Jimi Hendrix. By Bilesky Discos.

The second half of |art| SPACE’s Homage to Flower Power night was dedicated to a screening of a true relic of the Flower Power times, D.A. Pennebaker’s 1968 documentary, Monterey Pop.

Assisted by a small crew, Pennebaker chronicled a zenith of the 1967 “Summer of Love” hippie counterculture movement: the Monterey International Pop Music Festival at the Monterey County Fairgrounds spread over three incredible days during a California June. The legendary gathering featured notable acts of the late 60s like The Mamas & the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, and Jefferson Airplane as well as some lesser-known artists at that time with the first large American appearances for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Ravi Shankar and breakthrough, career-defining performances by Janis Joplin and Otis Redding that just months later for Redding (and three years later for Joplin and Hendrix) would tragically be cut short.

The film opened up with the list of festival performers in order of performance, and in an instant immerses the audience with the vibes of 1967 and the “Summer of Love” showing footage of concert-goers with hair as free-flowing as the drugs, spirit of free-will and love as the theme song of that summer, Scott Mckenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” plays over the now-nostalgic images of the Flower Power generation.

If you’re going to San Francisco

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you’re going to San Francisco

You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

With each exhilarated act from artists like Jimi Hendrix lighting up chords like no one before, literally grinding up on his guitar, and subsequently lighting it on fire, to Janis Joplin’s jolting performance of “Ball ‘n’ Chain” with Big Brother and the Holding Company, it becomes evident how important this event and these performers were to the “Summer of Love”.

As someone born well after the Flower Power movement settled down, but born to a generation that still romanticizes that era, I can only dream of how significant this was, how inspiring it must have been to be apart of a moment like this. To be apart of a summer that would still be celebrated 50 years later as this integral event that came to define a whole generation. This film beautifully embodies the influential music and now-nostalgic emotion of the “Summer of Love” back in ‘67, and immortalizes that time in 16mm film for eternity.

Back in the present, the ‘Professors in the Pub’ were discussing disheartening 21st-century world politics over beers in the room next to us, and it seemed all the more appropriate to do as Scott Mckenzie sang back in ‘67 and “wear some flowers in your hair” regardless if you’re going to San Francisco or not.

I think now more than ever the world could really use another “Summer of Love”.

tl;dr: Monterey Pop (1968, D.A. Pennebaker) – 5/5.