The Criterion Collection: Monterey Pop

The Criterion Collection: Monterey Pop

From the publishers of the Monterey Pop DVD set, an amazing website about the concert including full text versions of articles written about the festival within days of the event.  Lots of interesting stories of who was there and who wasn’t and why…several musicians were having issues with pot charges and draft dodging.  Extensive musician biographies as well.  We’re watching the third DVD of the set which is just outtakes, stuff that didn’t make it into the original documentary.  Great music cut with shots of the audience.  And it really is about the music.

Some of those writing at the time are critical of the organizers for not having more ethnic diversity.  Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix are in the documentary but so far the outtakes have been all nice white boys.  But the comment I found most interesting was Robert Christgau’s suggestion that “real” hippies were gone: “But there are no hippies—they have disappeared in an avalanche of copy. Most of the originals who were living in the Haight in 1966, when the journalists started nosing around, have fled from the bus tour and the LSD-Burgers and the panhandling flower children who will be back in school next semester.”

I can’t help but contrasting these hippies with the members of the Weather Underground.  While the hippies in Monterey might be anti-establishment, the Weathermen were anti-government.  Christgau suggests that there is sort of hippie-mentality that is associated with liberal ideas.  But the Weathermen were actual communists, politically motivated.  Yet, both groups tended to be affluent white kids; they could afford to be bohemians and radicals.


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