Pure Schmint Players

Pure Schmint’s Humboldt Hippie Epic Vibram Soul

1980 Vibram Soul poster for Berkeley’s Live Oak Theater by Maurie and Larry Heald (Source: Humboldt Area Peoples Archive, Joani Rose Collection)
1979 Vibram Soul poster for Garberville Redwood Playhouse debut (Source: Humboldt Area Peoples Archive, Joani Rose Collection)
Vibram Soul rehearsal, Al “Owl” Ceraulo, Barry Wicksman, and Joani Rose (Source: Humboldt Area Peoples Archive, Joani Rose Collection)

The Pure Schmint Players’ Vibram Soul, directed by Palma DiAnello, aka Dominick Palestino, crystalized the counterculture experience of hippie homesteaders in search of love, sex, and meaning, growing weed, or not. In his review, David Simpson described the play as, “a couple hours of bawdy, barbed fun whose subject matter might best be described as mating rituals in the hills of Southern Humboldt.” (See Simpson and Mary Anderson reviews below.)

Vibram Soul so impressed the semi-famous jazz dancer and choreographer, Lester Zitler, that he offered to produce it at the renowned Berkeley Live Oak Theater, 1301 Berryman Street. He had seen the show by chance, during its 1979 debut run in Garberville. Zitler was in town to give a workshop organized by the Feet First dance company at Fireman’s Hall, by then under the auspices of the freshly named Mateel Community Center.

During work on the play in the run up to the Berkeley show, Michael Evenson was invited to consult. A Humboldt back-to-lander, better known in recent decades for his environmental activism, Evenson had become interested in theater as a UC Berkeley student and in the late 1960’s produced Thomas Beckett’s Endgame at the Mendocino Arts Center. At one point, his work on Vibram Soul led to consideration of Evenson to direct. Eventually, his role was credited in the Berkeley program as None Of The Above, at his request.

Vibram Soul hit the stage in Berkeley in July 1980, the last summer of post-Sixties America. It was a time when many were convinced weed would soon be legal and the White House sported an array of exemplary solar panels. Only months later everything would change. And the new President’s widely publicized removal of White House solar panels was but a teaser.

Voters would soon oust their Moralizer In Chief President Carter in favor California’s former Governor Ronald Reagan, a minor Hollywood actor who became one the greatest 20th century propagandists of rightwing conservatism. Battle hardened as California’s Governor through the best of the Sixties, Reagan openly despised hippies and all things counterculture, especially the devil’s weed. The master plan to irradiate marijuana growing across the US, that became the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, was conceived and ordered from Reagan administration offices.