Welcome to Talking ‘Bout My Generation

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I’m Dave Price and I operate a writing/speaking/tour guiding practice in Washington, DC. Before that, I was a journalist (10 years) and an educator and educational consultant (34 years).

I am focusing on 3 subjects:

  • the Baby Boomer generation
  • classic rock and
  • issues of Boomer aging, especially as they affect men

As a Book Author: I am awaiting publication (now set for late October) of my first book in my 3-book series on classic rock entitled Come Together: How the Baby Boomers, the Beatles and a Young Counterculture Combined to Create the Music of the Woodstock Generation.

As a Freelance Writer: I am a senior contributor to the digital hub Booming Encore

As a Speaker: I design and deliver talks, interactive presentations, and programs for the Smithsonian Museums in DC. Here are my upcoming programs.

As a Tour Guide: I lead First Amendment tours at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

At my Website: Talking ‘Bout My Generation contains my writings, my photos, and articles of interest from others dealing with the Baby Boom generation (those of us born between 1946 and 1964), classic rock (music from the ’50s/’60s/’70s) and issues that are affecting us Boomers as we age.

Three other places online you can find my writing are at my blog Write On with Dave Price and on my writer’s sites at Booming Encore, where I still contribute regularly, and at Sixty and Me, where I was a former contributor.

Here is a link to an online version of what academics call a CV and most of us call a resume. You can find out more there about who I am and what I have done there. Thanks for checking out my writer/speaker/tour guiding page. I hope you find things here to interest you and keep you coming back.

From my musical years playing in some of the loudest, least legendary bands in the Philadelphia/ South Jersey Shore area.

Notes on Woodstock 2019 – Day 1

First Contact 

Chatted with two fellow travelers this morning on the road to Woodstock 2019, the 3-day 50thanniversary of the historic music festival at the original site, at our Hampton Inn, which is about 30 miles from Bethel Woods. I assumed they were headed there when I saw they were both carrying clear plastic totes. Concert rules specified that you could only take such carrying cases onto the Museum and amphitheater grounds.

The two women were from Houston, Texas. One had been at the original festival (she had also seen the Beatles live, but that was another story) and she was bringing her best friend along to help relive the memories and make new ones.

However, she admitted to being a little worried. Festival officials had announced that no one would be allowed near the property, which is now listed on the national Historic Registry, unless they had a special pass permit, which had been mailed to ticket holders. There were three separate concerts scheduled for the three days and each required a special access permit in addition to a ticket. She had left Houston with three days of tickets, but only two permits. The one for the Ringo Starr concert hadn’t arrived. However, two days prior to the start of the festival Bethel Woods officials had emailed out a notice of what to do and where to goif you hadn’t received permits or tickets. “I won’t feel good until I have that permit in my hand,” she said. I gave her my card and said to contact me if she ran into any problems. She didn’t. So I assume she made it Woodstock without incident. 

On the Road Again.

Shortly after noon, Judy and I pulled out of our hotel, for the back-country ride to Woodstock. We SIRIed the directions. (How did I get anywhere before SIRI?).  To say the route was circuitous, winding, and up and down and up and down again does a disservice to all those descriptors. There were also long stretches where there was no sign of human habitation. I made note to find a different route back to the Hampton Inn after the concert. If was fun riding these roads in daylight, but I didn’t relish doing the same after midnight.

First Signs of Hippie Culture

About two miles from the site, we saw our first evidence of the reunion. A group of about 20 families, all dressed in the colorful garb of the late 60s and early ‘70s, had set up an impromptu campground. Many of them flashed us the peace sign as we drove slowly past the encampment.

Woodstock Straight Ahead Down This Road 

During the 1969 festival, there were reports of 17-mile long traffic jams, with thousands of music lovers abandoning their vehicles and walking miles to the hear the music, and in the parlance of the times “dig the vibes”. As we approached the single-entrance road, there were less than 17 cars in front of us. We pointed to our permit hanging from our mirror and the county sheriff officer waved us on through. We parked in Lot E-3. Woodstock 50 and whatever it would hold was only about a half-mile of walking away. As we ambled, we noticed the look of our fellow Woodstockians. For many of the women, it was peasant blouses, loose long shirts, fringe, and flowers-in-their-hair. For men, it was mostly tie-dye or music t-shirts. Judy was dressed as Judy always dresses in Judy style. I wore faded jeans and a white with blue and gold lettered t-shirt my two grandkids had given me bearing the slogan “I May Be Old, But St Least I Saw All the Good Bands”. Throughout the day, several festival-goers, when they saw my t-shirt offered up some variation of the comment, “Man, ain’t that the truth”.

And So It Begins

The first thing on the grounds we encountered was a small group showcasing a replica of a restored, painted VW bus they were calling The Woodstock Bus, which they had shipped from California for the festival. They had some great stories and I promised I would come back to interview them before the festival was over.

As we prepared to enter the Museum, I noticed Woodstock Museum curator Wade Lawrence instructing people where to go. I had met Wade on a Flower Power music cruise a few years ago. I had let him know we were coming to Woodstock 2019 to gather information for my next book and I wanted to chat with him if we got a chance. Wade acknowledged me, but quickly added, “I guess you can see that right now wouldn’t be the best time”. He was definitely correct.

The Afternoon

Since it was now after 2 p.m., Judy and I were hungry and we decided to make lunch our first stop. Now, the first festival in 1969 was plagued by food shortages, but it was clear that wouldn’t be the case 50 years later. In addition to the museum café, there were food booths set up all over the grounds. Much of the food offered had a festival-appropriate name. There was the Hendrix Hamburger, the Santana chicken sandwich, and the Hog Farm pulled-pork bowl. We were first joined at our table by a lone traveler who had decided to stop on his drive between his two homes – one in Martha’s Vineyard and one in Miami. While we were chatting, we were joined by a mother and her teen-aged son, who was a huge classic rock fan. He sported a Beatles t-shirt and admitted to being excited about seeing his first Beatle in performance. Then two couples from San Diego sat down with us. As we were offering our back stories, we discovered that one husband had worked for years in the U.S. Patent office which was located in our home community of Crystal City and he and his wife, who worked with AOL founder Steve Case, had lived in Old Town Alexandria, just 3 Metro stops from our current apartment. (Small world indeed, as they say)

After lunch, Judy and I spent 2 hours strolling the grounds and visiting the various booths and displays located there. There were two stages set up where live local music was performed throughout the afternoon. Judy spent much of her time in the artisan tents, while my favorite stop was the writer’s tent where I talked with a half dozen writers who had written books dealing in some way with Woodstock.

Of course, you can’t consider Woodstock without thinking rain and mud. I had mixed feelings about the rain. While it would be cool to say you survived the rain at Woodstock (even if it was 50 years later) and make for a good tale, I didn’t really want to be drenched before the concert. (I wasn’t worried about the show because our seats for Ringo were under cover). But of course, that would not be a decision for me decide. As we were talking to friendly recovering volunteers at the Recovery Unplugged tent (one was a former Jersey policeman), festival officials came by and announced that the weather was calling for a severe storm with hail to pass through the area in a short time, meaning that all tents should be pulled down and all items stored safely. Judy and I decided to seek shelter from the predicted storm by using this time to check out the actual museum, which we had visited once before several years ago. It was great then and the fact that we were actually seeing it again exactly 50 years to the week when the original festival was held, made it even more special this time. After we emerged, we discovered that the threatened, violent storm had only passed through the area as some brief showers. (I guess that “no rain, no rain, no rain, no rain” chant works better in the 21stCentury than it did in the previous one. After dinner (for me it was the Hendrix hamburger), we headed to the amphitheater for the big event of the first day – a concert by Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band, with opening acts the latest version of Blood, Sweat and Tears (which, in its second grouping had played at the original Woodstock festival) and Edgar Winter, who had performed two songs there with his deceased Texas bluesman brother, Johnny, in 1969. 

The Concert

Up first, Blood, Sweat and Tears provided the perfect dilemma for today’s fans of 1960s music – was it the songs or the original artists performing them that we most loved. There is not one member of BS&T who played at Woodstock and on their initial records now in the band. However, with today’s powerful, sophisticated sound systems, many of the songs sound much better live now than they did back then. That was definitely the case with BS&T, who I first saw in the fall of 1969, and on this night, recreated the performance from their set at the original Woodstock. For me, that meant they played two of my favorite Blood, Sweat and Tears tunes – “More and More” (their opener) and “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”. (And, just in case you want to know my third unplayed-on-this-night favorite, it’s “I Can’t Quit Her”.

Edgar Winter, on keyboards and sax, was backed by a talented and versatile three-piece band, for his 45-minute set. One of the highlights was the classic “Tobacco Road” which he had played with his brother Johnny in 1969. Another was his brother’s signature song “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo,” which Edgar introduced by saying, “here’s a song my brother would be playing about right now if he were here tonight”. 

Finally, it was Ringo ‘s turn. And I mean, really, what’s to say. He’s a Beatle, one of the only two remaining with us on Earth. He’s 79 years old, but you would never know it from his energy on stage. And he’s Ringo Starr and all that name implies. For more than a decade, Ringo has been touring with friends in various configurations of his All-Star Band. The group plays tunes Ringo sang with the Beatles, a few of his solo hits, and songs the members of his current lineup made famous in their own groups. Here is his set list for Woodstock 50:

Matchbox

It Don’t come easy

Evil ways

Rosanna

Pick Up the Pieces

Down Under

Boys

Don’t Pass Me By

Yellow Submarine

Black Magic Woman

You’re Sixteen 

Anthem

Work to Do

Oye Como Va

I Wanna Be You’re Man

Who Can It Be Now?

Hold the Line

Photograph

Act Naturally

With A Little Help From My Friends/Give Peace A Chance

And given the history of Woodstock, how could you find a better first-day closer than “With a Little Help from My Friends and Give Peace a Chance?” 

It’s Dead + Nats = No Hats for Us

Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia and Vince Welnick perform the National Anthem at opening day 2013 in
San Francisco

By Dave Price

When considering the Grateful Dead, you probably don’t think about baseball. But the still popular improvisational San Francisco jam band and the game known as the national pastime have a strong connection.

Original Dead co-guitarist Bob Weir is a baseball fan. In fact, it was reported a few years ago that Weir was considering working on a music project involving famed Negro League pitcher Satchell Paige. 

The Dead first came to widespread prominence during the 1967 San Francisco-based Summer of Love and a love affair of sorts was born between Weir and the hometown Giants. In 1993, Weir, along with now-deceased Grateful Dead members, guitarist Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Vince Welnick, sang the National Anthem at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park for the Giants opening day game against the Florida Marlins Weir and former Dead bassist Phil Lesh also sang the anthem for a 2014 National League Championship game in the City by the Bay.

Now calling themselves Dead and Company, the remaining original members of the band – Weir and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart with newcomers John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and  Jeff Chimenti continue to perform sold-out concerts across the country. Over their 54 years of performing in various configurations, members of the Dead have built one the most devoted fan bases in all of rock. The tie-died fans, called Deadheads, consider the band a lifestyle, not just their favorite musical act.

Realizing the relation between the Dead and baseball and the band and its fans, executives for several baseball teams have been scheduling special Grateful Dead Night for a home game. The first such promotion was created by the Giants in 2010 to recognize the 15-year anniversary of band leader and counterculture guru Garcia’s death.

“The Grateful Dead are an iconic band that appeals to a wide demographic, so it was not a difficult decision to make,” the chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Brewers Rick Schlesinger told Business Sports Journal

Now, while I appreciate the eclecticism of the Dead, the laid-back lifestyle of the Deadheads and have attended a few band shows over the years, I am not a fanatical follower. But our 46-year-old son Michael has been attending shows regularly since he entered college in 1991. And he has hopes that our 10-year-old grandson Owen will also someday come to understand the joy expressed at a Dead concert.

So when my wife Judy and I discovered that the Washington Nationals were holding an August Grateful Dead night promotion which included giving away Grateful Dead baseball caps, we saw it as a way to pick up hats for Michael and Owen.

Now Judy and I, being South Jersey natives, are Phillies fans, but since we now live in Crystal City, Virginia, which is only four Metro stops from the Nationals Ballpark in Washington, D.C., we have been attending a few games a year there, especially when the Phillies are in town.

We bought out tickets online. On game night, we headed to the Nats’ ballpark. But as all Deadheads know, when the Grateful Dead are involved you can expect the unexpected. 

Arriving at the stadium, we were surprised that the Dead caps weren’t being distributed at the gates as they do for bobble heads, t-shirts, and other promotions. “No big deal, they’ll probably just give them out when we exit,” I told Judy.

We were greeted inside by swirling, dancing bears (one of the group’s many symbols) and a local DC tribute band playing Dead covers on the giant screen. As we began making our way to our seats, we saw a fan sporting a Dead baseball cap. Then a few others. Then a whole lot more. Judy checked in at a promotions kiosk to see what was going on. She was told that only those fans who had purchased special tickets at a special price would be receiving the special hats. They were being distributed at a large blue tent outside the First Base gates. 

This wasn’t what we had expected, but since we had only really come to get the two Dead baseball caps, we decided to exit the ballpark and see if we could sweet-talk someone into giving hats to us even though we didn’t have the right tickets.

But despite the fact that we did see about 25 hats still on the table, we had no luck. We learned that actually the promotion had been “capped” at 3,000 fans and the special-ticket holders who didn’t pick up their hats would have them mailed to them.

Of course, as another rock legend, Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jack has been singing for 51 years, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might get what you need”.

And, at this point, Judy and I decided we needed to get back to our apartment and pack, since we were leaving the next day for the 50thanniversary celebration of Woodstock, at the original Bethel, New York, site of the festival.

On the walk to the Metro, we briefly discussed buying Grateful Dead caps online for Michael and Owen. But, although we love both of them greatly, we decided against it for economic (our son is a professor of economics and Owen has expressed interest in becoming one himself so I’m sure they will understand) reasons. We had spent $20 each on our tickets and $24 each for dinner. In addition, I had treated myself to one of those $6 ballpark Cokes. With tax and Metro fares, that meant our hatless baseball sojourn had cost us more than $100. 

Besides, I’m fairly certain the Nationals will have another Grateful Dead promotion next season. And I know that if I decide to go that game, I won’t be leaving without whatever Grateful Dead swag they’re offering. Or maybe, on second thought, I ‘ll just buy Michael and Owen tickets to a Dead show next year. That would probably be cheaper.

How Artists Portrayed Conflict and Morality During the Vietnam War

BY ROGER CATLIN

Vietnam II by Leon Golub, 1973 (Tate Collection © 2018 The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts/Licensed by VAGA at ARS, NY, image © Tate, London, 2018)

In 1965, as the Vietnam War escalated overseas amid civil unrest at home, abstract artists as accomplished as Philip Guston wondered whether they were doing the right thing. “What kind of man am I,” he wondered, “sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything—and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue?”

Vietnam pushed him into a more direct commentary on the world—and a sudden shift toward representational, though often cartoonish, satirical attacks on hate groups and elected officials.

One of them, San Clemente, a vivid painting targeting Richard Nixon in 1975, is part of a major survey titled “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975” and now on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The show brings together 115 objects by 58 artists working in the decade between Lyndon Johnson’s decision to deploy U.S. ground troops to South Vietnam in 1965 and the fall of Saigon ten years later.

San Clemente by Philip Guston, 1975 (Glenstone Museum, ©The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth, photo by Christopher Burke

With devastating loss of life—nearly 60,000 U.S. casualties and an estimated three million soldier and civilian losses in Vietnam—the war produced some of the most significant ruptures in social and political life across the country and stoked a divisiveness that is still being felt today. Just as it changed America, the war changed art itself, shaking artists into activism and often into creating works quite different from any they had done before. The exhibition, organized by Melissa Ho, the museum’s curator of 20th-century art, is chock full of such examples.

Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1865-1975,” curated by Melissa Ho, continues through August 18, 2019 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. It will be exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Art September 28, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Springsteen Songs Spark Coming of Age Film

By Chris Jordan, Asbury Park Press

Baby, we were Born to Run — to Luton. Yes, Luton. In the United Kingdom. That’s where the improbable, but maybe not so improbable, story of the impact of Bruce Springsteen’s music on a South Asian Muslim teenager named Javed growing up in ’80s England takes place in the new movie musical “Blinded by the Light.” 

Javed, played with heart by Viveik Kalra, uses the Boss’ music to get the girl, stand up to his dad, take on the bullies and ultimately as a vessel of self-awareness. It’s based on the memoir of journalist and Springsteen fan Sarfraz Manzoor, titled “Greetings from Bury Park.”

It’s a charmer. A coming of age in the ’80s movie that’s kind of like John Hughes meets Springsteen in Thatcher England.

To continue reading this story, click here.

Javed (Viveik Kalra) and Eliza (Nell Williams) dance in “Blinded by the Light.” (Photo: Nick Wall)

How Writer Got Springsteen’s Attention

By Hardeep Phull

In his 1984 track “No Surrender,” Bruce Springsteen famously wrote, “We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school.” Sarfraz Manzoor knows that feeling.

Growing up as one of four siblings in the grim, post-industrial British town of Luton (30 miles north of London) during the 1980s, Manzoor was caught between the cultural expectations of his overbearing Pakistani-immigrant mother and father — Rasool Bibi and Mohammed Manzoor — and his own desires to escape the everyday racism that was part of his stifling surroundings.

As a 16-year-old, Manzoor faced that lonely battle, and school wasn’t giving him any solutions. However, it was the Boss who gave him the spark that started a fire. And the result, all these years later, is the film “Blinded by the Light,” in theaters Friday.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Sarfraz Manzoor and “The Boss.”

Top 10 Best Uses of Springsteen Music in Film

Bruce Springsteen has not just made his mark on the musical world, but on the cinematic one as well. An Academy Award for Best Original Song, countless appearances on soundtracks, cameo appearances in movies and documentaries about his work; Springsteen lives up to his moniker – The Boss. With “Blinded by the Light” opening this week and celebrating his life/music, what better time is there to look at the man’s contributions to cinema?

Below you will see ten of the best uses of Springsteen and his music in cinema to date. Honorable mentions include “Dead Man Walking” (for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song) “Long Shot,” as well as “Ricki and the Flash.” Special citation goes to “The Indian Runner” from Sean Penn, as it’s based on the Springsteen song “Highway Patrolman.” It also goes without saying that the documentary “Springsteen & I,” as well as the Netflix special “Springsteen on Broadway” deserve a shout out as well.

To continue reading this article, click here.