Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Monterey Pop Hipster

Although my focus is more on 90s era hip-hop and R&B, I am a closet 1960s psychedelic and folk rock fan. In my first year of college, I went through a huge 60s phase, where I obsessively delved into the careers of some of my favorite acid rock stoner hippie brethren. I would listen to tracks by The Kinks, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, S and Garfunkel, and others over and over and over again until I had my never-ending fill. Yes, I was definitely a closet fan, of the rabid breed. It got stale after awhile, and I made an equally devoted transition to early 70s punk, but whenever I hear a 60s psychedelic song I get a slight twinge.

A couple of nights ago I stayed up late to watch the 1968 concert film Monterey Pop and I wasn't disappointed. The performances, such as Ravi Shankar's stateside debut, Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar into a ball of flames, and The Who smashing their instruments to shreds, are super duper raw.

Photographers at the festival, especially Tom Gundelfinger O'Neal, introduced the nation to a whole new youth movement that had previously existed on the fringes (Monterey Pop took place a whole two years before the infamous Woodstock fest). I was really drawn to Gundelfinger's snapshots because they captured more than just the events and performances, they captured the movement. The fashion, the energy, and the freedom these kids were experimenting with are all caught on camera, and I'm loving it!

Looking back at these shots, I couldn't help but think of my modern day hipster brethren and smile. Seriously guys, looking at these shots makes me feel like I'm taking a stroll down Bedford Ave, what with the abundance of vests and leopard prints, bangs, and furry headgear.

I mean, LATFH (if you don't know what that means... google it!)! I hate them, but seriously sometimes you gotta give props where they are due, because this guy has inadvertently done his homework and payed homage to the original 60s hipsters.

Enjoy the rest of the shots from the festival of yore below!

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