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gepubliceerd op zaterdag 16 mei 2009

A Time Machine to The Sixties, built by Robert Altman

This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock (august 15, 16 and 17, 1969). This legendary musical festival at the crossroads of the sixties and seventies has been captured both in writing and in recording many many times. You could seriously fill quite a few bookshelves with books on the spectacle that was held on the threshold, or rather 'dawning' of the 'Age of AquariusAge of Aquarius: In popular culture the expression 'Age of Aquarius' usually refers to the heyday of the hippie and New Age movements of the 1960s and 1970s. It is seen by many as the harbinger of a changeover of values associated with the arrival of the Age of Aquarius. The 1967 musical Hair, with its opening song "Aquarius" and the line "This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius," brought the Aquarian Age concept to the attention of audiences worldwide.
Source: Wikipedia

Cover of 'The Sixties' by Robert Altman Cover of "The Sixties" by Robert Altman
Robert Altman's "The Sixties" is a beautiful addition to any bookshelf in its own right. It captures the spirit of the era just like the 5th Dimension-song does. Anyone who has a link with these times, be it directly or indirectly, passed down by parentage or siblings, by their love of the era's music or even from a historic point of view, will be captivated by the strong imagery in this book.

All photos in the book are from between 1969 and 1974. So why is the book called "The Sixties", rather than "The Seventies"? Robert Altman offers the answer to that in the Author's Note: "For many of us 'The Sixties' isn't about the early 1960s of JFK, the British Invasion, go-go boots, or beach blanket romps. For me, 'The Sixties' is the time of Sgt. Pepper, Woodstock, the Summer of Love, be-insbe-in: The Human Be-In was a happening in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the afternoon and evening of January 14, 1967. It focused the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness, and liberal political consciousness.
Source: Wikipedia
, anti-war protests, and everything else in between, including AltamontAltamont: refers to the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969. During a performance by The Rolling Stones, several people were injured and another stabbed to death. Many people see this as the end of the Hippie era.).
I could not have said it any better. It is indeed how most people remember The Sixties. The Sixties started in 1969. It's as simple as that!

"Age of Aquarius" from the movie 'Hair'. Year: 1979. The originating musical is from the year 1969.

The book offers some rare and beautiful photographs that capture the innocence and naiveté of the times, but also the promise of something better to come, the belief of a whole generation that better times were about to unfold. Tina Turner, Jane Fonda, Stephen Stills, Taj Mahal, Timothy LearyTimothy Francis Leary: October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996. An American writer, psychologist, futurist, and advocate of psychedelic drug research.
Source: Wikipedia
, Dennis Hopper, Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, Grace Slick and many many others were all part of that generation. These and many more have found their way into this magical book. And so have group hugs, naked dancing, a hippie bus, anti-war demonstrations ("Fuck the War!") and a Black PantherBlack Panther Party: African-American organization established to promote Black Power and self-defense. Active in the United States from the mid-1960s into the 1970s, they were deeply involved in local comunities. The Party was an auxiliary of the greater movement. This so-called Black Power Movement was one of the most significant social, political and cultural movements in U.S. history. They were mostly noted for their provocative rhetoric and militant posture.
Source: Wikipedia

Some names and faces may not be as well-known and familiar in other parts of the world and the book's point of view is distinctly American. That however does not make it any less enjoyable to audiences in other parts of the world.

The imagery in "The Sixties" is really strong and takes you right back. This book is a Time Machine, a happy Time Machine, built by a great engineer by the name of Robert Altman.


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