Popped Culture

Manson Family Values drips with the acid undertones of the '60s.

The Manson women claimed to have learned their violence from American culture. At one level, this is a pretty empty excuse. But juxtapose the inanity of '50s and '60s television and its parade of sanitized cowboy killings against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, recall that this was a generation driven half mad by images of real bombs and napalm-burned children, and then think about the interplay between fantasy and reality.

The cast of LIDA's Manson Family Values,.
The cast of LIDA's Manson Family Values,.


Presented by the LIDA Project Experimental Theatre Company
Through March 22,
303-282-0466, www.LI DA.org
2180 Stout Street,

While the Manson family rampaged in Los Angeles, I was living in a radical commune in San Diego, where the worst things we did were bake lumpy bread, bicker about money and politics and hurt each other's feelings. We discussed revolutionary violence in the abstract, though we never carried it out. The same can't be said of the far-right group who (working, we later learned, with the FBI) blew up a car in front of our house, took a hammer to our typesetter, threatened us with death and ultimately shot one of our members as she stood by a window searching in her purse for cigarette money (the bullet permanently damaged her right arm). However, I heard about another commune in which a young woman ran into trouble during childbirth. The hospital, being The Man's territory, was out of bounds. So the people in her commune dropped acid, encircled her, held hands and chanted till she died.

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