Wavy Gravy, a.k.a. Hugh Romney, is a trippy dude with a million jokes to tell (en route to your elightment). In short, he’s the ideal subject for a documentary.
Beginning with Woodstock ’99, director Michelle Esrick has spent the past seven years documenting the life of Wavy Gravy.
Saint Misbehavin’ journeys from the hills of California to the Himalayan Mountains to reveal the life of this oft-misunderstood servant of humanity. Blending Wavy’s own words with magical stories from an extraordinary array of luminary fellow travelers both cultural and counter-cultural, the film tells the full story of the man behind the clown’s grin and the fool’s clothing. In it, Wavy is revealed as so much more than the tie-dyed entertainer and ice-cream flavor name-sake that too often defines him in the popular imagination. The film’s audience will come to know the activist, the optimist, and the healer who reaches beyond political, economic, and cultural divisions in his commitment to social change and his efforts to alleviate human suffering.
Wavy’s life is his message, serving as deeply needed inspiration and a wake-up call to humanity that we can change the world and have fun doing it. “If you don’t have a sense of humor, it just isn’t funny anymore” Wavy says. It’s a sentiment not lost on the members of Woodstock Nation, those who were at the historic festival to hear Wavy famously declare from the stage, “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000!”, and those who weren’t yet born yet are fueled by its activist and creative legacy in a place where tie-dyes and peace signs are more than just pop symbol reminders of a bygone era.
Satirist Paul Krasner describes his friend as “The illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Theresa, conceived one starry night on a spiritual whoopie cushion,” to which Wavy has replied, “Some people tell me I’m a saint, I tell them I’m Saint Misbehavin’.”
Saint Misbehavin’ recently aired at the Woodstock Film Festival. The film’s director, Michelle Esrick, is a filmmaker, actress, activist and poet.