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Arts Counter conception 

Inside story on dropping out

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T. Coraghessan Boyle's acerbic Drop City, a fictional and cynical take on one of the better-known "hippie" communes, encapsulates much of the current attitude toward the "tune in, turn on, drop out" counterculture and back-to-the-land movement of the '70s. Kinder revisions tend to play up the excusable naivete of youth. Those communes were built and inhabited not by caricatures, but by living, breathing people, many of whom did come in from the cold, wood-stove-warmed geodesic domes to become professors, journalists, and attorneys (some of them now the target of right-wing politicians who claim a need to de-liberalize the universities and airwaves). Roberta Price left graduate school in 1970 with her husband to build a home in Libre, a commune in Colorado's Huerfano valley. She gives flesh and bones to the legends and lesser-knowns in Huerfano through her compassionate recollections of the daily struggle to keep a draft-free roof in place and food on the table while reconstructing the mores of mainstream society. Price's rustic prose is not melancholic in and of itself, but it does strike a note of regretful empathy for would-be cultural revolutionaries who never stood a chance against Reagan's Morning in America.

Price will read from and sign copies of Huerfano 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 8, at the Twig, 5005 Broadway, 826-6411.

By Elaine Wolff


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