Otis and My Book on the ’60s

On the last leg of my trip to Oregon this week, I had a great visit with Foster Huntington before heading home, saw his incredible new video project, spent the night in his treehouse, and went to the airport yesterday afternoon, delay of flight, dragged into home about midnight, got up this morning, for some reason had a hard time getting going on my book on the ’60s. I even thought of dropping the project and going ahead with my book, “The Half-Acre Homestead.”

But I did what I advise people to do when they don’t know what to do about a project: “Start.” Which I did, and it started flowing.
I started writing about the Monterey Pop Festival. I was there and thought it was the beginning of a wonderful new world. For me, it wasn’t about Jimi Hendrix, or Janis (her first appearance with Big Brother, I believe), or Bryan Jones wandering around in the crowd, but it was about Otis. Good god a-mighty…

He appeared Saturday night. I hardly knew who he was, had certainly never seen him. He was wearing a green suit, was maybe the most beautiful man I’d ever seen, and was an entire other universe of music.
I pulled up the Youtube video of him singing I’ve been Loving You Too Long, and — I didn’t cry, but it sure brought tears to me eyes. For Otis, who’s gone, and for the ’60s, which never quit materialized the way I thought it would.


About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Otis and My Book on the ’60s

  1. I just turned 62 and was raised mostly in Florida. The 60's were sparked for me several days after Woodstock when a cousin rolled in on a motorcycle with his girlfriend on the back fresh from the festival. They were both 16. He gave me an underground newspaper that I devoured. For me it was astonishing such a thing had ever occurred. He stayed two days and his tales, of the music of course, were more about how together everyone was, how they helped one another, with only the occasional rip-off or aggression. I had just turned 14 days before the festival started and I was certain a new way of living was upon us and the world would be transformed. As much as those who own and rule this country reacted and organized against such ideas, ( see the Lewis Powell doctrine and the Trilateral Commission's report book The Crisis of Democracy wherein the conclusion was the 60's problem was an excess of democracy), the real problems were not enough people caught fire with the ideas, and, it was hard to be different, there was no blueprint; the economy of the 60's was good so there was breathing room for experimentation…..I could go on. I ran across The Whole Earth catalog in 1971 and still held the hope. I'm really sorry I wasn't deep in the mix. I appreciate what you've done and what others have done and I absolutely hope that book pours out of you like fine wine.

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