Joan Didion's "The White Album": sources & inspiration

Lars Jan & Early Morning Opera

Nov 07, 2018

Actress Mia Barron stands behind a transparent screen with an image of police in riot gear during performance of Lars Jan & Early Morning Opera's production of Joan Didion's The White Album


For Joan Didion's "The White Album," Lars Jan and his Early Morning Opera collaborators immersed themselves in media from and relating to the tumultuous era covered in Didion's essay. Below, the company shares the list of sources they used to create their own "White Album" world. Links have been added for easy access to the materials and more information.


The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten-Point Platform and Program, the party's founding document, 1966

The Black Panthers Speak​, a collection of representative writings from party members edited by Philip S. Foner, 1970

Revolutionary Suicide, the memoir of founding Black Panther Huey Newton, 1973

Soul on Ice, an essay collection by writer and fellow Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, 1968

Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Joan Didion's first collection of essays, 1968

The 10 Demands of the Third World Liberation Front , a supporting document of the coalition's 1968 strike at San Francisco State College

Black Student Union's Five Demands, a supporting document of the 1968 strike at San Francisco State College



Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers, written by Bobby Seale with photographs by Stephen Shames, 2016

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution, 2015, now streaming on Netflix 

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, 2017, now streaming on Netflix

Artwork by Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture

Bay Area Television Archive’s collection of footage from the 1968 strike at San Francisco State College

Signals Through the Flames, a documentary about The Living Theater, 1983



You Must Remember This podcast, including coverage of the Manson murders and Hollywood connections to the Black Panther Party

The Doors' discography

The Beatles (a/k/a The White Album)

Image: Mia Barron in Joan Didion's "The White Album," photo courtesy of the artist