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sixties counterculture - free love - groovy - May 1968 (Paris) - Marxism - sexual revolution - Woodstock - youth culture

two 'hippies' kissing, photocredit unknown

Easy Rider (1969) - Dennis Hopper [Amazon.com]

Easy Rider is a 1969 film which has become an anthem to the hippie lifestyle of the 1960s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easy_Rider [Nov 2004]


Hippies (also spelled hippy) were members of the 1960s counterculture movement who adopted a nomadic lifestyle at odds with traditional Western values. They saw government, industry, and traditional social mores as part of a unified establishment that had no legitimacy. The term derived from hipster which referred to White people in the US who became involved with Black culture, e.g. Harry "The Hipster" Gibson

As a group, Hippies had longer hair than was fashionable for the day. Some people not associated with the counterculture found such long hair offensive, in part because of the iconoclastic attitude it bespoke, and in part because they saw it as feminine.

Other traits associated with Hippies included:

As a rule, Hippies did not smoke cigarettes made of tobacco, which they considered dangerous.

The term is sometimes also associated with participation in peace movements, including peace marches such as the USA marches on Washington and civil rights marches. However, hippies were normally not antiwar protesters, since they were traditionally apolitical, preferring to drop out from society rather than change it. Philosophically, hippie thought drew upon the earlier Beat Generation.

The hippie movement was at its height in the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Often, the term "hippie" is used with the pejorative connotation that the subject participates in recreational drug use (at least to the extent of using marijuana) and does not think or care much about work, responsibility, or personal hygiene. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippie [2004]

Inside the World of "The Hippie".....

After the huge success of WOODSTOCK 1970 many Hollywood studios scrambled to release more rockumentaries. MEDICINEBALL CARAVAN 1970 was a contrived effort on the part of Warner Brothers, who flipped the bill for a state-to-state tour of mediocre rock bands and zonked hippies. Of course the dark opposite to the "three days of peace, love, and music" hit was GIMME SHELTER 1970. A haunting document of that notorious Rolling Stones concert at Altamont where the Hell's Angels beat up the crowd and stabbed a man to death. The vibes of pure evil are very tangible and they radiate off the screen. The counterculture cut-up DYNAMITE CHICKEN 1970 features hilarious, quick comments by a young Richard Pryor. A wild McLuhan-inspired jumble of words, sounds, jokes, faces, some of the flicks segments include John and Yoko's Bed In honeymoon, a visit to Burger King, Tuli Kupferburg as a riot policeman, Mr. Mike, and a fake LBJ. Ever imagine what life was like at the Spahn Ranch? MANSON 1972 takes you there, into the crazy world of the hypnotic one and his followers. Amazingly, it was nominated for an Oscar as Best Feature Length Documentary of 1972! More lost souls of the creepy world of hippie worship are to be found in ALIENS FROM PLANET EARTH 1977. Narrated by Donovan, who also does the cosmic-folk soundtrack, it examines cults that developed around various gurus in the early '70s. One particularly odd cult leader shown was Brother Yod. He lead a group of dopey hippie kids in Southern Cal who all wear white robes and chant to the groups druggy prog-rock. Yod crashed and later "died" while hang-gliding. According to the Yod children, he landed on a small deserted island, severely injured bleeding broken bones everywhere. It is said, he didn't want to go to a hospital and the group chanted around his beaten body for days as he slowly expired. For a look into the sleazy, pathetic phenomenon of 70's guru worship, THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 1974 covers Guru Mara Ji and the stunning array of losers, burnouts, and flakes who worshipped him. From Jesus Freak-types to miserable housewives, all gave up everything and naively followed this shallow, inarticulate, greasy, fat-faced, Hawaiian Punch-drinking teenage messiah. The doc's main focus is on his cults big gathering at what he claims is the holiest place on earth - The Houston Astrodome! Entertainment for this "the most significant event in the history of the universe" consisted of the guru's brother crooning in a cornea-damaging, sequined outfit and a cheezy rock band doing a Vegas-y cover of "Satisfaction." His cult was quite fanatical, as evidenced when a Yippie-like freak throws a pie in Mahara Ji's face. The guru's zombies beat the prankster so badly, he had to have a 4 inch plate put in his skull. One drone quips, "If I was there, I'd have slit his throat on the spot." The last word is left to Abbie Hoffman, whose sarcastic commentary is heard throughout, "If this guy is God, he's the God the United States of America deserves." --Tom Fitzgerald ©1998-2002AD http://www.pimpadelicwonderland.com/eye.html


  1. Easy Rider (1969) - Dennis Hopper [Amazon US]
    This box-office hit from 1969 is an important pioneer of the American independent cinema movement, and a generational touchstone to boot. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play hippie motorcyclists crossing the Southwest and encountering a crazy quilt of good and bad people. Jack Nicholson turns up in a significant role as an attorney who joins their quest for awhile and articulates society's problem with freedom as Fonda's and Hopper's characters embody it. Hopper directed, essentially bringing the no-frills filmmaking methods of legendary, drive-in movie producer Roger Corman (The Little Shop of Horrors) to a serious feature for the mainstream. The film can't help but look a bit dated now (a psychedelic sequence toward the end particularly doesn't hold up well), but it retains its original power, sense of daring, and epochal impact. --Tom Keogh

  2. I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968) - Hy Averback [Amazon US]
    Poor Harold Fine (Peter Sellers)... he's a suit-and-tie-wearing Jewish professional who's being pressed by his fiancée (Joyce Van Patten, in a supremely whiny and irritating performance) to nail down a wedding date. Harold's bored and dissatisfied with his life, though; when he meets Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young), a hippie-chick friend of his brother's, he decides to tune in, turn on, and drop out, in a big way. He flees the altar, leaving Joyce standing alone, and pursues the counterculture life. Soon, though, Harold discovers that the hippie life isn't all it's cracked up to be, with its hipper-than-thou hypocrisy adding up to little more than a different brand of conformity. Screenwriter Paul Mazursky skewers the shallowness of the '60s with dead-on humor and some hilarious set pieces; the scene where Harold and his straitlaced parents eat some of Nancy's "funny" brownies is especially memorable. Sellers's comic timing and physical awkwardness, paired with Mazursky's dialogue, makes this one of the better '60s-time-capsule flicks. --Jerry Renshaw

  3. Psych-Out / The Trip (1968/1967) - Richard Rush/Roger Corman [Amazon US]
    The "best" trip movie is also the best known: Roger Corman's classic The Trip. Written by Jack Nicholson and starring Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, and Dennis Hopper (acidheads all), The Trip chronicled the adventures of a young director of TV commercials who, feeling that his life has no meaning, takes a hefty dose of LSD and spends the rest of the film hallucinating his brain away. Corman, to better understand the subject, actually took acid before making the film. Along with 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Trip became required viewing for anyone into LSD. -- Jim Morton

  4. Up in Smoke (1978) - Lou Adler, Tommy Chong [Amazon US]
    Cheech & Chong's first cannabis comedy is also their best, a souvenir from the more carefree days before "Just Say No," when people did not feel so defensive about inhaling. In 1978, the prevailing spirit was more like "Just Say Blow." Even New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael liked it (the movie, that is), adding that it was "an exploitation slapstick comedy, rather than a family picture, such as Blazing Saddles or High Anxiety--which means that it's dirtier, wilder, and sillier." The story has to do with bumbling potheads Cheech & Chong searching for primo bud, while being tailed by a team of inept law-enforcement officers, led by Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach). Sample dialogue: When a cop pulls them over to ask if they are any illegal substances in his vehicle, Cheech replies: "Not any more, man." Up in Smoke is an irresistibly silly and charming movie that--despite, or perhaps because of, the national furor over drug use--plays today like a relic from a bygone era, a sweeter, more open, more innocent period in our history. --Jim Emerson for amazon.com

  5. Petulia (1968) - Richard Lester [Amazon US]
    This Richard Lester film will tell you more about how confusing the '60s were than any hackneyed NBC miniseries ever could. In this fragmented love story, told in a nonlinear fashion that bounces back and forth in time, George C. Scott plays a newly divorced surgeon who meets a charming if scattered young woman, Petulia (Julie Christie). He falls into an affair with her, only to discover that she is married to a seemingly normal guy (Richard Chamberlain)--who also happens to be extremely abusive. But his efforts to extricate her from the marriage, set against the flower-power scene in San Francisco, only frustrate him with her indecisiveness. The film features performances by the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company, and captures a sense of the confusion caused by the youthquake that swept the nation. --Marshall Fine for amazon.com

See also Provo [...]

Hippie dream shattered

This [1970] was at a point when the hippie ideal of peace and love lay shattered in the aftermath of Altamont and the Manson murders. --Greg Wilson

Altamont is a speedway in Northern California, near Livermore, that hosted a rock music festival in December 1969 which was marred by violence, including one murder.

The festival included the Rolling Stones and other bands (including the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane). About 300,000 people attended the festival, and the hope was that it would be "Woodstock West." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont [May 2005]

The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter (1970) - Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin [Amazon.com]

To cite Gimme Shelter as the greatest rock documentary ever filmed is to damn it with faint praise. This 1970 release benefits from a horrifying serendipity in the timing of the shoot, which brought filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin aboard as the Rolling Stones' tumultuous 1969 American tour neared its end. By following the band to the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco for a fatally mismanaged free concert, the Maysles and Zwerin wound up shooting what's been accurately dubbed rock's equivalent to the Zapruder film. The cameras caught the ominous undercurrents of violence palpable even before the first chords were strummed, and were still rolling when a concertgoer was stabbed to death by the Hell's Angels that served as the festival's pool cue-wielding security force.

By the time Gimme Shelter reached theater screens, Altamont was a fixed symbol for the death of the 1960s' spirit of optimism. The Maysles and Zwerin used that knowledge to shape their film: their chronicle begins in the editing room as they cut footage of the Stones' Madison Square Garden performance of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and from there moves toward Altamont with a kind of dreadful grace. The songs become prophecies and laments for broken faith ("Wild Horses"), misplaced devotion ("Love in Vain"), and social collapse ("Street Fighting Man" and, of course, "Sympathy for the Devil"). Along the way, we glimpse the folly of the machinations behind the festival, the insularity of life on the concert trail, and the superstars' own shell-shocked loss of innocence.

Gimme Shelter looks into an abyss, partly self-created, from which the Rolling Stones would retreat--but unlike its subject, the filmmakers don't blink. --Sam Sutherland, Amazon.com

Gimme Shelter is the name of a documentary film directed by Albert Maysles and David Maysles, chronicling the Rolling Stones' 1969 U.S. tour, culminating in the disastrous concert at Altamont in which the Hells Angels provided security and a fan was murdered on film. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimme_Shelter [May 2005]

see also: 1969

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