I had heard rumors throughout the summer that Bobby Kennedy was directing a movie in Southern Colorado about Hunter Thompson and his infamous run for Sheriff in Aspen during the late 60’s. It was only when my girlfriends and I got a call to be extras on the film that I realized the rumors were true. Our roll was to be cute hippies dropping acid and smoking marijuana cigarettes by the river.
I tore through our Vintage Bus and pulled all the fringe, embroidered flower dresses, extra flare bellbottoms, velvet cardigans and all the patterned silk scarfs I could find. We packed in the car on Thursday morning with enough wardrobe to dress a crew of 20 and started our trip from Boulder to Silverton, Colorado.
When the leaves peak in late fall in the San Juan mountain range it’s like driving through a Lisa Frank wonder world of color, a Doctor Seuss land of technicolored dreams. It’s hard to comprehend the display that nature puts on. We hung our heads out the windows like happy golden retrievers- in awe of the trees.
Silverton is nestled deep in the San Juan’s. It hasn’t changed much since the silver mining boom in the early 1900’s - which made it the perfect location for this era accurate flick. On Friday morning Cadillac Coupe-de-Ville’s, Willy Jeeps, and Chevy Blazers began to roll into town. Between our wardrobe, the landscape and the backdrop of Silverton - it wasn’t very hard to get into character.
Our first scene was set at the election office. Phones were ringing, papers were flying, 70’s era babes were busting their asses making calls out to Pitkin County to remind the people to get out there and vote, “Hunter S Thompson for Sheriff!”
Hunter ran for Sheriff in Aspen in 1969-1970. He wanted Aspen to be a safe place for the hippies, the underdogs, the intellectuals - The Freaks. Political freedom, the disarmament of police forces, environmental protection and good god damn drugs were campaign highlights.
The set was eerily familiar. Thomas Benton posters and Ralph Steadman drawings scattered the walls and botched taxidermies of Mongoose like creatures lurked in corners. As a kid I spent quite a bit of time at Owl Farm - Hunter S. Thompson’s property in Woody Creek Colorado. My brother and I went to the Aspen Community School which sits on the mesa above Owl Farm and through family friends we got to “know” Hunter. “Uncle Hunter” he was unruly, and unpredictable - his personality mirrored in the set design.
Hunter S. Thompson + my Grandma
Our second scene was the bar scene when Hunter realized he was going to loose the election. They had the bar filled with rebellious hippies choochin’ down cigs. Everyone had a beer in hand. Looking around the old western bar was a step back in time. The men took their handle bar mustaches seriously and the ladies were a vision in their paisley prints and fringe.
To see groups of fashionable freaks walking down the middle of the streets of Silverton - Coors can in one hand and freedom in the other, was a dream. To have dressed a gorgeous girl gang in all the necessities to be 70’s princesses was also a dream. I watched as onlookers smiled at the bright colored floral prints and striped turtle necks. It made me so happy. The nostalgia was fierce and I knew I was in the right place at the right time, affirming that vintage is “my thing”. Peace, love and FREAKS!