Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

First Advisor

Andrew Feffer




film, stage, performance, maysles, audience


The 1960’s was a complicated time in American History. The decade started with Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and concluded on “The End” by The Doors. The explosion of a youth counterculture is captured and preserved on film; a medium that was rapidly becoming more mobile, personal, and artistic. The expansion of the documentary field coincided with a unique cultural blossoming centered around rock music and the results of these films leave us with an audiovisual history of extraordinary moments in time. This thesis closely examines the development and issues of performance or rock documentaries to better understand the violent demise of the youth culture, often labeled as the murder of Meredith Hunter by the Hell’s Angels. Using films by the Maysles brothers, arguably the most prominent documentarians of the decade, one can witness a transformation in film, music, and a unique culture of conflict. This thesis will examine clips from this audiovisual chronology to view the formation, development, and finale of a unique decade that ended during Jimi Hendrix performance at Woodstock and not after Meredith Hunter’s death at the Altamont Speedway.