Welcome to the Los Angeles Free Press!
The Original, 1960s, Counter-Culture Icon, and
still the Best Alternative to the Corporate-Controlled Media.

The LA FreeP~ A Real Head Trip for Smart Minds.

ART KUNKIN, FOUNDER

STEVEN M. FINGER, PUBLISHER

To contribute articles and suggestions, apply for an internship, or create an alliance contact: StevenMFinger@LosAngelesFreePress.com

In The Month of Art: Your Introduction


Certainly, it’s no ordinary month – it began on March 28th of this year (2020) and concludes 34 days later on April 30th. Both dates are significant – just days ago, we celebrated his 92nd Birthday with a Virtual (Online) Party, Art was there in spirit, having passed away on the 30th of last April.
The Party was ‘@’ the Beatnik Lounge in Joshua Tree, as it has been for many, many years. This time, tho, it was a Surprise! Party. Not a Surprise! to him, as he surely knew about it – but for all who ‘tuned-in’, each of whom, as always, was a Special Friend.
And their Surprise? FREE Access to this special Series: a unique collection of his own articles, all published in his 1960’s Counter-Culture Icon, the Los Angeles Free Press. Each article is a remark on a remarkable history AS that history is being made – it is truly, and uniquely, ‘of the moment’.
And there is more to this Gift- access not just to his Collection, but to the entire website! So that you can have a 50-year look-back at every year of the LAFreep: The Headlines, the people, the events, the bands…
AND… even more… the Right to Share That – ALL of that – with your OWN Special Friends.
To see the 1st article in ‘The Series of Art Kunkin’, designed especially for ‘The Month of Art’ CLICK HERE.

Dick Gregory on Ho Chi Minh



Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890, on May 19, and passed on September 2, 1969.
Dick Gregory wrote this remembrance for the Quicksilver Times. He first came to the nation’s attention as a “no-holds-barred” comedian mocking bigotry and racism. However, long before that, he served as a civil rights activist. As such, the Los Angeles Free Press often placed him in its pages. Afterwards he was a social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur and, occasionally, even an actor.

Taylor Camp: Free Expression in Community


Diane’s house by John Wehrheim

“The great challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism after you lose your innocence.” —Bruce Springsteen
If we keep our little flame alive, our first feeling of enthusiasm of who we are, without the influence or intervention of others, we will prevail.” —Patti Smith

One morning I walked into my local, non-corporate coffeehouse, deep in thought, fully intending to hunker down and work on my book. A mix of millennials and Boomers were hunched over their laptops doing status updates. Then I saw a friend focusing on his project in the prime window space. After I settled into a spot in the other room, this character came over. The conversation led to the Big Question, and my recent apostasy from a 25 year church membership pushed into that unresolvable riddle: The meaning of life, of my life and the world. We are similar in age and like me, he has forged a new mission after a traditional job/career. He works daily on a mathematical formula that explains the laws of the universe. We engaged in an hour-long conversation on his theories. Then I asked him point blank, “Joe, what is your purpose in writing this paper?” He flubbed around and finally said, “I need to do it.”

Believing that there are no accidents and each path offers value if we can see it, I realized that our conversation led to my dominant question those days: “How do we find meaning in life and sustain a vision, after we have experienced fifty or sixty years and the inevitable disappointments and reality checks?” The topic had been taunting me for a couple weeks. It rose to the surface again a few weeks later, when the manager of a B & B in Maui where I was staying mentioned a recent documentary film about Taylor Camp, a ‘back to nature’ commune in Kauai, Hawaii in the ’70’s. Memories of my first time in Hawaii came forward, it was a time when the hippie culture’s idealism offered quick solutions to life’s basic issues of work, community, war and freedom were sought at Taylor Camp.

In 1976, I accidentally found Taylor Camp while driving around Kauai in a rented camper with my girlfriend. We had escaped to paradise. In love and free of jobs, school, and home—we found heaven on earth. One day a young guy of my tribe knocked on the door of the camper and offered to sell some marijuana. Ahh… total satisfaction. I bought a bag and he invited me to the camp that evening.

The communards welcomed us to their feast and celebration, even though we were complete strangers. We were of the ‘tribe’—young people looking for an alternative to the disillusion and hypocrisy of the post-hippie, post-Vietnam 1970’s America. They shared home-grown dinner, lilikoi and vodka punch, and cannabis (or as we used to say ‘grass’). The evening evolved into a big campfire celebration complete with singing, guitar playing, and drumming. Always a documenter, I made an audio recording of the free-form sing-along, and drum circle. When it ended, I purchased a large quantity of their home grown herbal products. I played that cassette once at home, but then it disappeared forever. Unfortunately, I also lost/forgot that joyous night of spontaneous celebration of life and community.

Fast forward about 35 years to the B & B on Maui. The proprietor’s comment woke up something in me, like a zombie, I opened the doors to this recovered memory. Slowly, I stumbled on an understanding of what my young spirit could teach me for this time of life. Today, I am as free as I was at 25, perhaps freer because the economics of the next month or year or decade are handled. I reflected on that moment at Taylor Camp and felt a deep, hidden yearning I have carried all these years. On the surface it may be seen as nostalgia for youthful freedom from responsibility or perhaps the urge for community or belonging. But for me, it also represented a call to adventure of the unknown, the fresh, the novel and the uninhibited.

Many threads weave through this long-ago experience but for me they all point to the ultimate question, the one that most people have at some time in their lives and the one that my mathematician friend at the coffeehouse is tackling. What is this life all about? How can I revive my sense of purpose in life? And how do I ride its roller-coaster?

The answer is always personal. Eventually, we form our own opinions and solutions to the Question.  It may be in religion, work, pleasure, or family. After sixty, it seems more pressing since the above ‘have tos’ are eliminated and the time left is more limited. My mathematician friend asserted he finds meaning when “the inner self no long feels separate from its experience.” A moment in time at Taylor Camp back in the day was like a floodlight shining on a glimpse of meaning for me . . . free expression in community.

Inner Journey: 

Recall a time when you happened upon a fun and exciting event. Did you jump in and participate? Or did you leave?

What is your opinion about living simply in community? Does it repel or attract?

Action Steps:

Retrace your ‘lost’ youth, and go to a place where you experienced a lot of fun, community, and expression.

[Ed.s’ Note:  RW Klarin’s memoir/ self-help book—Living the Dream Deferred (2015)

is wide ranging as he visits (and, in many cases, re-visits) places and people that were part of an era that is too important to forget – enjoy his journey!]

John Phillips – Remembers Ravi…


John Phillips, Rock Musician remembers Ravi’s sense of simple joy in 1967

“The afternoon concert [at Monterey Pop Festival] belonged largely to Ravi Shankar and his hypnotic, meditative ragas. …
Ravi gave one of the most remarkable performances I have ever witnessed. Within the past year, the exotic sitar sound had wafted into the mainstream of rock. I had visited Ravi at his family’s home in L.A. and discussed paying him for his music school in Delhi. I met his wife, his sisters, and their children. They were the most gentle people. We ate curried dishes with our fingers. Incense burned throughout the simple, modest house in the Hollywood Flat. It was unpretentious and suburban and about fourteen people lived in it.
When Ravi visited 783 [Bel Air Road], we stayed up and cut some demos of us jamming together. Ravi exuded a simple joy when playing and he seemed blessed by supernatural stamina and discipline.”

from Papa John: A Music Legend’s Shattering Journey Through Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, by John Phillips (Dolphin Books/Doubleday, 1986)
Provided by Dana Cook, Contributor to the Los Angeles Free Press.
RW Klarins’ ‘Remembrance’ of Ravi is Ravi Shankar’s Magic Carpet of Passion and Youth

Ravi -Shankar, 7 April 1920 – 11 December 2012

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