Bob Fleck

Good vibes ride again

Hot diggity! Free food and good vibes on a Wednesday evening at Royal Oak’s Memorial Park, courtesy of potluck and the Yipfugs.

Tomatoes, rice, guitars and flutes were shared by pretty suburban hi skool frocks who are into turning on their brothers and sisters heads with feed festivals and films instead of TV and pep rallies.

For years all the energy generated in high school that has been craftily channeled into puppet student councils and Pigskin Proms, or directed towards trivial teeny bopping at drive-ins, has finally been harnessed and plugged into our real and growing revolutionary youth culture.

Tomatoes are a revolution?

Only if you share them with a stranger and get down to rapping about mutual hassles with the mind grinding system we are all up against.

Remember, not so long past, high school was someplace you endured cause there was always college coming up where there were real radicals. Little brothers and sisters got sympathy instead of advice, haircuts instead of mimeograph machines.

Well, since last year, some kids picked up on ways to combat evil establishment vibes and got together the Youth for Peace, Freedom and Justice (YIPFUGS) from Berkeley, Kimball, Dondero, Southfield and U of D high schools. There followed anti draft leafleting, which spread to a call for political organization.

This summer it became a radical cultural movement which figures that the fastest ways to overcome barriers between us is through sharing food on Wednesday nights and Newsreel films on Friday nights.

Turning to rap with a friend, I noticed a muscled dude who turned out to be a local cop trying to understand just what young people are all about.

Another long-haired youth joined us and in conversation ran down what led up to being a Yipfug. “Yeah, I started getting into the teeny bop thing, listening to ABX with a bunch of people gettin’ stoned and driving around.

“Then we started gettin’ hassled by pigs and straights a lot, and some cats in school talked to me about getting into a political trip. I’d never dug the movement much—too straight and cold. But after gettin’ hassled, I started thinkin’ about the whole system, ya know, and came down to see the flicks here. Met some outasite people, and got into the Yipfug trip.

“We’re together and still have fun relating to people. I think this is where it’s at if we wanna get people over on our side to see this whole lie for what it is.”

But it ain’t been all smooth sailing. The first couple of weeks the neighbors around the park at 13 Mile and Woodward put in complaints about the weird folk holding evening food and film frolicks.

The community kids had to confront the Royal Oak City Commission en masse for three weeks before they won a permit to use the park on Fridays. And the chief of po-lice has threatened repeatedly to use his power to close the park “in an emergency situation.” Such as—people having ‘a good time.

Meanwhile, back at the fest; after dinner amusement was thoughtfully provided by the R.O. Fire Dept. who came tearing across the field with lights flashing to single-handedly quench a hollow tree that was smoking (maybe the occupants split?). They stayed for a few moments to curiously look over the picnickers and split smiling.

There were thirtyish movement families, shy kids in field coats, dogs, pretty chicks swinging on swings, and an impromptu chorus under the trees of David Peel’s “Have A Marijuana.”

The ghost of ’67’s Belle Isle Love-ln was there—not to haunt, but remind us that we must learn to love one another amidst a dying plastik Amerika.


Fifth Estate #87, September 4–17, 1969