Flashing on the 60s
By Lisa Law
First-hand view of 60s icons by the photographer/interviewer who became an icon herself.
In this engaging document of the times, award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker Lisa Law uses 28 interviews with 1960s 'icons' to expand and explain the marching orders for a whole generation: 'make love not war,' 'tune in, turn on, drop out,' 'Question Authority.' Perhaps as much as anything, Interviews with Icons serves as a direct rebuttal to the revisionists of recent years who debate the relevance and legacy of the '60s and challenge the efficacy of the counterculture and the 'revolution' which it advocated and idealistically pursued. It would seem, now, looking back, that time, science, and history have substantiated the '60s advocates' claims. In almost every interview there is mention of ecology and expansion of consciousness; as Paul Krassner says, 'Sex, drugs and rock & roll were only the visible signs of what was basically a spiritual revolution', or as Lenny Bruce said: 'People are leaving the Church and going back to God.' The 'We' generation's representatives reminisce on everything from communes to the bomb, from Native Americans to LSD, from the death of JFK to the death of rock & roll- all singing the epoch's praises to the melodies of its songs while 'flying their freak flag high.' These through-lines, and the expanded soulful remembrances that support them, serve as a mirror held up to the era and its participants who witnessed the coming together of evolutionary and revolutionary forces. 'A social epiphany,' as Ginsberg calls it. Or, as Ram Dass says, 'It was a time when we realized that process and product were the same thing, and that Love is a stronger power than fear. We were looking at the world with fresh-washed eyes.'
Collected here are not only philosophical musings, but some great personal stories such as Dennis Hopper's telling of Dylan's writing 'The Ballad of Easy Rider,' or Viet Nam vet Craig Preston's account of his homeless life in Golden Gate Park. The book not only contains a gala of famous names (Leary, Fonda, Ginsberg, Taj Mahal...), but also chronicles many of the behind-the-scenes characters and movers-and -shakers from the flowerpower years (Mountain Girl, Jahanara Romney, Viola Spolin, Ron Thelin, Rick Klein...) who have equally integral stories