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.

CredoFeaturesLisa GeduldigPersonalitiesSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

An East Palo Alto resident is inoculated during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic run by Ravenswood Family Health Network at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park on April 10, 2021. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
COVID vaccinations lag for people on Medi-Cal

By Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters Low-income Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal have been… Continue reading

Blue California often is the target of criticism by conservative media, but now is receiving critical attention from liberal writers. Pictured: The State Capitol. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Why is California now being criticized from the left?

California being what it is – a very large state with a… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Most Read