"Earlier this year, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead played sold-out 'Fare Thee Well' concerts in Santa Clara and Chicago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of their band," says Ben Mark of Collectors Weekly. "But Jerry Garcia and company did not start using the name Grateful Dead until December of 1965. The exact date is surprisingly hard to pin down, as my story for Collectors Weekly reveals, but we do know that the Grateful Dead's sound grew out of its experiences as the house band at the Acid Tests of 1965 and 1966, which were organized (if that's even the right word...) by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. And where did Kesey get the idea to conduct experiments on human beings with LSD? In 1959, he was an LSD guinea pig himself in tests conducted by the CIA.
For Garcia, the ability of the Acid Tests to stop the world for a while and then remind you that it was still spinning was one of its key lessons. The Acid Tests, he says in Signpost, were “our first exposure to formlessness. Formlessness and chaos lead to new forms. And new order. Closer to, probably, what the real order is. When you break down the old orders and the old forms and leave them broken and shattered, you suddenly find yourself a new space with new form and new order which are more like the way it is. More like the flow.”
To put Garcia’s formulation in terms a contemporary Silicon Valley venture capitalist might understand, LSD was a disruptive technology, except that instead of upending mere transactions such as hailing a cab or renting a hotel room, the things being disrupted were the basic conventions of society, which is why mainstream America was, and remains, so terrified of the drug.
Ram Dass — counterculture icon, psychedelic pioneer, and spiritual guide — has died at age 88. After turning on with his Harvard psychology colleague Timothy Leary in the early 1960s, Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert) became an intrepid explorer of higher consciousness and dedicated his life to teaching what he learned to the world. From […]
A 1967 acid trip during a hurricane at Ramrod Key, Florida, leads Abbie Hoffman, his wife Anita, and Paul Krassner to see the upcoming 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a hugely visible moment for political protest. When home from the vacation, the group has a celebratory smoke, leading to Paul’s coining of the […]
In the 1950s and 1960s, creepy chemist Sidney Gottlieb headed the CIA’s efforts to find a mind control drug. Gottlieb and his delightful associates in the MK-Ultra project thought LSD, still legally manufactured, held the most promise. So they bought every drop of acid in the world and ran numerous horrible experiments on unwitting civilians […]
Learning to ride a bike is one of those quintessential childhood experiences that’s as rewarding as it is scary. Prep your precious babe for success by starting them early with the world’s lightest balance bike, the Brilrider FLIGHT. For the uninitiated, balance bikes are no-pedal bicycles that propel forward by pushing off the ground with […]
With so many advancements in modern society, you’d think we’d have moved beyond the butane lighter by now. A pressurized, flammable gas, butane fumes can irritate your eyes and skin, can elevate your heart rate, and even lead to cardiac arrest. And we did mention that whole highly pressurized and flammable part, right? While certainly […]
Is it just us, or does it feel like winter hasn’t been as horrendous as usual this year? Well, stats show it’s actually been one of the warmer winters on record so far this year for many eastern U.S. cities in January and February. But, almost on cue, weather experts warn signs of a serious […]