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When riots were a sign of the times

September 13, 2007|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

Eager to turn off and tune in? Then American Cinematheque's "Riot on Sunset Strip Weekend" at the Egyptian Theatre is your psychedelic ticket to ride.

Pop culture expert and author Domenic Priore will host the festivities, which begin Friday with a new 35-millimeter print of the 1967 American International exploitation flick "Riot on Sunset Strip," starring bad girl Mimsy Farmer as the daughter of an L.A. policeman who gets involved with hippies, as well as Barry Feinstein's 1968 documentary "You Are What You Eat."

The program will continue Saturday with "The Cool Ones," which features Glen Campbell, "The Trip" and "Mondo Hollywood" (all from 1967) and on Sunday with the 2005 documentary "You're Gonna Miss Me" and 1967's "The Love-Ins," which features a psychedelic ballet version of "Alice in Wonderland."

"Riot" was released only months after the late-1966 youth riots on the Sunset Strip and features musical appearances by the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband.

Priore, whose latest book is "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand," says many myths surround the real 1966 riots.

"For many years, people thought it was just a question of curfew and that the police didn't like kids with long hair," he says.

But Priore points to a long changing history of the area as a precursor to the riot.

In the 1950s, the famed Sunset Strip nightclubs were transformed into bebop jazz clubs because former headliners such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra had shifted to performing in Las Vegas.

Then, after the Beatles arrived in the U.S. in 1964, the clubs on the Strip exploded with legendary rockers such as the Doors, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.

"The Strip became more popular than it ever was," Priore says. "People went up there to have fun and dance. "

But by the summer of '66, the police shut down the Velvet Underground's controversial show at the Trip, "and that whole summer there was just a lot of police harassment," he says. "Kids kept getting hauled off to jail" for curfew.

A peaceful protest at Pandora's Box to stop the harassment turned into a riot after the police arrived with billy clubs. The fun officially came to an end.



'Riot on Sunset Strip Weekend'

Where: Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood

When: "Riot on Sunset Strip" and "You Are What You Eat," 7:30 p.m. Friday; "The Cool Ones," 4 p.m Saturday; "The Trip" and "Mondo Hollywood," 7:30 p.m. Saturday; "You're Gonna Miss Me" and "The Love-Ins," 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Price: $10


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