(above clip, from the film Chicago 10, as aired on PBS’ Independent lens)
Plans for the Festival of Life (to be held during the Democratic National Convention of 1968), developed by Yippie founders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, called for a “festival of youth, music, and theater.” In January 1968, the Yippies released an initial call to come to Chicago, called:
“A STATEMENT FROM YIP”:
“Join us in Chicago in August for an international festival of youth, music, and theater. Rise up and abandon the creeping meatball! Come all you rebels, youth spirits, rock minstrels, truth-seekers, peacock-freaks, poets, barricade-jumpers, dancers, lovers and artists!
“It is summer. It is the last week in August, and the NATIONAL DEATH PARTY meets to bless Lyndon Johnson. We
are there! There are 50,000 of us dancing in the streets, throbbing with amplifiers and harmony. We are making love in the
parks. We are reading, singing, laughing, printing newspapers, groping, and making a mock convention, and celebrating the
birth of FREE AMERICA in our own time.
“Everything will be free. Bring blankets, tents, draft-cards, body-paint, Mr. Leary’s Cow, food to share, music, eager skin,
and happiness. The threats of LBJ, Mayor Daley, and J. Edgar Freako will not stop us. We are coming! We are coming from
all over the world!
“The life of the American spirit is being torn asunder by the forces of violence, decay, and the napalm-cancer fiend. We
demand the Politics of Ecstasy! We are the delicate spores of the new fierceness that will change America. We will create our
own reality, we are Free America! And we will not accept the false theater of the Death Convention.
“We will be in Chicago. Begin preparations now! Chicago is yours! Do it!”
Chicago was never quite the same….. In the wake of the riots, of so much turmoil, a fire was lit. More on this topic to come (I’ve got lots of underground local papers from the era…)
Below is Jose Feliciano with a performance of “Light My Fire”, a Doors cover and a top record on both WVON and WLS (local Radio Station powerhouses) during August of 1968…