Re: [sixties-l] Like, Wow, Man (fwd)

From: ARON KAY (
Date: Sun Jul 28 2002 - 22:30:10 EDT

  • Next message: "[sixties-l] The Port Huron Statement at 40 (fwd)"

    hey i was at the gathering, believe me it was an
    alternative community in action

    --- wrote:
    > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    > Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 15:12:34 -0700
    > From: radtimes <>
    > Subject: Like, Wow, Man
    > Like, Wow, Man
    > Pubdate: Wed, 03 Jul 2002
    > Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
    > Copyright: 2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    > Contact:
    > Website:
    > Details:
    > Author: Nahal Toosi
    > LIKE, WOW, MAN
    > 60s-Style Gathering Brings Peace, Pot, Nudity to
    > U.P.
    > Watersmeet, Mich. - In this temporary society, the
    > weed is plentiful and
    > ready for sharing. Luxury includes sleeping on
    > bug-infested grounds in the
    > woods and not showering for days. Women meander
    > topless; men try on flowery
    > skirts.
    > Maybe the creek full of naked people bathing and
    > dancing describes this
    > society best. Maybe it's the guy called Toonie
    > Giggles Bubblicious, who
    > wears garish eye makeup and hangs out in Fairy Camp.
    > "Welcome home," brother, sister, whoever you are,
    > the thousands of
    > gatherers in Ottawa National Forest say. The Rainbow
    > Family of Living Light
    > is holding its annual Gathering of the Tribes for
    > World Peace and Healing
    > in this wooded area in Michigan's Upper Peninsula -
    > a spiritual high for
    > some members and a major headache for law
    > enforcement.
    > "This is the heart of the counterculture," said
    > Barry Sacharow, a
    > 47-year-old community activist from Hollywood, Fla.,
    > who spends time
    > offering tours of this makeshift city. "There's a
    > membership card that you
    > need. It's not really a card. It's a belly-button."
    > Born out of the anti-war movement and now in its
    > 31st year, the gathering,
    > expected to number up to 20,000 people by today, has
    > been held all over the
    > country. This year, with U.S. Forest Service
    > officials keeping close tabs,
    > the Rainbow Family, a non-organization with
    > non-members and no leaders,
    > arrived just over the Wisconsin-Michigan border,
    > spreading out over several
    > acres about eight miles north of Watersmeet.
    > July Fourth is the main event for the so-called
    > spiritual get-together,
    > when people converge to pray for peace and unity.
    > Some already have been on
    > the grounds for a couple of weeks and may stay for
    > more than a month. Many
    > are teenagers; others have been coming so long
    > they're called elders.
    > Entire families, complete with toddlers and pets,
    > show up.
    > Gathering Called Illegal
    > The Forest Service says the gathering is illegal
    > since the "family" doesn't
    > have a permit. As of Wednesday afternoon, some 47
    > people were arrested, and
    > more than 200 cited for drug-related offenses,
    > illegal gathering, traffic
    > violations and more.
    > The law enforcement hardly deters the Rainbow
    > gatherers, many who refuse to
    > get permits simply on the principle that the forest
    > belongs to everyone.
    > Along a three-mile trail, the gatherers have
    > established more than 100
    > "kitchens" and "communities" with names such as
    > Brew-Ha-Ha, Turtle Soup and
    > Fairy Camp (mainly gay males, but all are welcome).
    > People sleep in tents, tepees, hammocks and on the
    > ground. They dig small
    > trenches for bathroom use. Using logs, the
    > participants build tables and
    > shelves and cook vegetables in large pots and pans.
    > Several participants
    > have built a small water filtration system next to
    > the creek.
    > The work is voluntary, and pretty much everyone
    > pitches in at some point;
    > the mainly vegetarian food is donated or bought with
    > contributions. In the
    > evenings, gatherers sit in a "dinner circle" and eat
    > the results of the
    > day's labor. By Wednesday afternoon, the Forest
    > Service estimated, about
    > 7,000 people had arrived at the forest.
    > "People make eye contact and say hello to each
    > other," said Brian Reilley,
    > 36, a systems administrator from Massachusetts who
    > is at the annual
    > gathering for the first time. "You kind of miss that
    > in everyday life."
    > Rabbi Chayim Levin lives in Jerusalem - not exactly
    > a stress-free zone. He
    > rests with a guitar on his lap under a tent just off
    > the rock trail. He
    > wears a yarmulke, blue-rimmed glasses, shorts and a
    > black T-shirt that says
    > "Stop Police Brutality." Friends surround him,
    > smoking.
    > "I come out here and I get some peace," said Levin,
    > 49. "I'm sitting with
    > my brothers and sisters - enjoying their company."
    > The trail is dotted with signs and artwork. One
    > abstract painting looks
    > like the head of a wizard. A sign tells passers-by
    > to take the yoga lessons
    > offered at one camp. A banner speaks of positive
    > group behaviors: harm no
    > living thing; use no soap within 50 feet of water
    > areas; be responsible for
    > pets.
    > Plenty of Alternatives
    > The "Granola Funk" theater is set up for live
    > entertainment. There's a
    > medical center, where alternative medicine is pretty
    > much the only
    > alternative. The Christian-minded have camps, as do
    > orthodox Jews. The Hare
    > Krishnas have a presence. Pot smokers appear to have
    > a stronger one.
    > The whole place stinks.
    > Of feces. Of sweat. Of incense. Of marijuana. The
    > sticky smell stubbornly
    > lingers in the air, exacerbated by heat, thickened
    > by the growing mass of
    > people.
    > There's no dress code, so some people don't bother
    > wearing anything,
    > exposing nipple rings, stretch marks and tattoos.
    > The majority who wear
    > clothes lend credence to the stereotypical hippie
    > image: long, flowered
    > dresses and tie-dye shirts, garnished with beads and
    > body paint.
    > Most of the nudity is found near Sucker Creek. By
    > midday, the water is full
    > of naked people, from preteens to longhaired old men
    > washing their bodies.
    > Several lie on the sand, soaking up rays. One man
    > taps on a drum; another
    > meditates on the edge of the water. Small children
    > play in the mud.
    > Near the entrance to the trail, cars stretch for
    > miles, parallel (and
    > perpendicular) parked on both sides of the road.
    > Their license plates come
    > from all over the United States. Some of the vans
    > look old enough to have
    > been at Woodstock.
    > No Utopia
    > The society that emerges is marked by both a lack of
    > modernization - hence,
    > "the trade circle," where people barter items such
    > as beads and crystals -
    > and a reluctant need for it - some have
    > walkie-talkies, for instance. It's
    === message truncated ===



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