Sitemeter Sez: Modesto, California; Rome, Italy; San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; Manchester, UK; Hopland, California; Ile-de-France; Kronobergs, Sweden; Hiwassee, Virginia, and Shanghai, China (All stopping by to see Flash Gordon)
New IMPROVED Mime Troupe Saga Chapter at: Theater X-Net
Many thanks to Toni -- she sent me an autographed copy of Winter Season; A Dancer's Journal (1982) for making a video of her presentation at Harvard University about Ida!
Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
MORE UPDATES! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and especially Cellulose to Celluloid, Even more Flash Gordon comparisons from the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.
Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!
Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.
In The Community: Mark Ogle's remarkable retrospective is still up at the Hockaday Museum of Art, plus Dan Fagre and Lisa McKeon's show is on the first level -- about the vanishing glaciers of Glacier National Park, it is a true labor of love by scientists from the USGS. Here's another website comparing glacier photos from the early 20th Century and recent decades.
The Hockaday Museum of Art's Face Book Site (There's a link to the conventional website there.)
I was running the tech for guest speaker Joseph Lisle Williams when he presented a lecture at my college about surviving a bear attack in Glacier National Park 50 years ago. Don Dayton, the ranger who shot the bear and saved the young man's life was at the event too. If you want to read more about it, his sister wrote a blog about her brother and the lecture HERE.
The other month, I ran sound for Carol Buchanan's public discussion of her historical novel God's Thunderbolt -- The Vigilantes of Montana at the community college. Here's the link to a live-blog of the event.
A statewide "town meeting" style videoconference about the USA's health care crisis. There were many advocates from different political views, and a few ignoramuses, but the consensus was clear: No more bankruptcies or losing homes because of injury or illness!
Tears and Laughter about our broken health care system HERE
Media Watch: Alan Hovaness on the radio! He was sure a fun classical composer -- made Seattle a brighter place when I lived there, and before, and after. RIP
Deepa Mehta's movie Fire (1996). A rather modest character study with adept observations about disfunction. Yes, there's a plot about two women loving each other too. Good flick! I thought Earth (1998) was better, but they're very different from one another. Ms. Mehta deserves many accolades for her courage, and filmmaking skills.
Hoo Boy: Bob Dylan was detained in New Jersy because he told some cop he was Bob Dylan. Shah Rukh Khan was detained at the Newark airport because he told some customs agent he was a movie star. Moving on to sanity now ...
Looking Back: A memory of Woodstock by someone who was THERE.
3 Days (+14,610) of Peace and Music by N in Seattle
Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:50:12 PM PDT (From Daily Kos)
I was at Woodstock.
There, I said it. I'm well aware that the number of people who'll tell you that they attended momentous events always vastly exceeds the actual count. It's often noted that, for example, that a couple of million people were among the 34,320 fans in the Polo Grounds on October 3, 1951 when Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard 'Round the World. (Parenthetically, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was born on that very same day, in St. Paul MN.) In my case, though, it's the god's honest truth.
My experience of Woodstock was a bit different from what's usually reported. Yes, we had some difficulty getting to Bethel NY, but we were fortunate to have started the drive from Hartford, not South Jersey (where I lived at the time). So we didn't have to go to and through New York City. We ran into a lot of traffic, but we didn't run into anything like Arlo's bemused observation that "the New York State Thruway's closed, man!". My brother (then 15) and I had flown up to Hartford to travel to the festival with my Dartmouth buddies David and Bob. Unlike most of those who went there, we actually had tickets to the event ... my brother still has them.
We didn't have a really good idea of exactly where we were going. We had a roadmap, of course, but it had very little detail of the rural upstate area we were visiting. Somehow, though, we got to within a few miles of Yasgur's Farm. We pulled our tents out of the car, set up a little camp by the side of the road, and started walking with the crowd. We figured somebody had to know where to go.
Well, obviously somebody did, because we eventually arrived at the hillside on Max Yasgur's farm. The fences that were supposed to have separated ticketholders from everyone else had long since been trampled down, so we swung past the stage and began to work our way toward a piece of open ground. At exactly the time we stepped onto the grounds, the first percussive notes of Richie Havens's guitar rang out. As always with Richie, it was impossible to tell exactly which song was about to be played. According to Wikipedia, Richie's opener was High Flyin' Bird, but I couldn't find any video of that song. But the looooong intro in the Woodstock video below (Handsome Johnny) might have just as easily become High Flyin' Bird or any of the other songs in his set:
Friday's set ended in the dark of night, with Joan Baez leading the crowd in We Shall Overcome (video below). It had drizzled just a bit during the evening, but it wasn't really a problem that night. The entire crowd wandered off the hill afterwards. I have not the slightest idea how we were able to locate our campsite, but I know we did get there.
Many people were much the worse for wear as we headed back to Yasgur's farm on Saturday. Water and food were scarce -- the stores in the little village nearby, the site of the famed pond full of naked people, had long since sold out of everything. Thankfully, any number of the people living on the country roads between our camp and the venue generously offered water from their garden hoses to the endless stream of sunburned "freaks" walking past their homes.
We settled in for a long, wondrous, amazing day and night (and, it turned out, morning) of music that day. In the daytime, we heard (among others) Country Joe, John Sebastian, Santana, and Canned Heat. This was the first time I'd ever heard of, much less heard, Santana, and their set absolutely blew me away. It was rock combined with world music, with Carlos Santana's jazzy guitar and young Michael Shrieve's drumkit, creating an astonishing sound unlike anything I'd previously known.
The nighttime set was even better, except for one disappointment. This, as it turns out, was the only time I ever saw The Dead in concert, and they were, ummm, terrible. They made several attempts to start some of the tunes before they could figure them out. Unfortunate... But the rest of the night was sublime -- Creedence was clean and concise, Janis Joplin wailed out her set, Sly & the Family Stone generated enough energy and funk to power a city, and The Who played Tommy in its entirety as the sky went from darkness into daylight. The poor unfortunate Airplane was left to play its set to an exhausted crowd in the early morning daylight.
We couldn't stick around for the rain-soaked, muddy Sunday sets. No Cocker, no Ten Years After, no Band, no BS&T, no CSN&Y, no Hendrix. We didn't have to deal with the worst of the weather or the worst of the traffic jams in trying to get out of Bethel.
The reason? Because we college students had to get back to our summer jobs on Monday morning. I'd already begged off on Thursday and Friday, and it would be very bad form to miss Monday as well. For the record, I worked that summer at the Frankford Arsenal. I was, in the summer of 1969, a civilian employee of the United States Army. I rationalized it as "subverting from within", but I was participating in basic research on the protective effects of metal plating on steel when exposed to high ambient temperature and humidity. In other words, helping the Army figure out how to keep its weapons and materiel from falling apart in the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Woodstock was an irreproducible event. 3 Days of Peace and Music turned out to be exactly as advertised (and much, much more), despite logistical nightmares and serious weather problems. Unfortunately, the excitingly positive vibes generated by those 3 Days of Peace and Music couldn't last. The Woodstock Nation, born on August 15-17, 1969, came to an end less than four months later, at the Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969.
Update [2009-8-15 18:21:15 by N in Seattle]:
In a post on my blog five years ago, I wrote a paragraph about Yasgur's farm five years on: I visited Max Yasgur’s farm. It was five years to the day after 450,000 of us celebrated those wondrous Three Days of Peace and Music. I recall that it took me a little while to get my bearings sufficiently to find the place ... I was now driving along roads I’d previously walked. There was no sign that anything momentous had ever happened on those grounds, just a big empty field. Nostalgia-seekers wouldn’t start descending on the site for another 15 or more years. On August 15, 1974, then, I walked into the middle of the Woodstock site and sat down, with absolutely no one else in sight. Nothing to disturb my recollections except the whisper of a breeze through waving grasses and the buzzing of insects. I drank in the quietude for a few reflective minutes, envisioning the vibe of five years earlier, and took my leave of that hallowed ground.
We did it yesterday!
Sunday update -- While it's on my mind, I want to mention meeting a man who PLAYED at the Woodstock Festival. Mike Heron was a Scottish-born musician who'd sold a lot of albums as co-founder of the Incredible String Band. He was a very pleasant man who made the effort to come to our own show in 1975. He enjoyed our work very much, and told us so. Validation like that from a major creative inspiration like Heron meant a lot to me then, and still does now!