Scenarios of the Revolution: Night Flight’s Pat Thomas’ American Revolutionary Book Tour for “Did It!: Jerry Rubin from Yippie to Yuppie”

By on March 16, 2018

Next week, Night Flight contributor Pat Thomas will be heading east on his American Revolutionary Tour to promote his recently-released biography of Jerry RubinDid It!: Jerry Rubin from Yippie to Yuppie, An American Revolutionary (Fantagraphics Books, 2017) — with special stopovers planned for New York City and Chicago, where he’ll be joined by special guests Paul Krassner and Bill Ayers, respectively.

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Pat’s Did It! is a gorgeous, photograph-rich coffee table oral history tome which features exclusive content that Pat found among Rubin’s papers while staying in Rubin’s ex-wife Mimi Leonard’s pool house in Los Angeles.

This is the first-ever biography of Rubin — who is probably best known for theatrical anti-war activism during the 1960s — and tracks his evolution from anti-war radical to green-energy/health-food advocate and social-networking yuppie (he actually trademarked the phrase “social networking”) to suit jacket-and-tie-wearing Studio 54 habitué.

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Did It! also incorporates coverage of the infamous Chicago 8 trial. Rubin — who had a background as a journalist, so he knew how to “work” the media — was a Chicago 8 defendant, caught up in the wake of the police violence against protestors in the 1968 Chicago National Democratic Convention.

Be sure to read Pat’s previous Night Flight post, “The whole world is watching”: Turning points in the ’68 Democratic Convention and the trial of the Chicago Eight.”

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Did It! also features interviews and profiles of Rubins’ engagement with Eldridge Cleaver, the Weathermen, Timothy Leary and Norman Mailer, among others.

Pat’s book has been garnering a lot of great press of late, including an impressive L.A. Times review, published late last August and penned by Paul Krassner — editor of The Realist and author of Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture — who will be joining Pat (via Skype) when Did It!‘s American Revolutionary Tour kicks off in Greenwich Village, NYC, on Saturday, March 24th, 2018, at Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books (34 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014).

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Paul Krassner (left) and Jerry Rubin (right) and share a joint in the late ’60s (Fantagraphics Books)

Krassner was among the seventy-five co-conspirators Pat interviewed for what Krassner calls “revealing anecdotes galore,” before adding “…this tome is a unique oral and visual history heavy enough to sink into your coffee table.”

Pat’s tour continues with two stopovers in Connecticut — in Middletown (Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore, Monday, March 26th) and New Haven (The Institute Library, Tuesday, March 27th) — before he’ll be joined by special guests Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground and Yippie Nancy Kurshan at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore in Chicago, on Saturday, March 31st (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637).

Ayers is a social justice activist, teacher, a Distinguished Professor of Education (retired) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of two memoirs, Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Antiwar Activist and Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident.

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Bill Ayers (ITVS Photo/Chicago Historical Society)

Pat’s American Revolutionary Tour also includes special events held at Bookbound Bookstore (Ann Arbor, MI – Tuesday April 3rd); The Book Beat Bookstore (Oak Park, MI – Wednesday, April 4th); Last Exit Books (Kent, Ohio – Thursday, April 5th); and Burning Books (Buffalo, NY – Friday, April 6th).

Check the Did It! Jerry Rubin: An American Revolutionary Facebook group page for more details and updates.

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The late Jerry Rubin — along with his more-famous counterculture collaborator, Abbie Hoffman — was one of the co-founders of the politically-active Youth International Party, known as the “Yippies,” who came together in their virulent opposition to the Vietnam War.

Rubin was known for his political theater, including “levitating the Pentagon“; dressing up in Revolutionary War garb for his appearance before a congressional committee; shutting down the New York Stock Exchange by throwing 500 one-dollar bills from above; and organizing a Vietnam Day “Teach In” on the University of California at Berkeley campus in 1965.

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Jerry Rubin & Abbie Hoffman throwing $1 bills onto the New York Stock Exchange floor

Rubin is also noted his many interactions with iconic Sixties musical legends like Bob Dylan, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Phil Ochs, Mick Jagger and others.

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Abbie Hoffman, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Jerry Rubin, 1972

Later in his life, Rubin ended up working on Wall Street, producing ecological technology… and hey, buy Pat’s book and you’ll discover a lot more!

The Seattle-based publishing house Fantagraphics Books have really outdone themselves with this beauty.

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About the Author:

Pat Thomas is also the author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights & Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 and the co-curator of Invitation to Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980 (all three of Pat’s books have been published by Fantagraphics Books).

He was consultant to the PBS documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, and has lectured at USC, Hunter Collge (one of the constituent colleges of the City University of New York), Evergreen State in Olympia, WA, and the Universities of Copenhagen, Oslo & East London.

Among the hundreds of record releases Pat has compiled as an A&R man and reissue producer was the Allen Ginsberg box set, The Last Word on First Blues.

Pat lives in Burbank, California.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.