Tag Archives: 60’s

let’s not forget the hippies

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Hippies

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“Hippies” redirects here. For the British comedy series, see Hippies (TV series). For the garage rock album, see Hippies (album).

Hippie woman giving a peace sign, Los Angeles, 1969

The hippie (or hippysubculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word ‘hippie’ came from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The origins of the terms hip and hep are uncertain, though by the 1940s both had become part ofAfrican American jive slang and meant “sophisticated; currently fashionable; fully up-to-date”.[1][2][3] The Beats adopted the term hip, and early hippies inherited the language andcountercultural values of the Beat Generation. Hippies created their own communities, listened to psychedelic music, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such ascannabisLSD, and psilocybin mushrooms to explore altered states of consciousness.

In January 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast. Tom Nolan was one major leader of the hippie movement. Hippies in Mexico, known as jipitecas, formed La Onda and gathered atAvándaro, while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa. In the United Kingdom, mobile “peace convoys” of New age travellers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge and later (in 1970) to the gigantic Isle of Wight Festival with a crowd of around 400,000 people.[4]In Australia hippies gathered at Nimbin for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally or MardiGrass. “Piedra Roja Festival“, a major hippie event in Chile, was held in 1970.[5]

Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society. The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a larger audience. The hippie legacy can be observed in contemporary culture in myriad forms, including health foodmusic festivalscontemporary sexual mores, and even the cyberspace revolution.[6]

COOL PEOPLE – TWIGGY’S 63rd. BIRTHDAY-A 60’s ICON

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COOL PEOPLE – TWIGGY’S 63rd. BIRTHDAY-A 60’s ICON

 

 

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COOL TWIGGY FOOTAGE

ALL ABOUT TWIGGY
TWIGGY SINGING

TWIGGY AND TOMMY TUNE

Synopsis

With her thin build and wide eyes, Twiggy became one of the world’s first supermodels and face of London’s “swinging ’60s” mod scene. She has also made numerous appearances on television, and her films include The Boy Friend (1971), The Blues Brothers (1981) and Madame Sousatzka (1989). More recently, Twiggy appeared as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.

1960s Fashion Icon

Born Lesley Hornby on September 19, 1949 in London, England, Twiggy first rose to fame as a model in the 1960s. She has since established herself as an actress, singer and television personality. Twiggy is the youngest of three sisters. One of her earlier nicknames during her school years was “Sticks.” But the name she is famous for was given to her as a teenager. She dropped out of school around the age of 15.

Before long, Twiggy became one of the world’s top models. She had her career breakthrough when she was named the face of 1966 by the Daily Express newspaper. With her thin build, dramatic eyes and boyish hair style, Twiggy captured the spirit of the “swinging sixties” in London’s Carnaby Street mod scene. She soon appeared on the cover of many leading fashion magazines, including Elle and British Vogue.

Twiggy was one of the first models to parlay her success as a model into other business ventures. In 1967, she came to the United States to promote her own clothing line as well as model. The trip also afforded her a chance to work with famed photographer Richard Avedon. Twiggy became so popular in America that she even inspired her own Barbie doll. More Twiggy merchandise soon followed, including a board game and a lunch box. Fans would even copy her distinctive eye look with their own set of Twiggy fake eyelashes.

Later Career

Twiggy started acting in the 1970s, making her film debut in Ken Russell’s musical The Boy Friend (1971) with Tommy Tune. More movie roles followed, including appearances in The Blues Brothers (1980) with John Belushi and Madame Sousatzka (1988) with Shirley MacLaine. Twiggy also enjoyed some success on the stage. In 1983, she made her Broadway debut in My One and Only with Tommy Tune.

Over the years, Twiggy has also made numerous television appearances as well. She was briefly co-presenter of ITV’s popular This Morning program in 2001. On American television, Twiggy also served as a judge on Tyra Banks’s popular modeling-competition show America’s Next Top Model.

Twiggy became the face of Marks & Spencer in 2005. In addition to modeling for the company, she sells a line of clothing through its website. Twiggy has also been a model for Olay beauty products in recent years. She also remained a subject of great interest and fascination with several books and documentaries made about her life and career. In 2009, Twiggy: A Life in Photographs was published.

Personal Life

In 1977, Twiggy married actor Michael Witney. The couple had one daughter, Carly, before Witney’s death in 1983. She married her second husband, actor Leigh Lawson, in 1988. Twiggy is an advocate of animal welfare and is recognized for her support of breast cancer research groups.

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Culture

’60s

London in the mid-to late-1960s was as central to the look and feel of that fabled era as any place on earth. The (the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Cream and countless others) was, in large part, the soundtrack of the Sixties. The street scenes, especially along Carnaby Street in Soho, with the eminently picturesque Mods and hippies hanging out in their utterly distinctive gear, provided youth culture around the world with exemplars of cool that are still embraced today.

Finally, the fashions that emerged from London, as well as the models who made those fashions both hip and famous, still echo through pop culture. Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree and, of course, the extraordinary woman known as Twiggy (born Lesley Hornby) were for several years in the mid-1960s the heavily made-up faces of Swinging London itself.

[See TIME.com on Twiggy as an "All-Time 100 Fashion Icon."]

Today, Twiggy remains not only a fashion touchstone — with any slim young thing who sports short hair and liberal eye shadow inevitably pegged as “Twiggy-like” — but has also, incredibly, managed to stay relevant and productive for decades. Rather than simply and endlessly recycling the elements of her appeal that made her famous in the first place, Hornby went on to act in films and on stage (not just in set pieces, but in classic plays by heavyweights like Shaw and Noel Coward); recorded — and continues to record — as a singer; appeared on TV shows (like all great stars, for example, she took a turn on The Muppets); and wrote several books, including a well-received autobiography.

It sometimes astonishes people — or people outside the UK, at least — to learn that the skinny, blonde, mop-topped, teenaged model who took the fashion world by storm in the Sixties actually survived those crazy years, grew up and, incredibly, is still around.

Here, on Twiggy’s 63rd birthday, LIFE.com celebrates her career and her enduring style with a series of rare pictures — shot in California for a feature that never appeared in the magazine — by long-time LIFE photographer Ralph Crane. Captured at the very height of her fame as one of the first-ever supermodels, and during her first visit to the U.S. when she was all of 18 years old, the Twiggy in most of these pictures seems remarkably cool and sophisticated for one so young. (Perhaps not surprising, considering that she’d been one of the most famous figures — and had one of the most famous figures — in the world for the previous whirlwind year.)

In other shots, meanwhile, she looks refreshingly like a teen who is still thrilled that her life has taken her to these sorts of places, with these sorts of people. There are other Sixties icons here, after all — Sonny and Cher, for example, and Steve McQueen (wearing a shearling coat in the Beverly Hills sun, and somehow looking cool doing it).

Throughout it all, the vibe of all of these photos is distinctly, unmistakably that of the Sixties — specifically, that brief period in 1966 and 1967, before MLK and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, before Altamont, before the Manson family murders, before the decade died out entirely, when people might have been able to convince themselves that the Age of Aquarius was really just around the corner. Or, if not the Age of Aquarius, then at least a pretty groovy garden party at a mansion in Beverly Hills.

Read more: Twiggy: Rare Photos of a Swinging Sixties Icon | LIFE.com http://life.time.com/culture/twiggy-rare-photos-of-a-sixties-icon/#ixzz34M5BUFHw

KEN KESEY’S SON IS PLANNING A SEQUEL TO HIS DAD’S LEGENDARY,ACID FUELED BUS TRIP

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 Ken Kesey’s Son Is Planning a Sequel to His Dad’s Legendary, Acid-Fueled Bus Trip

By River Donaghey

 

Photo of the new bus courtesy of the Kickstarter page

In 1964, Ken Kesey—intrepid psychedelic traveler and author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nestpiled into a multicolored school bus with his friends and a bunch of drugs and drove from La Honda, California, to New York City for the premiere of Kesey’s new novel. The gaggle of proto-hippies traveling with Kesey were dubbed the “Merry Pranksters,” and their goal was to freak the fuck out of Middle America and document the whole thing for a feature-length film.

The movie they wanted to make never quite came to fruition, but the trip, and the Pranksters’ subsequent LSD antics, were cemented in history in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Prankster adventure, and Kesey’s son, Zane, is looking to raise $27,500 to take the Pranksters’ psychedelic trip all over again. The original 1939 Harvester bus—named “Furthur”—is currently rusting in a swamp behind the Kesey Farm in Oregon, but Zane has a new one, and it’s even more decked-out than the original. If you want to get on the bus, you can donate $200 or more to be considered for the trip. And if you were off the bus in the first place, as Kesey once said, then it won’t make a damn.

If the Kickstarter hits its goal the new bus with its new Pranksters will be swinging through America later this summer. I called up Zane to learn a little more about the trip.

VICE: Hey, Zane. How long has the Kickstarter campaign been going on?
Zane Kesey:
Like three weeks. We’re around halfway to our goal and have a week left.

Do you already know who will be onboard?
There have been 20 or 30 applications sent in. If you donate $200, we’ll give you a bunch of cool Prankster stuff—but you also get to apply to ride on the trip with us, be part of the movie that we’re making, and become a Merry Prankster. Even if we don’t choose you, we’ll still send you a Merry Prankster laminate. It will get you on the bus whenever we go parading through your town.

I know you haven’t planned the whole journey out yet, but are any stops lined up?
We’re going cross-country and hitting a few really good festivals along the way. Lockn’ Festival in Virginia is a big one. Furthur, the Grateful Dead side project that is named after the bus, is playing.

That’s cool.
We’ll be at their only concert this year, at the final Allman Brothers concert, and then at Phases of the Moon Festival in Illinois. Then we’ll head to this art festival called Great North up in Maine, which has the best artists from across the country. We’re hoping they will paint on the bus.

This isn’t the first Furthur bus, right? This is Furthur 2.0.
It’s not the 1939, no. This one is from 1947. My dad had it for a long time. He actually put way more miles on this one than he did on the original one… even took it to England and Ireland.

A lot of the toys on the bus—like the short-wave radio broadcaster—are either going to be fixed or upgraded. We want it to have WiFi so we can be working on the blog and posting pictures and videos from the road.

The original Furthur bus

What can people do to maximize their chances of making it onto the bus?
If you’re good at being a character or if you have equipment and want to come film, you’re going to rise to the top of the people we need. We also need people taking pictures for the blog and updating the website and blowing bubbles for the kids. All that stuff is really important.

Will riders be chosen for the whole stretch?
People will mostly be chosen for weeklong legs of the trip. So far there are only two or three of us who are essential. Derek Stevens is the tour manager. He is the one who talked me into this. I thought it was impossible, but after about a year of discussing it, he made it sound like it could really be fun.

Your dad’s original trip became a huge part of the story of the 60s. Will this new adventure be about preserving the legacy, or will it be a whole new chapter?
There are two different things that we’re after: One is we want to create a movie of us out there—having fun in the moment. We’re also trying to remind people of that innocent seed that started the 60s. The Pranksters weren’t out there trying to end the war or change the world; they were trying to have fun and go across the country just doing their thing.

Right.
In the 60s, everything was all so new and so fresh that it couldn’t be ignored. Now they don’t mind ignoring us at all. The hippie movement has fractured. People look at us now like we’re these dirty, confrontational people who just want to argue about government and taxes and the environment. That’s not necessarily where the movement started.

We need to get some of that innocence and fun and approachability back. Once we do that, we can reclaim some of the power that the 60s had.

The Furthur 50th anniversary Kickstarter ends on May 28. Donate here and hit the $200 mark for a chance to get on the bus.

Follow River Donaghey on Twitter.

For a few years in the 1960s, London was the world capital of cool

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TO SET THE MOOD MUSIC -THE BRITISH INVASION

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ENGLAND IN THE 60’S ARTICLE 1

Ancient elegance and new opulence are all tangled up in a dazzling blur of op and pop.

Piri Halasz writing in Time magazine, April 1966

For a few years in the 1960s, London was the world capital of cool. When Time magazine dedicated its 15 April 1966 issue to London: the Swinging City, it cemented the association between London and all things hip and fashionable that had been growing in the popular imagination throughout the decade.

ENGLAND IN THE 60’S ARTICLE 2

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London’s remarkable metamorphosis from a gloomy, grimy post-War capital into a bright, shining epicentre of style was largely down to two factors: youth and money. The baby boom of the 1950s meant that the urban population was younger than it had been since Roman times. By the mid-60s, 40% of the population at large was under 25. With the abolition of National Service for men in 1960, these young people had more freedom and fewer responsibilities than their parents’ generation. They rebelled against the limitations and restrictions of post-War society. In short, they wanted to shake things up…

Added to this, Londoners had more disposable income than ever before – and were looking for ways to spend it. Nationally, weekly earnings in the ‘60s outstripped the cost of living by a staggering 183%: in London, where earnings were generally higher than the national average, the figure was probably even greater.

This heady combination of affluence and youth led to a flourishing of music, fashion, design and anything else that would banish the post-War gloom. Fashion boutiques sprang up willy-nilly. Men flocked to Carnaby St, near Soho, for the latest ‘Mod’ fashions. While women were lured to the King’s Rd, where Mary Quant’s radical mini skirts flew off the rails of her iconic store, Bazaar.

Even the most shocking or downright barmy fashions were popularised by models who, for the first time, became superstars. Jean Shrimpton was considered the symbol of Swinging London, while Twiggy was named The Face of 1966. Mary Quant herself was the undisputed queen of the group known as The Chelsea Set, a hard-partying, socially eclectic mix of largely idle ‘toffs’ and talented working-class movers and shakers.

Music was also a huge part of London’s swing. While Liverpool had the Beatles, the London sound was a mix of bands who went on to worldwide success, including The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Rolling Stones. Their music was the mainstay of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio Swinging England. Creative types of all kinds gravitated to the capital, from artists and writers to magazine publishers, photographers, advertisers, film-makers and product designers.

But not everything in London’s garden was rosy. Immigration was a political hot potato: by 1961, there were over 100,000 West Indians in London, and not everyone welcomed them with open arms. The biggest problem of all was a huge shortage of housing to replace bombed buildings and unfit slums and cope with a booming urban population. The badly-conceived solution – huge estates of tower blocks – and the social problems they created, changed the face of London for ever. By the 1970s, with industry declining and unemployment rising, Swinging London seemed a very dim and distant memory.

 

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Introduction by Dominic Sandbrook

In October 1965, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, officially opened London’s new Post Office Tower. A gleaming cylinder of metal and glass, the tower could hardly have been a more fitting symbol of the scientific optimism of a self-consciously ‘go-ahead’ decade. It was a monument not just to the white heat of the technological revolution, but to the sheer self-confidence of a society basking in unprecedented prosperity. From the new tower blocks springing up in cities across the country to the radios in teenagers’ bedrooms, from Beatles hits and Bond films to comprehensive schools and nuclear power stations, Sixties Britain seemed – superficially at least – to be a country reborn in the crucible of affluence.

In some ways, the cliches of the 1960s ring absolutely true. With the economy buoyant, unemployment almost non-existent and wages steadily rising, millions of families bought their first cars, washing machines, fridges and televisions. Millions of teenagers, too, were transfixed by the sound of Radio Caroline and the look of Mary Quant — although, then as now, Carnaby Street catered more for tourists and day-trippers than the tiny handful at the cutting edge of fashion. Television transformed the imaginative landscape of almost every household in the country, not merely through pictures of faraway places, but through satirical programmes such as That Was the Week That Was. Even the nation’s diet was changing, transformed not just by the arrival of foreign imports from chicken tikka masala to spaghetti bolognese, but by the relentless advance of the supermarket.

Beneath the glamorous veneer of swinging London, however, Britain under Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Wilson remained a remarkably conservative, even anxious society. Intellectuals worried that affluence and mass communications were undermining traditional working-class culture; in the Pilkington Report, published in 1962, it was hard to miss the disdain for commercial television. Meanwhile, despite the much-discussed stereotype of the ‘permissive society’, popular attitudes to moral and sexual issues remained strikingly slow to change. For all the excitement surrounding the landmark Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in 1960, or the liberalisation of the divorce, abortion and homosexuality laws later in the decade, most people held similar attitudes to their parents; in this respect, the generation gap was a media invention.

And although students marched on the US embassy in protest at the Vietnam War, or staged sit-ins at universities such as the London School of Economics, it is easy to forget that only one in ten young people became students. Polls showed that like their elders, most young people still supported the death penalty and were uneasy about large-scale Commonwealth immigration; by the end of the decade, it is probably no exaggeration to say that the Conservative maverick Enoch Powell, who was kicked off his party’s front bench after his notorious ‘rivers of blood’ speech, was the most popular politician in the country. Even Mary Whitehouse, a ferocious critic of televised obscenity, especially on the BBC, commanded the instinctive support of tens, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people.

By the end of the 1960s, the contradictions at the heart of the affluent society were becoming increasingly apparent. Despite Harold Wilson’s promises of endless growth thanks to his National Plan, the economy was running into serious trouble. The Aberfan catastrophe in 1966, the devaluation of the pound a year later and the Ronan Point disaster a year after that all hinted at the political and social traumas that would blight the following decade. Perhaps most ominously, Wilson’s last stab at modernisation, the trade union reforms outlined in the White Paper In Place of Strife, fell apart completely in 1969. A year later, the public punished the Labour government for its perceived under-achievement. A new and much unhappier era was at hand.

Dominic Sandbrook is the author of ‘White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties’.

A brief recollection-doll006

In 1965 My best friend Linda and I were walking barefoot along Tower Bridge when we came face to face with Harold WIlson, he smiled and walked on. We giggled, flabbergasted that he would acknowledge a couple of hippies.

A WALK ACROSS TOWER BRIDGE

 

 

“WHEN IN DOUBT DRINK TEA”   Ana Christy

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HIWAY AMERICA – THE SUNSET STRIP HOLLYWOOD,CA.

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HIWAY AMERICA – THE SUNSET STRIP HOLLYWOOD,CA.

The Sunset Strip

CLICK BELOW FOR A 1970 VIDEO ON THE SUNSET STRIP

CLICK BELOW FOR SUNSET STRIP IN 1964 VIDEO

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Joni Mitchell, Blue, billboard sunset Strip, circa 1971

Smokey Robinson billboard on the Sunset Strip circa 1978

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Here are more of my reflections growing up a teenage in the 60s in Southern California…

If you were going to drive into the city from Woodland Hills it meant you were “going over the hill”. Whether it be Hollywood or Westwood or even San Diego – it was “over the hill”. And you never went “over the hill” unless you had a real purpose. You’d think we were living on the Ponderosa and had to pack saddlebacks to ride into town for vittles.

But there was a new attraction that the kids were buzzing about. The Sunset Strip. In the 40s and 50s this stretch of Sunset Blvd. between Beverly Hills and Hollywood was nightclub row. Sinatra played there. Sammy played there. Dino even had his own club. These hot spots featured dance floors and palm trees and exotic names like the Macambo, the Trocadero, Casa Manana, and Ciro’s. I was never actually in one of these nightclubs but there were several Looney Tunes that spoofed them so I had a pretty good idea of what went on there thanks to Bugs Bunny.

Now the clubs were starting to cater to young people. Whisky A Go Go led the charge. Some say it was because of the location, others say popular singer Johnny Rivers was the big draw but I contend it was the hot girls in mini skirts dancing in suspended cages that attracted the crowds. Rock groups would stagger down from Laurel Canyon to perform. The Byrds, the Doors (in matching suits), the Seeds, Buffalo Springfield, Love, and even the great Captain Beefheart performed in clubs like Gazzari’s, London Fog, and Pandora’s Box. They weren’t content to just do cover versions of popular songs or pale imitations of current styles. No sir. They examined their roots, experimented, challenged themselves to become artists in the true sense of the word. Their music was new and exciting and groundbreaking. God, the women these assholes must’ve gotten.

There were also a few clubs that catered to teenagers. They didn’t serve alcohol so you didn’t have to be 21. The downside was forfeiting the lucrative bar income. The upside was there were ten million teenagers under the age of 21. And club owners could still charge two bucks for a Coke. The Trip and It’s Boss were the two top teen clubs.

My 17 year old cousin Craig was visiting from Louisville. So for two weeks I had a chauffeur. One night we cruised down the Sunset Strip. We must’ve looked like the Clampett family gawking at all the activity. We were lucky and found a parking space only a mile up the hill from the strip, so we headed down to “check out the scene”. Who’s hipper than a fifteen year-old who still draws comics and a kid from Kentucky?

People were just hanging out, standing around, and many of them were smoking. I didn’t know what but the smell was weird and unlike anything I had experienced. You never forget your first second-hand smoke reefer.

The clubs were so crowded with such long lines that we decided to just bag it. Too much of a hassle. I’d just wait until the Looney Tunes cartoon.

Pandora’s Box was a teen club the size of an outhouse perched on a triangular traffic island on the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights. Crowds became too large and were snarling traffic at that large intersection. So cops tried to enforce a 10 p.m. curfew (good luck) and later just close the club. This resulted in a protest rally – a mob of mostly clean-cut teenagers and twentysomethings wearing pullover sweaters and miniskirts. Police broke it up, a riot resulted, and observer Stephen Stills wrote the song “For What It’s Worth” about the incident. A month later Sonny & Cher performed at Pandora’s Box but not without dire consequences. They were kicked off a Rose Parade float. It’s amazing Sonny Bono ever got elected to public office with that stain on his record.

I was not part of that riot. But I did buy the record.

LAVINE

counterculture list of the 60’s and 70’s

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counterculture list of the 60’s and 70’s

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1960s[edit]
The Acid Eaters (1968)
Alice’s Restaurant (1969)
The Born Losers (1967)
Candy (1968)
Chappaqua (1966
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Easy Rider (1969)
Eggshells (1969)
The Fat Spy (1966)
The Guru (1969)
The Happening (1967)
Head (1968)
How to Commit Marriage (1969)
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968)
The Love-Ins (1967)
The Love Bug (1968)
Maryjane (1968)
Medium Cool (1969)
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More (1969)
The Party (1968)
El Profesor Hippie (1969, Spanish)
Psych-Out (1968)
Riot on Sunset Strip (1967)
Skidoo (1968)
The Trip (1967)
Wild in the Streets (1968)
Wonderwall (1968)
Yellow Submarine (1968)
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1970s[edit]
200 Motels (1971)
An American Hippie in Israel aka Ha-Trempist (1972)
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
Billy Jack: Billy Jack (1971)
The Trial of Billy Jack (1974)
Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977)
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Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)
Butterflies Are Free (1972)
La Familia Hippie (1971, Spanish)
Fritz the Cat: Fritz the Cat (1972)
The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974)
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Gas-s-s-s (1971)
Ghetto Freaks aka Love Commune (1970)
Ginger in the Morning (1974)
Go Ask Alice (1973)
Godspell (1973)
Hair (1979)
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Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971, Hindi)
Helter Skelter (1976)
La Vallée (film) (1972)
The Holy Mountain (1973)
I Drink Your Blood (1970)
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Joe (1970)
Katherine (1975)
The Last Movie (1971)
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Love Story (1970)
More American Graffiti (1979)
The Psychedelic Priest a.k.a. Electric Shades of Grey (1971)
Rainbow Bridge (1972)
Shalom (1973, Hebrew)
The Song Remains the Same (1976) – features 1973 Led Zeppelin concert footage
The Strawberry Statement (1970)
Taking Off (1971)
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Thumb Tripping (1972)
Up in Smoke (1978)
When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder? (1979)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
Zachariah (1971)
Zardoz (1973)
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TOM WOLFE INTERVIEW-AND ABOUT

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TOM WOLFE INTERVIEW-AND ABOUT

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TOM WOLFE INTERVIEWED FOR TIME MAGAZINE

About Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He was educated at Washington and Lee (B.A., 1951) and Yale (Ph.D., American Studies, 1957) universities. In December 1956, he took a job as a reporter on the Springfield (Massachusetts) Union. This was the beginning of a ten-year newspaper career, most of it spent as a general assignment reporter. For six months in 1960 he served as The Washington Post’s Latin American correspondent and won the Washington Newspaper Guild’s foreign news prize for his coverage of Cuba.

In 1962 he became a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune and, in addition, one of the two staff writers (Jimmy Breslin was the other) of New York magazine, which began as the Herald-Tribune’s Sunday supplement. While still a daily reporter for the Herald-Tribune, he completed his first book, a collection of articles about the flamboyant Sixties written for New York and Esquire and published in 1965 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux as The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. The book became a bestseller and established Wolfe as a leading figure in the literary experiments in nonfiction that became known as New Journalism.

In 1968 he published two bestsellers on the same day: The Pump House Gang, made up of more articles about life in the sixties, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, a nonfiction story of the hippie era. In 1970 he published Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, a highly controversial book about racial friction in the United States. The first section was a detailed account of a party Leonard Bernstein gave for the Black Panthers in his Park Avenue duplex, and the second portrayed the inner workings of the government’s poverty program.

Even more controversial was Wolfe’s 1975 book on the American art world, The Painted Word. The art world reacted furiously, partly because Wolfe kept referring to it as the “art village,” depicting it as a network of no more than three thousand people, of whom about three hundred lived outside the New York metropolitan area. In 1976 he published another collection, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, which included his well-known essay “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening.”

In 1979 Wolfe completed a book he had been at work on for more than six years, an account of the rocket airplane experiments of the post World War II era and the early space program focusing upon the psychology of the rocket pilots and the astronauts and the competition between them. The Right Stuff became a bestseller and won the American Book Award for nonfiction, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Harold Vursell Award for prose style, and the Columbia Journalism Award.

“The right stuff,” “radical chic,” and “the Me Decade” (sometimes altered to “the Me Generation”) all became popular phrases, but Wolfe seems proudest of “good ol’ boy,” which he introduced to the written language in a 1964 article in Esquire about Junior Johnson, the North Carolina stock car racing driver, which was called “The Last American Hero.”

Wolfe had been illustrating his own work in newspapers and magazines since the 1950s, and in 1977 he began doing a monthly illustrated feature for Harper’s Magazine called “In Our Time.” The book In Our Time , published in 1980, featured these drawings and many others. In 1981 he wrote a companion to The Painted Word entitled From Bauhaus to Our House, about the world of American architecture.

In 1984 and 1985 Wolfe wrote his first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, in serial form against a deadline of every two weeks for Rolling Stone magazine. It came out in book form in 1987. A story of the money-feverish 1980s in New York, The Bonfire of the Vanities was number one of the New York Times bestseller list for two months and remained on the list for more than a year, selling over 800,000 copies in hardcover. It also became the number-one bestselling paperback, with sales above two million.

In 1989 Wolfe outraged the literacy community with an essay in Harper’s called “Stalking the Billion-footed Beast.” In it he argued that the only hope for the future of the American novel was a Zolaesque naturalism in which the novelist becomes the reporter-as he had done in writing The Bonfire of the Vanities, which was recognized as the essential novel of America in the 1980s.

In 1996 Wolfe wrote the novella “Ambush at Fort Bragg” as a two-part series for Rolling Stone. In 1997 it was published as a book in France and Spain and as an audiotape in the United States. An account of a network television magazine show’s attempt to trap three soldiers at Fort Bragg into confessing to the murder of one of their comrades, it grew out of what had been intended as one theme in a novel Wolfe was working on at that time. The novel, A Man in Full, was published in November 1998. The book’s protagonists are a sixty-year-old Atlanta real estate developer whose empire has begun a grim slide toward bankruptcy and a twenty-three-year-old manual laborer who works in the freezer unit of a wholesale food warehouse in Alameda County, California, owned by the developer. Before the story ends, both have had to face the question of what is it that makes a man “a man in full” now, at the beginning of a new century and a new millennium.

A Man in Full headed the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks and has sold nearly 1.4 million copies in hardcover. The book’s tremendous commercial success, its enthusiastic welcome by reviewers, and Wolfe’s appearance on the cover of Time magazine in his trademark white suit plus a white homburg and white kid gloves-along with his claim that his sort of detailed realism was the future of the American novel, if it was going to have one-provoked a furious reaction among other American novelists, notably John Updike, Norman Mailer, and John Irving.

In October 2000 Wolfe published Hooking Up, a collection of fiction and non fiction concerning the turn of the new century, entitled Hooking Up. It included Ambush at Fort Bragg and, for the first time since their original publication in the Herald-Tribune, his famous essays on William Shawn and The New Yorker, “Tiny Mummies!” and “Lost in the Whichy Thickets.” His new novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, is now available in paperback from Picador.
Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Alexandra; and his son, Tommy.

The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987
Reissued by Picador, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-42757-3
$16.00

Purchase this book from Macmillan

Sherman McCoy, the central figure of Tom Wolfe’s first novel, is a young investment banker with a fourteen-room apartment in Manhattan. When he is involved in a freak accident in the Bronx, prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers high and low close in on him, licking their chops and giving us a gargantuan helping of the human comedy of New York in the last years of the twentieth century, a city boiling over with racial and ethnic hostilities and burning with the itch to Grab It Now. Wolfe’s gallery ranges from Wall Street, where people in their thirties feel like small-fry if they’re not yet making a million per, to the real streets, where the aim is lower but the itch is just as virulent.

We see this feverish landscape through the eyes of McCoy’s wife and his mistress; the young prosecutor for whom the McCoy case would be he answer to a prayer; the ne’er-do-well British journalist who needs such a case to save his career in America; the street-wise Irish lawyer who becomes McCoy’s only ally; and Reverend Bacon of Harlem, a master manipulator of public opinion. Above all, we see what happens when the criminal justice system-gorged with “the chow,” as the Bronx prosecutor calls the borough’s usual black and Latin felons-considers the prospect of being banded a prime cut like Sherman McCoy of Park Avenue.

The Bonfire of the Vanities is a novel, but it is based on the same sort of detailed on-scene reporting as Wolfe’s great nonfiction bestsellers, The Right Stuff, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. And it is every bit as eye-opening in its achievements. It is a big, panoramic story of the metropolis-the kind of fiction strangely absent from our literature in the second half of this century-that reinforces Tom Wolfe’s reputation as the foremost chronicler of the way we live in America.

Reviews

“A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won’t let go.” -The New York Times Book Review

“Brilliant . . .” -People “Impossible to put down . . .” -The Wall Street Journal

“Delicious fun . . .” -The New York Times

“A smash . . .” -Philadelphia Inquirer

“Marvelous . . .” -Business Week

“Richly entertaining . . .” -Washington Post Book World

“It’s the human comedy, on a skyscraper scale and at a taxi-meter pace . . .” -Newsweek