Today I received a link to a recently completed video of a 20 minute interview with me about my time living on hippie communes, conducted by Kip Baldwin of S.O.U.L Documentaries, and recorded at the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Academic Conference in downtown San Francisco in the last week of July, 2017.
Loved this interview, Alicia! You are always so observant and articulate, it’s such a pleasure to hear our experience at Wheeler’s Ranch encapsulated so accurately. It was all about taking the cement out of our lives, with the abrasion of man-made accoutrements removed … no street lights, no sidewalks, no lawns, no rules… and we found a natural order was already in place, buried by Man’s heavy footprint. We could see at night by moonlight, we could sense a gathering, and it grew on its own, which is the way I remember sweat lodges… mostly on full moons… ( Helene dancing) and more… friendships still bonded today… though some important clairvoyants have moved on… would love to see you…
I wanted you to know that your S.O.U.L. interview brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy, not sadness. Incredible that you are still able to tell the story. And the interviewer really didn’t get it, in my opinion! Blew me away that your cousin was married to John Fahey as he has always been one of my favorite guitar players and most people don’t even know about him.
Barbara Light Lacey
Singer-songwriter and Author
I like having a container for the stories surrounding the movie, “Living on the Earth – The Musical.”
Here is the page where I have posted the professional reviews, the history of the live performance, the story of how the movie came to be made, where my performance costume came from, my other videos on Vimeo, and where to find my and Ramon’s books and music.
Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/LOTETM/
My dear friend, celebrated director/screenwriter SJ Chiro, who, right now, is launching her latest masterpiece, “East of the Mountains,” just took the time to review my first, and most likely, only, movie, “Living on the Earth – The Musical.”
Here is what she wrote:
I watched Alicia Bay Laurel’s one woman show, “Living on Earth – The Musical,” with rapt attention. The 1-hour-47-minute running time flew by.
As a child of her contemporaries, growing up on one of the communes on which Alicia herself lived in her early years, I listened as she unwrapped her history, a history I had never known. Tales of when she was a girl. The experiences which shaped her, including a fraught relationship with her mother.
As children, we only know what we experience of people in the present. I saw adults who had already made the decision to break with their straight, uptight parents and go back to the land, living simply and illegally, eating brown rice and vegetables communally, and walking down long dirt roads with bare feet. This was their present, but how did they get here? And now that they were here, what did living on the land mean to them? What were they eschewing? Why had they created a new paradigm?
Alicia tells the answers to these questions, and more, as she sings and plays her guitar in the style that brought me back to my childhood, her mellow voice, sometimes soothing, sometimes full of energy. I saw a portrait of a strong-willed and clever independent teenager who lit out for San Francisco and eventually made her way North to Sonoma County.
Always energetic and creative, Alicia decided to make a book illustrating Life on the Land. She called it Living on the Earth and it was surprisingly a huge success. As a young woman she was suddenly famous, and had money. A lot more money than most of the people around her. Alicia doesn’t shy away from honestly recounting how this imbalance caused some problems and resentments among her peers, but the show keeps on truckin’.
Soon Alicia is in Hawaii and other locales. The stories keep coming. At one point, she is joined on stage by her great long-time friend and collaborator Ramón Sender Barayón. How beautiful to see two artists who have known each other for so many years, respect each other’s company and make music together.
Some of Alicia’s rawness may shock, some inspire laughter, some elicit “Wow!”s from the audience. That is the glory of the unvarnished truth of a lifetime, and we are so lucky to get to hear all this from the master artist Alicia Bay Laurel.
Director East of the Mountains
Director Lane 1974
East of the Mountains” is available from practically all Video on Demand outlets . It’s poetry in cinema.
Here is a particularly wonderful review:https://www.rogerebert.com/…/east-of-the-mountains…
Here’s the link to see “Living on the Earth – The Musical.”https://vimeo.com/ondemand/livingontheearthmusical/
Here is the link for the online event, which is free, and available to viewers both on and off Facebook:
Here is the link for the movie:
The trailer is already available at the same link.
There is a modest paywall of $7.50 US to “rent” the movie for 48 hours.
The movie will remain available on Vimeo for a few years, at least.
The autumn equinox event will include Q&A with Alicia about the movie (so please see the movie first), as well as about the two new editions of her 50-year-old books, Living on the Earth and Being of the Sun. She might tell some stories that aren’t in the movie, too.
Alicia will create and send (via email) free illustrated, personalized book inscriptions (normally $10 each) for either of these books if purchased from the Indigo With Stars online store during the event.
Here are the links to purchase the books:
Please send the names to be inscribed, the email address of the recipient of the inscription page, and any special message you’d like included, to Alicia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a time zone converter to help determine when the event will occur in your time zone:
Monday! Monday! THIS Monday! I am sooooo excited about this!The truly, utterly divine work of my friend and lifetime shero Alicia Bay Laurel is coming to LIFE in a video. A musical, no less! I would not miss this for the world. Join the celebration!
Beth Owl’s Daughter
Author, Writer, Seer,
Durham, North Carolina
I watched the trailer, and I think your film is going to be incredible. You are such a wonderful storyteller, as I learned the day we spent walking around the arboretum and talking. And you are so funny! I will watch the movie once it comes out. What a wonderful story about how the movie came about with Luis Olano.
Barbara Light Lacey
I loved Living on the Earth and have followed Alicia Bay Laurel a bit, but had not heard of this new work. I count myself incredibly lucky to ended up at Star Mountain, and the amazing communities in the area in the very early eighties. My life was forever changed by those times, and I am so grateful. Thanks for the recommendation.
Alan and I watched the movie last week. Wow! I love it! I enjoyed hearing your story and songs. It brought up many memories – a lot was familiar to me, but some was not and your story tied it all together. I’m glad I was able to see it – thanks for sending me the link! Your art is continuing to evolve and expand!
Santa Cruz, California
I first met Art at my first Renaissance Pleasure Faire, when it was still a fundraiser for Pacifica Radio’s Los Angeles station, KPFK. A couple of years later, he offered me my first real job – doing graphic layout at the Freep in the summer of 1966. There, based on conversations with friends also working there, I plotted my course to the Haight-Ashbury, where my real life began. A letter I sent to these same friends from Ann Arbor, Michigan, which they placed in Letters to the Editor unbeknownst to me, resulted in a write-up by Joan Didion in the Saturday Evening Post in January 1967, titled “Alicia and the Underground Press.” The no-computer layout skills I acquired at the Freep served me well in creating the first edition of Living on the Earth in 1970.
Art and I remained in touch over the years, and I saw him again when he was in his 90s in Joshua Tree, California.
Echo Point Books & Media, of Brattleboro, Vermont, expects to release the book in July 2021. Pre-ordering the book is available here.
In 1973, Ramón recorded himself and Alicia performing some of the songs, chants, drone pieces and improvisations in the book. In 2013, Alicia had these archival tapes remastered to create an album, Songs from Being of the Sun.