- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Are we talking Jimi Gym Togs and Sly and the Family Stoneware here?

The original promoters of Woodstock announced Monday that they have licensed the name of the fabled 1969 music fest to a marketing group, which plans to create a “Woodstock lifestyles brand” — fashion, accessories and home decor inspired by the old hippie era of peace, love and shamelessly garish colors.

“The three magical days of music and community at Woodstock has left a lasting and indelible mark on the minds of not only baby boomers, but all generations in the U.S. and around the world,” said Dell Furano of the Signatures Network.

The San Francisco-based company — once an arm of Sony Music USA — specializes in the commercial reinvention of iconographic performers and music groups, producing products and theme-based merchandise for 125 artists — including the Beatles, the Doors, the Monkees and Kiss.

Once famous for guitar noise and kabuki makeup, the aforementioned Kiss soon will have its own fragrance line, plus “Demon Dark Blend” supercaffeinated coffee. Also, the world’s first official KISS Coffeehouse opens in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on June 27.

Celebrity themes are rampant in the consumer world. There are officially sanctioned Andy Warhol purses, blankets and china, as well as Ernest Hemingway-themed furniture. Indiana-based CMG Worldwide represents the business interests of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and 250 other deceased celebrities. Even the Hollywood sign in the hills above Los Angeles is trademarked.

But back to the old hippies. Mr. Furano is homing in on those days of yore when the young and restless flaunted headbands, bell-bottoms and spirited cultural agendas.

“In keeping with the true spirit of the ‘60s and its mantra of peace, love and harmony, Signatures will develop a Woodstock lifestyle brand that will embrace the ‘60s spirit and energy,” Mr. Furano said.

Though he had no specific news about, say, Woodstock-themed living room suites or tie-dyed bedding, Mr. Furano thinks a careful choice of licensed manufacturers will prevent hippie ideals from getting lost in the shuffle of commercial enterprise.

He has partnered with Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman, who own the Woodstock trademark and had promoted the festival, which hosted a half-million revelers on a New York farm from Aug. 15 to 17 in 1969.

The pair know the power of their holding.

“The name and logo from this historic event are among the most powerful and widely recognized trademarks in the world,” said Mr. Lang, recalling the Woodstock emblem of a dove sitting on a guitar neck — and a 30-act lineup that included Jimi Hendrix; the Who; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Sly and the Family Stone; and Jefferson Airplane.

The marketers at Signatures have framed the parameters of the Woodstock brand as “positive energy, passion, openness, optimism and good karma.”

“Today the ‘Woodstock Generation’ is all of us who believe in the power of peace and music,” Mr. Rosenman said.

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