Hippie icon Wavy Gravy on his new biopic 

Wavy Gravy is a hippie clown also known as a flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. The East Coast native moved to San Francisco in 1962 at the request of Lenny Bruce, and spends part of the year at Hog Farm in Berkeley and Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville. His summer camp, Camp Winna rainbow, is for kids of all ages. A movie about his life — produced and directed by Michelle Esrick, who spent 10 years documenting Wavy Gravy’s service to the world — opened Friday.


Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

A toss-up between Gandhi and [Martin Luther] King.

Is there a golden rule by which you live?

I roll on “Put your good where it will do the most,” which is a transmission I received from Ken Kesey.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere.

How did you go from being Hugh Romney to Wavy Gravy?

At the Texas Pop Festival in the fall of ’69, it came to pass. The details are revealed in “Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie.”

How would you describe yourself?

Portly clown.

What was it like having Ben and Jerry’s name an ice cream after you? Does it get any better than that?

Nope. And all the royalties went for Camp Winnarainbow scholarships. I hope to be reincarnated as a rainbow sorbet.

What are you doing now? What’s coming up for you?

The opening of Michelle Esrick’s film “Saint Misbehavin’” in December and an art opening at the Beat Museum of my minimalist collage. I am also gathering musicians to perform at my 75th birthday concert this May, benefiting the Seva Foundation.

Tell me about the film “Saint Misbehavin’.”

The movie covers my life’s story with the Hog Farm, the Seva Foundation and Camp Winnarainbow. It is not just about me, but the whole era, and makes me honored to be a part of it. Ms. Esrick and Co. have spent over 10 years in its creation. It has to be seen to be believed.

Is there something about you that people would find surprising?

My marriage to my wife, Jahanara, has lasted 44 years. Michelle calls her “the ground beneath the clown.”

How do you see your role in the world?

Hippie icon, flower geezer and temple of accumulated error.

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Lisa Geduldig

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Sunday, Dec 28, 2014

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