Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Deja Vu” documentary

I watched a PBS documentary over the weekend featuring Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young called “Deja Vu”.  As it is with most films on Netflix “Deja Vu”  is rather old.  Writer/Director Neil Young (AKA Bernard Shakey) and writer Michael Cerre discuss the premiere of CSNY DEJA VU at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; youtube=  I was taken aback by the repeated references to the four musician’s ages.  At the time most of them were mid to late 60’s.  Do we have expiration dates? At one point it’s said when the musicians are rocking together on stage “could they be discussing which medications they are taking”

Does there come a time when the things we say lose their value because of our age?  It’s as if we go backwards in time and the older we become the more we should be seen and not heard like the old adage for children? It should be the other way around.  Our experience should add relevance not take away from it.

There was a time when these “old timers” and their contemporaries helped change our nation and the world.  It was this generation that helped to end segregation, who flew to the moon, invented the internet, closed nuclear plants and the list goes on.

GREENWICH VILLAGE: MUSIC THAT DEFINED A GENERATION is a feature-length documentary about the Greenwich Village music scene and how it sparked everlasting political, social and cultural changes. For the first time, the greatest singer-songwriters, authors and performers from Greenwich Village reflect on how they collectively became the voice of a generation. Through poignant interviews, rare archival footage and new live performances, GREENWICH VILLAGE: MUSIC THAT DEFINED A GENERATION tells a story about community, courage and most importantly – music.

Joe Cecala
in Association With
Solomon’s Signature Productions
A Laura Archibald Film

Greenwich Village was the birthplace of the singer/songwriter and songs of love and relationships. Between 1961-1973, many musicians in The Village banded together to sing about the radical social upheaval of the time. As these new singers emerged, Greenwich blossomed as a place that promoted a better future. Their music challenged the status quo by singing about taboo subjects – fighting for civil liberties, protesting the Vietnam War, and holding governments accountable for their actions. Their views, which were controversial at the time, weren’t always greeted with open arms. On Sunday April 9, 1961, over 500 young musicians gathered in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square to sing folk songs to promote peace and harmony. This act of passive protest resulted in riot squads attacking singers and civilians alike with billy clubs, leading to several arrests. The incident became known around the world as the Washington Square Folk Riot and was cited as the first ‘freedom of speech’ revolt. It also made Greenwich Village a beacon of hope for an entire generation. This is just one of the important stories which make up the vibrant history of The Village music scene.GREENWICH VILLAGE: MUSIC THAT DEFINED A GENERATION is the amazing untold story about the very people whose music helped change the world.Pete Seeger lost his

Folk singer Pete Seeger and others were blacklisted.(excerpted from The Crooked Timber  Bob Dylan became so popular, so fast and mainstream they didn’t dare.  He was making the record executives too much money.

The Beauty of the Blacklist: In Memory of Pete Seeger

by COREY ROBIN on JANUARY 29, 2014

Pete Seeger’s death has prompted several reminiscences about his 1955 appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). And for good reason. Two good reasons, in fact.

First, Seeger refused to answer questions about his beliefs and associations—up until the 1940s, he had been a member of the Communist Party—not on the basis of the Fifth Amendment, which protects men and women from self-incrimination, but on the basis of the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech.

While invoking the Fifth was not without its perils—most important, it could put someone on the blacklist; individuals who invoked it frequently found themselves without work—it had the advantage of keeping one out of jail. But the cost of the 5th was clear: though you could refuse to testify about yourself, you could not refuse to testify about others.

So Seeger invoked the First Amendment instead. A far riskier legal position—the Court had already held, in the case of the Hollywood Ten, that the First Amendment did not protect men and women who refused to testify before HUAC—it was the more principled stance. As Seeger explained later, “The Fifth means they can’t ask me, the First means they can’t ask anybody.” And he paid for it. Cited for contempt of Congress, he was indicted, convicted, and sentenced to a year in prison. Eventually the sentence got overturned.

Second, not only did Seeger refuse to answer questions about his associations and beliefs, but he also did it with great panache. When asked by HUAC to name names, he refused—and then almost immediately offered to sing songs instead. Much to the consternation of the Committee chair, Francis Walters, Seeger followed up with a more personal offer.

I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners.

Parenthetically, I should note that Seeger’s hearings were not the only such circus of absurdity.  If you want to treat yourself to an afternoon of giggles, check out Ayn Rand’s testimony, where she insisted that no one in Russia ever smiled. Or this wondrous exchange between Zero Mostel and two members of HUAC.

Before long, this generation will be gone.  Willtheybe known as the last generation willing to take a stand? Like Camelot,

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. “ –  Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy – January 20th 1961


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