Saturday, August 15, 2009

Woodstock: Exclusive Photos Now

When young people ask me about the 1960s I have a standard answer: I was young. I was there. And I pretty much did everything that young people did at that time.
I lived it. And yes, I loved it.
It was an exciting time to be alive and to care about politics, personalities, the environment and the world.
It was a time of high creativity. And it was an age of experimentation.
I joined in the causes. I marched in the marches. And I did my share of experimenting.
It's just that I don't like to talk about it all the time because I've moved on and I don't like to live in the past.
Though I was not at Woodstock I did see Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger and Judy Collins and Peter, Paul and Mary and Phil Ochs and many others in person and I cheered them on. And I got to meet both Jack and Bobby Kennedey (as well as Gene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey) and was at the 1968 Democratic National Convention as a McCarthy volunteer.
But it's done. And it's over. And though much of what happened in the 60s may have been historic, much was also romanticized and blown all out of proportion. And all of it was thrown together. So, we have no way of knowing just how significant it was.
Only history can be the judge of that.
I do know that the Sixties Generation did not change the world. Our dreams were not fulfilled. In many ways, we failed.
And some of the dreams were quite wacky in the first place so I suppose it's OK.
But we were young and we believed and it was wonderful to be young and to be part of it. And I still believe in dreams.
Anyway, today we drove to Woodstock.
The little village of Woodstock is now a kitschy, largely commercialized shrine to an event that actually happened on farmland two hours away from Woodstock. The event simply came to be know as Woodstock because it captured the spirit of this village -- a place that has always attracted musicians and artists. And many of those who played at the Woodstock festival lived in Woodstock.
But to walk around the place now is to see part of one's life reduced to schlock. It's sort of funny and sad at the same time.
Still, the surrounding environment is breathtaking and how can you not like a cozy village nestled amidst the trees, sunflowers and mountains?
Even with all the "junque", it remains picturesque and captivating.
And I suppose we may as well enjoy it while those of us who lived it are still around.
So, here's to Woodstock and To Life!


Sean Schafer said...

Here is a quote that I always for some reason relate to the 60's.

"History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of 'history' it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened . . . There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning . . . And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave . . . So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

Dan Cirucci said...

A wonderful quote, Sean.
I love it.

Anonymous said...

We have stayed at the Woodstock Inn next to the beautiful winding creek that has been captured in movies and song. The town, is well, touristy, but next trip out venture to the Bear Restaurant. Gorgeous setting, good food and relaxing. Gets you ready for your trip home on the frenetic NY Thruway.