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Plaza Playhouse Theater to Screen Classic Concert Flick ‘Monterey Pop’

It was a “be-in”, a “love-in” and a “happening” all at once. On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, producers Lou Adler and John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas pulled together a dream team of performers for what would become affectionately known as Monterey Pop, three days of music that would ultimately define the “Summer of Love”…and it was all for charity.

Eager to document the event near the town of Monterey, Calif., they enlisted filmmaker and music buff D.A. Pennebaker and a crew of cameramen, including Albert Maysles, to shoot just about anything and everything in the day-to-day goings on, from the hubbub in the main office to location set up, backstage conversations, onstage performances and intimate shots of festival attendees, many of whom would be dressed in their hippie finest — love beads, headbands, fringe jackets and all.

What they came away with was hours and hours of film, later edited into a more manageable theatrical release, named after the festival. That film, plus additional footage not seen in the movie, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, 2016, at Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria.

Adding to the fun will be three local media personalities who were eyewitnesses to the event 49 years ago: David Perry, Hale Milgrim and Rick Williams. 

Perry is currently co-host of the morning show on KTYD 99.9. Williams is a former music director and DJ for the classic rock outlet, and Milgrim, who eventually became president of Capitol Records, recently hosted a Sunday morning music show on the station.

The trio will take the stage at 7 p.m. to compare notes and share stories about how each got to Monterey that summer and what they experienced. Ironically, they didn’t know each other back in ’67, nor did they meet at the festival, yet over the succeeding years all came together in one way or another at KTYD.

Over three days, concert goers were treated to incredible performances by Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Hugh Masekela, The Who, The Byrds, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas,  The Association, Scott McKenzie, Ravi Shankar, Blues Project, Buffalo Springfield, The Electric Flag, Al Kooper, Country Joe and the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, Otis Redding with Booker T. and The MG’s and the Mar-Keys, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Tiny Tim, Laura Nyro and Quicksilver Messenger Service. 

(Though they had been asked to perform, The Beatles declined, but did send a message of love and congrats signed by all four members).

When it came time to edit the final theatrical film, Pennebaker was faced with the agonizing decision of which acts to include and which to cut, a frustration the now 90-year-old filmmaker carries to this day. Those lost performances will also be highlighted at the screening.  

Peter Bie, a board member of the nonprofit theater, noted that “even though the Summer of Love lasted only a single summer, Monterey Pop leaves us with a fantastic musical legacy of what it truly meant to experience flower power in full bloom, as well as where rock music was headed.” 

He added that the re-mastered film will be seen in high definition digital projection with enhanced sound.  

Tickets for Monterey Pop are $15 general admission and available online at plazatheatercarpinteria.com; at Seastrand, located at 919 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria during regular business hours (cash or check only); and if not sold out, at the theater box office on the evening of the show.

The Plaza Playhouse Theater is located at 4916 Carpinteria Avenue and is ADA compatible and wheelchair accessible. There is plenty of free parking near the venue.

The concession stand serves all the usual goodies, plus beer and wine for patrons over 21.  

Box office and doors will open at 6 p.m. The box office may be reached at 805.684.6380.

Melinda Bie represents Plaza Playhouse Theater.

 

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