January 15, 2009

1967 — the mood in Tompkins Sq. Park.



The photograph is by James Jowers (American b. 1938), from the George Eastman House Collection. I love the comment at the Flickr page: "A moving paper fantasy...." All the hippies know what that means.
We starve
Look at one another
Short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation
Of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of [???]
Facing a dying nation... that was before Barack Obama, of course. It was before Nixon. In any case, I will be wearing a winter coat today, because it's -16° here (and I am not talking wind chill). Whether I will be walking proudly remains to be seen. But I'm not going to rip off my clothes and twirl around like a hippie in Tompkins Sq. Park in 1967. I do seek to amuse you however, so let me play you the brilliant version of that song — which is called "Flesh Failures" — by one of my very favorite voices, Julie Driscoll.

If you liked that, don't hesitate to buy the whole album, "Streetnoise" — Julie Driscoll with Brian Auger and The Trinity. I've loved that since it came out, back in 1968. It's almost worth the high price for the cool drawing on the cover:



And if you liked the photograph, look at the whole James Jowers set, which the Eastman House tells us is not under copyright.

42 comments:

Mark O said...

Listening for the new told lies

With supreme visions of lonely tunes

Wow. What are the "new told lies" these days.

Hey, what's your sign? Yield?

traditionalguy said...

Is that tall skinny guy Ricardo Montalban? I love NY City where all people find their place, and all people seem to instinctively want to obey basic rules to keep the Island running. What were you doing in the summer of 67 Professor?

Joe the Electrician said...

Well, of course you are not talking wind chill! As you previously instructed us, nobody talks about wind chill in Madison!!

Well, except the local newspaper, the Capital Times, which stated today:

The wind chill reading was down to 27 below zero in Madison when the decision to cancel classes was made Thursday morning before dawn, but the wind chill is expected to get worse as the morning progresses and winds pick up to 10-15 miles per hour.

ricpic said...

Hippies? 1967? I lived amongst them on the lower east side and what I came away with was their ubiquitous justification of criminality. The Man made them do it. R-i-i-i-g-h-t.

Pogo said...

I remember when the hippies took over the park near my house in Omaha in 1971.

They spray painted weird sayings on the the war memorial which I thought was vandalism, but nobody did anything about it (a python can ingest an entire pig but takes six months to digest it....Wow, man.). Hey , maybe it is a brand new day, I thought; but I was only ten.

All spring the hippies camped and lived in the park. I passed them on my way to school; sometimes they would ask for part of my lunch. I thought it looked like fun, spending all day throwing the frisbee, listening to music, kissing, having fun.

Summer came and it got damned hot, and the hippies got more and more unruly. Even violent. So The Man tried to put curfew hours on the park. There were riots. For a few days, cop cars burned. Molotov cocktails were tossed at houses. My dad sat on the stoop of our house with a shotgun.

We moved a few months later, away from the best friends I ever had. Goddamned hippies.

Original George said...

When I say we'll be cool, I think you know what I mean.

I know a beach where, baby, it never ends.

Bissage said...

POP-UP CARTOONS (#56):

A glamorous and seemingly sophisticated “kept woman” is lounging in her expensive apartment and she has just opened a delivery of long-stemmed roses from her sugar daddy. She reads the gift card aloud with a puzzled expression.

‘Time goes on crutches until love hath all his rites.’ I don’t get it.

-- R. Taylor (circa 1950)

Hoosier Daddy said...

When I see pictures of the hippies and the state of the nation back then, I rejoice I was born in 1967 and not coming of age back then.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Probably the first shower they had in a week too.

Michael H said...

Is the guy in the left rear of the photo, near the bench, carrying a rifle on his hip?

Jeff with one 'f' said...

I knew you'd like those images!

Henry said...

As usual, it's the wrong people ripping off their clothes.

That's why we got to the movies, I guess.

Henry said...

Sounds like:

"Supreme visions of longitude"

to me.

Richard Dolan said...

Notice that there's all thin. Imagine what they'd look and sound like today if you reassembled the same folks for a reunion shot.

Pogo said...

These same folks in a reunion would be saying Anarchy's great and all, but it has a bad dental plan.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark O said..."With supreme visions of lonely tunes"

I know the on-line lyrics pages say "lonely tunes," but I'm just not hearing that. Has anyone seen the official lyrics for "Hair"? Surely, some of you were in high school musical versions of the thing (sans nudity, presumably). On the Driscoll recording, it sounds more like "longitude" -- with a hard "g" -- kind of a coined word, a portmanteau of "longing" and "attitude."

traditionalguy said" "What were you doing in the summer of 67 professor?"

I was reading Life magazine and wondering how I too could become an authentic hippie. I saw a film clip on TV of a guy staring at a halved grapefruit. The voiceover said he was on LSD. I stared at a halved grapefruit and tried to imagine what that guy saw, and how great I would be when I could experience the real thing. I listened to "Are You Experienced?"

Joe the Electrician said..."Well, of course you are not talking wind chill! As you previously instructed us, nobody talks about wind chill in Madison!!"

I'm glad Joe is keeping track of the allusions, the key to achieving full reading pleasure here.

"Well, except the local newspaper, the Capital Times, which stated today: The wind chill reading was down to 27 below zero in Madison when the decision to cancel classes was made Thursday morning before dawn, but the wind chill is expected to get worse as the morning progresses and winds pick up to 10-15 miles per hour."

Well, the Cap Times is a pussy, famously.

But it's true, we do take precautions to protect our children.

Original George said..."When I say we'll be cool, I think you know what I mean. I know a beach where, baby, it never ends."

All the sunshine songs.

Pogo: "Summer came and it got damned hot, and the hippies got more and more unruly. Even violent. So The Man tried to put curfew hours on the park. There were riots. For a few days, cop cars burned. Molotov cocktails were tossed at houses. My dad sat on the stoop of our house with a shotgun."

All the sunshine acid.

Bissage said..."‘Time goes on crutches until love hath all his rites.’"

It's the opposite of time flies when you're having fun.

Kirk Parker said...

Michael H,

It's not a rifle, it's a carbine--or perhaps a short shotgun w/o a shoulder stock.

bearbee said...

Facing a dying nation

That was the beginning of our spiritual death.

When Giants Fall: An Economic Roadmap for the End of the American Era

Will it conclude with our economic death?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Wow. What a great version of that song! I'm definitely going to get the album. I went to see the stage play in The City (San Francisco to anyone who lived in the Bay) when I was in high school. Yay, permissive California parents.

Moved to SF in 1969 to go to college and lived just a short distance from Stanyan St Park and near Golden Gate Park. It was kind of fun to be all new agey and stuff for a while. However, since I had to go to work full time to support myself and taking a full class load in college every day, the Hippies and anti war protesters just became annoying, in the way and obnoxious.

The idealistic dreamy Hippie is a myth. Most were slackers, druggies and guys who wanted to act cool so they could get laid.

I got sick of the hippies after a few years, and decided to get away from the madness and moved to a house one block from Castro on the Hartford** and 18th block. Smart, huh?

** BTW. There used to be a dairy farm in the Hartford Street area. It was all rural and agricultural at one time. I found/and still have several glass milk and cream bottles embossed with the Hartford Dairy logo and name. They were stashed in the basement of the Victorian house that we were renting along with some other neat things from the time of the ,06 quake. I glommed onto the stuff and still have it. Pack rat from the very beginning.

Bissage said...

You know, I was afraid I would botch that one when it got to the caption

It’s supposed to be the mistress who says “I don’t get it.”

Not me.

Oh well, I’ll have to do better next time.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Julie Driscoll! "Season of the Witch"is my favorite. I looked for her records online recently -- very hard to find. Her name is now Julie Tippett; (sorry about that semicolon); she's married to Keith Tippett, an experimental jazz musician, and they make horrible cacaphonous recordings together. I bought one, "Couple in Spirit," from Rocking Horse used record shop in Australia. Couldn't listen through to the end.

I've been listening to Tim Buckley and Laura Nyro lately. Some of it stands up very well.

In summer 1967 I was listening to "Somebody to Love" and dreaming of meeting someone in college.

reader_iam said...

Now, how sweet is that? (RLC's comment.)

traditionalguy said...

I still remember Johnny Rivers song Seventh Son of a Seventh Son playing every hour in those summers, but 1965 was the most memorable. While the Viet Nam War still seemed to be a cakewalk for Pres. Johnson,s Elite and super educated Cabinet, before the Ia Drang valley initiated them [see, We Were Soldiers] there seemed no limit to good loving and a happy life ahead. By the summer of 67 the Draft was taking all our friends and we were next in line for a useless attempt to wage a war of attrition with the North Vietnamese who had already proved that they could outlast the Japanese and the French. No wonder many a person tried to turn to Drug induced fantasy. But the music was great.

chuck b. said...

I find it oddly comforting to recall on this bright, sunny California morning that people in earlier times also thought the nation was dying. I wish the hippies were longer ago than just my childhood tho'.

I just got up and took a shower, after a long night, waking up at 3 for no reason, unable to fall back asleep, very worried about the future. My future a little bit, but everyone's future more generally. Julie Driscoll's ringing clarity is just the thing I need right now. And coffee.

siyeh pass said...

Don’t have much to add, being only 7, in 1967. My images of that summer involve watching the Milwaukee riots on the local news, from the safe enclave of a Milwaukee suburb. And too, generally not getting today’s musical nostalgia – guess I had more important things to do that summer…

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh great. Now you've done it. I can't get off of YouTube.

I just realized that I have some Brian Auger albums amongst my several boxes of vinyls from the 60's and 70'. Every Dylan album from that era, Big Brother, Cold Blood, Tower of Power, Miles Davis, Beautiful Day, Ten Years After, ......etc.

You've made me get my records out of the media cabinet. I probably should try to take photos of the covers and transfer the music to CDs

Henry Buck said...

A modern version of the barbarians entering Rome.

DBrooks17 said...

Wow. Brian Auger. You never cease to surprise, Ann. I loved Brian Auger and the Oblivion Express back in the day. He is still performing. I just saw him a couple of months ago, and he is still a fantastic musician.

Ralph said...

My over-40 parents saw "Hair" in LA in '69 and brought the album home for us kids to listen to (I was 8). We heard about the nudity, but I can't imagine my mother knew what the dirty word song was about. Must have been very different without gym bodies and trimming.

Ralph said...

Is it "visions of longing, too."?

Ralph said...

She sang "lavatories", which makes a lot more sense than "laboratories." I misheard that for 40 years.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

She sang "lavatories", which makes a lot more sense than "laboratories." I misheard that for 40 years.


No. Smells from laboratories makes more sense. Hippies (and I should know) were all about being natural, back to nature, earth groovy and all that.

The smells from laboratories would include things like deodorants, perfume and other artificially created products that were considered wrong and not used.

mydismalswamp said...

Stone(d) cold.

1967... I was eleven... going on twelve.

I was a hippy, then a flower child, then a Jesus freak... the last one took.

Strawberry fields never really were forever... God ain't dead.

Henry said...

In 1967 I was two...wearing smells.

Nihimon said...

I wasn't born 'til '70, but have listened to the original broadway cast recording of Hair so often, and watched the movie so often, that the version that you linked is jarring...

I think it's "lonelitude", as in "loneliness" and "solitude".

Maybe because I wasn't actually a hippy, I'm not 100% sure what "moving paper fantasy" means, but I damn sure recognized the reference.

It's funny, to me, how much people can change... My journey from Hair to Atlas Shrugged is kind of jarring too..

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think it's "lonelitude", as in "loneliness" and "solitude".

Ditto

It's funny, to me, how much people can change... My journey from Hair to Atlas Shrugged is kind of jarring too..

Ditto Ditto

Ralph said...

moving paper = office work?

Thanks for explaining laboratories, DBQ, guess I heard the original correctly, but I'd swear she sings lavatories--maybe she changed it. It's more accurate for a hippie.

Michael H said...

Michael H, It's not a rifle, it's a carbine--or perhaps a short shotgun w/o a shoulder stock.

Had the VC infiltrated Tompkins Square in '67? Or could that guy with the carbine been a CIA instigator, looking for a grassy knoll?

BJM said...

"Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?"

1967- when the most reviled American on the planet was a Democrat and presidential derangement syndrome began.

And the beat goes on.

Nihimon said...

Good morning, Starshine.

I can't get you out of my head.

"Silence tells me secretly everything...

I didn't even have to formulate a question...

What, you don't just automatically understand 'everything'?

No, I can't explain it to you, it's 'everything' man!

Here, smoke some of this, and take this too...

Yeah, now you get it...

Sudden revelation, the universe makes perfect sense, and you didn't even have to think...

No, don't be silly, of course it's a real, bona fide revelation! How could those drugs have possibly 'manufactured' a sense of such profound understanding? They're natural, man!

Oh, and don't be surprised if that sense of profound understanding goes away when you sober up... that just means you should *never* sober up."

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Richard. Me too.

fcai said...

I was a senior in high school in the fall of '67. I am glad it is over 40 years in the past now. A lot of things went very badly in '68, and I am not sure we, as a country, ever recovered. Certainly, this is not even close to the country I imagined it would be when I was a youth in the '50s.