Documentary on Sunset Strip's The Source at SXSW


The Source opened in 1969 at Sunset and Sweetzer serving veggie burgers and other healthy fare to the hippies, musicians and counterculture types who hung out on Sunset Strip then. The restaurant's proprietor, who drove a Rolls-Royce and called himself Father Yod, had previously run the Old World and Aware Inn restaurants. The Source became popular with celebrities of all kinds. A documentary on Yod, real name Jim Baker, and the scene around the restaurant premiered this week at South by Southwest. Says the Hollywood Reporter:

The restaurant itself featured walls covered with the group’s occult symbology; pictures of Baker, who had taken to calling himself Father Yod; album art from his Ya Ho Wa 13 music group; as well as pieces from noted Dutch design collective The Fool, known for its work with the Beatles during its psychedelic period. However, the most memorable aesthetic moment may have been the brick fireplace, defined by its cascading rainbow fountain of melted candle wax.

Outside, patrons sat under yellow-and-white umbrellas in directors’ chairs. In Annie Hall, it’s on this patio where Diane Keaton’s title character breaks up with Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer.

As The Source grew, so did his “Family,” a cult of hippies — some of them drawn from his patron base — that followed his particular stew of Eastern-mysticism teachings. By day, they alternatively worked at the restaurant and taught classes at a temple in the rear of the property. By night, they lived collectively in a house in the hills.

“Members from the time say [the restaurant] was the goose that laid the golden egg,” says [co-director Jodi] Wille of how the business supported the Family. “There are articles that we’ve found that say that it was one of the most profitable vegetarian restaurants in the country.”

Yod and his followers moved to Hawaii around 1974 and he died there soon after. The location of The Source is now the site of Cabo Cantina.

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