LA’s tie-died hippies but rather with a John Birch Society-type anti-Communist meeting attended by, among others, Glenn Beck’s idol, W. Cleon Skousen, the kooky Mormon “historian,” FBI agent, crackpot conspiracy theorist, and slavery apologist. (Mitt Romney studied under Tea party icon Skousen while in college at Brigham Young University).

Without meaning to, Cohen’s time-capsule film begins by pointing out to viewers how, in some respects, so very little has changed since the 1960s—these folks are the Teabaggers of 1965, they’re even reading the very same batshit crazy Cleon Skousen books—and then he shows how much they did change, or at least the beginnings of that change to come.

Mondo Hollywood uses what appears to have been a lot of silent (very well shot) 16mm footage, and interviews and voice overs done at different times, to create a fascinating time capsule of life in Los Angeles during the very year when the culture went from black and white to vivid psychedelic color. Along the way, we’re introduced to poets, dreamers, acid eaters, trust fund kids, body painters, strippers, proto-hippies (or “freaks” as the Los Angeles variety of hippie was known in 1965-66), transsexuals, avant-garde artists and—this being Los Angeles—plenty of movie stars, a young Frank and Gail Zappa seen at a wild party and even then governor Ronald Reagan, who rails against “filthy speech advocates” at UC campuses. Spookily, future Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil as well as future Manson Family victim, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, both appear in the film.

It’s interesting to note that Mondo Hollywood was set to open the Avignon Film Festival in 1967 but was banned by French government censors who stated:

“This film, in the opinion of certain experts of the Commission [of Control], presents an apology for a certain number of perversities, including drugs and homosexuality, and constitutes a danger to the mental health of the public by its visual aggressivity and the psychology of its editing. The Commission proposes, therefore, its total interdiction.”

Not much in the film would raise an eyebrow today, these “perversions” have all been mainstreamed. I still can’t get over the vintage Tea party crowd at the beginning, myself.

Although I didn’t actually see Mondo Hollywood until many years later, I used to have a huge square poster, similar to the album cover pictured above, hanging over the bed in my first NYC apartment in the 80s. I really wish I still had it!
 

 
There is a better, sharper version on Hulu, but it is rife with commercials that you can’t skip. so be warmed. Here’s a nice long interview with Mondo Hollywood director Robert Carl Cohen.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.17.2012
12:58 pm
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This one’s for the hippies: Greenwich Village in the 1960s
02.12.2012
03:10 am
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image
 
Cool film footage of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.

The Village has always been a vortex for cultural energy and you can see it in these images. Soulful young longhairs, wide-eyed teenyboppers and angel-headed hipsters cruising the streets looking for something, not sure what it is, but knowing there was something magic in the air and if you walked along MacDougal or Bleecker street long enough you’d connect with it.

Music: “Summer In New York” by The Imaginations.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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02.12.2012
03:10 am
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Get mellow with Tom the surfing hippie: Video artifact from the Age of Aquarius
02.21.2011
08:35 pm
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image
 
Primarily a painter these days, Peter Schnitzler was a prolific documentary filmmaker in the 1960s and 70s. He has directed over 100 films on science, the environment and culture. In this short film, Tom, Schnitzler focuses his camera on a young hippie living in the mellower Southern California of the early 70s.

A groovy artifact from the tail end of the Age Of Aquarius infused with good vibes and a heavy dose of nostalgia. This was made for the National Institute Of Mental Health as a training film. An anthropological study of the hippie in its natural habitat? 
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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02.21.2011
08:35 pm
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At the foot of the mountains of madness:  Fat, nude, longhaired Jew shrooming and firing off .357s
08.31.2010
07:22 pm
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image
 
I lived in Northern New Mexico during the late 1960’s and from 2003 to 2008, right at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo (blood of Christ) mountain range. This is an area that has drawn artists, outlaws, visionaries and lost souls for decades, from D.H. Lawrence to Dennis Hopper to the New Buffalo Commune and the Rainbow Tribe. The mountains are thought to have mystical powers, both good and bad. It is said they can mess with a man’s mind. I lived in Taos, which a friend once called “the world’s largest open air mental institution”, and I saw the flow of neo-hippies coming into town blending with the old guard who had been living there for decades. It was a wild mix of 1960’s Aquarian Age values and a kind of longhair punk nihilism - a fascinating blend turning a bit moldy at the edges and slightly rotten at the core.

Dennis Hopper was busted in the mid-1960’S in Taos for walking into a town council meeting brandishing a shotgun.

Shot in New Mexico, the “fat Jew on shrooms” video (Rob Tyner, is that you?) is a comically surreal version of the kind of madness you’ll find in the high desert, on the mesas and in the bloody mountains. The altitude can turn a simple psychedelic trip into something straight out of a Castaneda book and, in this dude’s case, something gonzo from Hunter Thompson. I don’t know how ‘real’ it is, but at 10,000 feet above sea level shit happens. Whether shroom boy is having a bonafide mystical experience or just going apeshit for the camera doesn’t matter. It’s the vibe, man. And the vibe is spooky.

In New Mexico, guns, pot and longhair are totems of some new bizarre breed of hippie outlaw.

The other video included here is from a film called “Off The Grid” and is the real deal. I knew these folks in the video. I had a store not far from where they lived on the mesa and they were my customers. Many were Vietnam vets, a few were clinically insane, others were social outcasts or folks just looking to live the simple hippie life. I liked most of them. But a few had feral children that saddened me. Dirty and hungry, these little kids were living in poverty and squalor, not by their own design, but by the choices their parents, mostly quite young themselves, had made in deciding to live outside of society.

The directors of “Off The Grid” were told by the folks depicted in the film never to screen the movie in Taos. If they did, they’d regret it.

A little comedy followed by something a bit more serious. The connection between these videos is kind of tenuous; longhairs with guns. That’s something I never imagined during the Summer Of Love.
 

 
Life off the grid after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Marc Campbell
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08.31.2010
07:22 pm
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Punk rock hippie shit: ‘Please help need LSD now!’
08.09.2010
03:28 am
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image
Photo source: redteam
 
I took some home movie footage shot in San Francisco in 1968 and added some music to it. The result: punk rock hippie shit!
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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08.09.2010
03:28 am
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