1971 was a big mix of influences. It was the year the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie came out. The French Connection was the big movie that year, winning the Oscar. In September, the first of the presidential crimes that became known as Watergate happened when burglars broke into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrists office to look for dirt to discredit him. The Vietnam War continued to expand although 60% of Americans opposed it. Inflation was 4% and rising in the US and nearly 9% in Britain. Gas was 40 cents a gallon and that movie ticket to see Willy Wonka cost $1.50. The average monthly rent was $150. Walt Disney opened a new theme park in Florida. Jim Morrison died. NPR made its first broadcast and the Pentagon Papers were published, proving to all of America that the Pentagon and the government lies. We might not be able to find you 1971 gas or movie prices, but if you come to the Velvet tonight you can enjoy the tunes of 1971 – including, quite probably, the iconic cover of Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobbie McGee by Janis Joplin and Rolling Stones Brown Sugar.
Poster art, such as this 1971 poster by Ernest Trova, had always been a big part of political movements and continued to be. I thought it might be fun to posterize my photo as an homage to the posters that are so much a part of political messaging. However, I didn't want to mess up that gorgeous mesh dress from AnE, so I am showing the pic twice.
In December, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors and in 1971 President Nixon gave an important environmental speech proposing the Clean Water Act and other substantive measures to improve the environment. In the late 60s, the Cuyahoga River had caught on fire. There was movement afoot and in 1971, Greenpeace was founded to wage a nonstop, global campaign for stronger environmental protections. In 1971, my sister (who was married and had children before I was even born) was living with her young family in a little suburb of Niagara Falls called Love Canal. They only lived there 3 or 4 years, but when my niece’s son was born with birth defects a few years ago, I wondered whether living the first years of her life on a toxic dump played a role. It’s something we will never know. However it is discouraging that 41 years after the first Earth Day in 1970 and 40 years after the national commitment to clean up our planet, we have people conflating local weather with global climate in order to allow industry to continue to degrade the planet and to avoid the changes in our energy use that are urgent and necessary.
1970 was the year the Beatles broke up. Let It Be was #1 and Paul McCartney released his first solo album. All My Children premiered. Bras were burned. The US, France and the USSR were testing nuclear weapons all over the place. The US announced its 500th nuclear explosion. The Chicago Seven were found innocent of inciting a riot. Love Story was the biggest movie of the year. The Who’s Tommy was performed at Lincoln Center. The voting age was lowered to 18 in the US and Casey Kasey’s very first America’s Top 40 was broadcast on the 4th of July. You can enjoy the best part of 1970 – the music – at The Velvet tonight from 7 to 9 pm at the weekly Rock Per Annum event chronicling the music from 1960 to 2012 over 52 weeks.
Come back to 1969 tonight at The Velvet for this 10th in the 52 week Rock Per Annum weekly tour of rock music history. DJ Maht Wuyts will be spinning music from the year 1969 – the year that man walked on the moon and over 350,000 people gathered on a farm in Bethel, NY, for a seminal music event – Woodstock. This was a year of increasing protests against the Vietnam War as the first draft lottery since 1942 was held. It was the year of the Chicago 8 Trial and the Charles Manson murders. Richard Nixon became president and immediately threw away his pledge to end the Vietnam War. Operation Menu, the secret bombing of Cambodia was launched. Meanwhile, the Air Force declared there were no UFOs.
Fashion in 1969 was a little bit of everything. There were officially five skirt lengths that were all “in fashion” from the micro, the standard (formerly known as the mini), the kneesie (for dressing up), to the midi and the maxi. Jersey knits were popular and worning in clinging wrap dresses. Kilts were another fashion hit as were pattern mixing of plaids, stripes and dots. Ethnic bohemian fashion continued to be popular with gypsy tops and long print skirt and granny boots remaining a popular item. Another popular fashion trend that carried forward from 1968 was the Bonnie and Clyde look, thanks to the successful movie. This lead to a resurgence of interest in Art Deco – particularly in jewelry.
“Fashion is self-consciously sociological and frankly featherbrained. It’s classic and immediate. Nostalgic and now. Worldly and other-worldly. Whatever’s happening you are part of it and at last you can be yourself and look as you choose.” English Vogue, 1968
1968 was the year fashion run amok. Hemlines on the runway ranged from the mini to just above the knee to the midi and the maxi. Women wore midi-coats with mini-skirts and minidresses over bell-bottoms. Velvet jumped off the formal rack and raced over to casuals and was seen everywhere. Thrift store chic meant looking like you dressed in a thrift store, not actually dressing in a thrift store. Fashion became not just a way of looking good, but a signifier of political and generational divides. Tonight you can visit the wild and crazy 1968 at The Velvet from 7 to 9 SLT – as Rock per Annum moves forward one more year.
1967 was the Summer of Love and 1968 was the year of sorrow. Martin Luther King was assassinated. So was Bobby Kennedy. The My Lai Massacre revealed that the American soldiers were not always the “good guys” of the romanticized war movies. The Tet Offensive challenged the military superiority of the American army. Richard Nixon is elected president after derailing the Paris peace talks by contacting the North Vietnamese and promising a better peace treaty with him. But it was not a completely horrible year. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute when getting their medals at the Olympics in Mexico. The Civil Rights Act was signed. Yale University opened admission to women. Intel was founded and President Johnson ordered that all computers purchased by the government support ASCII encoding, paving the way for generations of ASCII artists. Elvis made a comeback and the Beatles released The White Album and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In debuted. Continue reading →
1967 was the prelude to the Summer of Love. Rolling Stone published its first issue. Ralph Nader came to the attention of the public with his book “Unsafe at any Speed” which launched consumer activism. Gas was 33 cents a gallon. Radio London started broadcasting. And Scott McKenzie sang “If you’re going to San Franciso,” the anthem calling youth to the Monterey Pop Festival. Resistance to the Vietnam War was growing and Muhammed Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for refusing induction into the army. The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band and the Magical Mystery Tour and Kurt Cobain was born. You can come to 1967 at The Velvet tonight from 7 to 9 SLT as Maht Wuyts continues his Rock per Annum tour of the last 52 years of music.
Inspired by the San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in your Hair) song, I decided to wear this Flower Children outfit from Gizza. You can find it at the Vintage Fair in two colors. This is the red one – as bright and vibrant as the music that played at the Monterey Pop Festival. The outfit includes the top, pants and the crocheted shrug and all have resize scripts to help you fit them. Continue reading →
Shot with Mechanized Life's Filter Cam and Expansion Pack
Rock Per Annum moves forward another year to 1966. 1966 was a year of contrasts. The Vietnam War continued to polarize people, largely along generational lines. Star Trek made its debut, as did the Monkees. The Black Panthers were formed, and the first Toyota Corolla was sold. More importantly for our purposes, this was a year in which the notion of an album really started to be much more than just an assortment of material packaged around a couple of singles. Pet Sounds, Blonde on Blonde, and Revolver made a strong case for the pop album as an art form of its own. The Velvet Musicologist Maht Wuyts will be ending the set tonight by playing Revolver in its entirety. His plan is that most weeks moving forward, he will end the night with an important album from the year in question. The set begins at 7 PM SLT tonight at The Velvet. Be there or be square. (I wonder if that phrase began in 1966?)
There was a lot of diversity in fashion in 1966. Hemlines were up, down and all around at the beginning of the year but by fall, were pretty firmly above the knee, though you wouuld often see a long coat paired with a mini-dress. The waist was gone forever, lost in a world of aline shifts and babydolls. There was a lot of experimentation with fabric. It was the year of the paper dress and of Paco Rabanne’s plastic and wire dresses. Yes, plastic a full 45 years before Josh McKKinley thought he discovered something new on Project Runway. Most women still wore cloth, however, and it often was a bright, bold print from textile designers like Emilio Pucci and Ken Scott. This dress from Subculture by Shauna Vella is a perfect example of the 1966 look. Continue reading →
1965 was a strange year in fashion with the advent of bell-bottoms and granny dresses, one-shouldered sari dresses and metallic catsuits, flowing paisleys and the Mondrian dress. It was also the year of Edie Sedgwick, declared the “It Girl” by Vogue. Sedgwick was a fashion original with a free and rebellious style. She wore tights with nearly everything and added huge chandelier earrings, heavy eyeliner and a casual short moptop cut. She has an ease and freedom to her that made her captivating in photos. How perfect, then, is this Sedgwick dress from Ingenue for Collabor88. Continue reading →
Every once in a while social, cultural and political events converge in a year that changes everything. 1964 was one of those years. It was the year of the Civil Rights Act that prohibited race and gender discrimination. President Johnson said it would cost the Democratic Party the South for a generation. Seeing that it’s two generations since then and the Southern Strategy still dominates electoral politics, he gave people too much credit. 1964 was the year America began bombing in Vietnam. Contrary to the stereotypical Archie Bunker, the majority of the working class was opposed to the war which was most strongly supported by economic and cultural elites – a natural byproduct of the college exemption from the draft that placed the risks of war solidly on the poor and working class, just as they shoulder the majority of the risk today.