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Trips Festival Movie is Good!

There is a blizzard of stuff out about the '60s right now; extraordinary. Last night I watched The Trips Festival Movie, put together by Eric Christensen, and it was right-on. A welcome take after so many years of media-bashing of the '60s.

Interviews with Stewart Brand, Bill Graham, Roland Jacopetti, Jerry Mander, Mountain Girl, Bob Wier, Ben van Meter about not only the 3-day festival in San Francisco in 1966, but about everything else that was going on in SF at that time.
Everyone interviewed is articulate, and there are a number of insights that made me say, "Hey, yeah…" Someone said that in the early years of the Fillmore and Avalon dances, the performers and spectators were one, and that when the performers later became stars and the bands got successful, all that changed.
Ben van Meter told a story: A young long-haired kid in Kansas is ostracized in his high school, gets beaten up by the football team every so often, hears about Haight Ashbury, and hitches across the country. Gets to the Haight, and it's Nirvana. He meets a pretty girl, they smoke pot, take acid, sleep together, and wander around the neighborhood when it was still wonderful (before the Summer of Love). They go to the Avalon and are dancing under the strobe lights, and the kid extends his hand, looks at his fingers, and wonders where his hand ends and the rest of the world begins.

"It wasn't sex, drugs, and rock and roll," says Mountain Girl, "it was about consciousness expansion, increasing awareness."

"Through a series of informative and entertaining interviews, Christensen’s film explains why a crazed event with 10,000 folks on LSD was able to work: it was organized and run by some very bright and innovative people. Indeed, the alumni from the Trips Festival would go on to play vital roles in communes, be responsible for a surge in growth in the Sierra Club and other like-minded ecological movements, develop the Whole Earth Catalog, create the influential online group, THE WELL, and much, much more.…"

From Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide, New York Times:
The Summer of Love was still eighteen months away when a collective of San Francisco-based filmmakers, musicians, performance artists, entrepreneurs, and futurists planted the seed of the counterculture movement, and that seed was called the Trips Festival. For three full days, attendees at the Trips Festival were treated to a non-stop multimedia rock show comprised of guerilla theater, psychedelic light shows, and Grateful Dead music. Of course the LSD-spiked ice cream didn't hurt in creating a transformative vibe that would resonate throughout the culture in the coming months. In addition to highlighting how the Trips Festival would ultimately become the blueprint for Burning Man, director Peter Christensen and narrator Peter Coyote trace the careers of festival presenter Bill Graham (who forever altered music history by booking the very first rock show at the Fillmore Auditorium), and festival producer Stewart Brand (who not only created the Whole Earth Catalog, but also pioneered the online community the Well).

Tiny House in Remote West Virginia Hills

Lew sent me this link to an elegant little cabin on a remote West Virginia hillside. In many parts of the country you can legally construct a building of under 150 sq. ft. No building inspectors!


"Architect Jeffery S. Broadhurst designed and built this 140sf retreat for his family on a very remote 27-acre mountaintop property in West Virginia, accessible only by off-road vehicle. Built by himself, friends and neighbors, using off-the-shelf materials. Board-and-batten siding and a standing-seam, terne-coated steel roof sit atop a wood platform. A ladder unhitches and swings down, providing access to the entry door. Oil lamps provide light and a woodstove heats the space. Hand-powered, gravity-fed plumbing system, and water is heated using the woodstove. Rainwater from the roof supplies the outdoor shower. The front wall is an overhead-acting aluminum and glass garage door, opening to a cantilevered deck..."


Shallow Leach Fields for Septic Systems/Orenco's Advantek System

(This will only be of interest to people installing or repairing septic systems.)

I retired from publishing info on onsite wastewater disposal with a recent article in Mother Earth News, but I'm still interested in the state of the art. Today I talked to Simon Cartwright, who works for Orenco (at an adjacent booth), the country's foremost manufacturer of septic tank pumps, tanks, and related hardware. He says that typically, in 80% of cases, the soil takes care of pathogens and nitrates, meaning that a conventional gravity-powered tank and leachfield will suffice. But for the other 20%, a more advanced system is necessary. Most commonly in recent years, this has consisted of the "mound system," an expensive and ecologically disruptive method of treatment. Simon adds that with respect to the 80/20 ratio, soil differs from one county to another and you need to check with local officials.

Orenco has come up with the Advantex system, which replaces the the mound with a treatment box with a footprint smaller than a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. From the box (adjacent to the tank), Orenco prefers that the treated effluent flow into a shallow gravel-less leachfield. Simon: "10-12" of soil is where all the action happens." You dig a 10-12" ditch with a shovel, lay a piece of pressure pipe (with 1/8" holes drilled every 2 feet) on the ground. You cover the pressure pipe with a 6" chamber of half-pipe (created by band-sawing a 12" piece of plastic pipe in half); this provides an air chamber above the pressure pipe. Then you backfill with soil. You can check out details on Orenco's website http://www.orenco.com/

The Advantex system has by now been approved in many parts of the country, but for some strange reason, health officials in certain areas have OK'd dispersal via drip systems (great as long as they don't eventually clog), but not dispersal in shallow gravel-less leachfields. Doesn't make sense to me, since the nitrates and pathogens of the effluent have already been treated to a very high level.

Rattlesnakes and Llamas

Sunday morning, our 2nd day at the solar energy festival in Northern California. Last night I had dinner at the bar of the Ukiah Brewing Company and was having a conversation with the guy sitting next to me about wild foods, mushrooms, fishing, and road kill barbecue. Ross Burkhardt, one of the pioneers of small-scale water-driven electric generators, and who I've known for years, was sitting nearby and joined in the conversation. "I just killed a rattlesnake that was harassing our goats," he said. "If you want to come out to my place, you can have it." (He'd skinned it and put it in the frig.) I picked up some ice and followed Ross and his wife out to their place in the hills, where I picked up the snake (going to marinate and barbecue it), saw Ross's latest experiments with generating electricity, and took this shot of llamas silhouetted against the full-moon cloudy night sky.

Middle pic: filet of rattlesnake; bottom pic: church in Hopland, Calif.