Welcome to our September 2014 Newsletter!

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Where has the time gone?  Hard to believe summer is over!
This unique lava rock fountain, seen here in a photo taken by Peter Risley in 1968, was the centerpiece of Mary Black Burdell's formal gardens at Olompali and can still be found there to this day.

Filmmakers Update

We're on hiatus from the editing room but are making progress on a number of other fronts.
  • New radio interview unearthed!  Thanks to our new friend, author and journalist Mary Papenfuss, we recently discovered an hour-plus radio interview with Don McCoy which was recorded in the early 1970s by DJ Bob Simmons at alternative FM station KSAN. We're thrilled to have this new material in our archives and look forward to incorporating it into the film.
  • Olompali in the news!  We're excited to report that the Chosen Family's time at Olompali is the subject of an in-depth article in the latest issue of Pacific Standard magazine. Based on our friend California State Park Archaeologist Breck Parkman's discovery and excavation of artifacts left behind by the commune members in the burned ruins of the Burdell mansion, the article reflects on how Breck's findings have led him to challenge the commonly-held stereotypes of '60s hippies. You can find the article online here or buy a copy of the magazine at Barnes & Noble.
  • Gone Again.  One of the other projects keeping us busy lately has been a short film called "Gone Again" that we produced in collaboration with Juxtapoz magazine. We're happy to announce that it will premiere at the 31st Olympia Film Festival on November 9 at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Washington. Pick up a copy of the November issue of Juxtapoz when it comes out for more info and to read an interview Gregg did with our film's subject, art collector extraordinaire Long Gone John.

Olompali Person of the Month

This month we'd like to congratulate our narrator-to-be, Peter Coyote, for his powerful performance in the recent 7-part PBS series, The Rockefellers: An Intimate History.  

A respected actor and sought-after narrator, Peter is known for his roles in ET: The Extra Terrestrial and A Man in Love, and more recently Erin Brockovich and the TV series Brothers and Sisters. He has narrated such acclaimed documentaries as Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and PBS series Prohibition and The Dust Bowl.
Originally from New York, Peter moved to San Francisco in 1964, where his interest in writing and acting led him to join the S.F. Mime Troupe. He became a prominent member of the San Francisco counterculture community and a co-founder of the Diggers, an anarchist group known for operating anonymously and for feeding many of the homeless and hungry who were flooding the Haight in the late '60s.

The Diggers evolved into a group known as the Free Family, which established chains of communes around the Pacific Northwest and Southwest.  In 1998, Peter published a fascinating and beautifully-written book about his experiences called "Sleeping Where I Fall."  

Peter visited Olompali several times in the summer of 1968, and even helped finish the concrete platform constructed to support the large bakery oven that had been donated to the Chosen Family on behalf of the Diggers. He was a good friend of Paula McCoy and took this rare photo of her (with her signature mink coat) at her house on Ashbury Street. We're thankful to him for his interest in our film and for sharing these photos with us!
Copyright © 2014 Surrey Lane Productions, All rights reserved.

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