Counterculture Kaleidoscope: Musical and Cultural by Nadya Zimmerman

By Nadya Zimmerman

Forty years after the actual fact, Sixties counterculture—personified via hippies, protest, and the summer time of Love—basks in a nostalgic glow within the well known mind's eye as a turning element in smooth American heritage and the tip of the age of innocence. but, whereas the period has turn out to be synonymous with uprising and competition, its fact is far extra complex.

In a daring reconsideration of the past due sixties San Francisco counterculture stream, Counterculture Kaleidoscope takes a detailed examine the cultural and musical practices of that period. Addressing the normal knowledge that the circulation used to be grounded in uprising and competition, the booklet exposes myths: first, that the counterculture was once an equipped social and political move of progressives with a shared time table who antagonistic the mainstream (dubbed "hippies"); and moment, that the counterculture was once an blameless entity hijacked through commercialism and reworked over the years right into a motor vehicle of so-called "hip consumerism."

Seeking a substitute for the now universal narrative, Nadya Zimmerman examines basic resource fabric together with tune, paintings, well known literature, own narratives, and firsthand ancient bills. She unearths that the San Francisco counterculture wasn't attracted to commitments to factors and made no organization with divisive issues—that it embraced every little thing quite often and not anything in particular.

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Additional resources for Counterculture Kaleidoscope: Musical and Cultural Perspectives on Late Sixties San Francisco

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The members of the band were schooled in many traditions: the rhythm section had previ- ously backed Chicago blues legend Howlin' Wolf, guitarist Mike Bloomfield had already been featured on Dylan's elec- trified "Like a Rolling Stone," and together, the band had backed Dylan at the controversial 1965 Newport Folk Festival. In contrast, the homegrown San Francisco bands, for the most part, had a different musical schooling. They consisted of players trained in folk music traditions, with some jazz thrown in, who were groping for a new electric rock music sound.

Qxd 2/14/2008 5:02 PM Page 5 sible for a white, often racist, outlaw group to be a real pres- ence on the streets, a black hyperracial outlaw group to be lauded in imagery, and somewhere in between, a seemingly peace-loving, nonracist, nonparticipatory counterculture to thrive. Cultural theorist George Lipsitz has examined the multi- ple ways that white people and white cultures (like the coun- terculture) rely on racial stereotypes (both black and white) to shape their own identities. "'12 Much like exoticism, racialized cultural and musical codes re- veal information not so much about the people and traditions being evoked but about how a culture perceives race in rela- tion to itself.

Counter- culture participants, for the most part, were neither members of, nor active contributors to, the black power movement. And throughout the late sixties, the headlining acts at the Fillmore Auditorium (and at the Avalon Ballroom-the countercul- ture's other main musical venue) consisted predominantly of white performers, with a few significant exceptions like Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, and Ritchie Havens. Racial politics required people to pick sides (for example, an active integrationist agenda or a deliberate call for racial ex- clusivity/separatism), asking for the very commitment and alignment that an outlaw culture, outside of traditional boundaries, would resist association with.

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