Live Blogging Monterey Pop Festival

I was five when the hippies gathered in San Francisco for the Monterey Pop Festival. I just started watching the film made by D.A. Pennebaker. (It was recommended in the Rosenthal book about making documentaries.) He is known as a pioneer in direct cinema. The Wikipedia article on direct cinema isn’t very good…it takes it awhile to get to the definition and even then it isn’t very good because it’s contrasted with cinema verite: “Direct Cinema, on the other hand, is more strictly observational.” I’ll see what I can track down for a better definition. One point the Wikipedia article makes is that this kind of documentary generates lots of film. Because so much editing is required, the editor is sometimes given co-credit for the film.

I am enjoying the film: great, classic music…the music that I grew up with, listening to on my clock radio, sometimes making tapes of the late-night radio shows with my Radio Shack cassette recorder. I am struck by the diversity of the music. I know I sound like my parents when I write this, but today’s music all seems to sound the same. So far, in this movie, I’ve heard jazz, blues, rock and roll and folk. John Weider of the Animals played violin. And, of course, Pete Townsend of The Who smashed his guitar as the roadies run on stage to try to rescue microphones and other gear.

Random thought: this wouldn’t happen now. Another random thought: in terms of dressing weird, today’s kids ain’t got nothing on the hippies. While I really came of age in the more cynical 70s, at the tail end of the baby boom (in fact, I can be a genx-er if I want to), this is the generation with which I identify. I experienced a few festival concerts but they had been toned down by the 80s when I went, more orderly and organized. I can’t help but wondering where all these people are now? Many of the musicians are still recording.

It occured to me that this is what I will be doing with all my video footage, creating direct cinema. And, for now, I am looking through the documentary, enjoying the movie, immersing myself in the story, rather than thinking too much about documentary film techniques.


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