Jimi Hendrix’s radical reinterpretation of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock -- by turns abrasive, irreverent, violent and poignant -- stands as one of the iconic expressions of the '60s. By the time he got to Woodstock, though, Jimi had been the (literal) poster child of the cultural revolution since his breakout West Coast performance at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival more than two years earlier. (Oddly enough, the Seattle native made his mark in England first.) The point of this little history lesson is to reassert Jimi’s contributions, beyond his musical importance, to the era’s ethos of experimentation and self-reinvention.
Over the years, African-Americans have been gradually pushed out of the frame (if not the soundtrack) of the Summer of Love. The Museum of the African Diaspora corrects any number of misperceptions with Love City Picture Show, a documentary film series spanning the next six Wednesdays.
Curator Cornelius Moore throws down the gauntlet this Wednesday, May 3 with Bob Smeaton’s galvanizing 2010 portrait Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, followed on May 10 by And when I die, I won’t stay dead, Billy Woodberry’s 2015 exploration of the life and work of beat poet Bob Kaufman.
In subsequent weeks, rediscover -- or discover -- the influential Sonia Sanchez, Sly and the Family Stone (without Sly Stone, there is no Prince), and the '60s Brazilian art and music movement Tropicália. The series concludes June 7 with Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, in the event you miss it during its current Bay Area theatrical run.