Saint Misbhavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie - Movie Review

By Purple

If you've lived in the bay area for any length of time then you've probably had some kind of Wavy Gravy experience. You may have caught a glimpse of his red clown nose and bowler hat at a concert or a show, or maybe you looked twice at the man you saw walking his pet rubber fish on a leash down the street. So whether it's running into him in his tie-dyed clown suit while he pretends to surf your purple marbelized painted car like I did when I first arrived in San Francisco, or see him at one of the local Ben and Jerry's ice cream stores where as a person with a flavor named after him, he happily redeems his unlimited free ice cream for life to share with his friends and family. Wavy Gravy is a patron saint of the bay and this is formally recognized and celebrated in "Saint Misbhavin: The Wavy Gravy Movie".

The documentary is directed by Michelle Esrick, who spent over a decade creating the Wavy Gravy movie. She brings together a remarkable collection of archive footage from the 60's and the 70's as well as new interviews with the colorful cast of friends, family, and performers that form a collage of the life and times of Wavy Gravy. The movie tells his story and infuses its audiences with Wavy's contagious spirit to do good in the world.

The film goes way back to when a then Hugh Romney moves to New York City where he shared times in an apartment with a young Bob Dylan and became a pioneer in the beat poetry movement. After heading west, Romney fell in with the emerging psychedelic experience which would lead to living on the Hog Farm where he would become one of the spokesmen for a generation of hippies, taking their communal lifestyle out on the road on a tour of Middle America in the late sixties.

And after being the court jester and MC of the "Woodstock" generation, Romney would officially transform into Wavy Gravy, becoming the full time clown prince for peace on the planet earth. And while Wavy's delightful nature makes it easy to smile, it may also be surprising for some to discover how far reaching the efforts of he and his friends have gone to help make the world a better place. The film follows Wavy's fund-raising campaigns for the Seva foundation and its mission to help bring medical care and treatment so people in remote locations can see. As well as his active involvement with Camp Winna-rainbow, a northern California summer camp where kids learn performing arts and developing their better human nature.

Throughout the journeys, one aspect the documentary shines light on is the incredible relationship Wavy has with his wife whose love and understanding has kept the pair bonded together to this day. With this at his root, Wavy also reaches out to his extended network of the generations of Hog Farm families, and musician friends, and able is to stir up the people around him to support his many good causes. This includes coming together to create a song for the film called "Basic Human Needs" written by Wavy and performed by Jackson Browne, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Bob Weir, Buffy Sainte Marie, Steve Earle, Maria Muldaur, Denise Kaufman, Emory Joseph and more.

"Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie" was screened as part of the Mill Valley Film Festival and is expected to go into wide release in the spring time next year. Hoping members of congress tune in and get inspired by it when the Wavy Gravy movie gets shown to them on Capitol Hill at the end of this month, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.

© 2009 - Purple - Air Date: 10/21/09
Movie Magazine International