Droppers: America's First Hippie Commune, Drop City

Mark Matthews, Author
Mark Matthews, Author University of Oklahoma Press $19.95 (233p) ISBN 978-0-8061-4058-2
Reviewed on: 03/01/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Hardcover - 242 pages - 978-0-8061-8308-4
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One of the first utopian communities to emerge in the 1960s, Drop City, Colorado was founded as a self-supporting artist's enclave. In this entertaining chronicle, author and journalist Matthews (Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line) recounts Drop City's story as told to him by a number of its inhabitants, including co-founder Eugene Victor Debs Bernofsky, whose plan was to ""own the property, build A-frame houses, pay no rent, make films and art and... put our trust in dose sic Cosmic Forces"" (influenced by ""Bucky"" Fuller, the A-frames became the commune's iconic geodesic domes). As much a look at the sex-and-drugs counterculture as it is a cautionary tale about the problems of utopia-building, the story of Drop City almost comes to an early end over a mysteriously depleted can of government commodity peanut butter; ultimately, it would devolve into a disillusioned, dilapidated slum. Matthews's attempts to contextualize (or perhaps elevate) the narrative with historical notes on other U.S. communes and the hippie stomping grounds of Haight Ashbury distract from Bernofsky's tale, which is fascinating, inadvertently hilarious, and very telling. B&w illus.
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