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Thread: Attributes of 'ex-hippie' communities

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Attributes of 'ex-hippie' communities

    We've heard a few references on this subforum recently to 'ex-hippie' communities. If we compare various ex-hippie communities what common ingredients do we find? (apart from a bunch of old hippies)
    - vibrant arts scene?
    - lax/liberally interpreted code enforcement?

    anything else?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    - lax/liberally interpreted code enforcement?
    Not in Boulder or any of the other hippie 'burgs in Colorado, by any stretch of the imagination.

    I'd add these traits:

    * Mountains, hills or other interesting horizontally-oriented topography. You don't hear many bluegrass or folk songs idealizing the flat plains of Illinois or Kansas.

    * Proximity to either a large public university (too many examples) or a small private liberal arts school that is known for attracting an "artsy" student body.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    'Art' is clearly an essential ingredient...but not just any art. A certain type of art(s) seem to come with the territory.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    'Art' is clearly an essential ingredient...but not just any art. A certain type of art(s) seem to come with the territory.
    Metal art & sculpting immediately come to mind... along with performing arts.

    Culturally, I would include presence of Eastern/Earth religions. In the case of Wimberley, you have some of the Native American healer influence, and there is a large Buddhist monastery nearby.

    I've also noticed high levels of educational attainment in these ex-hippie enclaves. Wimberley is populated by a large number of professors from Texas State University--many of which are liberal arts professors.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    'Art' is clearly an essential ingredient...but not just any art. A certain type of art(s) seem to come with the territory.
    Generally primitive and folk art, and art with a strong ethnic or Native American influence, much more so than contemporary or fine arts, or kountry kitschy crafts. Pottery and metalwork seem to be popular, along with incorporation of "found objects". There are exceptions: the fine arts scene in Santa Fe, and minimalism/modernism in Marfa both come to mind. (Marfa is more of a hipster exclave than a hippie haven, though.)

    Music: bluegrass, folk, "cowboy hippie" C&W-inspired folk, and Native American-inspired new age - pan flutes, drumming, incorporation of whale/dolphin calls and howling wolves/coyotes into recordings, and so on.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Peruvian pan-flute bands. Art galleries. A large number of rainbow flags. Lawn art.

    Saugutuck, Michigan comes to mind (as one I've been to).

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    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    - lax/liberally interpreted code enforcement?
    Eh, not in California ex-hippie communities. I'd actually say the exact opposite - the more ex-hippie the place is, the more stringent and heavily enforced the codes are. That said, the codes themselves are different from other areas, but certainly not lax/liberally enforced.

    Sidewalk chalk and water-based paint art is big in most of these type places out here. Something new every week, if not daily.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

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    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    My friend and I have been having a very similar discussion thread of late, although we've been using "The Volvo-Subaru Corridor" as our name for these types of areas. We both live in one (I'm in Minneapolis, he's in Berkeley) and can spot at least a few commonalities (some of these his):

    Large lesbian population

    Reading in public (people will sit on outdoor benches and read; libraries are also well-patronized)

    Durable, older, smaller cars (Volvos, Subarus, Toyota pickups, Honda hatchbacks, Volkswagens) or hybrids

    Eastern/non-conventional religious spaces (zen centers, UU churches, etc.)

    Neighborhood density around 6000-12000 people/square mile. This results in a housing stock of side-by-side two-families, courtyard apartments, and multi-room storybook Victorians that is specifically suited to communal-but-not-crowded living arrangements (co-ops, communes, cohousing, poly villages, extended families)

    Heavy cross-promotion of local businesses/bands/events

    Bright colors (of houses, storefronts, clothing, cars)

    Major wilderness set-asides or other large urban parks

    Large percentage of non-TV households

    Young children are welcome everywhere and seen often with their adults: at restaurants, at museums, grocery shopping, playing in parks. Children in these sorts of communities also seem to spend far more time outside playing than their suburban counterparts.

    Independent auto-repair shops with names like "The VW Hospital" and "Lazlo's Foreign Car Repair" that have been in business since foreign cars first became widespread in the US in the 1970s. They specialize in a few makes of cars and are often run by curmudgeonly old guys who rarely smile and deliver stern lectures whenever you bring the car in for repairs.

    Practitioners of "eccentric" sports: curling, frisbee golf, Aussie rules football, geocaching, snowshoeing, vintage base ball, adult kickball, roller derby

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by drucee View post
    Independent auto-repair shops with names like "The VW Hospital" and "Lazlo's Foreign Car Repair" that have been in business since foreign cars first became widespread in the US in the 1970s. They specialize in a few makes of cars and are often run by curmudgeonly old guys who rarely smile and deliver stern lectures whenever you bring the car in for repairs.
    You're right! The crusty guys who work on only Subarus or Saabs are quite common in those hippie havens. I usually associated such mechanics with affluent and old-money inner-ring suburbs. The eastern 'burbs of Cleveland have quite a few of these guys, and there's one in Williamsville, New York, outside of Buffalo, that specializes in Italian cars.

    On a similar note, I'd add independent Apple Computer dealers and repair shops.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Last year when we were visiting RJ's mom out in CA, he took the kid and me to Mendocino. It's a nice little town pretty much in the middle of nowhere on the coast and seems mostly populated by ex-hippies, and overrun by ex-hippie tourists. From what he said, I gathered that the big draw there was the size of the pot crop.

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    I would also say a preponderence of bicycle riders and ESPECIALLY unusual bicycles is common. I've seen plenty of tandems, recumbent, foldable, and just plain wacky contraptions that people ride around town here.

    There are also a good number of electric cars. Yes, plenty of Priuses, but I'm talking about electric-only vehicles. I've seen Twike's and Xebra's around alond with some other kinds I've never heard of before.

    http://www.twike.us/index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZAP_Xebra
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Another thing I just remembered, while flipping around on the radio on the way to work - adult album alternative/singer-songwriter format radio stations. A few examples: KBCO in Boulder, KGSR in Austin, WMMM in Madison, KBAC in Santa Fe, and KFOG in San Francisco.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    My uncle used to own one of these independent foreign-car repair shops in Englewood, NJ,an inner-ring, affluent suburb of New York. He specialized in BMWs, Audis and Porsches. When he passed away last november, his daughter took over the shop.

    Another commonality between these sorts of areas? "Chirp" signals at crosswalks for those with impaired vision. I've seen them in Berkeley, Amherst (MA), Northampton (MA), Minneapolis, Boulder, Tucson, Santa Monica, and a variety of Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, St. Catharines, Richmond, and Ottawa.

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    Cyburbian eightiesfan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Not in Boulder or any of the other hippie 'burgs in Colorado, by any stretch of the imagination.

    I'd add these traits:

    * Mountains, hills or other interesting horizontally-oriented topography. You don't hear many bluegrass or folk songs idealizing the flat plains of Illinois or Kansas.

    * Proximity to either a large public university (too many examples) or a small private liberal arts school that is known for attracting an "artsy" student body.
    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    Eh, not in California ex-hippie communities. I'd actually say the exact opposite - the more ex-hippie the place is, the more stringent and heavily enforced the codes are. That said, the codes themselves are different from other areas, but certainly not lax/liberally enforced.

    Sidewalk chalk and water-based paint art is big in most of these type places out here. Something new every week, if not daily.
    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Last year when we were visiting RJ's mom out in CA, he took the kid and me to Mendocino. It's a nice little town pretty much in the middle of nowhere on the coast and seems mostly populated by ex-hippies, and overrun by ex-hippie tourists. From what he said, I gathered that the big draw there was the size of the pot crop.
    Definitely agree with what's been said. Most of the ex-hippie communities in CA are full of Nimby's. Fairfax, Santa Cruz and Bolinas all come to mind. Things may be a little more live and let live outside of the Bay Area, maybe up towards Humboldt, but I'd wager that even up there it's lost it's free spirit. Most of the ex hippie places seem to be really pricey, funny how that works... Asheville, NC also seems to have many of the attributes listed.

    The only places that I can think of that would qualify as true hippie communities are the way off the beaten path places, like some of the desert communities in the Southwest USA.
    Regrets, I've had a few; But then again, too many to mention.

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