Sunday, July 29, 2007

Summer of Love

It is the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love, which led to a social revolution around the world. One that we are still experiencing and which the Right Wing loves to blame for all of modern societies ills.

Summer love-in summer -in

Events nationwide mark the 40th anniversary of 'Summer of Love'

Events are being held around the country this summer to mark the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, when thousands of young people descended on San Francisco to experience the hippie counterculture in 1967. Here are some highlights.

Ongoing: ''Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era'' at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York through Sept. 16. Through light shows, album covers, posters and music, the show explores the era's cultural impact. .

Ongoing: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Monterey International Pop Festival. Highlights include telegrams from Jemi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and The Who regarding their attendance at the festival; Paul Simon's guitar; the dress worn by Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas,and many pohotographs. The museum is in Cleveland, Ohio. .

Various dates: Jefferson Starship, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company and other bands reunite for a Summer of Love 40th anniversary tour, including the Monterey Pop 40th anniversary festival at Monterey Fairgrounds, Monterey, Calif. .

Concludes today: Monterey Summer of Love Festival, featuring dozens of bands performing from the same exact stage as the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. On stage: Riders on the Storm, Robbie Krieger's & Ray Manzarek's latest version of The Doors; Electric Flag; tributes to The Mamas and the Papas, and The Who. .

American soldiers are fighting an unpopular war halfway around the world; peace groups protest and Congress is embroiled in a bitter, divisive debate.

At home, radios play the Doors, the Beatles, the Who and the Moody Blues. People flock to open-air concerts to see Eric Burdon and the Animals, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Concern grows for the environment and people feel good when they can buy organic food directly from growers.

It’s cool to get in touch with your feelings. Fashionable women wear flower power minidresses and empire-waisted tops. Jeans, of course, are everywhere. Is it 1967 or 2007? It’s both.

Forty years after the Summer of Love that signaled a seismic shift in our culture, many of the concerns and issues – even the looks – are back again.

And as for the areas where we’re not re-experiencing 1967 – the sexual revolution, the drug culture, the civil rights movement, the civil unrest – that’s because the subculture has now become the culture, says Robert J. Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.

“Our entire lifestyle in the early 21st century significantly carries the genetic code of the revolutions and cultural and social changes in the late 1960s. And we don’t consider them at all revolutionary,” says Thompson.

Nineteen sixty-seven was when the journey began, but where, and when, did it end? Or has it? What really happened during those portentous few months of the Summer of Love that caused many of us to mutate physically, emotionally and spiritually? Did it really cause a seismic shift in the values, sensibilities and moralities of our culture, as many suggest? And are we still living in the afterglow of it intense culture-transforming heat?

Critics on the right would also like to deep-six the buzz about a better, happier time. A psychedelic Shangri-La. As the Chicago Tribune recently noted:

"In the nation's culture wars, the 1960s are a rallying cry for conservatives who view the decade as the source of social trends they oppose, such as a high divorce rate, legalized abortion and, more recently, the drive for same-sex marriage." (Strange, you make that sound like it's a bad thing.) For Jason Fine, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone, "A lot of what happened in the summer of '67 wasn't about politics, or even antiwar, it was much more personal. And those kinds of developments have certainly stuck around. Our attitudes about sex, drugs and spirituality are all rooted in that time. That wasn't a blip."


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