Saint Misbehavin’, Saturday

Press release

By on Tue, January 11, 2011

On Saturday, January 15, 2011, The Visionary Edge will present a fun and inspirating event to launch the 2011 film season.  The evening will begin with a catered organic raw food dinner at 6:00, a skype interview with Berkeley filmmaker Michelle Esrick at 7:30, followed by a sneak preview screening of Saint Misbehavin: The Wavy Gravy Movie.  All will take place at Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay.

Wavy Gravy is more than just a popular Ben-and-Jerry’s ice cream flavor—it’s the name adopted by Hugh Romney, an iconic hippie prankster who has lived a particularly inspiring brand of idealism for half a century. He began as a poet in Greenwich Village, friend to Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, and Tiny Tim, among others. From there he adopted a more comic persona, performing a kind of stand-up routine that provoked people to ask questions and care more deeply. A leader in what came to be the hippie movement, he eventually traveled across America with his freewheeling commune known as “The Hog Farm,” and often wore a jester costume, embracing the role of the fool in service of his ideals. He and his remarkable wife of 40 plus years, Jahanara, led a sort of security detail at Woodstock that included a kind of reenactment of the biblical feeding of the 5,000, and eventually took a remarkable trip across Europe and through Asia (including through countries like Afghanistan where a westerner would be unable to travel in the same way now), spreading an ethic of warmth and generosity wherever they went. One can’t help but compare the footage of that trip with how such a trip might look now; as Wavy Gravy puts it, “War is such a complicated way of getting to know people.”

Saturday January 15th, 2011 at Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street (at Johnston), Half Moon Bay. Dinner payment must be received no later than Thursday at noon, January 13th. Suggested donation for the film portion of the evening is $12 advance, $16 door. No one turned away for lack of funds. Call 650-207-3440 for information and tickets.

The story may sound goofy, but the movie is absolutely inspiring stuff, revealing that, for some at least, the hippie movement consisted of a lot more than drugs and free love, but rather of a brand of devotion that some people have actually lived out in the years since. Wavy Gravy, who eventually adopted a clown persona partly because he frequently entertains children (and adults) but also because dressing as a clown (or as Santa or the Easter Bunny) seemed to finally deter police beatings that gravely exacerbated his serious long-standing back problems), is the perfect modern-day example of a sacred fool. As his best friend of many years describes it, when you meet a clown who thinks more deeply than you do and has read more than you have, it throws you, and Wavy Gravy uses the spaces his playful humor opens up to heal and inspire. Jahanara, too (whom the director calls “the ground beneath the clown”) is incredibly inspiring; one has the sense of a marriage of equals that truly works.

Satirist Paul Krasner describes Wavy as “The illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Theresa, conceived one starry night on a spiritual whoopie cushion,” to which Wavy has replied, “Some people tell me I’m a saint, I tell them I’m Saint Misbehavin’.”

Make of it what you will: like its subject it Saint Misbehavain’ is an unabashed love letter to the world that defies the cynicism of our age.

According to Reba Vanderpool of The Visionary Edge, “In the film we experience the impact one person can have and connect to the hope that each of us can make a difference while keeping our sense of humor. Weaving together intimate verite footage, reflections from an array of cultural and counter-cultural peers, and never-before-seen archival footage, the film tells a story that is bigger than the man himself. What better inspiration for us to start the new year!”

The film features Wavy Gravy, Jahanara Romney, Jordon Romney, Dr. Larry Brilliant, The Grateful Dead, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Odetta, Patch Adams, Lisa Law, Buffy Sainte Marie, Denise Kaufman, Tom Law, Steven Ben Israel, The Hog Farm and more!

Saint Misbehavin’ is presented by The Visionary Edge. Sponsors include The UPS Store, The Wisdom Academy, San Mateo Coast Properties, and Community United Methodist Church, Babysitting will be provided for the film with a 24 hour advance reservation. Call 650-207-3440.

Located in Half Moon Bay, The Visionary Edge produces events to inform, inspire, and empower us all to create a wiser, sustainable and more compassionate world.