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By Marjorie Baumgarten, March 20, 2009, Screens

Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie

Documentary Feature, Special Screenings
D: Michelle Esrick

Long before Ben & Jerry's made his name world-famous when the company chose it to describe its latest flavor of ice cream, the clown known as Wavy Gravy was already almost more concept than human being. Those who don't recognize him for his flavor may better remember him as the emcee at the first Woodstock Festival, back when he still used the name Hugh Romney and was in attendance with his fellow members of the Hog Farm Collective, who fed the masses and served as the event's security (the "Please Force") – no doubt accounting for much of the festival's peaceful vibe. This loving documentary traces the performer's career from his days as a beatnik poet and traveling monologist to a Merry Prankster in a jester's hat and later activist clown and humanitarian. "Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster," he says in his daily oblations. Decades afterward, this icon of the Sixties remains the embodiment of the era's peace-and-love spirit. He does it with humor; he does it with heart. Esrick's biographical survey is a tribute to idealism made manifest.

Saturday, March 21, 6:45pm, Austin Convention Center

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