18:5 Lost Footage: Chae Burton

UNFINISHED DOCUMENTARY, STATE OF GRACE  |  Mid-1970s

Interviewee: CHAE BURTON

I guess Devon Bentley was just on our minds that night. He was all over the radio as he had just been kicked out of his band. The top-40 station out of Maui had been playing nothing but Nightingales records all weekend. It was a weird soundtrack to the founding of Milakale.

I was seeing Charlie at the time and he was helping Zongo and Enrique move a bunch of lumber and building materials up to the scene. I was a big Devon Bentley fan in those days, and was probably driving Charlie crazy by moping around the pad so he took me with him on the run.

You can say what you want about my generation, but when we set our minds to something, we can really get things done. I had never seen so many groovy people in one place working so hard. Everybody there had given up on the plastic lives that the prevailing death culture had prescribed for them. There was a real feeling that we were starting something authentic, for lack of a better word.

I had just really gotten into astrology, and it was a new moon that night, the perfect time to be starting a new venture. So when this groovy chick brought out what we starting calling her Moon Juice, it was to celebrate the birth of a new society. It sounds naïve now, but we really thought that we could transcend the trips that our parents had laid on us.

There were about a dozen of us all sitting around the bonfire, partaking of a little pakalolo, when the morning glory started coming on. I don’t remember who dug it first, but pretty soon we were all seeing a huge comet streaking across the sky. It was so big and so close that you could hear it tearing through the atmosphere, and then as quickly as it came, it was gone.

That’s when Zongo pointed toward the woods and asked, “Who’s there?” We all turned and saw the same thing: a bearded man in tattered clothes. He looked like a shipwreck survivor. The apparition pointed to the sky and then disappeared.

I guess that’s why none of us were too surprised when it actually happened a couple of years later.

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