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SOMETHING GOOD FOR A CHANGE by Wavy Gravy

SOMETHING GOOD FOR A CHANGE

Essays on Peace Through Living

By Wavy Gravy

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-07838-2
Publisher: St. Martin's

 Legendary hippie Wavy Gravy presents 49 goofy and sometimes gripping autobiographical vignettes on everything from Woodstock to Janis Joplin's infectious laugh to the charitable Seva Foundation, using his own life and distinctly wavy sense of humor to get people to ``dare to struggle, dare to grin.'' ``What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000.'' This sunny if unrealistic announcement, blasted through the loudspeakers at Woodstock, became emblematic for Gravy as, over the years, the toothless, grinning founding father of the still-thriving Hog Farm commune came to represent humanitarian and spiritual action as a fun pursuit, a prankster path. Here, Gravy describes some of the strange and extraordinary encounters that changed a bright but reasonably straight young comedian named Hugh Romney into the cosmic clown with the bizarre moniker (allegedly coined by B.B. King). There's the time Gravy gave the psychotropic drug DMT to Lenny Bruce; the drug, Gravy says, literally blew the comedian out his hotel window but, even as he fell, Bruce supposedly yelled, ``Man shall rise above the rule.'' Or the time, years later, when Gravy bandied with charismatic Tibetan lama Chîgyam Trungpa and updated the ancient riddle about what comes first, service or enlightenment. ``Do you know that man?'' a follower asked Trungpa. ``That man is self-explanatory,'' answered the lama. Through decades studded with friendships with fellow countercultural icons (Ken Kesey, Ram Dass, etc.), Gravy has apparently perfected his heart and his humor. Here, however, it's his moving stories of his tireless work with ill children that best demonstrate his mushy, generous, exuberant heart. The man who once ran a pig for president has become a seasoned do-gooder, and this enjoyable if unabashedly sentimental collection may well succeed in convincing readers that working to ease suffering in the world can be a wonderful trip.