Author Archives: hobo hippie

About hobo hippie

Hi I am an old hippie, a "beat" poet and novelist, and digital artist. I was co -editor and publisher of "Alpha Beat Press" alpha beat soup, bouillabaisse and cokefish and cokefishing in alpha beat soup with my late husband Dave Christy. My novel "eeenie meenie minee moe is for sale on amazon books. my other blogs are about humor and the weird. The blog is named after a Charlie Chaplin movie. a blog about world art.

Peter Tork Dies


Peter Tork, endearingly offbeat bassist and singer in the Monkees, dies at 77

February 21, 2019 at 10:58 AM

The Monkees, in 1966, featured Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith. The made-for-TV pop band spawned a frenzy of merchandising, record sales and world tours that became known as Monkeemania. (AP/)

Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.

The death was announced by his official Facebook page, which did not say where or how he died. Mr. Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009.

If the Monkees were a manufactured version of the Beatles, a “prefab four” who auditioned for a rock-and-roll sitcom and were selected more for their long-haired good looks than their musical abilities, Mr. Tork was the group’s Ringo, its lovably goofy supporting player.

On television, he performed as the self-described “dummy” of the group, drawing on a persona he developed while working as a folk musician in Greenwich Village, where he flashed a confused smile whenever his stage banter fell flat. Off-screen, he embraced the Summer of Love, donning moccasins and “love beads” and declaring that “nonverbal, extrasensory communication is at hand” and that “dogmatism is leaving the scene.”

A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Tork mostly played bass and keyboard for the Monkees, in addition to singing lead on tracks including “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again,” which he wrote for the group’s psychedelic 1968 movie, “Head,” and “Your Auntie Grizelda.”

The Monkees in 1966. (AP/)

At age 24, he was also the band’s oldest member when “The Monkees” premiered on NBC in 1966. Not that it mattered: “The emotional age of all of us,” he told the New York Times that year, “is 13.”

Related: [Hey hey, it’s the . . . Monkees? A dispatch from the band’s 1986 reunion.]

Created by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, “The Monkees” was designed to replicate the success of “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!,” director Richard Lester’s musical comedies about the Beatles.

The band featured Mr. Tork alongside Michael Nesmith, a singer-songwriter who played guitar, and former child actors Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, who played the drums and sang lead, respectively. Like their British counterparts, the group had a fondness for mischief, resulting in high jinks involving a magical necklace, a monkey’s paw, high-seas pirates and Texas outlaws.

“The Monkees” ran for only two seasons but won an Emmy Award for outstanding comedy and spawned a frenzy of merchandising, record sales and world tours that became known as Monkeemania. In 1967, according to one report in The Washington Post, the Monkees sold 35 million albums — “twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined” — on the strength of songs such as “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” which all rose to No. 1 on the Billboard record chart.

Almost all of their early material was penned by a stable of vaunted songwriters that included Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Diamond, David Gates, Neil Sedaka, Jeff Barry, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. But while the band scored a total of six Top 10 songs and five Top 10 albums, they engendered as much critical scorn as commercial success. In one typical review, music critic Richard Goldstein declared, “The Monkees are as unoriginal as anything yet thrust upon us in the name of popular music.”

Detractors pointed to the fact that the band, at least initially, existed only in name. While the Monkees appeared on the cover of their debut album and were shown performing on TV, their instruments were actually unplugged. The songs were mostly done by session musicians — much to the shock of Mr. Tork, who recalled walking into the recording studio in 1966 to help with the group’s self-titled debut.

When the Monkees landed in Tokyo in 1968, around 1,000 fans gathered to see them arrive. (T. Sakakibara/AP)

He was “mortified,” he later told CBS News, to find that music producer Don Kirshner, dubbed “the man with the golden ear,” didn’t want him around. “They were doing ‘Clarksville,’ and I wrote a counterpoint, I had studied music,” Mr. Tork said. “And I brought it to them, and they said: ‘No, no, Peter, you don’t understand. This is the record. It’s all done. We don’t need you.’ ”

After the release of the band’s second album, “More of the Monkees” (1967), Mr. Tork and his bandmates wrested control of the recording process and wrote and performed most of the songs on records including “Headquarters” (1967) and “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” (1967).

Related: [The 2012 obituary for Davy Jones, the Monkees’ velvet-voiced heartthrob]

They also started touring, playing to sold-out stadium crowds and backed by opening acts that briefly included guitarist Jimi Hendrix. But as Mr. Tork’s musical ambitions grew, leading him to envision the Monkees as a genuinely great group of rockers, he began to clash with bandmates who saw the Monkees as more of a novelty act.

He left the group soon after the release of “Head,” a satirical, nearly plot-free film flop that featured a screenplay co-written by actor Jack Nicholson. Mr. Tork seemed to have taken his cue from musician Frank Zappa, who made a cameo in the movie, telling Jones’s character that the Monkees “should spend more time” on their music “because the youth of America depends on you that show the way.”

For much of the 1970s, Mr. Tork struggled to find his own way. He formed an unsuccessful band called Release, was imprisoned for several months in 1972 after being caught with “$3 worth of hashish in my pocket,” and worked as a high school teacher and “singing waiter” as his Monkees wealth dried up. He also said he struggled with alcohol addiction — “I was awful when I was drinking, snarling at people,” he told the Daily Mail — before quitting alcohol in the early 1980s.

By then, television reruns and album reissues had fueled a resurgence of interest in the Monkees, and Mr. Tork had come around to what he described as the essential nature of the music group, which he joined for major reunion tours about once each decade, beginning in the mid-’80s, in addition to performing as a solo artist.

“This is not a band. It’s an entertainment operation whose function is Monkee music,” he told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper during a Monkees tour in 2016. “It took me a while to get to grips with that but what great music it turned out to be! And what a wild and wonderful trip it has taken us on!”

He was born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 1942. His mother was a homemaker, and his father — an Army officer who served in the military government in Berlin after World War II — was an economics professor who joined the University of Connecticut in 1950, leading the family to settle in the town of Mansfield.

Both parents collected folk records and bought him a guitar and banjo when he was a boy. Peter went on to take piano lessons and studied French horn at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where he reportedly flunked out twice before settling in New York City. At coffee shops and makeshift folk music venues, he performed with the shortened last name Tork, which had been emblazoned on one of his father’s hand-me-down sweatshirts, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Tork played with guitarist Stephen Stills before moving to Long Beach, Calif., in 1965. Stills moved west as well and auditioned for “The Monkees” after the show’s producers placed an advertisement in Variety calling for “4 Insane Boys, Ages 17-21.”

When Stills didn’t get the part — purportedly on account of his bad teeth — he suggested that Mr. Tork audition. “I went, ‘Yeah, sure, thanks for the call,’ and hung up,” Mr. Tork later told the Los Angeles Times. “Then he called me a few days later,” finally persuading Mr. Tork to try out.

He later appeared in episodes of television shows such as “Boy Meets World,” playing the love interest Topanga’s guitar-strumming father, and in recent years performed with a band called Shoe Suede Blues. Mr. Tork also released a well-received 1994 solo album, “Stranger Things Have Happened,” and partnered with folk singer James Lee Stanley for several records.

Mr. Tork’s marriages to Jody Babb, Reine Stewart and Barbara Iannoli ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Pamela Grapes; a daughter, Hallie, from his second marriage; a son, Ivan, from his third marriage; a daughter, Erica, from a relationship with Tammy Sustek; a brother; and a sister.

Many of the Monkees reunion tours were conducted without Nesmith, who inherited a fortune from his mother, the inventor of Liquid Paper, and worked as a country-rock musician, songwriter and producer after the band first split up. Nesmith returned to performances after the death of Jones, the Monkees’ singer, in 2012, which helped spur a 50th anniversary reunion tour and album, “Good Times!,” four years later.

And while the Monkees were dogged by reports of squabbling and frequent tensions — Mr. Tork was once head-butted by Jones and said he dropped out of a 2001 tour because he had a “meltdown” and “behaved inappropriately” — Mr. Tork insisted that they were at their best when they were together. Their musical chemistry was special, he said, even if it was the result of a few producers looking to cast handsome men for a television show.

“I refute any claims that any four guys could’ve done what we did,” he told Guitar World in 2013. “There was a magic to that collection. We couldn’t have chosen each other. It wouldn’t have flown. But under the circumstances, they got the right guys.”

Read more Washington Post obituaries

Harrison Smith is a reporter on The Washington Post’s obituaries desk. Since joining the obituaries section in 2015, he has profiled big-game hunters, fallen dictators and Olympic champions. He sometimes covers the living as well, and previously co-founded the South Side Weekly, a community newspaper in Chicago.

Radical hippie dwarf gets big time for bomb plot


Radical hippie dwarf gets big time for bomb plot

The so-called radical hippie dwarf David Ansberry was jailed for 27 years in a plot to blow up a Colorado police station.US ATTORNEY

A bitter radical hippie dwarf with a 50-year chip on his shoulder has been jailed 27 years for planting a bomb outside a police station.

David Ansberry, 67, pleaded guilty to leaving the device containing chemicals used by al-Qaida thugs, in a bag outside the station in Nederland, Colo., on Oct. 11, 2016.

The pint-sized provocateur said the bomb was retaliation for the 1971 shooting death of his friend, Guy Goughner.

Goughner was reportedly gunned down by the town’s marshal.

While no one was injured in the dwarf’s bomb plot, the judge in the case ruled that it was still an act of terrorism.

And Ansberry wasn’t hard to find.

David Ansberry was no Tyrion Lannister HBO

The 3-foot-6 tiny terrorist was captured on surveillance video after buying phones to use for his death device.

Ansberry has to use crutches because of a brittle bone disease he has suffered from since childhood.

The wheelchair-bound Ansberry told the court that he never meant for the bomb to explode.

However, US District Judge Christine Arguello said dozens of lives could have been snuffed out if the demented dwarf had been able to detonate it remotely.

“[Ansberry] is a sophisticated, calculating, and culpable offender who risked killing public servants indiscriminately to indulge his 40-year-old grudge and send a message to police,” prosecutors wrote.

Once, he had been connected to radical hippies who lived off the land outside Boulder. They were known to be violent.

But Ansberry said he was trying to draw attention to police shootings in the U.S.

His lawyers had argued for a two-year jolt in prison.

“We don’t deserve to be blown off the face of the earth because he has some political grudge,” said Det. Darragh O’Nuallain, who cleared out the students from a school next to the police station.

#radicalhippiedwarf #ansberry #bomb threat #radical # bomb #Tyrion Lannister

When ‘Hair’ Opened on Broadway, It Courted Controversy From the Start


Less than a month after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and just a week before student protests in Paris kicked off, an anti-Vietnam War musical heralding the arrival of an era of freedom, rebellion and compassion introduced the Broadway set to the burgeoning counterculture.

After stints Off Broadway at the Public Theaterand at the now-defunct Cheetah nightclub, “Hair” opened at the Biltmore Theater on April 29, 1968. It would run for more than four years, and during its time, Robert Kennedy would also fall to an assassin’s bullet, Charles de Gaulle would flee the Élysée Palace to avoid the ire of protesters and the Vietnam War would continue unabated.

The show, written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado with music by Galt MacDermot, follows Claude, a young man on the verge of being drafted, and the group of hippies of which he is a part. It courted controversy from the beginning.

The Times’s review of “Hair” as it appeared in the April 30, 1968, issue.

The Times’s review of “Hair” as it appeared in the April 30, 1968, issue.

In his review from April 30, our critic Clive Barnes called it “the frankest show in town.” He wrote that letters from readers had prodded him to warn potential viewers what they could expect. “Spell out what is happening onstage,” he said he was asked.

Mr. Barnes found he was unable to comply fully. “Spell it out I cannot, for this remains a family newspaper,” he wrote. “However, a great many four-letter words, such as ‘love,’ are used very freely.”

Profanity would turn out to be among the least shocking features of “Hair.” Sexual politics, drugs and the treatment of the American flag are crucial elements of the show.

Mr. Barnes includes them in his warning: “Frequent references — frequent approving references — are made to the expanding benefits of drugs. Homosexuality is not frowned upon — one boy announces that is in love with Mick Jagger, in terms unusually frank. The American flag is not desecrated — that would be a federal offense, wouldn’t it? — but it is used in a manner that not everyone would call respectful.”

Nevertheless, he praised the show’s cast and attitude. “The show is the first Broadway musical in some time to have the authentic voice of today rather than the day before yesterday,” he wrote.

Just how many people appeared nude in “Hair” was “the subject of urgent dispute” among theatergoers during previews of the musical.

Just how many people appeared nude in “Hair” was “the subject of urgent dispute” among theatergoers during previews of the musical.

The show’s use of nudity, new for the Broadway production, would become one of its trademarks. The London premiere of the musical at the Shaftesbury Theater was delayed until Parliament abolished theater censorship in 1968 so that the production could include nudity and strong language.

New York audiences were warned about what they would see. On April 28, Marilyn Bender wrote an article about the show’s nudity in The Times. “The first act of the rock musical ends with several healthy young men facing front and center in the altogether. Just how many stark naked males there are and whether the girl hippies are equally unclothed has been the subject of urgent dispute among those who have been attending previews of ‘Hair’ during the last three weeks.”

Ms. Bender reported that the amount of nudity varied throughout the preview performances. Mr. Ragni told her, “Anybody who feels like it can take his clothes off. Everybody wants to now, even the stagehands. We turned them on.”

The nudity in “Hair” continues to push boundaries. In 2014, a production of the show in Los Angeles marked the first time full-frontal nudity was seen onstage at the Hollywood Bowl. And in 2017, a London production at The Vaults included a clothing-optional performance.

Today, gay characters are routinely portrayed onstage, marijuana enjoys legal protection in some states and antiwar sentiment is less prevalent in the United States. Nudity, if not ubiquitous, appears onstage with some frequency. And bad language? It’s no big deal.

Though much has changed between 1968 and 2018, “Hair” continues to be relevant. Many of the cultural divides that began to express themselves in 1968 seem to still exist today. Flag burning, for example, remains a contentious issue.

Perhaps this is why “Hair” has continued to be produced so frequently. Since the first Broadway production closed in 1972, four subsequent Broadway revivals have been staged, the most recent at the St. James Theater in 2011.

Or maybe it’s just the music that drives its popularity. Mr. Barnes said in his review, “This is a happy show musically,” while also noting “Galt MacDermot’s music is merely pop-rock, with strong soothing overtones of Broadway melody.” Despite this somewhat lukewarm appraisal, Mr. Barnes wrote that the music “precisely serves its purpose, and its noisy and cheerful conservatism is just right for an audience that might wince at ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’”

A cultural mismatch between the subjects of “Hair” and some of its audience was inevitable. “You probably don’t have to be a supporter of Eugene McCarthy to love it, but I wouldn’t give it much chance among adherents of Governor Reagan,” Mr. Barnes wrote.

Yet he also connected the show’s characters to an American archetype. “As long as Thoreau is a part of America’s heritage, others will respond to this musical that marches to a different drummer,” he wrote.

If longevity and popularity are anything to go by, that drummer beats on.

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Bryan Derballa for The New York Times

#hair #musical #1960s #rockmusical #biltmoretheatre #controversy #broadway #1968 #nudity

Did They Wear Flowers in Their Hair? See the Happy Hippies in 1967 – The New York Times


The Hippie Chickpea Montpelier


In Montpelier, the Hippie Chickpea, a Middle Eastern café at 41 Elm Street, has expanded its hours to include breakfast. Since January 7, chef-owner Vince Muraco has been serving the morning meal Monday through Friday, 7 to 10:30 a.m., with a menu that includes a breakfast pita with housemade chorizo and local eggs; a vegan scramble of chickpeas and vegetables served over fried potatoes and dressed with tahini; and a Greek yogurt bowl with roasted apples, chia seeds, toasted pistachios and raw honey. Lunch and dinner are available weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m

In Montpelier, the Hippie Chickpea, a Middle Eastern café at 41 Elm Street, has expanded its hours to include breakfast. Since January 7, chef-owner Vince Muraco has been serving the morning meal Monday through Friday, 7 to 10:30 a.m., with a menu that includes a breakfast pita with housemade chorizo and local eggs; a vegan scramble of chickpeas and vegetables served over fried potatoes and dressed with tahini; and a Greek yogurt bowl with roasted apples, chia seeds, toasted pistachios and raw honey. Lunch and dinner are available weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m



I see the railroad run high
Above the course of the
Winding road
This is the remote landscape
Of the rockies
The wind of the Colorado at
The bottom of deep ravines
I think of days of hobos on
The pacific railroad
Pete Seeger doing a harmonica
Train whistle and
Blind sonny
Woodie Guthrie
Spirit voices of the boxcars
Car wheels clicking over
The bass strings thumping
Out a rattling caboose
Freedom whistles and hillbilly
Singing songs of unfelt land
Small nourishing villages
Blues blowers in straw hats
Boogie woogie of jagged rock
Riding the ‘rods under carloads
Of steel
Hobos on the Wabash cannonball
The mingle of oil and mountain
Engine steam and morning fog
Driving rain on creosote ties
Tank spouts rattling
Gamblers. settlers miners
Soldiers and ordinary folk
Boarding trains in small town
Sheep dogs on cars ready
To scare off straying cows
Steam locomotives screeching
Along blinding curves in
along sawmills and
Great warehouses
The green of timber touching
The sky
Running over deep chasms
And bridges
The song of the hammering
Driving wheels
Heavy jawed breakmen in
Oil cloth pants
Smoking a pipe with hand on
The throttle
Construction camps and shanty
Side door pullman and smokers
Crowded with passengers
Singing songs
Telling tall stories
“Train butchers” peddling
I think of Jesse James
With a colt 45 standing
On a depot platform having
Robbed a train car on a
Missouri platform about to
Get his getaway to Kansas city
Transient trackmen riding
Boxcar Pullman going to lumber
Camps in Washington doing
Roadwork in raw untamed
Scoffing down black cawfee
And rye bread dipped in
Sowbelly grease at mess tables
In roadside tents
Pacific slim Syracuse shine
And slim jim from vinegar hill
I think of negro work songs
And the voice of Irish immigrants
As they told their tales
A land of being discovered and
Miles of track and the rhythm of
The engine
“Standing on a platform making
A cheap cigar waiting for an old
Freight train that carries an empty car.”
Ana Christy

from “real junkies don’t eat pie”