Posted on Jul 16, 2015 in All Blog Posts, Calendar, Seasons

Every generation has their own “coming of age” decade. The 1940’s were dominated by Hitler, the Holocaust and Hiroshima. A break from combat involved dancing to the tunes of Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, and Harry James, as couples held each other tight for whatever time they had together. The 1950’s heralded Peace, Prosperity and Possibilities. Kids cut loose to rock n’ roll in safe, serene suburbs. The 1960’s ushered in the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, and escalation of the Vietnam War. It’s no surprise that kids who experienced “duck and cover” air raids with regularity in grade school longed for a return to peace, or at the very least,  a Summer of Love.

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Images by Peter Max

Idealistic youth embraced Flower Power as an antidote to war – to the point of cramming daisies down the barrels of National Guardsman’s rifles. Students fought for peace, a dichotomous notion, while tv shows like Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In skillfully sandwiched stinging political barbs between clever comedy bits. Guests ran the gamut from Bing Crosby to William F. Buckley, Jonathan Winters to President Richard Nixon, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to Sugar Ray Robinson. Everyone wanted to appear “hip” and “in the know”.

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Fashion embraced freedom, as witnessed in André Courrège’s 1964 Space Age collection, which included plastic and metal.

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The bold graphics and primary colors of Piet Mondrian packed a powerful punch in fashion.

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What began as clean lined contemporary graphics

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soon morphed into a psychedelic vortex  of rhythm and swirls as Timothy Leary encouraged youth to “Turn on, Tune in, and Drop Out” with the aid of mind altering drugs.

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Speech lingo included groovy, boss, outta sight, far out, fab, righteous, bummed out, etc. People were tight or tough particularly after toking MJ, which led to scarfing carbs. Legend has it that when “King of Cool” Steve McQueen was nominated for best actor in a leading role in 1966’s The Sand Pebbles, he gave a one word response – Groovy! Even greats like Frank Sinatra took to wearing “love” beads. SummerLove_027

 

To enhance your viewing, a homey rendition of Lennon & McCartney’s All You Need Is Love

 

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Artists Monique and Marielle created images that captured both the free spirit of flower power and the hypnotic hook of psychedelic graphics.

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A simple change in color could morph the mood from vibrant to mellow.

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Hallucinogenics and head tripping went hand in hand…

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as the paisley print from an Indian wall hanging or pattern on African mud cloth sprang to life…

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Several described an acid trip “like falling down the rabbit hole” and indeed Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 paean to psychedelics, White Rabbit, counsels us to “Go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall” referencing Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Since Alice interacts with a talking rabbit, a vanishing cat, uses a flamingo for a croquet mallet, drinks potions, and eats magic mushrooms, one does wonder…  Everyone from Oxford scholars to the Huff Post have grappled pro and con re: the subtext of the children’s tale, so I’ll leave it to your own interpretation.  Another person described dropping acid like “spinning inside a kaleidoscope.” I’ve never dropped acid so I have no frame of reference, but the graphics on some hankies definitely evoke that feeling.

 

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“Who looks outside, dreams, who looks within, awakes.”

Carl Jung

When the Beatles visited Rishikesh, India to study Transcendental Meditation at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, many of their fans followed suit and embraced TM.

SummerLove_057 To me the hankie on the right reflects an abstract version of the Hamsa hand, often found with the image of an eye in the center. Fear of the “evil eye” has apparently existed for centuries, and represents fear of destructive energies like jealousy, hatred and envy. Reference to this amulet/totem/talisman can be found in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism and Christianity as the Hand of Fatima.

 

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As people experimented with consciousness-expanding drugs, they came to view the world and all people as one, which initiated an interest in other beliefs and religions. It also underscored a desire for world peace, for if all people were one, then coalition appeared to be the ultimate solution.

“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliché that must have been

left behind in the 60’s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.”

John Lennon

Rather than espouse a definitive stance politically or socially, this blog is meant to simply observe a decade which had a profound effect on people’s thinking and choices. The graphics provided are a minuscule overview of imagery of this decade. We didn’t even touched on tie-dye, batik, etc. I could never do the 60’s justice in one small blog.

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JUST FOR FUN

Since I live in San Francisco, you won’t be surprised to learn I photographed this van just this week in a nearby parking lot. Note the Grateful Dead teddy bears under the Haight Ashbury sign, the Fab Four beneath the cable car, and overall – flower power.

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Today’s LSD

I found it interesting that in 1994 Timothy Leary wrote in Chaos & Cyber Culture: “The PC is the LSD of the 90’s” (and there’s your tweet for the day; in fact, the PC is the LSD of the milennium). In his words: “Much of the real action is taking place in what is called cyberspace.  People have learned how to boot up, activate and transmit their brains. Essentially, there’s a universe inside your brain. The number of connections inside your brain is limitless. As people have learned to have more direct creative access to their brains, they have also developed matrices or networks of people that communicate electronically. You can just jack yourself in and pilot your brain around in cyberspace – electronic space.” (Written four years before Google was founded, a decade before Facebook, and twelve years before Twitter.)

 

3 Comments

  1. 8-27-2015

    i love the 60s!..my fave..the artwork..the modern..
    well done..beautiful presentation!

  2. 8-29-2015

    All delightful. Thanks for your upbeat message…and the music too!

  3. 8-29-2015

    Wonderful issue as always

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