Rock Reads: Hippie Chick: A Tale of Love, Devotion and Surrender - Written and edited by by Edith Johnson and Photographs by Jay Blakesberg
Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki
Other than the peace symbol, one of the most enduring images from the hippie era is that of the hippie chick and her distinct style of dress, originally an anti-fashion statement that had women dressing in a style that commingled the simplicity of peasant wear with the free spirit of a gypsy and the down-to-earth vibe of an earth goddess. It all stood for something in those days, and here the era's prominent musical hippie chick Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) writes the book's introduction explaining just what the idea was and how these ideas have affected and still affect women's and everyone's lives today. That being said, this is a book of photography that presents modern day women dressed in the hippie chick style, maybe twirling hula or other hoops, often dancing or otherwise reveling in music, and more times than not with a giant grin on their faces. Blakesberg's photos, presented here in both black & white and color and taken primarily at music festivals (there are no band shots though, the focus is wholly on the women) do an excellent job of catching the love is all around aura that emanates from his subjects; earthy and innocent as the shots are there is also no denying their inherent sensuality. Edith Johnson contributes essays that tie the three segments of the book (Love, Devotion, and Surrender) together through musical references, and musician Grace Potter writes the book's afterword. Some will see this book as a reminiscence but actually Hippie Chick is a thoroughly up-to-date and thoroughly enchanting look at how an element of a one-time counter culture endears itself to the masses today.
The book is available here.