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Winter 2009 Newsletter


Last week's Chamber of Commerce gathering with expert community coach Paul Roth brought about conversation and agreement. Paul, an amazing workshop facilitator, encouraged us all to discover a new paradigm for these changing times. We are seeking short and long term solutions to serve the needs of the community and the global impact Woodstock emits as the worldwide phenomenon it is. "There are many visions of Woodstock," we say at the Woodstock Museum, "the town, the festival(s) and the notion."
A group of nearly 20 chamber members showed up on a frozen winter night at Mountain View Studio to participate in a lively discussion and to experience what a conversation piece "Woodstock" truly is. "What makes a community," says Roth, "is a conversation." How we can rise above the past is the key to our future! Out of the many Woodstock notions held in hearts, minds and spirits, a theme emerges. Woodstock is a very special place.
Although many tourists come in search of 1969, Woodstock is much more than that for those of us living here. Still, many visitors and locals alike share the values of the world wide social revolution of the 1960s, which was about inclusiveness, cooperation and even better, collaboration in a dream to make the world a better place to be. Why not start locally by mutually supporting our differences within the larger oneness? This actually turns out to be a pragmatic approach to the peace and love community we really are.
Woodstock Museum has experienced a tremendous surge in Woodstock interest, brought about by the 40th anniversary of '69 as well as last years' multi-million dollar opening in Bethel. This will increase as summer approaches and the release of the film "Taking Woodstock" is publicized. Like it or not, many people from everywhere are coming in search of "Woodstock," a powerful, cultural icon, representing peace, love, music, art, awesome beauty, freedom, creativity and, above all, respect for the environment dating back to the Indians, who savored Woodstock not as a place to live but to enact sacred ceremonies. Our job is to meet, greet and share in the Woodstock experience. Brooding about the influx of visiting baby boomers and new youth with all their baggage is not the Woodstock way.
Actually, we are meeting the next generation, who accompany their parents to the museum, and they are activated and empowered by the Obama phenomenon. They are dressing in tie-dyes and patchwork jeans but make no mistake about it. They are not hippies looking for a handout and smelling foul from days without a shower. The next generation has the will to thrive and a vision to make it work, even in this crumbling economy. Visitors agree when we say: "The hippies were right." And, the definition for "flower child" is "those of us who are more closely connected to the earth." That sounds like most of us.
Let's share our dreams of Woodstock. It's not going away. Woodstock Museum has a whole series of events for this summer, mostly free. Call 845 246-0600 or email hello@WoodstockMuseum.org or visit our website www.WoodstockMuseum.org to stay tuned in for summer fun. Please volunteer. What is good for the town is good for the world! And now for the drum roll. Let there be music & art!
Nathan Koenig, Pres.
Shelli Lipton, Dir.
Woodstock Museum


Dear Woodstock,

Way before the big bang of '69 echoed our good town's name through the mainstream mediums of Rock n Roll music, film and news, Woodstock's influence was felt worldwide through leading-edge ideas exchanged by its thinkers and artists. Our first President, Alf Evers, explained that Woodstock Historical Society founders had originally mandated that their organization to help facilitate and extend the town's worldly influence and outreach because Woodstock art colony was a reservoir of new ideas. Having observed our development in the museum's early years, Alf explained that his seminal involvement with our organization was due to our outreach we were extending beyond the town while utilizing its good name.

It is now clear that the notion of Woodstock as an inspiration for that intangible Nation of the Mind will never go away, that the world's most famous little town will continue to attract visitors and settlers in search for the spirit of those times, even if they are not or never were part of its revolutionary movements, yet especially if they seek the values of that time relating to a sense of boomer culture, even beyond or beneath the surface layer of sex drugs and rock 'n roll. Save the earth, question authority, promote freedom and equality, peace and love, back to the garden, expansion of consciousness- these are values that all people can share, not just hippies. Some of our generation, including its stars, fell by the wayside or got burned out by haphazardly experimenting with psycho-active substances to induce altered states. As survivors of that era, we feel an obligation to educate about mind-altering substances so that progress can be made while negatives are avoided. In this regard, we often suggest exploring drug-free, meditative arts while ending the war on drugs by removing crime and money from the equation.

In essence, we are describing the notion of open mind, a perspective that transcends social norms while exploring more sensible possibilities. The legacies of Byrdcliffe Art Colony's "Utopian" socialist founders, the Maverick artists collaborative festivals of all the arts, the Art Students League, Catskill Center for Photography, WAAM, many independents and the most recent, 40-year old collaboration, combining Grossman's stable with Lang's connections, all come together as living history and carry on Woodstock's creative vision.

The town needs a museum to connect that history in the minds of its residents and visitors. It is what has been missing, that which they come for and cannot get. It is what is needed to give Woodstock a better sense of wholeness and perhaps heal some divisions that are unnecessary and detrimental to the town's fibre and well being. We think Woodstock Town Hall and the former fire department would be best utilized to that effect, by giving the town they love a museum that offers visitors what they come for while allowing residents to share their contributions for posterity. We have a plan that will soon be proposed at the town's table.

Nathan Koenig, President
Woodstock Museum

P.S. We'd like to thank Sister City Nimbin, Australia for all it's wonderful entries and contributions for this year's FREE film festival. You walk the talk and you are heard. No one works harder or sleeps less than Australia's iconic, environmental activist and event designer/artist Benny Zable, who has come again with banners, flags and a mural to work with us and NYC's Ecofest in the park at Lincoln Center. Thanks Ambassador Benny for patiently juicing bushels of our favorite, organic apples to share with the audience from this cornucopian summer. Filmmaker Ruth Rosenhek has come to show the empowering, "Earth Spirit Action" at many venues in the U.S. and Canada. It is the Rainforest Information Center's latest film. And thank you Jarrah for sharing your angelic music with us in between the acts and films.

P.P.S. Thanks to volunteers Roger Lazoff for gaffing the show, Ellen Povill for beautifully filming the Diamond Dance Co., Miora Joyce Wehr for icing the cakes, Felicia Bitterman for professional food prep, and Marcum Young, Blue and Corey for late night set up.



Winter 2007-8

Woodstock the Town, the Festivals, the Notion
Isn't it lovely that GREEN is in fashion this year, that solar and wind energy is finally coming of age, that polluting petrochemical products make war but can be replaced by sustainable and recyclable cellulose based organics, that Native American elders were right about respecting the earth or else, that political corruption and unjust war is now common knowledge, that church, state and corporations need to be checked and balanced, the MLK was right we he showed us how to pull out of Vietnam and transform into a Peace economy, that natural healing remedies are often preferable and much more economical than FDA sanctioned pharmaceuticals with high-priced often fatal side effects, that babies can be birthed in a supportive, home environment and once again nursed by the Mother, that women, African-Americans and other minorities now have a voice and opportunities to get a life, that we can now be in contact anywhere via computer in the level playing field of cyberspace, Shall we rave on? Or shall we just carry on these legacies of the sixties where our eyes were first opened to these essential things?
These concepts are not retro. Woodstock the town has taken many of these legacies to heart. They represent progress about which we have no rational choice but to support and contribute.
This is part of our Woodstock notion. This is what our founding President Alf Evers was supporting when he joined with us in forming Woodstock Museum. He saw us reaching out to the world with the kind of impact Woodstock has had on the world through the arts and the progressive thinking that has resulted from attracting so many creative individuals since its founding
as an art colony in 1902
Yet even though some locals like to say "it was a small blip on the screen" and it was "the festival that didn't happen here," the sixties" influence in Woodstock history was a more like a big bang that was most definitely conceived in and around Woodstock as its pollen blew in on a wind from the west coast. The shops are buzzing with memorabilia of the sixties, T-shirts and bongs, CDs and clothes that fulfill a nostalgic compulsion to buy. And what do we learn from sex, drugs and rock'n roll? Or from the Woodstock Festival reunions at Saugerties and Rome, NY? As for people who want to belong to a sustainable living culture, much can be learned from the past, especially while some witnesses and participants are still around to reminisce.
According to Christopher Dean, Producer of Thursday Plantation's Tea Tree oil (we have seen it at Sunflower) and spokesman for Woodstock's sister village down under, Nimbin Australia, where they are still called hippies, "I believe that the seed of hippie ideas and belief system came from California, [from] the Haight-Ashbury experience. That flowered in Woodstock in a little burst! That then set up ideas and a culture and a belief system that took root in Nimbin. That's where the seed got planted and has grown here for 30 [now 35] years. But I think it would only be very just and fitting that some of the fruits of Nimbin's experience go back and recolonize the U.S. experience, re-enrich it, embolden it, and just show what is achievable from carrying out these ideas properly!
to get them into the mainstream where I think they belong."
Anyone who wants to write to us here in Mexico or join us as ambassadors to Nimbin, contact hello@WoodstockMuseum.com We leave for Australia April 15th. Neighboring town Lismore celebrates a week of Aquarius celebrations beginning April 18th. Nimbin Mardi Grass and Green Festivals take place May 3rd weekend followed by a mid-May 35th Aquarius Festival Reunion, filled with all the arts and fun celebrations.
Finally, Woodstock Museum Film Festival theme this year is FREEDOM. To enter, go to http://www.woodstockmuseum.com/2008_ff.htm
Love & Peace,
Nathan Koenig
Woodstock Museum President

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