Thursday, June 27, 2013

40th Anniversaries

We just completed the 39th Annual Bike Across Kansas. Last year was the 40th Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield. Music festivals, bike rides, and assorted fairs and unusual events all over the country are celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year, last year, or next year.  Louise and I were married in 1971 and started our black and white photography business in 1973. 

The question is what was it about the early 1970’s that spurred all this creative activity?

There were a large number of people who came through the counter-culture of the late 1960’s, or were on the fringe of that movement, who were and are committed to not living boring lives as they had seen their parents doing.
They wanted to ride bicycles long distances, hold days-long music festivals and have art fairs. Large numbers of these events started in 1972-1974 are still going and are bigger than ever, usually attended by the same people every year.

Which brings up the question, what are young people doing now? The obvious thing is paying off student debt. It is pretty hard to start a music festival when you owe $75K in student loans. 

Student debt and the high cost of higher education are right up there with health care costs when it comes to national crisis. Both things have the potential to wreck our quality of life for generations by sapping resources that could and should go to more creative activities.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


My wife and I saw “Hair” last weekend at the Kauffman Center. We had seen it before about 40 years ago. For the uninitiated, Hair is a Broadway musical that was first produced in 1968. It was at the time a contemporary snapshot of the emerging counter-culture, sometimes called the hippies.

I was not an active participant in this movement, but more of an eye-witness, since I turned twenty in 1968. 

There was a pretty good size group of people around the world that actually thought we could build a better world around the values of peace, love, happiness, and freedom. Some of these people were Christians who desired to live a first-century Christian life-style of community, sharing, and working together. Most were not Christians, but aspired to these same ideals.

Even though this period was short, from about 1967 to maybe 1973, it inspired some of the greatest music and art of the twentieth century. The movement could have been more successful and long-lived but Satan realized he had to squelch it in the bud to keep this “Peace and Love” thing from taking off and brought out his biggest weapons.  He used drugs, and to a lesser degree unbridled sex, to take out the heroes and disgrace the counter-culture.

I often wonder how the world would have been different if drugs had not taken their toll. Would this country still have been involved in almost continuance warfare since Vietnam? Would the people of this generation still be so hedonistic and materialistic? It turns out that we are still human and working for the benefit of each other, living in peace, love, and community can only be accomplished through the faith and the grace of God.