Friday, June 15, 2007
MONTEREY POP continued...
In Which We Actually Hear Some Music
Saturday dawned in our camp space with a visit from a brown bear
and a racoon . Evidently they were a team specializing in
breaking and entering with a side of feasting.. The racoon
climbed up the pole to the food locker and deftly removed the
stick which held the latch shut. The bear then moved in and
pawed out the loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. The
racoon tore open the bag of bread quite skillfully and the bear
managed to break open the jar of peanut butter. I was, of
course, the only one awake. I slowly sat up in my sleeping bag
and the bear whipped around and leaned in my direction growling.
I layed down again and waited for them to leave. The bear
smelled like shit. The racoon made chattering sounds as it ate.
We arrived at the fairgrounds, to enter our happy new world.
Incense, campfires, patchouli...yes all the scents of late
sixties paradise were there to waft us over the threshold. We
passed a bunch of teepees with mysterious girls wandering around
with more babies. Yes, there were flutes playing, I swear to
God. The midway area was set up as a sort of long psychedelic
craft market. Painted balloons bobbed in the misty morning light
(oh my god, is that a Dylan lyric ? More like Jimmy Webb). There
were many odd and interesting things for sale. I wanted it all.
Batik banners, silkscreened anti-war posters, strange silver
jewelry of swirling organic knobs studded with porcelain
eyeballs...vaguely satanic . Oh, hippy crafts, where are you now
First up that afternoon was a blues concert. I hated the blues-
but my sister's husband was mad about every freakin' harp solo
and stolen negro song sung mostly by young white guys just out
of college. It bored the hell out of me but it was a huge part
of the music back then. I can appreciate it now a little bit,
but then - forget it. There was something amazing that
afternoon. A little chick in the yellow mini dress took the
stage and began to belt it out like the second coming. It was
the coming out party for Janis Joplin, and it was something. I
remember everyone got up on their chairs and crained there necks
to see just who the hell was making that extraordinary racket!!
And these were folding chairs, so you had to be careful doing
that. It was a true MOMENT...and everyone instinctively knew it.
It really got the festival going and gave a hint as to what was
to come later that night and the next morning.
On the grounds I had odd sightings of famous people. I got a
glimpse of Brian Jones walking around unmolested..he had that
Morrocan layered look going. Later I found out he was there with
Nico. What a couple...it's frightening to think about it. Now
THAT would make a good movie. Also, everpresent was Mickey
Dolenz of the Monkees, dressed in full Souix Indian gear,
including an enormous war bonnet. I imagine it was all rented
from Western Costumers. You always knew where he was by the
chorus of snickering hipsters in his wake.
I knew I was in a different world when I decided to buy a T
It was a good one:deep purple colored with egyptian
heiroglyphics silkscreened in day-glo orange. I had to have it.
I approached the vendor who was wearing tinted grannie glasses
and an old top hat. He had impressive muttonchop sideburns and a
I picked up the shirt. "How much is it ?" I asked.
"How much do you think it's worth ?" he answered, grinning
Now this really threw me for a loop.
"I really think it's neat." (Oh, groan!)
"Do you have anything to trade me for it ? " (What!!!! the!!!
I was completely confused at this point. He caught the goofy
unfocused look on my face and took pity.
"Just give me five bucks"
Sold. To the kid from another planet. To take home to his
homeworld Fullerton. To be worn proudly to that next Doors concert.