The Buddha Played Bass

Vincent Mann.

Vincent Mann.

There simply isn’t enough room here to say just how good Vincent Mann’s solo show, “The Last Hippie: A Western Novel” is. But let’s dispense with the formalities immediately:  Go. See this show as soon as possible, and bring lots of friends with you. And when you do go, be prepared to go on a long, strange, funny, musical, mystical trip in search of enlightenment with Mann as your friendly guide.
Beginning as a 14-year old in 1974 in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and dismayed that he’d missed the crest of the 60’s, Mann consumed an awful lot of illicit substances in search of his hippie identity.  But he also read a lot of wonderful books, and the story of his teenage years is imbued with the flavors of Spaulding Grey, James Joyce, Hunter S. Thompson, Robert M. Pirsig, and perhaps even a touch of Truman Capote. Mann paints rich landscapes, both real and imagined, and peoples them with vivid portrayals of the friends and loved ones he met on his journeys. A gifted writer, his words carry an audience willingly along for the ride and brings them back from an intermission eager for more.
There are casualties, of course, and not everyone makes it to the end of the road. But this is no cautionary, inspirational tale of bottoming out and recovery. Instead, “The Last Hippie” is the story a young man’s spiritual journey from home to far away and back again, told with beautiful imagery and uncommon wisdom.
“The Last Hippie: A Western Novel” runs Tuesday nights at 8:00 through May 12 (with a possible extension) at the Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 91423. For reservations, call 818-783-6784 or www.itsmyseat.com/Hippie.html.

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