Those of you who have actually met me know that at heart I'm a hippy. Canonical's Matt Zimmerman couldn't stop pointing this out last week at DebConf once he'd figured it out :-) (Hi! Matt). I'm really too young to have been a hippy...I was 10 in 1969. I was already a hippy in my head, though, when my hapless parents took a wrong turn while traversing San Francisco (no easy task while towing a boat) and ended up on Fell Street along side the Panhandle on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in August. I have no idea what was going on...some sort of concert or festival. We saw people blowing bubbles and people playing music and people dressed in diaphanous clothes and huge butterfly wings and I *really* wanted to take one of them with us (there were plenty of hitchhikers). But my Dad said, "Lock the car doors...They steal children!" and sped on down the street. My little brother and I looked at each other and we both knew we were going to move to San Francisco just as soon as we were old enough!
Wavy Gravy is one of my hippy heros. He and his Hogfarm Commune tribe members were the caterers at Woodstock. But Wavy was inestimably cool even before Woodstock. He grew up in a house next door to Albert Einstein's in Princetown, New Jersey. As a young man he was Bob Dylan's friend in Manhattan and Lenny Bruce's manager for awhile. He was "on the bus" with Ken Kesey and Neal Cassady. And he put his body on the line countless times in protests to end the Vietnam war. I wish I were half as brave as Wavy.
Last weekend was Wavy's 70th Birthday Party which he celebrated in typical fashion with a benefit concert for the Seva Foundation with Bob Weir and Ratdog, Mickey Hart and Friends, Steve Earle, my favorite...Gillian Welch and a bunch of the "regulars" at these events (Yoo-Hoo the Clown, Linda Tillery, etc.). Every person paying for a ticket at this event pays for one person's cataract operation through Seva, so you get to hear great music and feel good about it.
Because 70 is a big milestone birthday, there was a multimedia show on the topic of Wavy's life and times, arranged by Google and Sun's own John Gage! It was totally touching to see Wavy and his wife Jahanara (and John) on their sentimental journey around Google Earth and the adventure they had back in the day that led to so much downstream goodness (over $60,000,000 raised and dispersed to restore sight and help people in India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia, Tanzania as well as Chiapas, Guatemala and even in the USA (Native American Diabetes outreach).
Now, I'd like to say that I already knew about John Gage having traveled with Wavy and Larry Brilliant from Seva "on a bus trip around Asia" that led to the creation of the Seva Foundation...but I'd be lying. I wasn't surprised, though. Gage has always struck me as a fine human-being first and Sun executive second. Many a government in the Developing World has decided to look into FOSS as a result of a conversation with Gage. He and I spent some quality time a few years ago at a WSIS related event in Lyons, France. It was a double treat to see him onstage next to Jah, reminiscing.
I've been sending my child (and anyone else's children I could find) to Wavy's Camp Winnarainbow for years now...If you want to meet Wavy and catch his vibe firsthand I'd suggest you consider enrolling in Adult Camp...Or go to the Seva Foundation website and spend some time envisioning what a gift of money or time from you might mean to someone in a Developing Country.
Its never too late to become an old hippy.