RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Earth Day, and tie dyes

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Topanga Earth Day Festival Sign

It was back to the seventies Saturday evening when a friend and I drove out to Topanga Canyon to join in the festivities for Topanga Earth Day 2010, apparently the eleventh year of this event. We parked our car on Topanga and rode Alice’s Wonder Bus the rest of the way. Psychedelic is the only way to describe the bright pink and orange ambience of the interior, with pillows on the seats and throw rugs scattered on the floor.
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Topanga Earth Day Festival Alice's Wonder Bus

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Topanga Earth Day Festival Alice's Wonder Bus

It was quite a hike up the steep hill to the main entrance. The area was ringed with vendor’s stalls promoting green products and selling arts and crafts. But we had come for one purpose: to hear Buffy Sainte-Marie sing. I was really into the folk music scene way back when. I listened to Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger, Ian and Sylvia, et al, for hours on end. I played guitar myself and even attempted to write some lyrics a la Bob Dylan.

One singer I admired as much as anybody was Buffy Sainte-Marie. I even recorded myself singing along with her as a duet! Of course, nobody could emulate her unique voice, least of all me. But it was fun trying.

Although I always considered her as part of the folk music crowd, as she pointed out last night, she didn’t sing four-hundred-year-old “folk songs.” She was actually one of the few people writing her own material back in the days before it was an acceptable practice and all her material was written the week before she sang it.

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Topanga Earth Day Festival Buffy Sainte-Marie

As much as I enjoyed hearing and seeing Buffy (and she certainly seems to have aged well) equally interesting and enjoyable was the ambience at the festival. A good percentage of the attendees, crossing all age groups, were dressed hippie style. I guessed that many of them had not changed their wardrobe in forty years, meaning that this is their normal, everyday attire. And good for them!

I was never a full-fledged hippie myself, more of a hippie wanna-be. So I dressed in the uniform of the day including the tie dye t-shirts, bell-bottom pants embroidered at the cuffs, and peace-symbol jewelry. But to my credit, I did participate in peace marches.

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Topanga Earth Day Festival

That all seemed like another lifetime on another planet—until last night I stepped into the time machine and was transported back to another era. People were dancing and swaying to the music uninhibitedly, baring their skin (albeit mostly in a modest way) to the cool night air, and the aromatic second-hand smoke wafted into the darkness. But Buffy’s strong, powerful voice transcended everything that was going on around her.

I have to admit, I haven’t heard too much about Buffy in the last couple of decades, my fault I am sure, so it is reassuring to know she is still out there keepin’ on keepin’ on.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)

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Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles, California. A few years ago I rediscovered photography which is a great excuse to get outside and look. I'm also in the process of re-writing some of my unpublished short stories and possibly a novel. .

One thought on “Buffy Sainte-Marie, Earth Day, and tie dyes

  1. Well, now I feel like I was there…nice pics!

    Like

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