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Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

On Sunday night I happened to catch the start of the GrassRoots TV 40th anniversary fundraiser show, featuring archived films of musical events dating back to 1972, a real trip (so to speak) back to the good old days with the mirrored shirts, the bell-bottom trousers and not being able to tell the men from the women except for the beards.

Young Jimmy Ibbotson, young Bobby Mason, young Jimmy Buffet, rehearsals in trailers, psychedelic lights on stage – I was sucked in immediately. Who loves you, GrassRoots?

I watched until my eyes were aching, turned off the set and fell into one of those rambling endless dreams (I was being chased by the police and had to hide a pair of telltale sneakers in a volcano) from which I awoke at 3:30 a.m. I turned on the TV to check out the show – they said it would go on all night – and there was Arlo Guthrie singing at the Wheeler Opera House.

I groggily watched for an hour in case he sang “Alice’s Restaurant” (he didn’t). Hey, I’m retired, and I can watch TV in the middle of the night if I want to. By 4:30 I didn’t want to anymore and sank back into a sleep mercifully devoid of dreams.

Now I am looking forward to watching for the rest of the week. The reruns will continue through March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, coincidentally my 13th anniversary of getting out of the hospital – free at last but on an oxygen tether. I remember it especially because I was sad to be missing the hospital’s corned beef dinner and thinking how quickly we can become institutionalized.

Of course what I’d love best would be reruns of old City Council meetings. I have a couple of VCRs from the Bill Stirling era (fur ban, smoking ban, Ritz Carlton, the recall – you think we have imbroglios now!), and they are treasures.

Carol Ann Jacobson used to offer a hefty donation if GrassRoots would rerun the original soap opera “The Edge of Ajax” when it first started these fundraisers. The quality of the old film was iffy but the show was a solid hit.

And never to be forgotten was the footage of a group of naked women shaving one another’s heads. I can’t remember what the cause was, but it didn’t much matter.

Andy Stone’s local news reports were also choice – I could look at them again for hours.

I am pretty sure it was the summer of 1972 that Jan and Vic Garrett, Penny and Danny Wheetman and several other local musicians put on an afternoon show at the music tent, chronicling the history of modern music. The video of that event isn’t the best, but I know it exists, and I hope GrassRoots plays it during the course of its fundraiser.

We all clapped when Jan announced that she was pregnant with twins, who later became baby sitters for my granddaughter Riley, now 21, and the Wheetmans went on to have twins as well, Riley’s father being a Big Buddy to their son – will this circle be unbroken?

Send your dollar now to GrassRoots TV at 110 East Hallam, Suite (“suite” is an overstatement) 132, Aspen, 81611, or go to Grassrootstv.org to make a pledge.


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