By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 8/30/19
HARRISONBURG — No need for a time machine because the 1960s are alive again tonight at Pale Fire Brewing through stories and songs from the time of Woodstock.
From 7:30 to 9 p.m., Mark Berger, author of “Something’s Happening Here: A Sixties Odyssey from Brooklyn to Woodstock,” will read about his personal experiences as a part of the decade’s counterculture. A family affair, Berger’s nephew and Americana rock ’n’ roll musician Justin Jones will assist in the tribute by playing his favorite tunes from the infamous music festival.
“If you’re a fan of music, it’s impossible to not listen to music from the ’60s. It’s sort of like the beginning of all of it,” Jones said.
Seating in the tap room will be arranged so guests can sit near the artists and listen to the storytelling and music. Berger and Jones will take turns throughout the night sharing their appreciation for the ’60s.
Published in May, Berger is a new writer who discovered his talent per his wife’s recommendation to explore hobbies, and he attended a memoir writing class. The untold stories from his younger years found their way onto the pages in 70 vignettes.
To connect the gap between generations, Berger usually tours with a young musician in accompaniment to his storytelling. He said he hopes his writing can inspire the next generation to enjoy youth.
“I was hoping not only would my generation ... read it and identify with my stories … but I was hoping it would reach younger people to kind of tell them this is how it worked back then, and maybe you can use what I did to help you to figure
out what you need to do in your life,” Berger said.
Pale Fire often hosts readings at the brewery in collaboration with the Valley’s NPR- affiliated radio station, WMRA, but this is the first event at the tap room to combine music and reading. Creative Director Susan Keller said the event came together because both artists have connections to the area. Jones grew up in Rawley Springs and has performed at festivals such as FloydFest and Red Wing, while Berger’s family by marriage is local to Harrisonburg.
An era of peace and love when people were connected by music is a thing of the past that Keller said she is excited to invite to Pale Fire.
“They just don’t make music like that anymore,” Keller said.
Berger’s stories of the decade’s complexities and Jones’ rendition of songs filled with a yearning for simplicity will revive the experience of the ‘60s for guests. Afterward, attendees can have books or CDs signed by the artists.
“That was how the world felt then. It was simple and so much more trusting and less fearful, less suspicious, more sharing,” Berger said. “I’m not saying live like this because you can’t go back in time, but we could certainly try to be a little bit more trusting and more generous and more open and more accepting. It would help us as much as we would help the rest of the world.”