A woman in a fur coat sits on a colorfully painted car in front of a grand building, featured on the cover of Common Ground magazine's July/August 2017 issue.

July / August 2017

The Summer of Love Issue

Iwas a little boy in the sixties—too young to participate in the counterculture scene. But I was fascinated by hippies. I marveled at flower power and long hair and soaked up the revolution in the air. I loved the music. When Woodstock came around I asked older teens if they’d take me. When they laughed, I got pissed. But when the Woodstock movie came, I was first in line to see it even though it was R-rated. My fascination with the
sixties never ceased.

I would attend Grinnell College, a small, spunky, progressive college in Iowa. And who could have imagined that 50 years after the Summer of Love I would interview Peter Coyote, another Grinnell alum, on the very subject? As precursors to the student demonstrations that would later occupy Washington, Peter and 13 other students known as the Grinnell 14 went on a fast in front of the White House, protesting nuclear testing. They made front-page news and President Kennedy invited them into the White House. That was in 1961.

Three years later Peter came to the blue-collar Haight-Ashbury and eventually became a founding member of the anarchist improv group known as the Diggers. They were at the epicenter of West Coast counterculture.

There’s much to say about Peter Coyote—I simply urge you to read the interview, which can give only a taste of this complex man. Suffice it to say he’s been very lucky, with an uncanny knack for being at the right place at the right time. He has also made some mistakes but evolves and strives to be authentic and is an avid Zen meditator.

Jim Marshall returned to San Francisco in 1964 after a couple years in New York. He too sensed something was about to happen and became one of the era’s preeminent photographers. When he died in 2010 it is said that there were over 100,000 images that he’d taken from this short period alone. We thank the publishers of Insight Editions for lending access to their book The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution—The Photography of Jim Marshall.

I want to thank Wes “Scoop” Nisker for his perspective on the Summer of Love in his essay “Ode to Hippies.” He too was there, as they say.

For our annual Burning Man preview we look at what artists are going to amaze us with based on the theme of Radical Ritual. As always, I appreciate Larry Harvey’s choice of theme.

Carrie Grossman, our senior editor, offers a valuable reminder called “True Relaxation: Untying the Knots that Bind.” Hint: use your summer unproductively!

Laurie Marshall is part of a local community art movement asking the question “What makes America great?” This phrase has gotten a lot of traction but what does it mean? It’s a subject we will continue to revisit.

As ever we thank you for being part of our Common Ground community. We’ll see you at many of the upcoming festivals. Please show your appreciation for this free community magazine by patronizing our advertisers—the best. And kindly consider becoming an advertiser yourself or recommend doing so to a friend or colleague.

All You Need Is Love,


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