Free your mind and surrender to 'The Source Family'
Maria and I interviewed about 40 of them just for The Source Family, and I've gotten to know members of other groups over the years. I find that these groups, more often than not, were very important cultural incubators. A lot of progressive ideas came from them, including the slow food movement, the mind-body-spirit movement, the natural birthing movement. A lot of tech-industry people came from these experiments — San Francisco was a hotbed for them. And many of them were harmless. They didn't create any major havoc. They were high-risk experiments, of course, but a lot of what people took away was deep and transformative.
SFBG Music plays a huge part in the film, and again, you had a lot of material to choose from. How did you decide which songs to match with the footage?
JW I knew the music really well, and then our editor, Jennifer Harrington, did an incredible job working with the music, and Maria pitched in, too. We did it by knowing the music and thinking about the mood, and just playing with stuff to see what fit.
MD We often chose songs that actually lyrically fit with what was happening in that particular scene. The music was incredibly well-suited to what was happening, because they're basically singing their own story.
SFBG I missed The Source Family when it played the San Francisco International Film Festival last year, but I heard the Q&A got pretty colorful. How have screenings been going overall?
MD Response has been great. We've been selling out shows, and the Q&As have been very lively. A lot of people who participated in social experiments or lived in communes have been coming to the Q&As, but we've been getting a lot of younger kids as well. It's been intergenerational.
JW That was the fun part in San Francisco, because there were two or three people in the audience who were in different communities who spoke up during the Q&A, and it became this really interesting group therapy session. And it's not about us saying, "Oh, it was this way." It's us opening up new ideas so people can have new discussions about what was really going on back then.
SFBG What's the opening event going to be like?
JW For the various premieres, we have Source Family members showing up to do Q&As in eight cities. We've got three in San Francisco: Isis, Electricity, and Galaxy — who was the fashion designer in the family. Also at the Roxie, we're going to have food made from original Source Family recipes.
We'll also have tribute bands in six cities. In San Francisco, after the screening, the Source Family tribute band is going to be playing at the Chapel [at 777 Valencia] — they're called the Penetration Blues Band, with Michael Beach from Electric Jellyfish and Colossal Yes, Noel von Harmonson from Comets On Fire and Sic Alps, [and others]. It's going to be a really fun night! *
THE SOURCE FAMILY
Opening event Thu/2, 7pm (complete experience with food, film, and concert, $40; film only, $10; concert only, $15)
Film runs May 3-9, 7:15 and 9:30pm (also Sat/4-Sun/5, 2:45pm), $6.50–$10
3117 16th St., SF
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