Cover of "common ground" magazine featuring a retro orange van with "35 years" on the license plate, celebrating its November 2009 anniversary issue with eco-friendly themes.

November 2009


Looking Back in Gratitude

The November issue looks back to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Common Ground magazine. We’ve used the occasion to pay homage to the winding path that has led us to this very day. For the occasion I met up with the magazine’s founder, Andy Alpine, to take notes on some of the old stories. Some I had heard when we worked together years back, but this time I was much more interested in the little details. It all began in the kitchen of 341 Douglass Street in San Francisco with a couple of highly educated Eastern transplants full of optimism about the personal transformation movement that had grown out of the hippie era. In 1974 and all along, our cherished Bay Area served as a fertile hotbed for cutting-edge change, and that’s where we sprouted. In 2009, we’re still at the vanguard and spreading our branches.

This issue looks to some of the old-timers who were around to witness and influence transitions, including Andy in my interview with him. Stuart Sovatsky takes us on a whistle-stop tour of “the scene”, as does Ed Bauman with a focus on the evolution of holistic health. Phil Goldberg reminds us of the significance of the inaugural invocation at Woodstock, while we also reflect on Bob Dylan, whose tour recently brought him to Berkeley. For five decades running, Dylan has acted as a mirror for personal and social transformation. Where at one time Woodstock and Dylan sparked personal coming-of-age stories, now these reflections prompt coming-toterms-with-age stories.

For fun, photographer Kristin Gerbert and a great team of collaborators pulled together an elegant fashion photo spread using only recycled clothing, a contemporary, sustainable alternative. We’ve dubbed the selection “Vintage ’74” and we think you’ll enjoy it.

And speaking of fun, we’ve long promised a Common Ground birthday bash. Well, we’ve a humdinger planned for Friday, November 13th. In collaboration with the Green Festival and a new entity called Green Bash, we’re kicking off the official party weekend of Green Fest. The party looks to be incredibly fun, a kind of Green Spirit Dance where “Burning Man goes Bollywood.” Chock full of live entertainment and special sponsors, we’ve priced it at an incredibly low $15 if you purchase online ( and only $20 at the door of Club 1015. We’ve been dubbing the party “Friday the 35th at 1015.” Andy Alpine and his wife Daya are coming, as are other surprise guests. Get tickets while they last; we want to see you there!

Finally, November is when we honor Thanksgiving, which has long been my favorite holiday — the much-needed occasion to show gratitude. If only every day were earnestly observed in the spirit of Thanksgiving — why not?

As ever, I personally extend my sincerest thanks to all those who have ever been involved with this publication in any way, in any form, at any time. Please support our dear advertisers so that the Common Ground community may carry on for yet another year, and maybe even another 35.

Many blessings,


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