The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Some films (1966 – 1974) that either faked ingesting LSD or did *

* (restored)


‘The story of acid in the America of the 1960s is a story of a nation in conflict between a renewed lust for life and an enhanced drive towards death, between the rebels and the republic, the old guard Don Draper types clinging by their fingernails to the 1950s American dream as it dissolved around them, and the crazy peaceniks mocking and deriding everything that dream stood for. While dad swills a beer and cheers the bombers on the news, his kids are out in Central Park, dropping tabs and flashing peace signs. Seldom before or since in American history has the line between old and young, life and death, love and hate, conformity and free-thinking, been so sharply and clear drawn. And in the field of combat the same line existed between delusional top brass notions of “heart and minds” and the real blood-and-ambiguity-drenched quagmire of the killing field.

‘LSD erased all those lines…as well as all other artificial social constructs. It could make you very peaceful with yourself as you committed horrific violence against yourself or others, merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream of disconnect… On acid you realize even killing can be an expression of love, just ask the Manson family, or the babysitter nuking the kid in the microwave and putting the TV dinner to bed, or Native Americans apologizing to the buffalo as they kill it, understanding that they’re killing themselves for all is connected. All murder is just projected suicide. The Native American’s knew we always only ever eat ourselves. On acid, we knew it too.

‘Taking acid certainly could prove a boost to your perception, heightening and sharpening your senses enabling the user to transcend their usual social more strait-jacket. Whether over in the war or at home, what seemed like unshakable bedrocks only hours before–marriage, church, state, government, patriarchy, tradition–became suddenly clownish, yesterday’s papers, tools of hypnosis to keep the cattle placid. Acid made killing ‘real’ to non-combatants because it shuckered them loose from the grip of the patriarchy, helped them think like the enemy, or how they imagined the enemy thought, slinking through the jungle, hard-wired and alive to every flapping beetle wing and blowing leaf, and best of all, free of all the moral inhibitions about killing. Smashing open an innocent Vietnamese farmer’s face with the butt of your rifle would be intolerable sober, but is just another freaky thing to trip out once you surrender to the fact that you’re living in a world… of… shit, as Private Pyle puts it in FULL METAL JACKET (1987).

‘An integral — though demonized by the press– part of boot camp is hazing, the beating of lagging cadets with soaps wrapped in towels, to toughen them up, give them a face-to-face taste with unendurable pain, the kind that transforms and darkens you, makes you less afraid since you know it can’t get any worse. Anything less than that level of prolonged and traumatic beating up is just business as usual from then on; the volume is turned way down. This tradition is nothing new, and corresponds to Native American rituals that involve hanging by pierced shoulder muscles until you see your white buffalo vision and know you are a man. Women have the agony of childbirth; men have to find agonies for themselves to equal it.

‘Or, you could just try taking too much acid, a sort of self-induced hazing. Either way, you have to do something to free yourself from living life in a state of fear-based wussiness… it takes a jolt to your whole body-mind-spirit in order to shake the civilized cowardice out of a man, to sever all apron string breadcrumb trails back to mommy. You can’t wait to turn savage after you’re savagely killed, by then it’s too late. You have to be already on fire to fight fire with fire.

‘This “death-embracing” aspect of LSD is something America never has been able to reconcile with its more peaceful half, just throwing baby and bathwater alike into prison and barring the door on any further conversation, at least in the US. In England the late-inning demonizing was taken with a grain of salt, and the Nietzschean rebirth from civilized wanker into super-warrior thing appears in British films to this day. Leo DiCaprio taps into it for his psychedelic interlude during a stretch of THE BEACH (2000) and Cillian Murphy finds his inner psycho for the climax of 28 DAYS LATER (2002). Shauna Macdonald (above) experiences a similar death/rebirth when falling into a pit of menstrual blood signifier slime in THE DESCENT (2005). It’s the last straw of horror that snaps her free into CARRIE-style warrior woman.

‘The Japanese have always been fans of this conversion and the slew of samurai films such as SWORD OF DOOM (1966) illustrate a cosmic understanding of the difference between sympathy and true compassion. The antihero main character played by Tatsuya Nakadai, for example, kills a weary old man he meets on a hill, just because he seems to be a burden to his granddaughter. In sword battle contests he only cares about perfection of technique, barely noticing the corpses he leaves in his wake. Perhaps the Japanese, British, and Germans for that matter, are just a little better at “going there.” May I venture to guess it comes from being bombed?

‘But Americans can’t abide freedom from resolve-weakening head games without a little help from their lysergic friends. We need far more of a push to shed our civilized moral paralysis, as we see in our terror of issues like euthanasia, castration and abortion. Comatose, paralyzed, dying patients are kept alive for years, and convicted sex offenders begging to be castrated are turned down flat. Every hospital should have a man like Willard/Kurz in APOCALYPSE NOW or SWORD OF DOOM’s Tatsuya Nakadai (above) to walk through the wards and dispassionately off the incurably sick or comatose, castrating and severing and doing whatever needs to be done. But it’s shocking just to think of it. We are too scared to face death square in the eye! Won’t someone think of the children!!?!?!’ — Acidemic





Charly (extract, 1968)
‘The psychedelic sequence, where a wounded Charly deals with Alice’s rejection of him by taking drugs, having orgies, and growing his hair long, is a goofy time capsule of 1968’s values, obsessions, and grandiosity. The Ravi Shankar soundtrack, that makes use of flutes, harpsichords, and sitar, is obtrusive in its shouting, “1968!”— Danish Goska


Free Grass (a.k.a. Scream Free) (extract, 1969)
‘The film opens with swirly colored peace signs and psychedelic effects while the rock group “California Spectrum”‘ plays the title song. Then we see bad guys Phil and Barney (Casey Kasem and Warren Finnerty) driving a small camper and chasing a running longhaired hippie into a dead-end alley…where they crush him to death! Next we see Link (Russ Tamblyn) shooting up. Tamblyn must have been filming Satan’s Sadists at the same time because it looks like he walked right off that film set and onto the Free Grass set without changing his clothes or taking off his hat! Next psychedelic swirling lights, a dancing girl holding a snake and a room full of stoners smoking grass and playing guitar. Link tells stoner Dean (Richard Beymer) how to make some fast bread by smuggling grass out of Mexico. Hot chick Karen (Lana Wood, Natalie’s sister) asks Dean if he wants to take an acid trip. Next, lots of kaleidoscope trip effects.’ — The Video Beat


El Topo (trailer, 1970)
‘El Topo, a figure dressed in black and carrying his nude son on horseback behind him, uses his supernatural shooting ability to free a town from the rule of a sadistic Colonel. He then abandons his son for the Colonel’s Woman, who convinces him to ride deep into the desert to face off against four mystical gunfighters. All of the gunfighters die, but El Topo is betrayed, shot, and dragged into a cave by a society of deformed people, who ask the outlaw turned pacifist to help them build a tunnel so they can escape to a dusty western town run by degenerate religious fascists.’ — collaged


Trip to Where (1968)
‘US Navy film warning sailors against the use of LSD.’


Psychedelic Diaries (extract, 1966 – 1968)
Psychedelic Diaries is the title of the complete film works of Étienne O’Leary. Pillar of the underground and initiator of a new film language, Étienne O’ Leary shot his films in the effervescence of a Paris reaching May 68. The evanescent and incandescent images of O’ Leary films shows us many compatriots such as Pierre Clémenti, Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Pierre Molinier appearing under dazzling lights.’– icpce


Skidoo (1969)
‘Tony is a retired mobster living in the suburbs with wife Flo and daughter Darlene, who has an unwelcome (to Tony) interest in dating hippies. A crime kingpin known as “God” pressures the ex-hit man into doing one last job—going undercover in Alcatraz to assassinate a stool pigeon. When Tony accidentally ingests LSD in the pen, his entire worldview is flipped and he decides to ditch the hit and break out of the clink; meanwhile, Flo and Darlene have taken it upon themselves to track down God with the help of a band of flower children.’ — 366 Weird Movies


Head (1968)
‘Richard McGinnis 4 months ago: this is best watched on a 12 inch black and white television while tripping on 1.5 hits of blotter acid. don’t question just try it and within the first 5 minutes you will understand * Bryce Thibodeaux 6 days ago: +Richard Mcginnis That is idiotic. You need to watch this on a 40 inch flat screen and take 5 hits of acid. You want to immerse yourself in the experience and feel and breathe the colours and sounds. How can you do that on a black and white 12inch tv? * Richard McGinnis 5 days ago: the monochrome picture tube does wonders when you’re tripping, and at the beginning when he is swimming with the mermaids? hdtv got nothing on this’


The Psychedelic Priest (extract, 1971)
‘A group of teenage stoners spike Father John’s soda with LSD! Holy freak out! Father John trips his brains out amid images of religious motifs and becomes the Psychedelic Priest. Setting off across America on a journey of self-discovery, he finds love amidst hippies and heroin until hitting rock bottom on skid row. This dose of acid-drenched cinema is almost worth missing Sunday church for.’ — The Video Beat


The Hotdog (1969)
‘LSD Propaganda film. She tried the drug because she was pretty jacked-up on marijuana.’


Wonderwall (extract, 1968)
‘The movie is so freakish, it’s almost impossible to absorb. It’s hardly a “movie,” at least by the normal definition. Worth noting is that the director is the same guy who later did the fantasy sequences in the Led Zep concert movie The Song Remains the Same. If you liked that movie’s werewolves with tommy guns spurting psychedelic blood, you’d dig Wonderwall. The first thing that comes to mind, a few minutes after finishing the film, is “This must be what it’s like to do peyote, throw up, and then spend two hours staring at your vomit and marveling at how wondrous and beautiful your former lunch now looks….”‘ — San Diego Reader


The Acid Eaters (extract, 1968)
‘The bikers meet up by a lake, at a dock sporting a sign that reads, “Taking a trip? Go LSD… the only way to fly!” When they arrive, one of their members is already making it with his old lady underwater, emerging from the deep to gasp, “Welcome to the Submarine Club! You passed the test with flying colors!” There follows a long sequence of topless dancing and body-painting, then some lascivious rolling around in the grass, and then, inevitably, the slaughter of a passing motorist for pot money. (The gang’s resident artist hangs a sign around the victim’s neck, reading: “Here lies a man who lost his [drawing of donkey] so we could buy some grass.”)’ — The AV Club


Midnight Cowboy (extract, 1969)


The Big Cube (extract, 1969)
‘This amazing chunk of Mexican-lensed trippiness is a lost classic in Acid Claptrap Cinema! Kicking off with groovy credits, it’s another blast from the past, chock full of the hideous threads, hip slang, and idiocy which quickly made the late-’60s a joke. But it’s also graced with several familiar faces and a rabidly anti-LSD vibe. So prepare to turn on, tune out and laugh your ass off! An aging Lana Turner (in one of her last starring roles) plays Adriana, a famous stage actress who retires in order to marry wealthy financier Daniel O’Herlihy (currently starring in commercials for Magnavox, accompanied by a beachful of baby turtles). His teen daughter, Lisa (Karin Mossberg), is pissed off by the event, so she joins the local longhairs for an expedition to a trendy nightclub called The Trip, featuring “a new show from San Francisco” that has them dropping laced sugar cubes into their beer and blasting off. They also enjoy dosing other’s drinks (“I’m gonna cube that mother, but good.”).’ — Shock Cinema


The Hippie Revolt (extract, 1967)
‘A trail-filled trip through the world of hippie freaks in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Love-ins, communes, psychedelic ’60s acid-drenched fuzz guitar. The camera focuses on enclaves in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a rural commune dubbed “Strawberry Fields.” Lots of stoner action in Golden Gate Park’s Panhandle and Hippie Hill. Psychedelic dance rituals, drug use, body painting and incoherent babbling. Terrific tripping scenes. The Hippie Revolt! Features music by The Warlocks aka the pre-Grateful Dead‘. — The Video Beat


Zardoz (trailer, 1974)
‘Hoity-toity and self-important to the point of supreme silliness, Zardoz is an odd artifact of a time in Hollywood when moviemaking and drug-taking often intertwined, to the benefit of no one but bad movie fans like us … a lushly photographed piece of psychedelic twaddle … a glittering cultural trash pile, and probably the most gloriously fatuous movie since The Oscar — although the passages between the laughs droop.’ — collaged


Mondo Mod (extract, 1967)
‘U.S. documentary. If you’re cool and outasite and like to be where the action is, then make the trip to this groovy movie where it’s all happening now! Flip out into oblivion with a mod look at the psychedelic sixties (1966 in particular) that includes stops at… The Sunset Strip, where the “Now Generation” buys their groovy & mod fashions and dances wildly in clubs like The Trip, Whisky-A-Go Go and Pandora’s Box; the beaches of Hawaii and Southern California, where beach boys surf; the road, where motorcyclists race their bikes; and the mind, where drugs like LSD enable you to turn on, tune in and discover how beautiful everything is!’ — The Video Beat


Magical Mystery Tour (trailer, 1967)


Psych-Out (extract, 1968)
‘For those interested in 1960s culture, Psych-Out acts as a rare time capsule of the 1967’s San Francisco and allows a precious glimpse into the world of the hippies at the time: from Free Shops to Guerilla Theater scenes; while trying to deal, at least superficially, with some of the issues of the era like the ideas of ego dissolution, mind expansion and bad trips. Even the talks about the STP-Fright seem highly characteristic of the time and place (STP was a major drug problem in the Haight-Ashbury around the end of 1967).’ — The Daily Psychedelic Video


Light Show (extract, 1967 – 1969)
‘Between 1967 and 1969, Ken Brown shot super 8 films to projected with the light show at Boston’s premiere rock club The Boston Tea Party. The resulting films were later edited together to make a longer untitled film, often referred to by the name Psychedelic Cinema.’ — Ken Winokur


Sebastian (extract, 1968)
‘Early in the production of Sebastian, somebody should have called a meeting to figure out what the movie was about. I guess nobody did. Strange interlude at a party, at which someone gives Dirk Bogarde LSD because the cameraman was complaining the movie was almost over and he hadn’t had a chance to try out his psychedelic special effects.’ — Roger Ebert


Curious Alice (1968)
‘This drug abuse educational film portrays an animated fantasy based upon the characters in “Alice in Wonderland.” The film shows Alice as she toured a strange land where everyone had chosen to use drugs, forcing Alice to ponder whether drugs were the right choice for her. The “Mad Hatter” character represents Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), the “Dormouse” represents sleeping pills, and the “King of Hearts” represents heroin. Ultimately, Alice concluded that drug abuse is senseless.’ — Change Before Going


Invocation of my Demon Brother (1969)


LSD, I Hate You (trailer, 1966)
‘Producer/director Albert Zugsmith’s acid-therapy “comedy,” complete with a tinted trip sequence “in hilarious LSD color.” A suicidal film star named Honey Bunny is sent by her producer to a rest home run by an unhinged Dr. Horatio, who gives his patients LSD as a cure. The wacky patients include female impersonator Skippy Roper as an effeminate dress designer, a midget, a fat lady, and lots of actors, directors, and producers, including Zugsmith himself.’ — letterboxd.com


Wild in the Streets (trailer, 1968)
‘Max Frost and the Troopers are an extremely popular rock and roll group with all the teenagers. A series of events results in Max Frost becoming President of the United States. Everyone over 30 years old is sent to LSD camps. Psychedelic images and sounds.’ — collaged


The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (trailer, 1970)
The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart is a 1970 American film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) about a confused college student’s experiences with sex, relationships, and drugs in late 1960s New York City. Although Richard Thomas was originally intended to play the lead role of “Stanley Sweetheart”, Don Johnson was cast after having been seen in the lead role (“Smitty”) of Sal Mineo’s Los Angeles stage production of the prison drama Fortune and Men’s Eyes. Robert Westbrook has stated that he did not like Johnson, considering him a “hustler of the worst kind” and “utterly miscast”, but was overruled by producer Martin Poll. Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro was originally cast as “Danny,” Stanley’s older, more experienced counterculture friend, but clashed with the assistant director and was fired from the film after only one day. As reported by The New York Times and other newspapers in October 1969, MGM announced that Andy Warhol would make his commercial film debut in the movie, in his first-ever speaking role as a “freaked-out psychiatrist” in a hallucination orgy scene. It was further reported that Warhol superstars Ultra Violet, Candy Darling, and Gerard Malanga (as well as Joe Dallesandro) had also been cast in the film, with Ultra Violet playing a nurse during the hallucinated orgy scene. Candy Darling has an uncredited brief, wordless cameo reclining on a mattress in a room during the scene where Danny takes Stanley to an underground psychedelic performance. Neither Ultra Violet, Malanga nor Warhol appeared in the released film.’ — collaged


Go Forward! (extracts, 1968)
‘First there’s hidden diamonds and a mysterious girl with a big nose. Then, a sinister looking man in dark sunglasses sips milk from a straw—we see him regularly. He likes milk. There’s an airport briefcase mix-up. Lots of cool 60s mod op-art rooms and sitar music. Magical Mystery Tour-type “love child” fashions! The Spiders watch TV and see a cool garage beat group. During rehearsals for their big TV appearance, a dead guy falls out a speaker cabinet!’ — The Video Beat


Go Ask Alice (1973)
‘This is the true story of a shy, overweight teenage girl who, in an attempt to be popular, hangs out with the wrong crowd and takes drugs. In no time at all Alice goes from being a “nice girl” to comfortably fitting in with drug pushers, pimps and prostitutes. As Alice takes LSD we hear the Traffic song, “Dear Mister Fantasy.” The movie ends with a freeze frame of Alice poised to start a new school year as her mother’s voice-over informs us that Alice died of “an overdose of drugs” shortly after her 16th birthday.’ — collaged


Riot On the Sunset Strip (extract, 1967)
‘A police captain (Aldo Ray) is caught between businesses operating on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip who don’t like the punks hanging out, and his belief in allowing the kids their rights. But when his daughter (Mimsy Farmer) gets involved with an unruly bunch and gets hooked on LSD, his attitude starts to change.’ — IMDb


Performance (extract, 1970)
‘Even in an era of cinematic experimentation, Performance stands out as a visually daring major-studio film that deals with questions of sanity and identity rarely touched on in mainstream filmmaking. The elements of Performance certainly looked attractive to studio executives at Warner Bros. — a gangster on the lam hides out in the home of a reclusive rock star — especially since that musician was being played by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.’ — RT


Delphine (extract, 1969)
‘Delphine (Dany Carrel) is a country girl who travels to the big city in search of feminine emancipation and freedom. Attending wild parties and nightclubs, she meet a young rock star. She becomes pregnant by him and after she has an abortion, the singer could care less about her. Delphine is always followed by a little boy throughout the feature who constantly asks “what is your name?” She also confides in a boozing, middle-aged cynic who has given up on life but helps the young girl.’ — Unifrance


Fantastic Planet (trailer, 1973)
‘FP is an animated sci-psych-fi film directed by René Laloux in 1973. The story is based on the novel Oms en série, by the French writer Stefan Wul. The film depicts a future in which human beings, known as “Oms” (a word play on the French-language word hommes, meaning men), are creatures on the Draags’ home planet, where they are seen as pests and sometimes kept as pets (with collars). The landscape of the Draag planet is full of strange creatures, including a cackling predator which traps small fluttering animals in its cage-like nose, shakes them to death and hurls them to the ground. The Draag practice of meditation, whereby they commune psychically with each other and with different species, is shown in transformations of their shape and color.’ — PsyAmb


Mother Goose a Go-Go (trailer, 1966)
‘After a disastrous wedding night (i.e. no sex!), Tommy Kirk seeks help from a bikini-clad sex therapist who diagnoses LSD which causes soft-core hallucinations of scantily-clad incarnations of Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White! Tommy Kirk croons several numbers including “Mother Goose A-Go-Go.” Barbara McNair sings, “Queen of Soul.” Set in Shoreham Towers (a deluxe Sunset Strip apartment house popular with the ’60s swingin’ singles set). In real life, Art Linkletter’s 20 year-old daughter Diane, plunged to her death from one of the towers’ upper windows while (rumor has it) tripping on acid.’ — The Video Beat


The Trip (1967)
The Trip has been called one of the worst ever made, but I’d like to take a minute and discuss that. Here’s a movie that had a pretty good idea. It came out around the time that “underground” cinema was running amok, and director Roger Corman had already been making films for 12 years. He decided to radically stretch the cinematic boundaries he had been exercising. He wanted to film an LSD trip. Although this style of filmmaking has been aped millions of times over on MTV and television commercials, it’s still a pretty radical idea. (Oh, and by the way, Jack Nicholson wrote the screenplay.)’ — Jeffrey M. Anderson




p.s. Hey. Trippy day two, as promised. The p.s. and I will be back to do what we usually do starting again tomorrow.

Some books (1961 – 1975) that either faked ingesting LSD or did *

* (restored)


Terry Taylor Baron’s Court, All Change (1961)

‘Terry Taylor did it all. He was the model for the unnamed narrator of Absolute Beginners, did some serious work in drugs and magic (taking up from Berber practices he picked up in Tangier), hung out with William Burroughs, listened to a lot of cool modern jazz, was the original mod before the term was even being used… and wrote this book, the first British novel to mention LSD, as well as having a drug dealing narrator who wants to spend his profits the cool way, on jazz and shirts from Cecil Gee! All in all a complete groove sensation!’ — Stewart Home



Aldous Huxley Island (1962)

Island explores many of the themes and ideas that interested Huxley in the post-World War II decades and were the subject of many of his nonfiction books of essays, including Brave New World Revisited, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, The Doors of Perception, and The Perennial Philosophy. Some of these themes and ideas include overpopulation, ecology, modernity, democracy, mysticism, entheogens, and somatotypes. Common background elements occur in both Island and Brave New World; they were used for good in the former and for ill in the latter. Such elements include: Drug use for enlightenment and self-knowledge; Group living (in the form of Mutual Adoption Clubs) so that children would not have unalloyed exposure to their parents’ neuroses; Trance states for super learning; Assisted reproduction (low-tech artificial insemination); Freely-available contraception to enable reproductive choice, expressive sex; Dangerous climb to a temple, as spiritual preparation; Mynah birds trained to utter uplifting slogans.’ — collaged



Kurt Vonnegut Cat’s Cradle (1963)

‘Spent most of a 300ug LSD trip reading Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut. Absolutely beautiful. 11/10 I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Seriously, could not recommend this book and substance both together or seperate more. The Grateful Dead set up a publishing company called Ice Nine (in tribute to this book).’ — Longdog





Philip K. Dick The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965)

‘The story begins in a future world where global temperatures have risen so high that in most of the world it is unsafe to be outside without special cooling gear during daylight hours. In a desperate bid to preserve humanity and ease population burdens on Earth, the UN has initiated a “draft” for colonizing the nearby planets, where conditions are so horrific and primitive that the unwilling colonists have fallen prey to a form of escapism involving the use of an illegal drug (CAN-D) in concert with “layouts.” Layouts are physical props intended to simulate a sort of alternate reality where life is easier than either the grim existence of the colonists in their marginal off-world colonies, or even Earth, where global warming has progressed to the point that Antarctica is prime vacation resort territory. The illegal drug CAN-D allows people to “share” their experience of the “Perky Pat” (the name of the main female character in the simulated world) layouts. This “sharing” has caused a pseudo-religious cult or series of cults to grow up around the layouts and the use of the drug.’ — collaged



Richard Fariña Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1966)

‘Fariña wrote the novel while a student at Cornell University. The novel is laced with pseudonym references to Cornell University (“Mentor University”), Cornellians and Ithaca landmarks. Gnossos is a gleeful, LSD gobbling anarchist, heaving creche statuary off a bridge into one of Ithaca’s famed gorges, smoking dope at fraternity parties, poking fun at the pompous, self-righteous and well-to-do, swilling Red Cap ale, retsina and martinis, while pursuing the coed in the green knee-socks and seeking karma. After a detour to Cuba during the anti-Batista revolt, Gnossos returns to “Athene” to become the inadvertent leader of the student rebellion against a university edict—this is 1958 after all—that would have banned women from men’s apartments.’ — collaged



Jacqueline Susann Valley Of The Dolls (1966)

‘Imagine you are lying in a silk-sheeted waterbed next to a vast swimming pool, smoking a ridiculously long cigarette, wearing an Italian bikini and extremely large, expensive hat, and you’ve just gotten the most gorgeous pedicure ever administered in human history. You’ve just dropped Acid, done about sixteen lines of coke and have popped a few jars of quaaludes, and a leathery, bronzed older gentleman with silvery hairs all over his chest and a visible tan line where his wedding ring usually sits is alternately giving you backrubs, lavishing you with glittering jewelry, and skillfully providing immense oral pleasure. While all this is going on, you are thinking about how fat and old you’ve been getting, sipping from a decanter of single-malt scotch, and eating slice after slice of the most magnificent chocolate cake that has ever been baked. The cake is delicious, the drugs are great, the cunnilingus is stellar, and it’s all totally worth the terrible sacrifices you’ve made to arrive here today, despite the fact that you are clearly about to vomit yet again into the enormous pool.’ — Jessica, goodreads



Thomas Pynchon The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

‘”So, what do you think it’s about?” she asked, as she took a preliminary sip from her cocktail. “Entropy, to start with,” he replied. “If only he’d known the Holographic Principle. It follows from thermodynamic calculations that the information content of a black hole is proportional to the square of its radius, not the cube, and the Universe can reasonably be thought of as a black hole. Hence all its information is really on its surface, and the interior is a low-energy illusion. Wouldn’t you say that the book is rather like that too?”‘ — Manny, goodreads



William H. Knoles Mondo Sadisto (1966)

‘Working for an obscure sex fiction developer called Ember topics, William H. Noles created the “0008″ series, outrageous, psychedelic, self-conscious and very funny spoofs of Ian Fleming’s 007/James Bond series and the whole super-spy craze, which, in 1965, was just starting to reach its peak. From the first, Our Man from Sadisto (“MEET 0008—PEERLESS LOVER, FEARLESS KILLER!”), the 0008 topics featured sex, spies, su-pervillains, wisecracks, sex, torture, orgies, time travel, secret weapons, more torture, more sex, and an assortment of satiric characters and an unexpectedly knowing and self-reflexive wit, all wrapped up in covers featuring an assortment of buxom beauties in shredded go-go girl duds and skintight Emma Peel-ish bodysuits. Allison lampooned and referenced the new, instantly cliched milieu of espionage sensationalism in a way that other writers tried (in similar series such as The Lady from L.U.S.T.) and that surfaced on film in the leering Matt Helm series and the chaotic film version of Fleming’s Casino Royale, but Allison did it better than any of them. The topics were funny, hip, and sexy as hell.’ — collaged



Kenneth R. Brown Tiger In Haight-Ashbury (1967)

‘A novel set against a backdrop of the hippie scene in the Haight-Ashbury. It’s true that peace and love were the hippie ideal. Unfortunately, violence, sex and insurrection became the rule once LSD was introduced into the scene. The blurb on the front cover indicates that this may be a work of pulp fiction: “A savage novel of violence, sex and insurrection. The hippie world explodes – will blow your mind.”— collaged



William S. Burroughs The Ticket That Exploded (1967)

‘Together with The Soft Machine and Nova Express it is part of a trilogy, often referred to as The Nova Trilogy or The Cut-Up Trilogy, created using the cut-up technique, although for this book Burroughs used a variant called ‘the fold-in’ method. The novel is an anarchic tale concerning mind control by psychic, electronic, sexual, pharmaceutical, subliminal, and other means. Passages from the other two books and even from this book show up in rearranged form and are often repeated. This work is significant for fans of Burroughs, in that it describes his idea of language as a virus and his philosophy of the cut-up technique.’ — collaged



Tom Robbins Another Roadside Attraction (1967/1971)

‘In 1967 Robbins mailed off 30 pages of his novel to Nichols who sent them to the New York office. The senior editors, some holdovers for when Doubleday was a Roman Catholic publishing house did not approve but Nichols encouraged Robbins to keep writing. After he had 70 pages there were then sent back to New York but the younger editors still failed to convince the senior editors to publish. It wasn’t until 1970 that Doubleday finally accepted the manuscript and published 6,000 copies in 1971. In his memoir, Robbins states that he didn’t want to describe the sixties in this novel but to re-create them on the page, “to mirror in style as well as content their mood, their palatte, their extremes, their vibrations, their profundity, their silliness and whimsy.” Robbins also said he used a collage technique—he skimmed media such as the underground press, KRAB radio program guides, broadsides, fliers for concerts to try and pluck out items that might capture a portrait of the period. In the book a baboon is stolen from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Shortly after publication someone did actually steal a baboon from the Zoo.’ — collaged



Terry Southern Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes (1967)

‘Like much of Southern’s work, Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes presents a detailed portrait of American culture during the 1960s. Many stories, in particular “You’re Too Hip, Baby”, “The Blood of a Wig”, and “The Night the Bird Blew for Doctor Warner”, explore the mentality of the hippie and the pretentiousness of countercultures. Other stories, like “Recruiting for the Big Parade” and “Twirling at Ole Miss”, present unusual non-fiction, and may be viewed as an early form of gonzo journalism. “Twirlin’ at Ole Miss” has been cited by Tom Wolfe as one of the defining works of the genre and as such it was included in Wolfe and A.W. Johnson’s anthology The New Journalism. The majority of the book’s stories, like the eponymous “Red-Dirt Marijuana”, simply present detailed character sketches and bizarre flights of fancy. In “The Sun and the Still-Born Stars”, a Texan farmer wages a surreal, Beowulfian struggle against a mysterious sea monster. In “Love Is a Many Splendored”, Franz Kafka receives an obscene crank call from Sigmund Freud. Beneath these strange juxtapositions, Southern explores themes of alienation, love, and truth. The collection has been widely praised by authors such as Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, William S. Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, and Kurt Vonnegut. Joseph Heller characterized it as “the cutting edge of black comedy.”‘ — collaged



Maia Wojciechowska Tuned Out (1968)

‘In Jim’s revealing journal, which is the substance of this moving book, we share the experience of that terrible summer – the LSD and marijuana, the hippies, the disillusionment, the helpless confusion and fear. It is all recorded frankly, to the final horror of Kevin’s freaking out and the shaky beginnings of his redemption. Kevin comes home from college, and he’s become a marijuana fiend! He giggles maniacally, flaps his hands, hallucinates evil circles, and demands that Jim smoke pot with him. While Kevin freaks out, Jim experiences ecstasy, and then is visited by a devil who is out to get Kevin’s soul and an angel who urges Jim to save him. The angel takes off, having convinced Jim that pot is bad. Kevin then hauls Jim out to score LSD, which Kevin has never tried before. They meet naked, dirty hippie chicks in a filthy squat, and nice adults who warn them of the terrors of “freaking out.” Kevin trips and “freaks out.” He thinks the circles are attacking him, breaks a mirror and goes catatonic.’ — collaged



Richard Brautigan In Watermelon Sugar (1968)

‘It is a tale of a commune organized around a central gathering house which is named “iDEATH”. In this environment, many things are made of watermelon sugar (though the inhabitants also use pine wood and stone for building material and fuel is made from trout oil). The landscape of the novel is always changing. Each day has a different colored sun which creates different colored watermelons, and the central building also changes frequently. Through the narrator’s first person account we hear the story of the people and the events of iDEATH. The central tension is created by Margaret, once a lover of the narrator, and inBOIL, a rebellious man who has left iDEATH to live near a forbidden area called the Forgotten Works. It is a huge trash heap where the remnants of a former civilization lie abandoned in great piles. Margaret, a collector of such ‘forgotten things’, is friendly with inBOIL and his followers, who explore the place and make whiskey.’ — collaged



Tom Wolfe The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)

‘Tom Wolfe’s much-discussed kaleidoscopic non-fiction novel chronicles the tale of novelist Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. In the 1960s, Kesey led a group of psychedelic sympathizers around the country in a painted bus, presiding over LSD-induced “acid tests” all along the way. Long considered one of the greatest books about the history of the hippies, Wolfe’s ability to research like a reporter and simultaneously evoke the hallucinogenic indulgence of the era ensures that this book, written in 1967, will live long in the counter-culture canon of American literature.’ — collaged



Michael Moorcock The Final Programme (1968)

‘Written in 1965 as the underground culture was beginning to emerge, it was not published for several years. Moorcock has stated that publishers at the time considered it was “too freaky”. Set in a world totally abstract and chaotic, it introduces Jerry Cornelius as a hip superhero and follows his adventures as he attempts to subvert a plot by his disreputable brother Frank and Miss Brunner to build a super computer for nefarious ends. Jerry is sucked into the plans of Miss Brunner to create the perfect being by merging the bodies of Jerry and herself together. When this is done, a radiantly charismatic hermaphroditic being emerges from the machinery. All who see the new creature fall quaking to their knees. As things turn out, Jerry discovers that “it’s a tasty world”.’ — collaged



Carlos Castaneda The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968)

‘A young anthropologist goes into the desert, meets an old shaman and does a bunch of peyote, DMT/salvia, and shrooms. This book is his account from one trip to another with bits of hippy-wisdom thrown in, like the oft-quoted “ask yourself if this path has a heart” passage. Beyond the tripping, the author doesn’t seem to understand the spiritual aspects of what Don Juan is trying to tell him. Like when he smoked the “little smoke” and thought himself to become a bird, he asks Don Juan afterwards “did I really become a bird?” and needles him to give him an objective answer, which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of the whole experience. His assessment of his time with Don Juan only go as deep as his literal understanding of things, rather than any meaningful, metaphorical reflection of his “teaching”. I couldn’t decide if he’s either really dense or just too westernized to see anything beyond his daily comprehension.’ — Adam, goodreads



Kenneth Tindall Great Heads (1969)

‘The book’s Great Heads are hip, restless wanderers who populate a world addled with drugs and hormones, set to the beat of experimental rock and punctuated with poetry, bar fights and police brutality. Billie Stonecipher, folk-singer, anchors the love story that chronicles the lives of a reckless set: Ole Hansen, a scholarly, smooth-talking drug dealer; blind virtuoso Chester Flynn; his closest boyhood friend Robert Gemshorn; and Chester’s wife, Birgit, a native whose bohemian boutique is a hangout and a hit. Tindall’s characters are set in bittersweet arrangements where they create and destroy one another like symphonic movements in scenes of brutal and exhilarating honesty.’ — collaged



Rudolph Wurlitzer Nog (1969)

‘“Rudy Wurlitzer,” his mama must have shouted, “you stay away from those big blue mushrooms down by the jukeyard!” He mustn’t have heard because his novel Nog is one helluva trip. Strange one, this Rudy Wurlitzer, descended from a long line of music machine magicians, of Rudolph Wurlitzer Company fame, young Rudy a wanderer with Eastern interests, a peacenik beatnik beachnik boho bum blues aficionado with hopes of writing apocalyptic psychedelic Westerns for the once sepiasilver by then rainbowsmeared Big Screen. Only the Screen turned into his Mind. By the time Rudy was a sprout the Wurlitzer fortune had long dwindled, so he set off, bloodwarmwaves in eager veins, like so many in his day seeking some transcendental phantom republic out there in the deserts, in the cities and towns tucked tidy in their deepest longings for a birth of joyful exuberant existence. And all Rudy seemed to think about was frontier apocalypse and how everyday was starting to feel like Altamont. A starry wandering vegetable existence. Cults in the desert. An octopus in the trailer. What a nightmare. Have you seen a Wurlitzer jukebox or piano? Those things must have turned his head inside out. I imagine Rudy Wurlitzer’s wasteland, after the trip wore off, filled with pianos and jukes, stacked in the sand like pyramids, or a whole junkyard as far as the eye will let in. Rudy standing high in the twisted ruined wastes with the sun dropping its final rays around him, illuminating the silver wood guts of the world, looking up beyond the gnarled heaps with hope in his heart and the cities now gleaming in his mind, thinking maybe this time there would be transcendence.’ — Shan, goodreads



Richard Horn Encyclopedia (1969)

‘This daring novel is structured as a series of alphabetical entries, complete with definitions, dates, verbatim dialogue, lists of objects, and cross-references, that the reader can use as he pleases. The dates of various events, given within the entries, carry the narrative forward, so that the reader is made aware of the ultimate fortunes of the characters by means of a multiple, interior chronology. The basic story is of the desperate and unhappy love of Tom Jones, a young, aspirant poet, for Sadie Massey, a well-off girl who has flung herself into the several bohemias available to her, and embraced, with equal fervor, drugs, alcohol, art, and sexual promiscuity. Their love affair, and the background of mutual friends and enemies against which it is set, reveals a cross-section of urban artistic life that is limned with a clarity and acuteness that borders on the photographic.’ — collaged



Jane Gallion Stoned (1969)

‘The Stuarts live in interesting times. The anti-war movement is being taken to the streets, the civil rights movement has just gained a martyr in Martin Luther King, and as for the home front – women everywhere are getting downright uppity. What do women want? They want out of the kitchen. They want more than just a new washer. More than a nicer house in a better neighborhood. More than putting the kids to bed and settling down with a good book. They want liberation, some excitement in their lives, and they want sex – good sex and plenty of it. And they’re tired of being ladylike about it. Times are changing. Happy Days are long over. Times are beginning to change in the Stuart house, too. Folding laundry and going to bed unsatisfied are just not making it any more. Sex, LSD, and rock and roll are about to change Elaine Stuart’s life forever. And about time, too!’ — collaged



William J. Craddock Be Not Content (1970)

‘Almost completely unknown among the various chronicles of life in 1960s America (Thomas Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test comes to mind), this book is astoundingly well-written and perceptive, considering that Craddock was only 21 when he finished it. It’s an autobiographical tale of his experiences (in the form of his alter ego Abel Egregore) as, first, a member of the Night Riders motorcycle club in southern California, and later as a hippie “acid freak” seeking enlightenment through near-constant experimentation with LSD and marijuana. Although the descriptions sometimes run on over-long, Craddock is often at his best when he’s describing what it’s like to be high on acid. He often differentiates between time as it is experienced during a trip, and time as it is normally experienced, and how the hallucinations tend to distort one’s sense of time, as well as all other senses. As with his own experience of the events, it is often difficult to tell which parts of his trips are real — did that conversation with his friend Preston really take place, or was it part of the hallucination? — and which parts are just chemically induced sensory distortion.’ — Curt Corman, goodreads



Thomas McGuane The Bushwacked Piano (1971)

‘It’s amazing how pointless my life seems when I’m trying to make myself read a book I don’t like. Reading a really bad book can be kind of fun, as I like to mentally catalog all my complaints in preparation for writing a scathing review. But I didn’t have that sense of purpose here. I just kept thinking, again and again, “what?” I guess I just didn’t get it. There were whole paragraphs and conversations that I couldn’t connect to the story, and there were dozens of allusions that went way over my head. The main character, who I’m assuming is supposed to be sympathetic, just came off as really high all the time or maybe actually insane. In fact, all of the characters and their interactions with each other seemed totally unnatural. I just couldn’t put two and two together. I had no idea where the story was going. I didn’t know what to think, and that’s why it took me over a week to get through a mere 220 pages.’ — Christina, goodreads



Renee Auden The Party (1971)

‘Published by the legendary Olympia Press, The Party written by Uta West under the pseudonym Renee Auden is a novel based on the imagined sexual encounters of a wealthy groupie who takes LSD and has trips and sex and profound conversations with Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix.’ — collaged





Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972)

‘The novel lacks a clear narrative and frequently delves into the surreal, never quite distinguishing between what is real and what is only imagined by the characters. The basic synopsis revolves around journalist Raoul Duke (Hunter S. Thompson) and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo (Oscar Zeta Acosta), as they arrive in 1971 Las Vegas to report on the Mint 400 motorcycle race for an unnamed magazine. However, this job is repeatedly obstructed by their constant use of variety of recreational drugs, including LSD, ether, cocaine, alcohol, mescaline, and cannabis. This leads to a series of bizarre hallucinogenic experiences, during which they destroy hotel rooms, wreck cars, and have visions of anthropomorphic desert animals, all the while ruminating on the decline of both the “American Dream” and the 60s counterculture in a city of greed.’ — collaged



Marco Vassi The Stoned Apocalypse (1972)

‘Stoned, rolling from here to there on that route from megasex to metatheater, & gathering no moss–just a certain amount of grundge–this is young Marco Vassi’s search for…who knows. It begins with a Gurdjieffite psychic who comments that killing himself will be the “one significant act” of which he’s capable; goes on to LSD & Scientology where a lovely girl smiles “deep into his libido,” travels west to a commune, the Haight, the nude encounter, a place called the Grainery which is half macrobiotic, half fruitarian, & finally to a hospital as an unpaid aide where supposedly he’s getting into other people’s heads before he’s his Laingian revelation. Sort of like that soiled stub of a Greyhound bus ticket, it’s just a tedious remnant of the world we’ve seen too often in books like this even if Vassi has managed to retain some of his youthful energy.’ — Kirkus



Jackson Short Blue Alice (1972)

‘This salacious, drug riddled LSD influenced paperback novel was read by my ex girlfriend and I on a waterbed in the early 70s as our adolescent romance bloomed. The memory of it was a running gag in our relationship. This past May, my ex girlfriend told me she would have to undergo a double mastectomy and chemo. What horrible news. I racked my brains as to what I could do to let her know I was there for her. And suddenly I remembered the novel Blue Alice. Happily, I found it online and purchased it from this bookseller. When the novel arrived, not only was it securely packaged but it was also gift-wrapped so exquisitely that I wept with joy. Then I called the bookseller to thank her for this extra touch which made a horrid event a little bit easier to take!’ — Jay Blotcher



Robert Anton Wilson The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975)

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson first published in 1975. The trilogy is a satirical, postmodern, science fiction-influenced adventure story; a drug-, sex-, and magic-laden trek through a number of conspiracy theories, both historical and imaginary, related to the authors’ version of the Illuminati. The narrative often switches between third- and first-person perspectives in a nonlinear narrative. It is thematically dense, covering topics like counterculture, numerology, and Discordianism. The plot meanders between the thoughts, hallucinations and inner voices (both real and imagined) of its many characters, as well as through time (past, present, and future)—sometimes in mid-sentence. Much of the back story is explained via dialogue between characters, who recount unreliable, often mutually contradictory, versions of their supposed histories. There are even parts in the book in which the narrative reviews and jokingly deconstructs the work itself.’ — collaged




p.s. Hey. Here’s day one of a two day blog trip. You’ll see what that means tomorrow. The p.s. will see you again the day after tomorrow.

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