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RED Herring
 
 
 
 
 
 
Faking a Freak Flag....
Undercover at the Rainbow Family Gathering
 
 
By Craig Froehlich
 
 

Sunday, June 29
In 1972, disgruntled flower children realized they weren’t getting laid anymore and the debauchery of cocaine and disco remained the stuff of futuristic fantasy. They flocked to a forest in the wilds of Colorado and prayed for peace in a week of communal bliss. The rag-tag band of rebels known as the Rainbow Family continue to meet annually in lucky expanses of unspoiled wilderness.


Utah’s Uinta Mountains drew the short straw this year.


I keep an open mind as my car chugs up the winding mountain pass on a mission to blend into the gathering cornucopia of counter-culture. With an open mind, devoid of pre-conceived notions, I eagerly await my meeting with the unkempt hippie revellers having group sex and doing drugs in the muddy mountains above me. I am born anew. For once, I won’t be the guy who ran into Wizards and Dreams yelling, “If Jerry Garcia hadn’t died, I would’ve killed him with this rubber mallet.”


Having logged time at the Suge Knight Fantasy Camp and a Klan Rally/family reunion, my weighty credentials as an undercover journalist prepare me for the unexpected.


Monday, June 30
“Welcome home, brother.” I was greeted at the “gate” to the gathering with a patchoulli-soaked hug and a hearty bowl of “welcome soup.” The “denizens” of the rainbow “camp” divide daily “duties” equally “among” the self proclaimed “non-members.” The “camp” contains “several” communal “kitchens,” including a “site” outfitted for “Kosher” cuisine.


I helped myself to an ale described colorfully as “the bucket for tobacco spit” and soon encountered an ailment the poetic pranksters call “the shits.” A round of “vomiting my spleen across the room” followed soon after.


Tuesday, July 1
I can honestly say that I’ll never get sick of frenetic dancing. Nor will I ever tire of a dead-ringer for Gandolf the Wizard espousing his love for me a dozen times over hits of bong resin.


“The Man” infiltrated Camp Rainbow today. The bear-tagging bastards at the Forest Service received complaints from other campers about naked men walking up to a group of Girl Scouts and demanding pot roast and black-tar heroin. The five-O brought guns into a land of love and made us turn down The Best of Bread album we were jamming. We joined hands and sang “Itsy Bitsy Spider” as a form of protest.


Wednesday, July 2
All I can say is that there are two kinds of people in the world…those who get a sunburn on one arm while driving and those who do not.


 
  Undercover reporter Craig Froehlich plays the flute for "welcome soup" at this year's Rainbow Family Gathering.
   

Thursday, July 3
Well, I know what another word for “hippie toilet” is…it’s called a ditch.


The gathering is now a full fledged freakfest. Thousands of artists and vagabonds—and a variety of other people with aversions to bathing—approach me asking for money. An alcoholic with a lazy eye and a bad attitude offered to trade a cup of peanut butter with gravel in it for my Gore tex rain parka. I declined.


These people bastardize Eastern Religions faster than Madonna in a burka. The chants are never-ending and sometimes dancing can even be too frenetic for my tastes.


I met the future mother of a my children—a supple, young nymphet who promptly made out with a heavily pierced boy whose head resembled a fishing lure.


They call her Floppy Girl, due to her love for floppy straw hats or, perhaps, her decade-long rejection of brassieres.


Friday, July 4
Whoever says LSD won’t reveal God and all the heavens above never had a tree try to eat them.


A visit to Sir Dragon DumArse’s Acid Bath opened up a brave new world for me. In this world, I actually enjoy drum circles and try to sit down in the campfire every chance I get.


I made sweet love to Floppy Girl, only to discover it was actually Gandolf with a toilet seat on his head.


I was just happy to see an actual toilet seat for the first time in days.
craig@red-mag.com