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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Space Hippies Battle the Enterprise Crew on Stage in Star Trek Live: The Way to Eden

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 4:00 PM

In 1969, in one of the final episodes of the original Star Trek series, the writers beamed hippies aboard the Enterprise.

Hippies. In Stardate 5832.3.

The Way to Eden, which is being redone with live actors starting this weekend at the Dark Room, begins when freethinking young people try to escape the Enterprise in a stolen spaceship, barefoot. They don't wear shoes in space. One of them tells Captain Kirk, deadpan, that they "recognize no authority save that within ourselves," and they bond with Spock, who plays psychedelic Vulcan lute in a jam session in quest quarters.

How did you not know all this?

Sulu nearly has free love with someone barefoot. The hippies seek the planet Eden, which is possibly a reference to the Garden of Eden -- yes? After square-jawed hippie Charles Napier (later to be cast as Rambo's commanding officer) sings far too many songs for any viewership save an intoxicated one, the hippies beam down to Eden, but the lush plants are poisonous, and hippies die -- which is really saying something bitter about the ideals of the young generation when the show aired, don't you think, Gene Roddenberry? Who hurt you?

Anyway, you can see some of the original episode in the clip above. One of our favorite parts is when a space hippies says to Kirk, "Oh, Herbert, you are stiff!" It's adequate proof that if any Trek episode needed to be redone with live actors and presented in a tiny theater that recognizes no authority save that within itself, it's this one.

The video trailer for Star Trek Live: The Way to Eden hints at its genius, set to Gil Scott-Heron's music with rehashed "the Federation will not be televised" lyrics. Spock plays bass, which is the least amazing thing about it. Go make it viral, then find paradise at Eden.

Star Trek Live: The Way to Eden starts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (and continues through Sept. 24) at the Dark Room, 2263 Mission (at 19th St.), S.F. Admission is $20.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Michael Leaverton

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