Monday, June 29, 2009

Some Hippie Thing


Jimi Hendrix saluting the crowd on the last day of Woodstock, 1969

This summer marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. I admit it: although it wasn't particularly well received when it premiered at Cannes, I still want to see this movie (directed by Ang Lee and based on the autobiography Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life, by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte). Word is that it's currently scheduled to be released on August 14, one day before the date the festival began in 1969. Here's the trailer:

If (like me) you're inclined to get nostalgic about things you never experienced, you can read Greil Marcus's review of/meditation on the event, from the September 20, 1969 issue of Rolling Stone, here. An excerpt:
Everyone in the country has seen pictures of the crowd. Was it bigger than it looked? Whoever saw so many people in the same spot with the same idea? Well, Hitler did, and General MacArthur, and Mao, but this was a somewhat better occasion. They came to hear the music and they stayed to dig the scene and the people and the countryside, and at any time, no matter who was playing, one could see thousands moving in every direction and more camped on every hill and all through the woods. The music became something that was going on there, and it was terrific, but it was by no means the whole show. The magnificent sound system was clear and audible long past the point at which one could no longer see the bands, and some were discussing the bass player in Janis' band even though they hadn't the slightest idea of what he looked like.
Right on.

"Woodstock: 450,000"

Yep, that looks like a lot of people.
(Photo of the crowd listening to Hendrix's rendition of
the Star-Spangled Banner at 5 a.m. on August 18
by David Sygall; more good images

1 comment:

Lee said...

funny-I never felt a part of that whole movement or considered myself a hippie, but then Strath's Dad and I were traveling Europe for 3 months, saw the original Woodstock Documentary in France, and I can remember the audience looking at us because we were reacting before they could read the subtitles and looking at us like 'those crazy American hippies'...given the fringed camel bag I picked up in Morrocco and was using for a purse...well maybe we don't always see ourselves as others do. This movie will be a good look back after the history has settled down...and Ang Lee, come on who wouldn't want to see it?