hey i was at the gathering, believe me it was an
alternative community in action
--- email@example.com wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 15:12:34 -0700
> From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Like, Wow, Man
> Like, Wow, Man
> Pubdate: Wed, 03 Jul 2002
> Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
> Copyright: 2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
> Contact: email@example.com
> Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
> Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/265
> Author: Nahal Toosi
> LIKE, WOW, MAN
> 60s-Style Gathering Brings Peace, Pot, Nudity to
> 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
> 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
> "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,
> "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
> 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
> 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
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