Monday, August 17, 2009

Remembering Woodstock

by Michelle Mitchell

"I was in the spirit of Woodstock in '69, but I had to look like this in '69," the bearded, long-haired Cathedral City resident said as he pointed to a clean-cut picture of himself 40 years ago, when he was a civilian worker with the U.S. Army.

"I was a part of that era and wanted to be a part of this evening," he said Saturday.

McAllister was one of about two dozen people who showed up to the HAALOS Healing Arts Center & Empori-om in Desert Hot Springs Saturday evening to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.

"We will definitely revive the spirit of 40 years ago," said Steven Kenneth Downer, owner of HAALOS (Healing Arts Aromatherapy Loving-kindness Organic Solutions for sustainability).

"It's a baby-boomer celebration of our lives and our freedoms."

A mix of baby boomers and those too young to remember the era sat on a variety of chairs brought from home, lounged on cushions or just sat on the floor to hear a panel discussion followed by live music amid scented candles, tapestries and Eastern religious symbols.

Downer, who also goes by the name "Sunny Sun-downer," donned a rainbow-colored, tie-dyed shirt and started the evening with a short meditation before '60s icons and free-press advocates spoke about their work and the ideals of Woodstock — a three-day music event held on a farm in rural New York, which deeply affected American history, culture and music.

Local musicians performed live, playing Woodstock favorites from such artists as Crosby, Stills and Nash, Country Joe and the Fish, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Paul Krassner, a Desert Hot Springs resident who started the Youth International Party (the Yippies) and has been called the founder of the Underground Press, spoke about how people with similar ideas came together during the era.

"I felt like I was the only Martian on the block, and it turned out there were a lot of Martians on their own blocks," he said Saturday.

Woodstock has come to symbolize the social movements and changes of the 1960s, even though the event came at the end of the decade.

"That's what Woodstock and the '60s really established; it was social changes," said Art Kunkin, of Joshua Tree, who founded the underground paper, The Los Angeles Free Press. "People became more conscious."

And even though Woodstock has become mostly relegated to the history books, the ideals still live on — in underground publications and in festivals such as Burning Man — and should be continued, he said.

"My project is to live a very long time so I can continue to be active and help my friends be active," the 81-year-old said to applause from the group.

A third panelist, Dean Gray, of the Coachella Valley, is editor of the Desert Valley Star, a local community publication.

In 1969, he said he started an underground newspaper at his high school.

"It gave us the opportunity to get involved. Woodstock was a key that opened that door," he said, adding that the writers in those underground newspapers "gave us vision."

as come to symbolize the social movements and changes of the 1960s, even though the event came at the end of the decade.

"That's what Woodstock and the '60s really established; it was social changes," said Art Kunkin, of Joshua Tree, who founded the underground paper, The Los Angeles Free Press. "People became more conscious."

And even though Woodstock has become mostly relegated to the history books, the ideals still live on — in underground publications and in festivals such as Burning Man — and should be continued, he said.

"My project is to live a very long time so I can continue to be active and help my friends be active," the 81-year-old said to applause from the group.

http://www.mydesert.com/article/20090816/NEWS01/908160326

1 comment:

ConnectingTheDots said...

Interesting blog. Arguably, the biggest legacy of Woodstock is its huge impact on the real children of the sixties: Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X). This USA TODAY op-ed speaks to the relevance today of the sixties counterculture impact on GenJones: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm

Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten a ton of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press' annual Trend Report forcast the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.

Here's a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:
http://generationjones.com/2009latest.html