Notes on Woodstock 2019 – Day 2

Early Afternoon

Since we had spent 11 hours at the Bethel Hills site yesterday, we decided not to go early today. At noon, we went to lunch at the Two Rivers Grill in Matadoras, Pennsylvania where we staying. There we met my new favorite waitress, Lisa, who had just started work that week. For a few years now, if my wife Judy and I order dessert, we share. I’ve made it a standing joke to ask our servers to bring Judy a smaller fork or spoon so that I can get more of the dessert. Today, Lisa complied. But there was a twist. She brought the smaller fork for me, explaining that Judy, as a female, deserved the larger portion. Our dessert was delicious. It was fresh-baked caramel covered apple pie (neighboring upstate New York is known not only as the original home of Woodstock, but also for its apples) with home-made vanilla ice cream. And I don’t even like apple pie.

On the elevator at the Hampton Inn we met a Buffalo couple, Maria and Gunner, who had just arrived that morning and were going to the Woodstock for the first time. They asked us several questions, and since we all had lawn seats for the Santana performance, we asked them if they wanted to travel to the Bethel site with us. They said that would be great and the four of us were on the road by 3 p.m.

While Gunner and Maria wandered around taking in the atmosphere and the sights that we had been exposed to yesterday, Judy and I decided to focus on a just a couple of exhibits.

First up was the Light Bus, a version of which had actually made the journey to the original 1969 festival. In fact, the bus itself has a storied history. In 1968, Bob Grimm, who was then playing in a rock band named Light, asked his friend Robert Hieronymus to “paint us a magic bus”. Heronimus immediately got to work transforming a 1963 split window VW Kombi bus into a vehicle covered with esoteric symbols to welcome in to what was then being called a new Aquarian Age.

Like Ken Kesey and his fellow pranksters on their famed bus Further, Grimm and his friends made the trip across country in 1969 to Woodstock. Their painted bus was featured in an AP Woodstock photo that appeared in newspaper’s around America. Based on that photo, the bus began appearing in all kinds of publications and became a a talismanic of the peace and love portion of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

In 1972, the bus was used to run errands for the Savitra commune in Baltimore. Within a short time, the now decaying bus became unusable. However, in 2009, as part of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, a limited edition diecast model replica of the Light Bus was a popular best-seller.

In 2018, Hironimus and a team of artists restored a 1962 Kombi VW bus in a secluded barn in Maryland. Now, that restoration was drawing big crowds, most of whom wanted to get the pictures taken with the Light Bus in the background.

Next, I headed to Recovery Unplugged tent to talk Jim, a recovering alcoholic police officer from my home state of New Jersey who I had chatted with briefly yesterday. He was at Woodstock at a representative of the music-based alcohol and drug treatment program Recovery Unplugged offers at its facilities in Lake Worth and Fort Lauderdale in Florida and northern Virginia. A fourth facility is expected to open soon in Nashville.

Jim explained that Recovery Unplugged are pioneers in music-based addiction treatment. “Actually, our C.A.C. is the man who literally wrote the book on music-based addiction,” Jim explained, pointing out Paul Pellinger’s book about the story of Recovery Unplugged Music Is Our Medicine. Several musicians including Steven Tyler and Richie Supa of Aerosmith, Morris Day of the Time, and the rapper Flo-Rida are associated with the program.

While we were talking, a Bethel Woods worker approached and told Jim that he and his fellow workers would have to take down their tent and secure all the Recovery Unplugged items as a severe storm was expected to strike the area in about half-an-hour.

Judy and I decided to seek shelter in the Woodstock Museum until the storm passed. We focused on two of the exhibits, one explaining in depth the background of all the artists who performed at the first Woodstock festival and the other a temporary exhibit We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future.

The special exhibition features a collection of of authentic Woodstock artifacts including Jack Cassidy of Jefferson Airplane’s bass guitar and the tunic he wore, handwritten lyrics for the song “Goin’ Up the Country” by Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, and a speaker cabinet and missing equipment used by Bill Hanley, whose work established the standard for outdoor concert sound.

Other sections included Voices from the Past, which presented first-person commentary about changing American society in the 1960s; Woodstock Remembered, first person accounts from people who attended the historic three-day festival; Woodstock Through the Lens, a collection of photos taken at the festival; and What the World Needs Now, an interactive exhibit tat engaged participants in conversations about what they want from society today and how the experiences from 50 years ago could inform attitudes, decision-making, and actions today.

Night

While we were inside, the threatened severe storm never materialized and we headed to the amphitheater lawn to meet Gunner and Maria and enjoy in tonight’s concert with The Doobie Brothers and Santana, with its leader Carlos Santana whose musical breakthrough came from the song “Soul Sacrifice” which was featured in the award-winning 1970 documentary on Woodstock.

Of course, the original Woodstock was plagued by incessant rain storms that turned the festival fields into veritable seas of mud and mess. In fact, one of the lasting moments from the film featured the crowd shouting the “No Rain, No Rain” chant which provided the segue into Santana’s energetic performance.

Well, as if to prove the musical gods have a sense of both history and irony, after the Doobie Brothers concluded their set (which included their huge hits “Listen to the Music”, “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Long Train Runnin,” and “China Grove,” as well as my all-time favorite Doobie’s tune “Ukiah,” lighting flashed and thunder rolled. Those of us in the amphitheater (which has a reported capacity of 16,200 but on this Saturday night, was estimated to be far more than 20,000) prepared for bad weather, and, indeed just minutes before Carlos Santana and his current band were scheduled to take the stage, rain began falling.

As they have on this tour all summer, Santana was paying tribute both to Woodstock and the 50th anniversary of his band. With an explosion of noise from the crowd, a precoded version of the rain chant from the Woodstock burst from the speakers and, once on stage, the band broke into three songs that became their standards from their initial Woodstock debut – “Soul Sacrifice,” Jin-go-lo-ba,” and “Evil Ways”. Now, while it is true you can’t go home again, or as the Chinese put it, you can’t put you feet in the same river twice, that Santana there-song opening was about as close as you can get if you had been one of the estimated 400,000 who attended Woodstock in 1969.

Complete Set List for Santana at Woodstock 2019

  1. Woodstock IntroPlay Video
  2. Soul Sacrifice(with ‘Light My Fire’ tease)Play Video
  3. Jin-go-lo-ba(Babatunde Olatunji cover)Play Video
  4. Evil Ways / A Love SupremePlay Video
  5. (Da Le) YaleoPlay Video
  6. Put Your Lights OnPlay Video
  7. Exodus (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover) (with The Doobie Brothers) (with ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and ‘… more )Play Video
  8. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy QueenPlay Video
  9. Oye como va(Tito Puente cover)Play Video
  10. Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile) Play Video
  11. Happy Birthday to You(Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) (for band member and roadie… more ) Play Video
  12. Imagine (John Lennon cover) (Cindy Blackman Santana on lead vocals) Play Video
  13. Hope You’re Feeling Better (with rap interlude and blues outro)Play Video
  14. Total Destruction to Your Mind (Swamp Dogg cover) (with ‘Miss You’ tease, ‘(I… more )Play Video
  15. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)Play Video
  16. Breaking Down the Door Play Video
  17. Corazón espinado Play Video
  18. Maria Maria Play Video
  19. Foo Foo Play Video
  20. Encore:
  21. Are You Ready (The Chambers Brothers cover) (with Cindy Blackman Santana drum solo) Play Video
  22. Smooth Play Video
  23. Peace Love and Happiness (with band introductions; with… more ) Play Video
  24. Get Together(The Youngbloods cover)

Tarantino Tackles Westerns, 1969, and a Manson Family Redo in His New Film

Last night, I went to see the new Quentin Tarantino film, Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood. As someone who once watched westerns, turned 17 in 1969, and remember vividly the Helter Skelter times of Charles Manson and his murdering family, I enjoyed the movie. It marks Leonard DiCaprio’s best performance and Brad Pitt was stellar as his stunt buddy sidekick. And how could I not like a film that featured Damian Lewis (of Homeland) as my favorite actor Steve McQueen and a reworked scene from one of my top 10 films of all-time The Great Escape, which starred McQueen.

The movie soundtrack is packed with stellar songs from the late ’60s. According to Mary Ramos, Quentin Tarantino’s longtime music supervisor, the process for selecting songs for one of his films starts in a record store—which happens to be in his Hollywood home. What Ramos describes as Tarantino’s “record room” looks like a vinyl boutique, with LPs separated into bins labeled by genres like soul and soundtracks. “In the past, when we’ve started preparation,” she says, “he invites me over and I madly scribble as he’s talking a mile a minute and pausing to put the needle down on records. Everything starts in his record room.”

The major difference with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was the time frame. For his poetic-license retelling of the intersection of Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, the Charles Manson posse, and fictional actors played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, Tarantino didn’t want any of the music heard in the film to go beyond one year (1969, when the film is set). Although they were approached by several name acts to record covers or – in the case of Lana Del Rey – offer up their own material, Tarantino stuck with his time-capsule idea. “Nothing later than 1969, some things from before,” Ramos says. “He was a bit more anachronistic with this. He wanted to stay very specific to the period.”

The Hollywood soundtrack features plenty of classic-rock types (the Rolling Stone, Bob Seger, Neil Diamond), but we asked Ramos to dig into some of the deeper-cut moments in the film. To continue reading this article, which first appeared in Rolling Stone, click here.

Tarantino’s latest movie, set in 1969 Los Angeles, mixes fictitious characters with actual celebrities, TV series, films and landmarks of the era, as it tells the story of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an invented TV star, and his equally made-up stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

In Tarantino’s alternate reality, Rick lives in Benedict Canyon on Cielo Drive, next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), a real-life ingénue who was eight and a half months pregnant and wed to the Polish director Roman Polanski when she was brutally murdered along with other houseguests by members of the cult led by Charles Manson. 

Here’s a glossary to sort out the real references from the fake ones.

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead!)

The Manson-adjacent movie has resurfaced the story of a man who has fascinated and horrified America since he and his “family’s” murder spree in 1969. Here’s what to read from a New York Times list if you want to learn more about Manson and his crimes.

David Crosby: Remember My Name

Last Monday night, Washington Post movie critic Anne Hornaday joined me for my presentation at the Smithsonian where we discussed the impact the 1970 documentary on Woodstock had on the legacy of the most-famous mud and myth rock festival of the 1960s.

Hornaday was a huge music fan (especially of the Who) before she became a film critic, which may partially explain why her reviews of music documentaries are so insightful. Of course, the main reason for her success is that Anne is a great analyzer and a powerfully descriptive writer no matter what type of film she is reviewing.

Tonight, I saw the new film David Crosby: Remember My Name and here is Anne’s review to help you better understand the film if you should decide to see it.

By Ann Hornaday

Washington Post Movie critic

Rating:     (3 stars)

“David Crosby: Remember My Name” was one of the breakout hits at Sundance this year, and understandably so: In this film, the pioneering folk-rock musician — who will turn 78 in a couple of weeks — emerges less as a lion in winter than a tiger in full attack mode, as often as not against himself.

Haloed by a nimbus of cottony white hair, still sporting the walrus mustache he made chic in the 1960s, Crosby presents a reflective, irascible, observant and irresistibly candid figure in a documentary that ostensibly chronicles one of his many comeback tours but becomes something far more introspective. “Remember My Name” joins a cohort of nostalgic music movies that have glutted theaters this summer, and it spares few musical pleasure points: When Crosby reminisces about forming the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, those glorious harmonies burst forth with the same exhilarating abandon baby boomers thrilled to when they heard them for the first time.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Charles Manson and ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’

July 25, 2019 by Neely Tucker

This story is adapted from an issue of the Library of Congress Magazine.

Charles Manson scarcely appears in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” the new Quentin Tarantino film. But the Manson family’s murderous home invasions on the nights of Aug. 8 and 9, 1969, give the film its narrative tension, and Manson’s aura hangs over the entire film, as it should. The story of his band of hippies turned killers – mostly wayward young women with a penchant for drugs, sex and knives – has transfixed the nation for half a century, in a way that few other crimes ever have.

The slayings – seven people were butchered, including actress Sharon Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant — were a horror show that brought the excesses of the decade into glittering focus. The nation, transfixed, looked at the killings and saw the larger society unraveling. Hippies, drugs, guns, celebrity, violence, racism, counterculture revolution. It all blew up into the madness of a man who wanted to ignite an apocalyptic race war by killing rich white people and framing black people for it.

Front page of Los Angeles Times, Dec. 6, 1969, with headlines designed to generate street sales.

The Manson murders, Joan Didion famously wrote, ended the ‘60s. “Helter Skelter,” prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s frightening book about the killings, is still the bestselling true-crime book in U.S. history. All three of Manson’s female co-defendants were sentenced to death, likely the most women condemned to die in one incident in North American jurisprudence since the Salem witch trials in 1692. (All five death sentences in the case, including Manson’s, were later commuted to life in prison following a U.S. Supreme Court decision.)

Sharon Tate, on the cover of Look magazine, Sept. 5, 1967. Look Collection, Prints & Photographs Division.

As the number of books, pop songs, films, documentaries and based-on novels  blossomed over the years, Manson became the primogenitor of the “killer with something to say” trope, the idea that there’s this darkly intelligent madman who’s onto something about the quivering underbelly of the American dream. Like he was the Joker from Batman, brought to life. Reporters flocked to his jail cell for interviews. He was profiled on the cover of Rolling Stone in a 30,000-word story that dubbed him “the most dangerous man alive.” His image — greasy black hair, grungy beard, the “X” he cut into his forehead before his trial — was emblazoned on T-shirts and posters. Guns N’ Roses recorded one of his songs. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails made a music video in the house where Manson’s followers killed Tate and her friends. Rocker Marilyn Manson used the killer for half of his stage name.

“I am what you made of me and the mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society,” Manson said after his conviction. “Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind’s eye my thoughts light fires in your cities.”

He died in prison in 2017, at age 83.

Manson’s hold on the national imagination is preserved in the Library in several ways – courtroom sketches, books, newspaper archives, recordings – the most notable of which is the iconic drawing by the legendary courtroom artist William Robles. Robles spent every day of the nine-month trial sitting a few feet away from Manson, who, as he remembers, “terrified people.” Once, when Robles accidentally knocked over his sketching materials, making a clatter, he looked up to see Manson suppressing a giggle, playfully running one index finger down the other: The “shame on you” gesture.

“I could see how people were attracted to him,” Robles said in a recent interview. “He had an appeal, a warmth.”

It’s not as crazy a contradiction as it sounds.

Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have killed one another, often for reasons that can neither be clearly articulated nor understood, and this violent mystery goes to the heart of human nature. Who are we? What are our ultimate taboos, and how do we respond when these are violated? Crime, writ small or large, can therefore become a shorthand, a brutal slash of insight, into the society that spawns it.

The first lines of Homer’s “The Iliad” — the foundational epic of Western literature, composed about 2,800 years ago – describe the murderous “anger of Achilles” that sent many a brave soul “hurrying down to Hades.” The biblical Book of Genesis, another cornerstone of Western culture, says that when the population of the Earth was four, Cain killed Abel, reducing it to three.

The Library’s holdings on the meanings of murder range from ancient manuscripts to Wild West ballads to most everything in between. Some of these reflect the low arts of the “penny bloods,” the wildly popular Victorian-era serial stories that presaged today’s tabloids. Others achieve the status of high art, such as Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” the 1966 story of a multiple murder in Kansas that helped create the true-crime-as-literature-and-social-commentary genre.

Harry Truman, then a U.S. Senator from Missouri, lets U.S. Vice President John Nance Garner handle Jesse James’ guns. Feb. 17, 1938. Photo: Harris & Ewing. Prints & Photographs Division.

The roots of this run deep in the American bloodstream. After the Civil War, the “Wild West” became a mythological landscape, a place where murder, blood and cruelty became a romantic notion. Jesse James, a Missouri-born bank robber and killer, became a cultural icon. Nearly a century after James was gunned down, President Harry Truman, a fellow Missourian, acquired his pistols and playfully posed with them – murder weapons as presidential guffaws.

“It’s always been an American theme to make heroes out of the criminals,” Johnny Cash, who himself made a career from songs of outlaws and prisons, told Rolling Stone in 2000. “Right or wrong, we’ve always done it.”

But it was only after Capote’s lyrical tale of murder in rural Kansas that Americans began seeing nonfiction literature and serious art as appropriate forums with which to address the nation’s violent culture without the gauze of fiction. The “New Journalism” Capote and others practiced on crime reporting became so influential that, today, we take it for granted. Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, Academy Awards – all have all been given to tales of true crime. In 2016, ESPN Films described “O.J.: Made in America,” its Academy Award-winning, eight-hour documentary about the 1990s O.J. Simpson murder trial as “the defining cultural tale of modern America – a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system.”

They might well have been describing the Manson case half a century earlier. Robert Kirsch, the L.A. Times book editor, reviewing “Helter Skelter” upon publication, seized on the crime’s significance. The book, and others like it, he wrote, were attempting to understand the frightening era in which they were living: “To accept these (killings) as simply symptoms of the malaise of the times,” he wrote, “is to abandon the obligations of civilization to rationally address even the most irrational and fearful events.”