Friday, August 14, 2009

Getting Woodstock right

I promised to post something about Woodstock that was more authentic than the blah-blah-blah we've all heard for 40 years. But being in the throes of unemployment, temporary housing and suchlike, the thing I wanted to post is buried deep in boxes in storage.

But not to fear: A friend from that era, Tom Henehan, was interviewed for a story that, in my mind, got it right.

That's Tommy in the red circle, at a gathering of campus folkies a couple of years ago. I'm second from the left in the upper row. We got the guitars out and made some wonderful music. But he's the one who got Woodstock right. Click and enjoy.

(Thank god for Facebook!)

4 comments:

Tom Henehan said...

Second from the RIGHT in the upper row, not from the left...

Mike said...

I was trying to be better looking ...

David James said...

Hey Pete - I'm http://tiompanista.wordpress.com/ and http://rivercityactivist.blogspot.com/

If you're interested, I can put you on the author's roll on either.

For those interested, I find The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America by Jules Witcover (1997 Time Warner) stimulating to the memory. It's the "deadest-on," especially on matters touching my own nervous flipping back and forth between Kennedy and McCarthy, the Dick Gregory march, and the whole of the Chicago Convention.

I wasn't at Woodstock, but I was in Chicago and marched with Dick Gregory, got my requisite dose of gas from cops for whom--and for their sons and daughters--I later played Irish music in South Chicago bars. Then got the hell out of there and helped the Chicago Peace Council bail folk out of Cook County Jail.

I had some good chats one night in Keegan's, 107th and Western, with a guy who came in wearing a T-shirt that read, "My father kicked your father's ass in 1968" (or something close to this--I don't remember the exact words).

Mike said...

You know, David, 1968 was pivotal but 1969 was a whole lot more fun. I didn't go to Chicago because I was at the pre-season scrimmage on May 1 and it was pretty clear that pacifism and bearing witness wasn't going to be the order of the day that summer. As Phil Ochs said on his Vancouver concert album, "There were many people who didn't come to Chicago. At one point, everyone wanted to come to Chicago, and then it got very scary and nobody wanted to come to Chicago and five thousand of the 300,000 showed up."

I felt sorry for the folks from outside the Midwest who went there not knowing what was going to happen. The locals I knew were well aware of what was going to happen.

Met Dick Gregory a couple of decades later. Nice fellow. As for the cops, one of my most vivid memories of May was the utter dismay and helplessness on the faces of the cops who weren't rioting -- they were desperately demoralized and really trying to help us be safe from their fellow officers. I have no idea how those poor guys made it through the Convention.