When I was in town for the East Bay Media Center screening in June, I had the pleasure of spending two afternoons with Ramón and Judy Levy-Sender. Ramón, a musician, writer and artist, is a legendary figure in the Bay Area counterculture. With Stewart Brand, Bill Graham and Ken Kesey, he co-organized the 1966 Trips Festival. With Lou Gottlieb he co-founded the open-door commune Morning Star Ranch. and was later a pioneering member of Wheeler’s Ranch. With two other composers, he also co-founded San Francisco’s groundbreaking Tape Music Center, an incubator for experimental artists like filmmaker Bruce Connor and composer John Cage. Judy is also an artist and writer. I look forward to reconnecting with them in October, when Hippie Family Values screens at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival.
In July, I attended the International Communal Studies Association conference at Camphill Village outside of Hudson, NY. I arrived early for a three-day pre-conference immersion, living and working in the host community of developmentally diverse adults, along with conference goers from Israel to Rwanda. Friday night, the post-screening discussion with this global audience of scholars, activists and community residents underscored shared experiences, challenges and rewards across an incredible range of intentional communities.
A week later, I returned to Yellow Springs, Ohio, where I had spent the summer of 2016 with editor Jim Klein, turning 100+ hours of footage into a rough cut of the film. Yellow Springs was founded by followers of Robert Owen, who established the utopian community of New Harmony. It’s also the home of Jim’s alma mater Antioch College, shaped by visionary president Arthur Morgan, founder of the Fellowship of Intentional Communities (now the Foundation for Intentional Community). A stop on the Underground Railroad, a hotbed of civil rights and anti-war activism in the 60s and 70s, it was the perfect place to edit the film. Our screening at the historic Little Art Theatre packed the house, thanks to this terrific article in the Yellow Springs News.