We really have some amazing people in our community! Steve Ewert, co-owner of the Greenhouse Loft,
is the subject of an incredible documentary being produced.
"Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity," is the story about how two young Kansas kids - one, a popular and successful writer; the other, a sensitive and introverted photographer - barely survived an adventurous hitchhiking trip across the Sahara Desert in 1971.
Writer Dick Russell had become disillusioned with his job at Sports Illustrated and asked his photographer friend Steve Ewert to accompany him on a trip to Europe in 1970. But before Ewert left, he became engaged to his girlfriend. The plan was to find Kansans in Europe and then sell the articles about them to a Kansas newspaper. While in Europe, they had all sorts of odd and interesting experiences, including meeting famed photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and writer James Jones ("From Here To Eternity"), hanging out with anarchist Dutch weed purveyors, attending French President Charles De Gaulle's memorial service at Notre Dame, tracking down Jean-Paul Satre in Paris and rubbing elbows with diplomats in Belgium.
Dismayed by the morass of the Vietnam War, Russell was particularly interested in revolutionary politics. The pair attempted to do a story on Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver who was living in exile in Algiers. This would've been a great companion to the piece on the Dutch anarchists, but the Panthers wanted the princely sum of $500 to participate.
After bumping into LSD guru Timothy Leary and writing about a Kansan in the oil business in Algeria, they took off to hitchhike across the great desert to Ghana. In between dodging the Algerian military and digging the van out of the sand, they came quite close to perishing on several occasions and the stress resulted in Ewert having a breakdown once they arrived in Ghana. They were not in Kansas anymore.