Hippie Austin Bonds at “Dirt Road to Psychedelia….”
Austin, Texas During The 1960s
As the festival drew near a conclusion on its next-to-last day, I took a mental and physical health break from the event.
Festival stress and daily blogging using my I-taught-myself-how-to-touch-type-using-the-wrong-fingers keyboarding technique made an old wrist injury flare up. So I decided to relax my visibly swollen wrist by soaking in the frigid waters of the city’s beloved swimming hole, Barton Springs Pool.
This vast natural marvel remains a constant 68 degrees all year long. The water is a bit on the brisk side, but at $3 adult admission in the warm months, it’s a bargain. Admission is free mid-November to mid-March.
My Austin day of relaxation finished with a very Austin film in a very Austin theater.
Dirt Road to Psychedelia: Austin, Texas During the 1960s had its world premiere screening at the Landmark Dobie Theater that’s practically on the University of Texas campus.
Dirt Road screened in the Dobie’s Egyptian room, with Egyptian motifs on the walls, and both sections of seats are at odd angles to the room’s screen.
The film is a documentary about the Austin music scene in the 1960s. It examines the folk music beginnings including the involvement of musicians Janis Joplin and Roky Erickson. Much of that early musical activity centered around the UT campus.
During the Q&A director Scott Conn said the film began as a project on the Vulcan Gas Company, one of the storied clubs of 1960s Austin. Many in the capacity crowd vividly remembered the era. The on-screen appearance of the former Austin Police Department officer who had been part of the local anti-drug division in the 60s was greeted with boos. Feelings still run strong here in Austin about events of that era.
Someone asked the filmmaker where an area called “the Ghetto” had been. When he replied with a vague answer, someone from the audience piped up with the actual street address of the place that had provided dirt-cheap housing to Austin’s early hippie community!
When I was leaving the theater, everyone else was trying to leave as well. Unfortunately, they had all parked in the same Dobie garage that I had. The theatre provides several hours of free, validated parking which is a boon in the tight-parking situation near the University.
To avoid waiting in a line of cars slowly snaking down the exit ramps, I took a brief stroll around the University of Texas campus.
I spent some time looking at the film-themed etched glass at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, across the street from the Dobie. It houses many notable film collections and manuscripts, including the David O. Selznick collection.