“Power Flower” was performed in 1969 at the Westinghouse Sixth Future Power Forum.
The show, and the conference in which it was embedded, were prayerful in that they harnessed the themes of transgression and transcendence. “Utility Men Get Powerful Message” was the Business Week headline from January 1969. The conference brought together electrical utility executives for strategy sessions about maximizing electrical consumption in the coming decade, with the goal of creating a ‘total electric supermarket.’ This dream included “closed-circuit television in homes, to monitor indoor and outdoor areas; intercom systems; electrically heated sauna baths; and electric sewage units.”
“Flower Power was big in the ’60s; but in the ’70s, it’s going to be Power Flower. In this selection, the cast tells of the budding and flowering use of more and more electricity for better ways of living; and the need for the utilities to make the Power Flower.”
With a hippy-glee-club inversion of an earlier iteration of energetic protestant piety, “Power Flower” distills the fierce wishfulness of a secular age. Rather than human industry being a sign of the end (Do you fear this man’s invention / That they call atomic power / Are we all in great confusion / Do we know the time or hour?), the energy industry will erect a “Dream City where ‘electrical living’ makes everything the way it should have been in the beginning.” Here we have postmillennial aspiration writ large as part of a live performance staged for electrical utility executives from around the country. Skits, songs, and dance routines—“Dream City,” “The Nuclear Kid,” “Urbanopolis”—sought “to identify the magnitude and direction of the major forces which are, and will be, shaping the future of electrical power.”