Rocked in Time is set in the rebellion, love, and chaos of the 1960s and ‘70s and explores a world of resistance and celebrates those who dared to buck the system in those turbulent times…
By Charles Degelman
Rocked in Time (Volume Three in the Resistance Trilogy) slips behind the scenes of a blasphemous theater company hell-bent on toppling America’s Vietnam-era establishment with punch lines, pratfalls, and comic rebellion. Along the way, our protagonist pursues a love for the stage, a passion for resistance, and the intimate politics of sexual revolution amid the tear-gassed campuses and burning cities of a nation at war with itself.
Release Date: October 18, 2022
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Soft Cover: 978-1941861882; 408 pages; $22.95
RATMAN MEETS THE 50-FOOT HINDU
The Emeryville flats used to stink of the tide. Dead fish, drying algae, bottles and cans, old tires lay scattered over a landscape of mud and sewage. Stick figures perched on the muddy edges of the East Bay, fanciful driftwood and tin creatures standing stork-legged in the mud, stick-flapping arms, wings, feathers, broken brooms, old flags, weathervanes, hubcaps, rusted saw blades, other detritus.
Celebrating America’s junk. Resistance. We drove together, my cousin Eric and I, in a VW bus weathered to a chalky blue. Across the flats, the Bay Bridge arched toward Angel Island and beyond, to the summer fog bank of San Francisco. We bounced into the Haight-Ashbury to check out a band my cousin had written to me about the previous winter. He called them the Jefferson Airplane and they were playing at a little club called The Matrix.
We were stoned on Mexican weed. I was reciting lines from Ratman Meets the 50-Foot Hindu, a play I had recently closed back in Harvard’s experimental, black box theater. I played a 50-foot Hindu who had journeyed to America to avenge the murder of the sacred cow. This zealot took his revenge by stomping his burger-munching victims to death with a set of hooves.
I’d picked up the fake Indian accent from the cultural ether without offense. White people had begun to stir, waking to the notion that civil rights were human rights and that racism was alive and well in America. When Ratman and the 50-foot Hindu walked the earth, India still seemed like a distant, overpopulated nation, shaped by British colonialism, its independence two decades old but still imbued with the nonviolence of Gandhi and the meditative power of the spinning wheel. The Maharishi hadn’t yet hustled The Beatles, India and Pakistan hadn’t yet become nuclear powers, Bangladesh hadn’t been flooded out by cyclones, and John and Yoko’s meditations hadn’t dispatched my generation on a simpleton’s goose chase.
So, my Hindu accent was still okay and my character diabolical, a complex being who, beyond his fierce and scheming interior, presented himself as an addled older gentleman whose faith had been defiled by America’s hamburger fetish. He was a man with a mission. But the 50-foot Hindu had proven to be no match for Ratman.
In the finale, the superhero and his diabolically tragic foe squared off in a revolving restaurant high above the city.
Charles Degelman is an award-winning author, performer, and producer living in Los Angeles. After graduating Harvard, Degelman left academia to become an antiwar activist, political theater artist, musician, communard, carpenter, hard-rock miner, and itinerant gypsy trucker. When the dust settled, he returned to his first love, writing.
A Bowl Full of Nails, set in the rural counterculture of the 1970s, collected a Bronze Medal from the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Awards and Gates of Eden, set during the anti-war movement of the 1960s, won an Independent Publishers book award.
Degelman’s screenplay Fifty-Second Street garnered an award from the Diane Thomas Competition, sponsored by UCLA/Dreamworks. A second screenplay, The Red Car, reached finalist status in Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest.
In addition, Degelman has written and produced documentary and educational films for TNT, Churchill Films, Pyramid Films, and Philips Interactive Media. He co-founded Indecent Exposure, a Los Angeles-based theater company dedicated to creating original, high-quality, socially relevant work for the stage. Degelman is on the faculty of California State University where he teaches writing in the Communication Studies Department.
His latest book is the historical fiction, Rocked in Time.