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DispL.A. Case #69: Cult Shawl
The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.
Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to [email protected]
In the late 1960’s, roughhousing ex-marine Jim Baker rechristened himself Father Yod, opened The Source restaurant on the Sunset Strip, and started wearing white robes. Soon the charismatic philosopher was surrounded by dozens of young followers that he invited to live with him. The Source cult attracted musicians and artists and eventually numbered more than 140 members all living together in a Los Feliz mansion. This homespun shawl is made from the same material as their robes and was crafted by brother RA. It was on display at a 2013 screening of the documentary The Source Family. It was described as “old, patched, and has brown spots but is very honored.”