I didn't know it when I picked that program off the ground back in 1969, but it was the start of quest that continues to this day.

I don't know how I got it home because I didn't have any kind of bag to stow it in, or a safe, dry place to put it.

But somehow it made it in good condition, and I got the idea that it would be fun to get performers from the original concert to sign it.  I'm not really an autograph seeker, but it seemed like a harmless enough pursuit.

I started by going to the Turning Point Cafe in Piermont, N.Y., which is the world's most intimate place to see and hear music (it holds about eighty people).

I got Richie Havens, Melanie, and Levon Helm to sign it, all of whom were very gracious and generous with their time (I already miss Mr. Havens and Helm.)

At B.B. Kings in New York City, David Clayton Thomas of Blood Sweat and Tears, signed, as did the legendary Johnny Winters, Leslie West and Corky Lange.  

Also at B.B.'s, Country Joe McDonald added his signature, along with Paul Kantner and Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane.

But chasing autographs isn't easy, and plenty times I come up empty.

At B.B. Kings, Roger Daltry did not make himself available — and I don't blame him!  There's a sub-culture of professional autograph seekers, most of whom intend to flip them for a profit.

Another group I've encountered are the ones that are completely obsessed and I worry about them a little.

It's mortifying standing around with these guys (very few women are called to this vocation), because I know I'm getting looked at like I'm a cheap huckster or worse — a creepy stalker of some kind.

Jeff Beck (who was supposed to perform at Woodstock but didn't) didn't come out, either, but that was okay: I got to see one of the world's greatest guitar players perform in a small venue.

At the 92nd Street Y in New York Joan Baez talked about her career and sang a few songs, but she didn't sign, either.  I understand. 

Another guy was there and he had a Woodstock Program like mine and was on the same asinine mission as me.  He pressed his program into the hands of Ms. Baez's assistant, who returned with the signature, but I wouldn't do that. What if they never came back? Besides, who could be sure she really signed it?

At his book signing, Michael Lang signed the credits page, which has a list of another thirty people that are potential signatories, but I'm not that ambitious.

I hate to admit it, but I still keep an eye out for small venue appearances by people who performed at Woodstock.  There are fewer and fewer of them, but they're out there.

Some of my favorite signatures are at right.  Click on the pictures to go to their websites.   

Seeking Autographs is a Silly, Embarrassing Business