Cover of "Common Ground" magazine, November 2014 issue, featuring a bold red and yellow design with the text "40 Years of Gratitude" and highlights of featured articles.

November 2014

40 Years of Gratitude

It has been a roller coaster assembling this commemorative issue, akin to October baseball. Gratefully, the Giants prevailed with Madison Bumgarner (the ace pitcher, who wears the number 40) and so have we. Our goal was to gather essays from experts who witnessed the transformation within the various sectors representing Common Ground’s bailiwick. We sought to honor the trailblazers whose efforts have made the world a better place.

Bob Weir, a founding member of the Grateful Dead is my esteemed interviewee. Bob tells the story of the night he met band mate Jerry Garcia on New Year’s Eve in 1964 and never had to interview for another job again. He candidly recounts being at the hot center of the psychedelic movement, the transformative ’70s, the lucrative ’80s, and the loss of Jerry, his wingman, in 1995. A self-described “professional kid,” Bob experienced every nuance of the sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll culture, but never lost his ardent spiritual flame. Throughout, he envisioned spending his golden years in a monastery. Read the interview to find out more.

I caught up with Andy Alpine, my mentor who founded Common Ground. Andy discussed his gratitude for California (he came from New York) and how the magazine put him at the hot center of the human potential movement.

Jeffrey Armstrong offers a masterful essay on the spiritual yoga culture we’ve inherited from India, while Lama Surya Das outlines the relevance of Buddhism to the Bay Area. Dana Ullman and Ed Bauman have respectively written about advances in health care and the food industry.

Charles August shares how the sex positive movement has blossomed, while Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who worked side by side with Harvey Milk, chronicles the giant steps toward equalization of the LGBT contingent.

Mariana Caplan’s essay delineates the emergence of spirituality in contemporary psychology, while Randy Hayes, who founded Rainforest Action Network, examines the root causes of our environmental crisis. Wes “Scoop” Nisker, another who was also “there” shares anecdotes about ’60s idealism and how that set the groundwork for the Common Ground era. Terry Bisson profiles his famous college classmate, Peter Coyote, the quintessential Bay Area Renaissance man.

Finally, we take a walk down memory lane to expose the legacy of four decades of sometimes stunning magazine covers. To some readers these will be reminders—to others a first.

To our staff: Carrie Grossman, my so-called partner in editorial crime, thank you for your sensibility and for your part of a productive dialectic. Tom Lorphapaibul, my graphics pro, thank you for kicking ass. Your layouts are sober yet breathtaking and you get it done. John Vias, my copy editor, you’ve no idea how much I honor your skills. You make everyone’s writing better; you are cherished. Ganshet Nandoskar, thank you for helping keep the wheels turning. To our readers—and advertisers, thank you. To anyone connected to keeping this magazine alive—I simply cup my hands in gratitude. I’ve no words but “thank you, thank you, thank you.”

To the next 40!


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