Indiegogo Launch

Helen Glover tells what it felt like to land in Ottawa from New Zealand in 1968

Helen Glover: from New Zealand to Ottawa in 1968

Wearing love beads and paisley, a crowd of 40 descended on HUB Ottawa, a new centre for start-up entrepreneurs and people working for social change. They had come for the Ottawa launch of the campaign to fund the printing of the new board game, It Happened in The 60s.

The day was Nov. 3, 2012. On that date 48 years ago in 1964, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater for President of the United States. On Nov. 3, 1967, the Battle of Dak To began in Vietnam. On the same day in 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon announced the “Vietnamization” of the war and the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops.

People at the launch grooved on Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Simon and Garfunkel. They mingled under posters of The Grateful Dead, Woodstock and of Martin Luther King addressing a crowd of thousands in Washington, DC, in 1963

Peter Atack, a political science instructor at Carleton University, told of meeting old friends at the launch that he hadn’t seen for years.

Tales of what changed the world

“We were recounting tales of past braveries, and of what changed the world. And of the things that we changed as they changed us,” he said. “What sparked the conversation was the game, and the game was It happened in the 60s.

Some who were there had been in elementary school in that famous decade and a few others had not yet been born.

Rachel Vincent interviews game creator Carl Stieren

Interviewed by Rachel Vincent, Carl explains his game.

The program began with a screening of the new video for the indiegogo.com funding campaign, filmed by Damien Robitaille and edited by Chris Brown of Liquidvisual.ca.

Journalist and NGO staffer Rachel Vincent then interviewed Carl Stieren, the creator of the game. Rachel asked Carl whether she could give the game to her children, since two of his major categories were sex and drugs.

“You’d be surprised: some of the questions about sex are about the start of the gay rights and women’s liberation movements,” Carl replied.

“And some of the drug questions show the dilemma of balancing public health on the one hand with preserving civil liberties on the other. They’re not the Playboy mentality or propaganda by junkies,” he said. “They’re about ideas, accomplishments and real historical events.”

Sipping lemonade plus beer and wine from breweries and wineries that weren’t even around in the 60s, the group shared their stories of that famous decade.

Good Morning Starshine!

Jazz singer Helen Glover led the group in the song, “Good Morning Starshine” from the musical Hair, the tribal love-rock musical that opened on Broadway in April 1968 and

later sold three million copies of its original Broadway cast recording.

Everyone was invited to share their stories of the 1960s. Ross Cowan, an Ottawa writer and editor, told of travelling across the desert in Spain in 1968 and winding up in the Andalusian town of Almería, playing an extra in Sergio Leone’s famous Western, Once Upon a Time in the West, starring Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards and Henry Fonda.

Helen Glover, who had just come from New Zealand to Canada with her new husband in 1968, recalled how she was glued to the radio listening to the Liberal Leadership Convention at which Pierre Trudeau was chosen as the party’s new leader and—because the previous Liberal Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, had just stepped down—the new Prime Minister of Canada.

“Here was a man who was totally unlike any other politician I had seen in New Zealand or elsewhere. “He wore sandals and rode a motorcycle, he’d been to Cuba and to China, and he created an atmosphere among Canadians that was electric,” she told the group.

Unlike the 60s, the evening began at 4 p.m. ended at 7 p.m., not at 2 a.m.

“It was carefully planned so that some guests were able to go to the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative meeting beforehand,” Carl explained. “And others could then leave in time to attend the concert of folk musician and songwriter Tom Lips afterwards.”

 

Comments on this entry are closed.