Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Psychedelic, man

I’m back now from a weekend in the Catskills with Ched and Lettuce, involving lots of photography and wandering, as well as a couple of trippy, kaleidoscopic encounters with ‘60s-style psychedelia. (Drug free!)

We stayed near the town of Liberty, in Sullivan County, so on Saturday we explored its quaint-if-slightly-depressed downtown and poked into all the corners of the resident antique stores. Since I live in about 400 square feet, I didn’t buy anything. But Ched did, so all the merchants of Liberty should be pleased with us.

On Saturday night we got our ‘60s theme started with a screening of “The Rutles,” Eric Idle’s mockumentary based on the Beatles. Then we ventured into early-’70s territory with “The Ice Storm,” which is a visually beautiful movie, and good for a trio of photographers to watch.

On Sunday we took some twisty back roads to get to the Kaatskill Kaleidoscope, where we lay in a dark room while a funky sound and light show played in a huge overhead kaleidoscope. We were more or less inside the kaleidoscope. That’s where these photos were taken.

We then made a quick side trip to the town of Woodstock, where, like any good middle-aged person, I bought honey and marmalade.

In the evening, we went to the site of the 1969 Woodstock concert, which despite its name is nowhere near the town of Woodstock, but rather in Bethel, in the next county. We were there for “Hippiefest,” an outdoor concert. We lay on the grass and heard from Badfinger, Melanie, The Turtles, Jack Bruce of Cream, and Eric Burdon & The Animals. I was most interested in Melanie, initially, but I enjoyed Jack Bruce and, after some initial skepticism, I warmed up to the Animals too. In fact, everyone sounded really good.

Each band only got to play about four songs, so they pretty much stuck to the hits. Melanie’s set list: “Beautiful People,” “Brand New Key,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Look What They Done To My Song, Ma.” Check out Ched's excellent photos of concert-goers here.

Adding to our adventure, we promptly got lost after leaving the concert, and drove around on some of the darkest, hilliest, windiest roads I’ve ever taken -- featuring hills so steep that you couldn’t see down the other side as you topped the rise. We eventually found our way, as you can surmise from the fact that I’m typing this post. Whew!

Anyway, it was a great weekend. Thanks especially to Ched for all her hospitality! Here’s a one-minute video from the Kaatskill Kaleidoscope, so you can have a mini-psychedelic experience of your own:


  1. Wow. Trippy! Watching the VID I started having flashbacks (not really).

    Thank you for reminding me of The Rutles. I loved that movie so much! Forgot all about it. It's going on my netflix queu asap.

    Glad you had a magical mystery tour - glad you're home safe and sound.


  2. these vids are so fab!

  3. what a great weekend!! thanks for the great account...as you know I was heartbroken not to have been able to join the fun!

    trippy vid indeed!! wild!!

    by the way I did indeed where tie-dye on sunday!! so if I couldn't be with you guys in person, my clothes at least were....

    the ice storm - powerful movie....and a good one to watch during the dog days of august!

    and the rutles....how fun, idle is brilliant

  4. I adore kaleidoscopes. As Reya and I looked at little ones today in Old Town she told me about your trip, so I couldn't wait to see for myself. Didn't Melanie perform at the original Woodstock? She must be getting on up there. Did she do Candles in the Rain? I can just hear the tambourine as she sings "Lay down, lay down, lay it all down". My absolute favorite!

  5. Barbara: Melanie is 61. She was at the original Woodstock, which was the inspiration for "Candles in the Rain." And no, she didn't sing it, which kind of surprised me -- but it has a choral section, so maybe it's too complicated to sing live.

  6. Reya, you are too much : ) And Steve I love your photos and account of the trip, so to speak. I'm such a fan of all performers you saw. Lately I have been listening to a 60's station on satellite. I must have done a few too many Ludes back in my day cause I think I blacked out on Melanie. I haven't thought of her in 20 years and I love all those songs. You guys made me smile first thing this morning. Love from The Prairie.

  7. i like colors swirling

  8. Steve, I love your vid! Thanks for posting it. Would love to have joined you all there. Sounds a fab weekend.

  9. Good grief .. Badfinger ... I haven't thought about them in, well, many years. I remember going to one of their concerts on a long ago date.

    I too, loved Melanie and her different voice. Her songs take me to a certain place and time in my life that I hadn't thought about either in a long time. Just by reading the song titles you wrote down took me on my own little trip backwards in time. Thanks for the memories.