Cover of Common Ground magazine, January 2011, featuring a mosaic globe made from diverse human faces, with text about the issue's content such as yoga and Montessori education.

December 2010 / January 2011

The Holiday Issue

It feels like a few weeks ago we were closing the summer issue, with the Burning Man preview. Next thing you know, this holiday issue is finished and another year is behind us. Thank you for your gracious praise of November’s 36th anniversary issue. It seems readers especially liked the Ram Dass interview. It turns out we had a fun media scoop, as we broke the story of how Ram Dass, at 78 years old, discovered he has a 52-year-old son and a 12-year-old granddaughter. Can you imagine? His son, who’s a born-again Christian living in North Carolina, had never heard of Ram Dass. It was only after the man’s younger brother happened on a photo of Ram Dass and was struck by the resemblance that he showed his brother the photo and suggested he look into a possible connection.

Meantime, Ram Dass had no idea he’d ever fathered a child along the way. He’s been famously homosexual his entire life. Well, it turns out there was at least one encounter with a woman during graduate school at Stanford in the mid-1950s.

After some phone calls and eventual DNA testing, our famous Harvard psychologist turned psychedelic adventurer, turned spiritual devotee, turns out to also be a lateblooming family man. And a doting grandfather. We just love Ram Dass, and we are proud to have broken that tender story. If you missed the print version, check out our digital edition at

In this issue, we introduce you to another fascinating character, known mostly in Hollywood inner circles. His name is Tom Shadyac, a successful director, writer, and producer of many of Hollywood’s big comedies. He’s worked very closely with Jim Carrey since the beginning of Carrey’s career. He made a fortune with the comedian’s movies, beginning with Ace Ventura and continuing through Bruce Almighty. He also made hits such as Patch Adams with Robin Williams, The Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy, and Evan Almighty with Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman.

But at some stage, Tom figured out that mansions and private jets are sheer waste and personal burdens. He gave away just about everything and has been living in a trailer park for years. He traded the limo for a bike.

Then, as the result of a severe bike accident, Tom woke up to make a very independent film called I Am. A far cry from the Hollywood genre that Tom is known for, and much closer to Common Ground territory, the film asks two probing questions: What’s wrong with the world, and what can we do about it? This is clearly a more esoteric film than his blockbuster comedies, but it’s grounded and often humorous. We loved it. Hopefully, films like this cross over to a more mainstream audience so more get made. Learn more about Tom in this issue and help spread the word about I Am, which opens around the Bay Area in February.

Speaking of crossover hits, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, will join the fun at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference, Jan 14–16 at the Hyatt Regency. Like Green Festival, SF Yoga Journal Conference is one of those must attend events for Common Ground. We look forward to seeing you there.

After this combined December-January issue, we’ll take a pause, and I’ll take a much-needed vacation—to India. In the new year, we launch afresh, beginning with the ever-popular February sex issue. March will be our food issue, followed by April’s green issue. In May, we will repeat the Bay Pride theme. Thoughtful feedback, suggestions for engaging articles, and high-caliber submissions can be emailed to [email protected].

Thanks for a great year. And special thanks for patronizing our advertisers, who are the best!
Welcome, 2011!

Happy Holidays and many, many blessings,


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