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No vanilla cousins for Wavy Gravy

Wavy Gravy poses on Wednesday night. (Tony Powell)

Nice to meet you, Wavy Gravy. Can we call you Wavy? Or do you prefer Mr. Gravy? Or your real name ... Mr. Romney?

True! The hippie-clown activist was in town Wednesday for the Impact Film Fund's screening of "Saint Misbehavin'," a new documentary about the 73-year-old's journey from Greenwich Village poet to unofficial Woodstock emcee ("the clown prince of the counter culture," wrote High Times) to his role today as philanthropist, director of a Northern California children's camp and inspiration for a Ben & Jerry's flavor.

After the screening at Landmark's E Street Cinema, the star joined the audience for an afterparty at Current, a little sushi-and-electronica joint in Dupont Circle, where he held court from a reserved corner table in a tie-dyed shirt and white bowler.

When we realized that the former Merry Pranksters leader, born Hugh Romney, shares a last name with the former GOP presidential contender, we had to ask. Any relation to Mitt?

"Nope," he said. Then paused. "And I'm not related to George, either" (George Romney, Mitt's late father and the former governor of Michigan). However, he volunteered, "I'm related to the portrait painter George Romney," active in 18th-century London. (Internet genealogy sites suggest George and George are related, but whatever.)

Has he ever met Mitt? "No," he said. Pause. "I met George, though, when I was doing an event at the University of Michigan."


"If ever there was anyone glad I changed my name to 'Wavy Gravy,' it was him."

By The Reliable Source  |  October 30, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
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