Magnificent photos from a psychedelic family's California trip

For more than 50 years, Roger Steffens has traveled the electric arteries of the counterculture embracing mind-expanding experiences, deep social connection, and unadulterated fun at every turn. And he’s captured it all on film. After serving in Vietnam during the final 26 months of the ‘60s, where he won a Bronze Star for founding a refugee campaign that raised over 100 tons of food and clothing, he spent a year lecturing against the war before settling in Marrakech. Finally returning Stateside in 1972, he immersed himself in the vibrant bohemias of Berkeley, Los Angeles, and beyond, touring his highly-acclaimed one-man show, “Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry.” A psychedelic polymath, Steffens worked as an actor, poet, editor, archivist, lecturer, author, NPR radio DJ and interviewer and, yes, photographer. Driven by his own insatiable curiosity and passion, he was on a perpetual quest for the eccentric, the outlandish, the transcendent. Just as often, it found him, smiling, a camera in one hand and a joint in the other.

Roger Steffens is an intrepid explorer of the fringe but he’s also a family man. He met his wife Mary under a lunar eclipse in a pygmy forest in Mendocino, California while on LSD. Soon after, they conjured up a daughter, Kate, and son, Devon. Family vacations took the foursome up and down the West Coast, from the gritty glam of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to reggae festivals in Humboldt, fiery protests in Berkeley to the ancient redwoods of Big Sur and the wilds of Death Valley. Read the rest

The Family Acid: California, a far-out photo album from a very unconventional family

For more than 50 years, photographer Roger Steffens has explored the electric arteries of the counterculture, embracing mind-expanding experiences, deep social connection, and unadulterated fun at every turn. After serving in Vietnam at the end of the 1960s, Steffens immersed himself in California’s vibrant bohemia. With his wife Mary and children Kate and Devon, he sought out the eccentric, the outlandish, and the transcendent. Just as often, it found him, grinning, a camera in one hand and a joint in the other.  

My Ozma Records partner Tim Daly and I are honored to share with you this new collection of Steffens’ spectacular snapshots taken between 1968 and 2015 during the foursome’s freewheeling adventures throughout the visionary state they call home. Think of it as a family album belonging to a very unconventional family. 

This is The Family Acid: California.

Based in Los Angeles, the Steffens family traveled up and down the West Coast, from the wilds of Death Valley and reggae festivals in Humboldt to fiery protests in Berkeley and the ancient redwoods of Big Sur. Along the way, they’d rendezvous with friends like Bob Marley, Timothy Leary, and war photographer Tim Page, the inspiration for Dennis Hopper’s character in Apocalypse Now. They’d take in the wonders of nature and, of course, the adults would occasionally lose their minds in psychoactive celebrations of creativity, freedom, and hope.   

The Family Acid: California is a 192-page, large format book manufactured with the finest materials and attention to design as you've come to expect from Ozma Records, producers of the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition. Read the rest

The Flaming Lips cover David Bowie and Bing Crosby's "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy"

"Every child must be made aware."

Directed by Flaming Lips madman mastermind Wayne Coyne and longtime Lips visual art/video collaborator George Salisbury.

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Bend your spacetime continuum with these far out black-and-white GIFs

Applied mathematics/computer science student Etienne Jacob makes mesmerizing black-and-white animated GIFs using Processing, "a flexible software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts." You can see much more of Jacob's stunning work on his Necessary Disorder site and read Jacob's tutorials here on his blog.

Far fucking out.

(via Colossal)

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A handful of psychedelic "Atlantis" mushrooms in Amsterdam

Frites, truffles and canals are awesome. Also doner kebab. Read the rest

Fantastic German psychedelic animation from 1970 by Yellow Submarine's art director

Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) was the German illustrator and designer best known for art directing the Beatles' 1968 animation Yellow Submarine. In 1970, he created this magnificent opening animation for the ZDF broadcast movie series "Der Phantastische Film."

(r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)

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Enjoy the psychedelic sounds of West Coast Fog Radio

West Coast Fog Radio is the absolutely wonderful podcast of garage psych, avant-rock, desert drone, loner folk, ambient cut-ups, spoken word, and other far-out sounds hosted by Erik Bluhm, former editor of the greatly-missed "Great God Pan," a killer 1990s 'zine about outré California culture and news. Turn on, tune in, burn out.

Your host Erik Bluhm takes you on an audio tour of the West you might be unaware of, visiting obscure moments in musical history along the way. You might hear folk rock and proto-raga rock 45s from the mid ‘60s, rural psychedelic private LP meanderings, self-released audio poetry and sound collage, obscure history lessons and readings, New Age/ambient/ethno-honky visionaries, DIY art/synth, punk, and post punk sides, and/or experimental nothingness in tape form.

West Coast Fog Radio (Thanks, Jess Rotter!)

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Fantastic psychedelic Levi's commercials from the early 1970s

In the early 1970s, Levi's ran these fantastic psychedelic TV commercials with narration by Ken Nordine, the beat creator of the pioneering Word Jazz albums of the 1950s that melded far-out poetry with hip musical accompaniment. Far fucking out.

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Mindbendingly cool Mexican psychedelic music from 1981

I'm familiar with the psych music scene that emerged in the 1960s-1970s in some Latin American countries like Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, thanks to fantastic reissues of rare LPs on labels like Luaka Bop, Goma Gringa, Now Again, and Mr Bongo. Now, the esteemed diggers at Mr Bongo have brought us a stunningly spacey psych record from Mexico: Luis Pérez's "Ipan In Xiktli Metztli, México Mágico Cósmico, El Ombligo de la Luna."

In the 1970s, Pérez studied the pre-Columbian instruments and musical traditions across Mexico, from the Maya and Nahuatl to Raramuri and Wixarika. He then channeled those influences into his own gorgeous electronic and experimental psychedelic songs that make up this record first released in 1981. Listen below.

As Mr Bongo writes, Pérez "delves deep into the past but also exists entirely outside of time."

Far fucking out.

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Ott is crowdfunding Skylon on double vinyl

Ott's Skylon ranks among the century's great psychedelic chillout albums, and now it's set to come out as a double vinyl. Get in on the Kickstarter for box sets and more. Read the rest

Trip out on "The Flow of Zen," a psychedelic film narrated by Alan Watts (1969)

In 1969, Alan Watts collaborated with filmmaker Elda Hartley on "The Flow of Zen," a lovely psychedelic 16mm film with a rather eerie score. (Archive.org via /r/ObscureMedia)

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Mesmerizing animations of 1960s science book op art covers

In the 1960s, book designers gave many science and psychology paperbacks glorious avant-garde and op art covers. Henning M. Lederer just released his second collection of animations of these fine book jackets! Below is the first, from 2015.

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Incredible anti-drug PSA from cartoon kings Hanna-Barbera and Art Babbitt

In the 1970s, legendary Disney animator Art Babbitt, creator of Goofy, worked at Hanna-Barbera directing the studio's commercial division. His anti-drug PSA above, circa 1970, is a masterpiece of psychedelic cartooning.

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Watching a balloon pop underwater in slow motion is deeply psychedelic

Warped Perception trained their Phantom Flex 4K Slow Motion Camera on an air balloon popping underwater. The result is wonderfully trippy, especially in high-definition. (via Nerdist)

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Watch this trippy Soviet kid's cartoon from 1976

Box with a Secret (Шкатулка с секретом) is a Yellow Submarine-inspired children's fairy tale about a child who discovers how to fix a magical box that stopped working. You don't have to know Russian to enjoy its Communist-era message about aristocracy. Read the rest

Trip out on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" concert screen projections

When Pink Floyd took the stage on their mid-1970s "Dark Side of the Moon" tour, they performed in front of a stunning video cut-up created by British animator Ian Emes. Above are screen projections from the 1974 French tour. Below, a reel from the 1975 North American tour. (The album audio was added by someone else later.) From Wikipedia:

Emes' first major work, 'French Windows', was started while he was subsequently a student at Birmingham College of Art and finished while he was unemployed. It was set to the Pink Floyd recording "One of These Days". After it was shown at Birmingham's Ikon Gallery, it was screened on the television programme The Old Grey Whistle Test, and thereby came to the attention of Pink Floyd. The band invited Emes to give them a private screening, and afterwards to make films to be projected during performances of The Dark Side of the Moon. His animation for their song "Time" is on Pink Floyd's Pulse DVD. He subsequently worked with Roger Waters, making live action film for his performance of The Wall – Live in Berlin.

As a result of his work for Pink Floyd, Linda McCartney asked Emes to animate Wings' "Oriental Nightfish". He has also made animations for concerts by Mike Oldfield, and directed The Chauffeur for Duran Duran.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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RU Sirius's insanely psychedelic music video "Punching A Nazi"

Freak out to this insanely weird "Punching A Nazi" song and video by cyberdelic pioneer RU Sirius's Trippin' Coyotes/Creosote Cowboy! Performed by R.U. Sirius, Charlie Verrette, and Acatelysteleven. Musical Production: Daddy Phriday & Creosote Cowboy; Video by Daddy Phriday; with vocals from Cate Meiers Leggett; lyrics by R.U. Sirius (w. help from Acatelysteleven)

More insanity at the band's Bandcamp page.

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