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home | Acid Test Chronicles | The Acid Test Chronicles - Page 10 - . . .
 

Acid Test Membership Card - This Membership Card appears to have been created before any other known Acid Test items. For a long time, many collectors have wondered when exactly these Cards were made. I have heard there were several runs, and they appear different. But I have not seen any yet. (Exact Size Maybe a Factor)
Acid Test Membership Card - This Membership Card appears to have been created before any other known Acid Test items. For a long time, many collectors have wondered when exactly these Cards were made. I have heard there were several runs, and they appear different. But I have not seen any yet. (Exact Size Maybe a Factor)

The Acid Test Chronicles - Page 10 - La Honda "Happenings" - Kesey's Acid Test "Parties" - May-Nov. 1965

   "When we started doing the Acid Tests out in La Honda, the thing that made them exciting was the fact that they were entertaining but it wasn't a closed circle. We hadn't planned our entertainment to the point that everybody knew for sure how it was going to end up. The most bizarre one was when we invited Kenneth Anger and the San Francisco diabolists out for Mother's Day. [May 5, '65] We had all taken a lot of acid and were wearing long robes and playing dolorious music up to the trees and we walked them all up to this little amphitheater we'd made in the redwoods where the thunder machine was. We banged and clanged on the thunder machine with the sound system set up so we were getting a nice echo with about three hundred yards between the echo. In the middle was a little spotlight hung about a hundred and fifty or two hundred feet up in a redwood tree so you had no sense of there being any light. It just looked like a glowing stump. The stump was painted gold and sitting on the stump was a golden ax. After banging and clanging, we lowered a bird cage from the redwoods. In the birdcage was a big hen. We got everybody out and spun this little pointer on what was called the "toke board". We spun it around and whoever it pointed at, it was obvious they were going to take the hen out and chop it's head off. The thing pointed at Page Brwoning. Page went in there and picked the chicken out and chicken had laid an egg. On the tape you've got, you can hear that Herman's Hermit's song, "Stomp That Egg," "Stomp that egg!" So he got the hen out of there and put it's head on the stump and chopped the head off. Page threw the chicken still alive and flopping right into the audience. Feathers and blood and squawking  and people jumping and screaming and all these diabolists and Kenneth Anger got up and left. They didn't think it was funny at all. We thought we were paying them the sort of honor they would expect. We out-eviled them. It all had that acid edge to it of, "This is something that might count." We might conjure up some eighty-foot demon that roared around. As Stewart Brand said, "There was always a whiff of danger to it." Those Saturday nights got bigger and bigger 'till finally La Honda couldn't hold them and we started branching out with the Dead who had just become the Dead. They'd been the Warlocks until then. -- Ken Kesey - Dark Star Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 70-71

   "There were parties all the time and then the whole Kesey thing started happening in La Honda. It had been happening down on Homer Land and Perry Land in Palo Alto. Sometimes there would be parties in all three places. You'd spend half an hour or an hour here. Then you'd go over to another party. Tripping openly at parties was still six months to a year away. Then it was really secretive. People were feeling, "Should we let other people know about this?" Then the thing was, "Yeah, everybody should do it." Which again changed everybody's life into a whole different larger, stranger circle." -- Laird Grant - Dark Star - Robert Greenfield - Page 59

   "Kesey moved to La Honda. At that point, everything really kicked into gear. When I look back now at the chronology and the time space that it happened in, there was so much stuff going on at some point, it seems like it had to have taken five years. But it was only a matter of eight to twelve months. Because of the madness. All of the sudden it just exploded. I can say it was the Stanford Research Institute's fault. They let something out the smokestack. All of us in Palo Alto got contaminated. You look at all the weird and talented people who came out of Palo Alto in comparison to any other town in the U.S., you go, "Wait a second. This is rather strange." -- Laird Grant - Dark Star Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 60


   "I wasn't involved in the early kesey stuff. Jerry went up to La Honda and from what I could tell, there was this kind of uneasy alliance. What we'd been doing before was very organic and elemental. Although we might not have spoken of it that way, there was this deeply spiritual aspect to it for us. When we took acid, we started listening to the Beatles. Dylan's first electric album came out right about then, too. We had been putting him down. But taking acid and listening to that album was incredible. So the resistance to amplified music waned. And there wasn't a huge market for jug bands." -- Sara Ruppenthal Garcia - Dark Star - Oral Biography - Pages 60-61


   "We actually came in contact with the Kesey bunch there at Gilman Street when Page Browning who also used to hang out at the Chateau but now was living at Perry Lane came by one afternoon and told us about the first bus trip. Garcia was there. He had a ringside seat. Page was actually there to score some pot. Phil Lesh had moved into Gilman Street and Page was a friend of Phil's from the Chateau days. We used to smoke pot and go to drive-in movies. We started talking and Page said, "Have you heard about the bus?" And I said, "No." He said, "They painted this bus just like a Jackson Pollock painting and then they got Neal Cassady to drive it." We were going, "Yeah?" They'd gone east with the goal in mind to meet Kerouac and to get in contact with Timothy Leary and those people at Millbrook and they'd encountered complete stuffiness and snobbiness from the Timothy Leary people. Leary himself wasn't even there. Jerry was sitting there listening to this and then I remember Page saying, "So what we did was, we went to a nearby Army and Navy store in town and got some surplus smoke bombs, red and green smoke dye marker canisters, and we went and lobbed it over the wall at them." We were laughing and he told us great stories about this bus trip. About Neal Cassady with headphones on being stopped by cops and the cops just being complete nonplussed and straight people across the nation being totally nonplussed by this outrageous bus and this guy with headphones on, driving. "God," we said, "You mean Neal was taking acid and driving, too?" We were going, "Wow! How do you drive when you're hallucinating?" And Page said, "We asked him about that too and Neal said, "You just pick out the hallucinations from the real stuff. Then you drive right though the hallucinations!" -- David Nelson - Dark Star - Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 59-60


   "Actually, Jerry didn't love that scene up there at Kesey's right away. It took him a while to fit into it. He was always telling me, "These people are up in the woods getting ripped and doing this...." Like it was beneath him to do that. I said, "Jerry, people do that all over. What's the big deal? If you want to play with these guys, that's what you have to do." I'd lay that kind of trip on him whenever I talked to him about it. I said, "Don't feel bad about doing that shit," He didn't think they were too stable of a group and he knew they were party animals. He wasn't into it. It was a wild scene." -- Clifford "Tiff" Garcia - Dark Star Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 71


   "For Jerry Garcia, such parties [La Honda] were not fun. Both Sara and Jerry's older brother, Clifford ("Tiff"), remember him grousing out about "these people...up in the woods getting ripped and doing these weird things, though Sara was initially more threatened by the wild scenes than Jerry was. After she went to the Palo Alto Test and saw Cassady juggling his sledgehammer and everybody dancing to the Warlocks' music, she was torn "between being the mom and the student and tending the home fires, and going off to participate in something that had never happened before. There was really a sense of history to it all," she recalls, and for a while, she had tried to do everything.
   "Was there a big initial flash between Jerry and Ken?" Mountain Girl asks rhetorically. Not really, she says. At that point, there was more of a professional rivalry. "Jerry was always interested in what Ken was doing but...they all felt kind of overpowered by the Prankster scene. Because it was all so well developed and so looney and unpredictable." -- Sweet Chaos - Carol Brightman - Page 47


   "Page Browning was the liason guy. He said, "I can get you this band. I can get you this band." We didn't know who it was. We'd never heard of the Warlocks. It sort of happened while we were concentrating on our weirdness up in the woods. And when we did meet up with the Warlocks, then I realized who it was and I recognized them from the Tangent. By then, they had started to change their haircuts. They were starting to get into these really lame bad haircuts. Bad moustaches and bad haircuts. But they were pretty cute. -- Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia - Dark Star Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 71

   "They did that first Acid Test at Kesey's house probably before it was even named the Acid Test. I didn't understand what it was about and I was threatened by it. Jerry tried to describe this event to me. It meant a lot to him and it was hard for him to figure out. He was amazed by it. As it turned out, the Hell's Angels came to that party and I was really glad I hadn't gone because I was afraid of those guys. The idea of dealing with motorcycle gang members while stoned on acid was not my idea of fun. The new thing was, "Can You Pass the Acid Test?" Do you have the resources to open up your nervous system to anything?" I wasn't sure I could. The idea of somebody directing or evaluating people's trips was pretty scary. Then came the Palo Alto Acid Test and I got to be part of it and see Casady do his hammer routine which was so amazing that I began to get a sense of this new possibility. Once I started to catch on, I was divided between being the mom and the student and tending the home fires and going off to participate in something extraordinary that had never happened before. There really was a sense of history to it all that was quite exhilirating. I couldn't stay at home while this was going on." -- Sara Ruppenthal Garcia -- Dark Star - Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 73-74

   "Ken's parties were getting bigger and harder to handle and we got busted and the Hell's Angels were coming and it was just unwieldly and it was getting unruly. But Ken's dedication to making a place where people could get together to get high was unshakable and I fell right into that and became part and parcel of it and spent all my time splicing film, repairing microphones, plugging stuff in, packing and unpacking, and making little films." -- Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia - Dark Star Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 72

   "I was pretty young and I hadn't been to college. Ken was a generation older than me. Was there a big initial flash between Jerry and Ken? At that point, I think there was more of a professional rivalry. Jerry was always interested in what Ken was doing, but at that time, I think, they all felt kind of overpowered by the Prankster scene. Because it was so well developed and so loony and unpredictable. The Warlocks sort of treated us as the loonies in the band. They thought they could drive through our scene. They were almost voyeuristic. They would come though, perform, and take off again. They didn't really want us to stick to them. The straight guy was Kreutzmann. He was the guy that organized the gigs and he was kind of the manager. The guy that would get all upset if there wasn't any money. Still, there was room there to form friendships. But it was so wacky. Plus, we were going to court all the time." -- Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia - Dark Star - Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 72-73


   That fall, some folks who had been part of the Red Dog Summer and who were living in a commune called the dog house, (in honor of various muts who lived there) on Pine Street in San Franscisco decided to seize upon the energy of the Virginia City romp and put on a dance with the Charlatans at Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco, a big funky space near fisherman's wharf that was often used for more conventional teen and young-adult dances.
   The first Family Dog Dance Concert Oct, 16, 1965, was billed as "A Tribute to Dr. Strange", after the Marvel comics hero. Also playing that night were the Jefferson Airplane, who had begun to create a stir through their appearances at a San Francisco club called the "Matrix", and the Great Society with Grace and Darby Slick. The Warlocks had a connection to the Airplane, before they ever shared a bill with them...; Guitarists Jorma Kaukonen and Paul Kantner had both been folkies in the South Bay during Garcia's Bluegrass days."
   The Family Dog's second Dance, "A Tribute to Sparkle Plenty" was held the following weekend, with an even bigger turnout, mostly because word of mouth on their first event had been so positive. This time the headliner was the Lovin' Spoonful, the popular New York folk-rock group then riding high with their smash hit "Do you believe in Magic?", fresh from a sold out week at the San Francisco Music and Comedy Club, the Hungry I.
   "The first time that music and LSD interacted in a way that really came to life for us as a band, "was one day when we got extremely high on some of that early dynamic LSD and went to see the Lovin Spoonful...That day, the Grateful Dead guys- our scene-went out, took acid and came up to Marin county and hung out somewhere around Fairfax or Lagunitas or one of those places up in the woods, and just went crazy. We ended up going into that Rock and Roll Dance and it was just really fine to see that whole scene - where there was nobody there but heads and this strange rock and roll music playing in this weird building. It was just what we wanted to see..We began to see that vision of a truly fantastic thing. It became clear to us that working in bars was not going to be right for us to be able to expand into this new idea." It was that evening too, that Phil Lesh uttered his famous remark to Ellen Harmon of the Family Dog," Lady, what this little seance needs is us." - "Garcia" - The Book


   "We directed and focused it through these parties." By now, someone--no one recalled who--had designed ID cards for the sessions, with the traditional  recruiting picture of Uncle Sam posing a new and dicey question: "Can YOU Pass the Acid Test?" And so the parties became the Acid Tests." -- What A Long Strange Trip - Dennis McNally - Pages 111-112