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Letter from Hollyweird


Check out the new documentary on trippy but influential ‘60s guru Father Yod and his howling Ya Ho Wah 13 band.

A pretty neato new documentary which opened this week at Manhattan’s IFC Center in New York –and coming to video soon–is called “The Source Family,” a long-awaited chronicling of a band of hippies who made some pretty great (and often dark) psychedelic music back when Hollywood was a bit more frayed on the edges.

A handful of the commune members’ vinyl outpourings actually got pressed by commercial record companies (such as its boxed set “God and Hair”), and are now collector’s items they’re so hard to find. This bearded and beaded gang of jam-session merry pranksters were what the Manson Family could have been if they hadn’t murdered people and carved swastikas in their heads: a free-thinking subculture that left their mark on both the fashion and music of today.

A cultural artifact, acting as a precursor to New Age concepts, the film tells how it all began at a health food shop in Hollywood and headed into L.A.’s coyote-mating hills and rattlesnake-y canyons, right up to when Father Yod–said to have robbed banks in his lifetime–opted to death-strap himself into a hang-glider off an Oahu cliff and plummet into pop-culture history. Here, some vintage images of the gang not entirely all “there.”