9.28.2011

FREEING JOHN SINCLAIR: THE DAY THE LEGENDS CAME TO TOWN



Next week I will be interviewing with the Ann Arbor Library about my experiences growing up around Ann Arbor in the late 1960's and early 70's. Here is a little bit of a snap shot...

December 10, 1971 was the date of the Free John Now Rally at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We were at that rally with friends until about 1 am. John Lennon didn't come on until 3 am.. or so I heard later. The arena was packed and I remember having a great time in that crowd. Being 15 years old gave me a different perspective. We didn't take the concert that seriously. Years later it's importance became more apparent.



The cause for this documentary is that, in 1970 or 71, John Sinclair was sentenced to a ten year prison term for possession of two marijuana cigarettes; hence the documentary's title, Ten for Two. This was no ordinary drug bust, as Sinclair was the head of the White Panther's/Rainbow People's Party and the sentence he received was, in everyone's minds, political punishment not commensurate with his crime.

In protest, a large number of performers and counter-culture protestors gathered for a concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The concert featured Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Alan Ginsberg and many others. Political figures included Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, Rennie Davis and Jerry Rubin, to name just a few.

The arena was filled with patchouli oil and pot smoke. There were tons of speakers and lots of bands as well. You can see the historic lineup HERE

Oddly two very renown bands didn't play that night. The MC5 and SRC were not on the lineup. My age group weren't radical at this time. The folks who were the most radical were about 5-8 years older than I were mostly college students and hippies around Ann Arbor. My group was pretty apathetic and just wanted to have fun.

On Sundays there were regular free concerts at Gallup Park in the summers. We loved those concerts. Dick Wagner and Frost, MC5, SRC, Teegarden and Van Winkle were some of the fabulous bands we got to hear for free.



A series of events to mark the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, December 10, 1971

The Ann Arbor District Library is working on this series in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Bentley Historical Library, and Cousins Vinyl in Ypsilanti

As part of the celebration, the Ann Arbor District Library will be launching a website that includes the full run of the Ann Arbor Sun, which will be available for full-text searching and browsing online. It will also include a collection of interviews and other image and audio collections.

The events in December are:

Friday, December 2, 2011
ROCK & REVOLUTION exhibit opening and reception
FEATURING Michael Erlewine, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS Leni Sinclair and Gary Grimshaw
7:00 pm, Downtown Library, Ann Arbor (Exhibit runs through January 15, 2012) NO CHARGE

Friday, December 9, 2011
FREEING JOHN SINCLAIR website premiere event FEATURING Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS John Sinclair
8:00 pm, The Ark, Ann Arbor NO CHARGE

Saturday, December 10, 2011
CULTURE JAMMING: A LONG VIEW BACK panel discussion FEATURING John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker. HOST Bruce Conforth 1:00 pm, Pendleton Room, Michigan Union, Ann Arbor
NO CHARGE


John Sinclair Facebook

John Sinclair in Cyberspace

Jarrod Dicker's Interview with John Sinclair

8 comments:

Michael McDaniel said...

Kimmer...you keep on bring up long forgotten memories with a flair that is unmatched! You keep going girl!!

Bob Cronley said...

Didn't go to this one, but went to a couple of smaller ones featuring the Up, SRC, etc.

Chris Camiolo said...

Kim, I always was a fan of the MC5, and really liked their very early material. Are you in touch with any of them still?

RetroKimmer said...

sure Chris talked to MGT today and saw Wayne in Detroit last week http://www.retrokimmer.com/2011/09/wayner-kramer-awards-robin-summer-with.html

Fred Reif said...

We were in the balcony for the whole evening until 2am or whatever time John & Yoko came on.

Fred Reif said...

I used to have that poster, but I have moved so many times since then, I can't find it. I hope it turns up some day

Terrance McNiven said...

I skipped school that day , and hung around as long as could , it was a great day

RetroKimmer said...

We did too Terrance... come out to the show in DEC

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