Arts Beat: Sixties Flashback

A photography exhibit explores The Fab Four and The Stones, while a film documents the rise and fall of Janis Joplin.

You’ve probably heard the quip about how, if you can remember the Sixties, it’s a sign that you weren’t really there.

Actually, it’s a sign that you’re really old.

Actually, I think the quote itself is misunderstood.

For one thing, it’s supposedly authored by several people who really don’t have first rights to it. That distinction goes to a comedian—from the west coast, no surprise there—named Charlie Fleischer.

I also have a problem with the joke behind the quote, which is the assumption that those of us who came up in that decade are likely to have problems remembering it because we were stoners through the majority of it. Which is true, but there’s more to it than that. The thing about the Sixties is that so much social, political and cultural upheaval was packed into that time period that you could have been straight as an arrow back then and still lost track of all the revolutionary twists and turns.

Some of it was magical, and some of it was tragic.

You can find a reminder of both this week at The Enzian and the Orlando Museum of Art, in the form of a movie and a photography exhibit, both of which rely on what may well be the most reliable repository of Sixties zeitgeist: its music.

The Enzian is screening a touching documentary, Janis: Baby Blue, about Janis Joplin, a lonely soul with a blowtorch voice who died of a drug overdose at the age of 27. Joplin turned herself inside out on stage at a time when the grownups of that time period were pretty well convinced that a woman wasn’t allowed to do that.

They also didn’t believe that men should grow their hair long, which is something to keep in mind if you get a chance to take in The British Invasion, an OMA exhibit of extremely candid photos of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles taken during their respective U.S. tours from 1964 to 1966.

The photos were taken by the late Bob Bonis, the U.S. tour manager of both groups. What’s striking is their casual, family-album feel:  nothing unusual about this shot of just another a skinny, sunburned guy at a motel swimming pool, except for the fact that he just happens to be Mick Jagger.

Thursday is the last day for the Joplin doc. The British Invasion is at OMA through January 3.

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Categories: Arts Beat