Another significant 50th anniversary, but you’re not likely to see any TV specials about it

Screenshots from 8mm home movies of the historic anti-war march on Washington, November 15, 1969. Home movies can be seen at the bottom of this post. Original film courtesy of Bob De Lucia.

This past summer was defined by 50th anniversary commemorations. First out of the gate was the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, a historic event certainly worthy of review. And did it ever get reviewed — TV specials, newspaper inserts, even a commemorative coin issued by the U.S. mint.

Then came August and the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. The Woodstock celebrations were personal for me as someone who had actually gone to Woodstock. More commemorative events and publications. Even a stamp. But no coin as far as I know.

Coming up soon is another significant 50th anniversary event, another one with deep personal meaning for me — the anniversary of the massive Vietnam War Moratorium March on Washington, which took place on November 15, 1969, exactly three months after Woodstock. I was there, too.

Continue reading “Another significant 50th anniversary, but you’re not likely to see any TV specials about it”

The Time Richard Nixon and I Went to the World Series Together

When the World Series rolls around each year, I find myself reliving a very pleasant memory — the time I went to the World Series with Richard Nixon, at the time still serving as President of the United States.

I was a freshman at American University in Washington, DC at the time of the 1969 World Series, the year of the Miracle Mets. Saturday, October 11 was a warm fall day in DC. Game 1 was due to get underway in Baltimore in the afternoon. I was hanging out in my dorm room when one of the guys who lived across the hall knocked, came in, and waggled a handful of World Series tickets in the air. “I scored six tickets for today’s game. Wanna go?”

Continue reading “The Time Richard Nixon and I Went to the World Series Together”

Revisiting where my activism began, and finding a history lesson

Recently, during a brief visit to my hometown — Westmont, NJ — I checked out the site of the old local office of the McCarthy for President campaign. I volunteered for this campaign in 1968 at the age of 16. It was where I got started in activism.

Although the stop by the old campaign office was short, time enough only for a couple of photos, I’ve been thinking about the 1968 campaign itself. Not the small town New Jersey campaign, which was a great experience, but the bigger picture. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it may hold a lesson for us in this presidential campaign season.

Continue reading “Revisiting where my activism began, and finding a history lesson”

Happy anniversary, dear. Look, I got us handcuffs!

Tomorrow is Hiroshima Day, a time to remember the dreadful destructiveness of nuclear weapons. A time to remember that our country is the only country ever to have used these inhuman weapons — twice. And it is a time to rededicate ourselves to the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. There are today still nearly 15,000 nuclear warheads in the hands of nine countries. 

I’ll be hosting a special edition of Other Voices TV about the current state of nuclear weapons and the continuing abolition movement. I’m looking forward to my conversation with Jackie Cabasso, a nuclear abolition activist for over 30 years, and Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of Peace Action. Here are the details. I hope you’ll join me for this forum.

But for this post, I wanted to briefly relate the story of one particular anti-nuclear weapons protest that I participated in because it was particularly memorable.

Continue reading “Happy anniversary, dear. Look, I got us handcuffs!”

Endless summer memories

Florida c. 1966 – ’67 / Hawaii 2006

Nothing but memories here today. No politics. No analysis. No dissent. Just memories plain and simple. Very fond memories.

This has been a banner year to indulge our appetites for celebrating anniversaries, especially those weighty ones like 50th anniversaries. We got off to a good start with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ last public concert, from the roof of Apple Studios. We have just finished (mostly) a celebration of the moon landing, and Woodstock’s 50th lies just ahead.

Continue reading “Endless summer memories”

My throwback weekend

I recorded my part of the narration for the PBS Woodstock 50th anniversary documentary film almost exactly 2 years ago. Exactly was this past Thursday. I finally saw the film this weekend — twice. And participated in 2 Q&A sessions after the screenings, along with the director.

I love the film. (“Of course you do” says everyone.) I think it is a seriously fine piece of historical documentary filmmaking, narrated by the original participants. The film is comprised of 80-90% never before seen footage, shot by Michael Wadleigh’s crew but never used in his epic Woodstock film. And the views are almost all down on the ground with the people, in and of the crowd, not on stage.

The many friends who accompanied me (thank you again!) said they came away feeling they had a whole new idea of what it felt like to be there. It’s an entirely new take on Woodstock.

It’s still opening in theaters around the country. If you went to Woodstock, you should definitely check this out. You might see yourself in the film – “never before seen” footage, right? Check the sked at this link. Coming to PBS in August.

The (Endless Screenings of) Sound of Music

I was recently searching through old movies to find something to stream online. I came across a listing for “The Sound of Music”. It evoked a very specific memory…
Photo Credit: Friends of the Westmont Theater, Inc.

Summer of 1965. I was 13 years old, feverish with the idea of being a teenager and all that I imagined that status would bestow on me.

I was a frequent visitor to my hometown movie theater, the Westmont Theater. I specialized in Saturday afternoon science fiction matinees, but at heart I was a generalist. Comedy, animated, horror. I went to a lot of movies. Continue reading “The (Endless Screenings of) Sound of Music”