Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sex, Drugs, Music, Mud - Woodstock at 40

Reviews of "The Road to Woodstock" by Michael Lang, "Woodstock Revisited" by Susan Reynolds and "Woodstock" by Brad Littleproud and Joanne Hague:

No social phenomenon can be completely analyzed, thoroughly critiqued, and given its full philosophical due in just one word. Except Woodstock. Altamont.

And that--except for the shaded sidebar containing the titles of the reviewed books--should be the end of this book review. However, the long weekend of August 15-17, 1969, was one of the great where-weren't-you? moments of recent history. Along with 202,177,000 other Americans, where I wasn't was at Woodstock.

Though it was not for lack of trying. I was 21 and smitten with a girl--call her Sunflower--from exotic Massapequa, Long Island. I had come by motorcycle from Ohio with the idea of Sunflower riding pillion to a "Woodstock Music and Arts Fair" which, according to a poster in a record shop back in Yellow Springs, was "An Aquarian Exposition" featuring "Three Days of Peace and Music." I pictured something on the order of a wind chime sale with evening hootenannies and maybe a surprise guest appearance by Mimi FariƱa.

Sunflower, alas, chose the Sunday prior to make a feeble gesture at doing away with herself. (Such feeble gestures were more or less obligatory among fine arts major co-eds in those days. There was a bridge at an Ohio women's college from which at least one art student per semester would plunge.

Continued here (The Weekly Standard, dated 22 August 2009)