Long, strange, trippy activism

Times Staff Writer

It’s hard to say when exactly “Psychedelic Healing Visions: A Celebration of Lavender Diamond’s Film ‘Imagine Our Love’ ” got started Tuesday night at the Silent Movie Theatre. Even the band’s frontwoman, Becky Stark, wasn’t sure when her own “show/concert/party/celebration/festival” began, although she had been holding forth on the mike for several minutes.

There were so many disparate elements for Stark to discuss -- the 3D Cosmic Visions Booth, the raffle, the photo booth with beet juice makeup, the silent art auction upstairs, the existential fortune telling booth (“No one wanted to be the fortune teller, so you’re in charge of your own fortune”) -- before conceding “maybe we’ve already started the show.”

By the time Eleni Mandell took the stage in a long, black dress (one of many fetching frocks on display), the evening took its shape -- guitars and languid harmonies from the likes of Mandell, the Chapin Sisters or Mia Doi Todd interspersed with Stark’s loopy storytelling.

Ostensibly a movie night, the film itself only made a late cameo appearance in the form of a bucolic music video excerpt set to Lavender Diamond’s song “Garden Rose.”

Eventually, “Imagine Our Love” will feature wall to wall music from Lavender Diamond’s debut album of the same name, paired with visuals of tea parties, lady samurai warriors, a cosmic mothers council and possibly one Chinese factory. But for now, it’s only about one-third complete, estimates “Imagine” director Maximilla Lukacs.


Sipping a Tecate and wearing a dried mushroom floral arrangement in her hair, Lukacs explained why the rush to unveil it. “We’ve been working in a vacuum,” she said. “We just wanted to have an event and tell people we’re doing it. This was a way to bring it to the community.”

And the raffle during which Stark handed out dresses from her own closet for only a dollar or two? “It was a way to add a participatory element,” Lukacs said.

The capacity crowd took that cue. Couples commandeered the 3D Cosmic Visions/Kissing Booth and 4 1/2 -year-old Bebel Matsumiya, chaperoned by her mother, Moonrats keyboardist Aska Matsumiya, stepped up to man the fortune telling station, quickly amassing an enthusiastic following. “I look into the globe, and I work my magic,” Bebel explained.

And so the evening went on and on -- and on. Most of the audience had dissipated by the time the close-knit denizens of the Silver Lake/Echo Park scene broke out the Charles Shaw, but Stark still had plenty of energy, breathlessly explaining what she hoped attendees would take away from the singular event, namely, “the idea that the movement toward a society in balance with the earth is a great opportunity for celebration.”

“We must go towards this shift on our planet with celebration and love,” she continued. “It’s a crisis, but if people understood that everyone’s relationship to the Earth is direct, that every step you take is an improvement in your life, they’d see it’s not something to be afraid of.”

As she spoke, the hour ticked past midnight and the 1960s-style electric organ soundtrack finally faded. The lights began to flicker off and more people trickled out, but Stark was still eager to share her ebullient brand of environmentalism. “It feels sort of sad, the divides. I don’t understand why the world’s gotten so divided,” she said. “We’ve got tons of work to do, but that’s all right. What else are you going to do with your life?”