Peace, love and a Sub-Zero
August 18, 2007
In a crushing blow to free spirits everywhere, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission, according to Newsweek. The Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs said the new law, which goes into effect next month to “institutionalize management of reincarnation,” also bans Buddhist monks outside of China from seeking life after death.
For his part, the Dalai Lama is sticking his tongue out and saying nanny-nanny-poo-poo, refusing to be reborn in Tibet anyway as long as the Chinese are in control. Buddhist devotees around the world are grumbling that reincarnating just isn’t what it used to be, especially for dalai lamas, who are said to have controlled every aspect of their rebirths since the 1400s or so.
The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Bohemian community. While hippies across the country prepared to celebrate the 38th anniversary of Woodstock this month, word got out that the home in Bethel, N.Y., once owned by Max Yasgur, is up for sale.
Yasgur’s farm, the site of the legendary 1969 concert that became synonymous with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, will next become the crash pad for a flower child willing to shell out from his or her Guatemalan change purse the $8 million asking price. The 103-acre property adjacent to the alfalfa field where 500,000 people joined together for three days of peace and music comes with a farmhouse, barn and 2,000-square-foot house with 22-foot vaulted ceilings and a gourmet kitchen stocked with double convection ovens, stainless steel appliances, a Viking stove and an antique soapstone sink.
And, of course, no free-love nest would be complete without a steam shower, double whirlpool tub and bidet (because some hippies like to cleanse their insides literally in addition to spiritually).
While the alfalfa field where the actual concert was held isn’t for sale (cable tycoon Alan Gerry won’t part ways with that property, which he turned into a 12,000-person concert venue last year), acid flashbacks to the infamous August weekend will be included at no additional charge.
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The current owner is packing up his tie-dyes and flashing a figurative peace-sign goodbye after struggling unsuccessfully for years to get local officials to grant permission for Woodstock reunion gatherings. With the intentions of a potential new homeowner unknown, nonconformists are expected to begin flocking en masse in their Birkenstocks and Range Rovers to catch a final glimpse of the spot where the Summer of Love peaked.
Fortunately, not all the news of late is dim for modern-day followers of 1960s counterculture. Last month, the Starbucks coffee chain signed folk icon and Woodstock performer Joni Mitchell to its music label. Her first new album in five years will hit java joints Sept. 25. Mitchell joins Paul “All You Need is Love” McCartney on the coffee megachain’s growing roster of artists.
And for those lefty radicals who can’t wait five and a half weeks to hear from one of the great artists of yore while sipping a Blueberries and Creme Frappucino, available now in Starbucks is a two-disc compilation of another Woodstock performer, the Grateful Dead. Those hunting for bootlegs of the collection will do little more than chase their tails in circles, though, as the album, “Eternally Grateful,” is only available at Starbucks locations.
Bob Dylan, believed by many to be a pioneer of the cultural dissent movement because of his unwavering rejection of established institutions, pulled out of performing at Woodstock because his son was ill. However, he precedes Mitchell and the Dead in performing specifically for caffeine aficionados. Through the Starbucks label, he released a disc of some of his earliest known recordings a few years ago.
And he’s no stranger to alternative retail as a way to get his music to the public. After appearing in a Victoria’s Secret TV commercial, the bra and panty überchain made available in their shops a $10 custom CD compilation of Dylan’s “most seductive” tunes. Now treehuggers and stoners alike are panting at the prospect of a mega collaboration between Dylan, Mitchell and the Dead, hoping the idols might bond over a cup of joe and come together to help effect change through music, just like in the old days. Updating Mitchell’s 1970 landmark tune, “Woodstock,” is one option.
“We’re in Starbucks/We are golden/ Caught in the devils bargain/But we’ve got to get ourselves/Back to Madison Square Garden.”
No word from Starbucks if they plan to begin selling “The Complete Idiots Guide to Past Life Regression” or serving Kool-Aid Chai Lattes anytime soon.
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