Thursday, March 21, 2013

Father Yod at The Source Restaurant

There are, or were, two important vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles. One was The Source on Sunset Blvd and the other was The Inn of the 7th Ray in Topanga Canyon. The Inn of the 7th Ray will be a topic of a later post.

In 1969, a former US Marine who had been decorated in WW2 and Korea, (1) Jim Baker, started an organic vegetarian restaurant on the Sunset Strip at Sweetzer, called The Source. The Source became a well-known hangout of health conscious people in that part of town and, supposedly, the Hollywood Elite (although I would not know about that). The pure form of the restaurant was when it was run by the religous organization (i.e. sex, and rock and roll commune) started by Baker.

Whoever took this picture clearly needs perspective control or something.

The commune sold the restaurant in 1974 and moved to Hawaii. Unfortunately that means that all the times that I ate there was post golden-age.

Once a Marine, always a Marine

The Source was immortalized in Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977). That was back when they still had their dirt parking lot.

All things decay, especially vegetarian restaurants no longer run by the people of the true faith. Various owners ran it into the ground over the next 15 years or so, and I ate there probably in all its phases. When they changed their menu to add meat and completely ignore their traditional vegeburger, that was the end for me.

Allen meets Diane Keaton at a table at the Source on the patio.  Notice the "afro" on the person at the next table. 

Now The Source only exists in our memories and in newsreels of Sunset Blvd from the 1970s.

Someone has made a documentary about the commune and its charismatic leader, Father Yod, aka Jim Baker. Apparently Father Yod was quite a character. Religious leaders generally are either celibate or very much NOT celibate, and Jim was NOT celibate. 13 wives, that we know of as well as lead singer in the religiously inspired rock and roll group.

Some of the albums that they recorded are apparently pretty great.   You can read about them in the links below.

An interview with the person who made a documentary on the movement.



1. I have been unable to find his citation, which doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Here are unconfirmed citations for a James E Baker in WW2 and Korea.

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