Tag Archives: LSD

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Byrds, “Ballad of Easy Rider” (Roger McGuinn)
The river flows, it flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes that’s where I want to be
Flow river flow, let your waters wash down
Take me from this road to some other town
All he wanted was to be free
And that’s the way it turned out to be
Flow river flow, let your waters wash down
Take me from this road to some other town
Flow river flow, past the shady trees
Go river go, go to the sea
Flow to the sea
Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Woodstock away

When Michael Lang and the other Woodstock Ventures partners agreed that they’d do not just an outdoor festival, but an outdoor festival in the country, away from the city, back to Nature, away from the Establishment’s concrete lives, they were tapping into an old American view of the freedom of travel.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Premiered July 14, 1969

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Road stories

We humans love stories and we particularly love stories about journeys. Ever since Homer sat down and recited the tale of Odysseus and his attempt to return home to Penelope, multitudes of tales have followed creating variations on that theme.

The list of those variations is far longer than any little blog like this one could delineate, but Mr Chaucer’s 1478  Canterbury Tales comes to mind as does Jack Kerouac’s 1957 On the Road. And of course Mr Tolkien’s tale of Mr B Baggins of Bag End.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Road films

As soon as Americans started to build roads for motorized vehicles, a plethora of films about people and their travels ensued. The movie of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath novel couldn’t have happened without cars and roads. At least not in the same way.

Visit the Federal Highway Commission’s site for its extensive list of road-related films.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Easy Rider

By the summer of 1969 the cultural revolution was in high gear. Rock festivals dotted the summer calendar. War protests continued. The anti-hero reigned. In 1967, The Graduate had shown us the suburban anti-hero. Easy Rider introduced  us to two western hippie anti-heroes.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Captain America & Wyatt

Peter Fonda played Captain America and Dennis Hopper played Billy. Both dress in a counter-cultural style: Fonda in a leather jacket with an American Flag stenciled on it;  Hopper in leather pants and jacket in imitation of some Native American tribal dress.

They leave California with a gas tank filled with drug money, intending to head east to New Orleans and thence to Florida. Such a trip is the opposite direction of what traditional American history books told of Manifest Destiny and going west to explore, settle, displace, and claim the American dream.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Easy Rider Itinerary

Along the way they visit a commune, experience free love, get arrested, introduce a new friend (“George Hanson” played by Jack Nicholson) to marijuana, get beaten by locals, use LSD, and witness death.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider

Impact

The story reinforced the counterculture’s view of the Establishment’s worthlessness and corruption, and that most Americans saw those who tried to live freely as a threat to their way of life.

The soundtrack’s artists reinforced that view. Included were The Band, The Byrds, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Steppenwolf.

Fonda Hopper Easy Rider
Please follow and like us:

Furthur Departs Arrives

Furthur Departs Arrives

June 17, 1964

Furthur Departs Arrives

sound from the trailer for “Magic Trip”

When did the 60s begin?

            When did the 60s–“those” 60s–begin? Not with Elvis Presley’s return from the Army and becoming a movie actor. Not with JFK’s Camelot, neither its captivating start nor tragic end. Not even with the Beatles USA arrival.

When the words “the 60s” are said, people typically think of psychedelics, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, Vietnam protests, assassinations, political turmoil, and general cultural revolution.

Furthur Departs Arrives

Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey was a writer who participated in the US Government’s top secret 1950s Project MKUltra. At a time when the fear atomic warfare between us and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dominated our daily consciousness, any way of stopping such an apocalyptic war seemed reasonable.

The idea was that human drug testing might help us get their spies to reveal secrets and to keep our spies from revealing secrets. Our sensible aim, our necessary aim was to learn how to strengthen, to weaken, or to demoralize.

Furthur Departs Arrives

LSD

LSD was among the various drugs given to him and Kesey found that it seemed quite enlightening, enjoyable, and even entertaining. Legal still, he and Ken Babbs helped form the Merry Pranksters who used LSD recreationally.

Furthur Departs Arrives

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

             Kesey was also a successful writer having landed in 1962 on best seller lists with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  His next novel, Sometimes a Great Notion (1964) required his presence in New York City. And 1964 meant the start of the New York World’s Fair. What better way to get to New York and its Fair than do a cross-country trip (literally and figuratively) with friends, i.e., the Merry Pranksters?

Furthur Departs Arrives

Furthur

                They bought a 1939 International Harvester school bus, decorated it, named it Further (or Furthur), built an observation turret on top, and installed a sound and recording system. Neal Cassady was the bus driver and scenery docent.

Furthur Departs Arrives

Furthur Departs

They left their base in La Honda, California on June 17, 1964. They only traveled 40 miles their first day due to a mechanical (actual, not figurative) problem that temporarily stalled them.

The Pranksters’ trip was a living art project, performance art. They stopped regularly to visit friends or experience the world through LSD. On the east coast and New York, they visited fellow LSD aficionado Dr Timothy Leary in Millbrook, NY. The Pranksters’ west coast approach to LSD and the more academic east coast approach did not meld and the two camps left with no detente.

Furthur Departs Arrives

Tom Wolfe

The best-known account of the whole Prankster scene and Furthur’s journey is Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.  The Pranksters themselves did film their trip, but understandably the visual and sound were rarely coordinated. It was not until 2011 that the movie Magic Trip, with overdubbings, revealed the trip’s many interesting facet.

Furthur Departs Arrives

Acid Tests

The Acid Tests began back in California after the Pranksters’s return. The Warlocks–soon to be the Grateful Dead–were the house band. Thus began that amazing partnership between hallucinogenics and music.

The last official acid test was its graduation on October 31, 1966. Kesey went to jail for 6 months shortly after.

Furthur Departs Arrives

Woodstock

The last trip that the original Furthur made was to the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969.  The bus returned to Oregon and the colorful bus and melted into its damp shady resting place. [NYT obit for Kesey]

Furthur Departs

Furthur Departs Arrives

Resurrection of sorts

For the 45th anniversary of Woodstock, the new generation of Pranksters, including Kesey’s son Zane, created a new Furthur and crossed the country. On August 15 the Pranksters visited Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Furthur departs Furthur departs Furthur departs

Furthur Departs Arrives

 Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs,  Furthur Departs, 

Please follow and like us:

Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Albert Hofmann Changed Things

April 16, 1943




Albert Hofmann Changed Things


Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Not April 19


Today is not April 19, aka Bicycle Day, the day in 1943 when Albert Hofmann deliberately ingested lysergic acid diethylamide and decided to ride his bicycle home to relax and recover.


Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Albert Hofmann


Albert Hofmann was born on January 11, 1906 in Baden, Switzerland. He attended the University of Zürich and graduated in 1929 with a doctorate in medicinal chemistry.


Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland hired him for a program that was developing methods for synthesizing compounds found in medicinal plants. It was there that Hofmann stumbled upon LSD-25 (the 25th such derivative tested) in 1938.


Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Set aside


He put it aside for five years until on April 16, 1943. On that day Hoffman accidentally consumed LSD-25. Hofmann experienced unusual sensations and hallucinations.


In his notes, he related the experience: “Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.”


He came to the conclusion that it could be of significant use in psychiatric treatment and spent years investigating LSD’s hallucinogenic properties. He disapproved of the casual recreational use of LSD.

Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Problem Child


Albert Hofmann Changed Things


Hofmann did believe that in addition to LSD’s possible psychiatric uses, it could also be used in spiritual contexts. He proposed those ideas in his book LSD, mein Sorgenkind (LSD: My Problem Child, 1980).


The following is a brief video where he discusses his surprise at discovering an alternate reality in which the world transmits through our senses (acting like an aerial) and our consciousness acts like a TV screen.



Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Long legacy


Hofmann died of a heart attack on April 29, 2008, but even today, the idea of using LSD as more than a recreational compound–using it for therapeutic use–is still a  fringe part of scientific research.


[Jason Falkner performed the instrumental cover of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds heard over this entry. (YouTube link)]


Albert Hofmann Changed Things
Please follow and like us: