(From Lisa Green, Weekend TODAY Senior Producer)
I'm Lisa Green, senior producer at Weekend TODAY. I'm blogging about our groovy Summer of Love plans for Saturday -- which include a visit back to San Francisco, a fashion show, and a live performance by the Jefferson Starship featuring our own Lester Holt on bass -- because I'm one of the few staffers here who was around for the summer of 1967.
Brief history lesson: during the Summer of Love, thousands of young people traveled to the Bay Area to seek a peaceful hippie existence. It was as ephemeral as it sounds, and by 1968, the scene had already changed. (Check out Joan Didion's classic "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" to learn how.) But that summer created a legacy of great, trippy music and psychedelic fashions. Personally, they're a source of strong childhood memories of what was, for me, a completely bewildering time.
I was seven years old in 1967 - old enough to soon have my own "War Is Not Healthy For Children And Other Living Things" button, young enough to have little idea why I was wearing it. My northern New Jersey neighborhood and parochial school offered few clues about what was going on. So I relied on AM radio and my hip teenage cousins for bits and pieces of contemporary culture.
Invariably, these fragments threw me for a loop. Reports of college protests against the Vietnam War left me anxious: would colleges still be open when it was my turn? And the music! In time I would wonder exactly why John Barleycorn had to die? Did he do something wrong? And when Jefferson Airplane insisted you should "feed your head," I wondered: didn't food belong in my tummy?
Now that I'm older (and get all the references), I can't wait until we revisit this turbulent, amazing and youthful era in American history and popular culture. It'll be great to hear the Starship sing and Lester play, and to ponder whether I can still pull off bellbottoms or psychedelic bangle bracelets. I hope you'll join our Summer of Love party Saturday on TODAY.