A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:05 am

A Clown For Our Time
by wavygravy.net

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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"In ancient times, I was a teenage beatnik, and I used to brush my teeth with Snickers bars and gargle with Hoffman's Black Cherry Soda and, after a while, I began to get these cavities and my teeth would rot out ..."

-- Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney)


Wavy Gravy, Hugh Romney, turned 60 on May 15, 1996. But, if anything, despite (or thanks to) a long history of spinal fusion operations, he is more active – and more effective – in the world than he was 27 years ago when, still known as Hugh Romney, he stood on the Woodstock stage and announced, "What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000!" He was at Woodstock as a member of an entertainment/activist commune known as the Hog Farm. Today, the Hog Farm still exists, collectively owning and operating the 700-acre Black Oak Ranch and hosting the annual Pig-Nic. And Wavy lives a third of the year in a Berkeley Hog Farm urban outpost, a big communal house he refers to as "hippie Hyannisport" But Mr. Gravy (as he's known to readers of the New York Times) has expanded his activities over the past two-and-a-half decades to include codirectorship (with his wife, Jahanara) of Camp Winnarainbow, a performing arts program for children which takes over the Hog Farm for 10 weeks every summer, and the organization of all-star rock concerts to raise money for a variety of environmental, progressive, political, and charitable causes, most notably Seva, a foundation he cofounded 18 years ago, initially to combat preventable and curable blindness in the Third World.

He may be best known to millions as a cosmic cut-up and the inspiration for a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor – "I am an activist clown and frozen dessert," he says – but it is because of his good work on behalf of the planet and its least fortunate residents that Wavy Gravy has achieved his own brand of sainthood. His friend and satirist Paul Krassner has called him "the illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Teresa." Wavy says, "Some people tell me I'm a saint, I tell them I'm Saint Misbehavin'."

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"I'm sure that some people could regard Wavy Gravy as a leftover from the '60s crowd," says James O'Dea, executive director of Seva, upon whose board of directors Wavy sits along with a host of MDs and PhDs. "After all, here is this guy who is still hanging out with tie-dyes and seems lost in the '60s. But he really took the '60s idealism and made it his life, and practiced it. We live in a time when, in some ways, there has been a certain unscrupulous use of morality and family values and official religion and righteousness in the public domain. What a remarkable contrast to somebody who spends the summer with inner city kids and the kids of homeless people, teaching them circus performing arts. He is your board member who is always there, who comes to every event, and who is helping you raise money for the 'eyeballs' in India, as he says. He is clearly a person who does his own inner spiritual work in a very persistent way and then matches it with his walk in the world."

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Indeed, when you spend any stretch of time with Wavy Gravy, strolling around the Hog Farm during the Pig-Nic, hanging out with him at his "hippie Hyannisport" in Berkeley, observing him in action at a public function – you quickly discover that the man with the rubbery face and ever-changing costume is a walking public service announcement for positive social change and compassion. During an exploration of the Pig-Nic's "backstage" area, which encompasses a meadow with a labyrinth based on an ancient pagan model, a lovely wooded creek, and the magnificent oak grove where the Camp Winnarainbow teepees are pitched, the Balinese gongs of Berkeley's Gamelan Sekar Jaya are ringing through the trees. How many people does he think have migrated to Laytonville for the weekend? "I don't know, count the legs and divide by two," he says. Countless campers, coworkers, and admirers shout Wavy's name or greet him with "Hi, Boss," a title Wavy just as quickly bestows on others.

As Wavy carries a bucket of water from the creek to quench the thirst of the flowers in the labyrinth, it is boggling to imagine the paths he has trodden in his six decades on the planet: As a child growing up in Princeton, New Jersey (he was born in East Greenbush, New York), he took walks around the block with Albert Einstein; when he was poetry director at the Gaslight Cafe on MacDougal Street in New York City during the early 1960s, introducing "jazz and poetry" to Greenwich Village, Marlene Dietrich gave him a book of Rilke poems, and Bob Dylan shared his room upstairs, writing the first draft of "A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall" on his typewriter; when, still as Hugh Romney, he became a traveling monologist, "talking about weird stuff that had happened to me," he opened shows for John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Ian & Sylvia, and organized the Phantom Cabaret with Tiny Tim and Moondog; when Lenny Bruce was his manager, the infamous stand-up comic gave the then Al Dente and future Wavy Gravy a yarmulke to sew inside a cowboy hat that had belonged to Hollywood western star Tom Mix – "So I could say 'Howdy Goyim!" He also earned a part in the San Francisco improvisational group The Committee and later taught improvisation to neurologically handicapped kids in Pasadena.

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In 1965, when he and his wife (then known as Bonnie Jean) were living in a one-room cabin in Sunland, California outside Los Angeles, they and 40 of their closest friends in the Grateful Dead and the Merry Pranksters (Kesey was on the lam in Mexico at the time) posed for a photograph for a Life magazine cover. "The landlord went ballistic," Wavy recalls, "and we were bummed for about an hour and a half until a neighbor came by and said, 'Old Saul up on that mountain had a stroke and they need somebody to slop them hogs!’ So we were given a mountain top rent-free for slopping 45 hogs." Thus was born the Hog Farm, soon to hit the road in buses purchased with money earned as extras in Otto Preminger's Skidoo, presenting the free "Hog Farm and Friends in Open Celebration" show all over the country.

And all that took place before Woodstock made Wavy’s raspy voice recognizable to millions; well before he wrote two books: The Hog Farm and Friends (1974) and Something Good For A Change: Random Notes On Peace Thru Living (1992); before he started campaigning on behalf of Nobody for President ("Nobody's Perfect, Nobody Keeps All Promises, Nobody Should Have That Much Power"); and before Gravy splashed all over the rock-and-roll milieu, becoming bosom buddies with everyone from veterans Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash to neo-punksters Green Day (after acting as an emcee at Woodstock 2).

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But celebrity, while crucial to his fund-raising efforts, seems tangential to the essence of Wavy's work. Back in Berkeley, on a hot September morning, he waddles up to his corner bedroom, a psychedelic cave in which every inch of wall space is festooned with posters, photographs, mandalas, banners, and bumper stickers. Every shelf, nook, and cranny is crowded with books, beads, videotapes, Buddha figures, crystals, tetrahedrons, incense, Mickey Mouse and Goofy figurines, antlers, wind-up teeth, and empty soda pop cans. A pair of oversized clown shoes appear to be crawling out of one of the canvas bags on the floor. Wavy's lair feels like a cross between a tree house and a New Age/kitsch shrine to the bard of Woodstock himself.

Wearing shorts and athletic shoes, Wavy settles back on his bed for a two-hour conversation. His short-sleeved shirt is unbuttoned and he dreamily strokes his ample belly as he talks. He looks like nothing less than a reclining Buddha disguised as a counterculture tourist as he waxes rhapsodically through stream-of-consciousness segues about his life's work. Topic number one, dearest to his heart and freshest in his memory because he has just returned from his annual summer sojourn at the Black Oak Ranch, is Camp Winnarainbow.

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"We just finished our 24th year," he begins. "It originally started as day care for Sufi kids. I thought it unjust that parents should be penalized spiritually, not being able to meditate and stuff, because they had kids. So I said 'Give me all your kids,' and we concocted this little circus arts day care. We discovered that perhaps the kids would be better off without the parents and the parents would be better off without the kids, so we rented the next camp down the road, which was maybe two miles away, and turned it into an overnight camp." A decade or so ago, the Hog Farm acquired its permanent country land outside Laytonville. "I knew instantly it was ideal for our camp," Wavy says. In addition to the oak grove for camping, the Farm boasts its own lake (Lake Veronica with a raft named George) and a 350-foot water slide from Marine World.

Each summer, Camp Winnarainbow conducts four two-week sessions for kids, a one-week introductory session for seven-year-old novices, and a one-week session for grownups. Volunteer teachers share such skills as juggling, unicycling, tightrope walking, and trapeze, as well as music and art. "Grownup camp is just like kids' camp," Wavy explains, "except you get to stay up late and you don't have to brush your teeth. We're not trying to turn out little professional actors or circus stars, although it does happen. What we're really into is producing universal human beings who can deal with anything that comes down the pike with some style and grace. We've been pretty darn successful at that. A lot of the kids who are running the camp now started as campers when they were seven. They can usually do it on a unicycle while juggling three balls. We curry both hemispheres of the E brain. In school, kids learn numbers and letters; we teach timing and balance, which I think is equally important – without competition, except with yourself."

Camp Winnarainbow's concept of practice embraces so much more than physical skills. Mornings begin with Wavy reading from something like the Tao Te Ching or Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and then the kids choose between high-intensity aerobics or yoga for their warm-ups. "I've also in the last five years discovered that kids will do anything if they can stay up later than other kids, even sit with a straight back and watch their breath. So we instituted WISE Gaias. WISE is Winnarainbow Inner Space Exploration. Three or four years ago we created a labyrinth for Jose Arguelles’s Dreamspell ceremony. They leave their problems at the center of the labyrinth and come out pretty clean."

Thanks to royalties from the Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy ice cream flavor and grants from the Grateful Dead's Rex Foundation, Winnarainbow is able to provide camp scholarships for homeless children from the Bay Area and Native American kids from a reservation in South Dakota. That assures what Wavy calls "a little diverse miniworld."

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Not long after the founding of Camp Winnarainbow, Wavy found another way of working with kids. Rather, it found him. Some doctors at Children's Hospital in Oakland had read about all this hippie do-gooder work in the Oakland Tribune, and they stopped by my house and asked if I would come entertain the kids." Still in deep pain from his third spinal surgery and "bouncing on the bottom," as he puts it, Wavy figured he had nothing to lose. "On my way out the door, somebody handed me a rubber nose. Without it I could have struck out completely. With it I was able to move outside my own bummer and make little kids laugh. I thought I had troubles 'til I eyeballed some of those kids!"

Wavy continued to visit kids at the hospital on almost a daily basis for seven years. "Then I went on a tour and came back and they wouldn't let me in anymore. It was quite a blow. I still don't know why, and nobody has been able to find out, but I guess somebody on the board didn't want this hippie freak coming in there." Wavy simply transferred his efforts to the Children's Cancer Research Institute in San Francisco. In his book Something Good for a Change, he tells the story of 11-year-old Billy, who had lost his hair to chemotherapy. Wavy had covered Billy's head with white clown makeup when Billy's little sister came up with the idea of showing a movie on Billy's smooth pate. "Could we, Wavy Gravy?" Billy asked. "Could we please show Godzilla on my head?"

"There was no way I could deny such a bizarre and heartfelt request," Wavy concludes. "So there we all were, sitting around eating popcorn and watching Godzilla on Billy's head."

Of course, Wavy learned many of his strategies, which combine fun and survival, at Woodstock.. The Hog Farm, the "mobile, hallucination-extended family," was on the road on the East Coast in '68 and '69, and was holed up in a big loft on New York's East Side, when Woodstock Ventures made a proposition. "One day this guy showed up looking like Allen Ginsberg on a Dick Gregory diet with an attaché case," Wavy recalls, "and he asked us 'How would you like to do this music festival in New York state?’ The Hog Farm had just rented land in Llano near Black Mesa, New Mexico, and the commune was just about to split the New York scene and settle in Llano. He said, 'We'll fly you in on an Astrojet.’ We just figured he was one toke over the line, went back to New Mexico, and thought nothing of it. So we're celebrating the summer solstice in Llano, and this guy shows up with one of those aluminum rock-and-roll valises full of 'linear overlay,' and an Astrojet with room for 85 hippies and 15 Indians."

Recruited to build fire pits and fire trails around the festival grounds, the Hog Farm convinced the promoter to let them set up a free kitchen, as well. When they stepped off the plane at Kennedy Airport, the Hog Farmers were met by the world press and told that they had been assigned the task of doing security at Woodstock, too. "I said, 'My god, they made us the cops,"' Wavy recalls. "And I said, 'Well, do you feel secure?’ The guy said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, 'See, it's working already.’ That's when he said. What are you going to use for crowd control?' I said, 'Cream pies and seltzer bottles,' and they all wrote it down and I thought, 'The power of manipulating the media, ah ha!"'

The Hog Farmers' finest hour came with the rains that swamped Max Yasgur's farm and threatened to turn the hippie dream into a National Guard nightmare. "The weather turned Woodstock into a national disaster area," Wavy continues, "and we had a chance to show the world how it would be if we ran the show, so we pulled ourselves up by our collective bootstraps and were amazing – by surrendering ourselves to this interesting energy that enabled us to work days without sleep and intuitively pull off stuff that we couldn't have thought about in our wildest dreams. And the minute we thought that it was us doing it, we'd fall on our butt in the mud. So I think that the universe was acting out these archetypes. I've puzzled over it for decades, and that's the best I can come up with, that there was this amazing energy that you could surrender to, and it would move you."

Shortly after Woodstock, the Hog Farmers helped keep the peace between the cowboys and the hippies at the Texas Pop Festival, where blues giant B. B. King gave Wavy Gravy his name. "It's worked pretty well through my life," he says, "except with telephone operators – I have to say 'Gravy, first initial W."

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Another great Hog Farm adventure set the stage for Wavy's participation in the founding of Seva. Recruited by San Francisco underground radio pioneer Tom Donahue and Warner Brothers Records to travel around the country and be filmed for a movie called Cruising for Burgers, later renamed Medicine Ball Caravan, the Farmers bused themselves across America, setting up stages for mainstream rock and rollers. After one last concert with Pink Floyd in Bishopsbourne, England, the Farmers pooled their movie pay and some funds raised for them from a benefit staged by a London commune and continued their trek across Europe. "It was around the time of the great Pakistani flood," Wavy remembers, "and relief was pouring in so very, very slow. There was a line of Gandhi's that hit me at that time, it was something like, 'If God should appear to starving people, God would not dare to appear in any form other than food.’ We'd had so much attention from that free kitchen at Woodstock, we thought if we were in Pakistan with any kind of food, we could embarrass the large governments, and they would speed up the food relief. Then the Indo-Pakistani war broke out, and we hung a left into K-K-K-Kathmandu, distributing food and medical supplies to Tibetan refugee camps as we traveled. We fixed leaky roofs with rolls of plastic and built a playground in Kathmandu for impoverished kids. We also saw a tremendous number of blind people in Nepal."

With locally run sight programs in India, Nepal, and Tibet, Seva provides more than 80,000 eye surgeries a year. It also establishes partnership in Native American communities to tackle the rising epidemic of diabetes, supports work for sustainable agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico, and monitors violence against refugees of the Guatemalan civil war. "What we do is find someone who is a blazing, shining example of doing a particular piece of service, and we just back them hook, line, and sinker," Wavy says of Seva’s strategy, "sometimes providing the flashlight to help them find the light switch.

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According to Wavy, his commitment to the kind of work he does was indeed a product of the ‘60s. "That’s when I knew this thing was real," he says, "that it was the only game in town and I wanted to go to work for it, whatever it was. There is a wonderful chapter in The Wind In The Willows, where the mole and the rat rescue this little baby otter who was actually being protected at the moment by the god Pan. Of course the otter’s parents were beside themselves and all, and they saw Pan and they worshipped him, and he gave them the best gift of the gods, which was to sprinkle forgetfulness upon them so they wouldn’t be tortured with the memory of that amazement. I could have used a little of that, because I’m always looking for that mega-, ultra-divine lick. It’s like the cosmic carrot that keeps me in the movie. I began my study of comparative religion and service out of lust for that stuff. It’s another kind of greed. Once you realize the interconnectedness of all stuff, there’s no going back. I have an old Gravy line, ‘We are all the same person trying to shake hands with our self.’ Remember that the next time you say, ‘pass the gravy.’"

***

Dominick A. Miserandino: Do you feel the movement [of the 60s] is stronger than before or not as strong?

Wavy Gravy: Well, things change. I think there are aspects of it that didn't exist before, and there are problems that didn't exist that people are facing, but most of the people that I know, that were doing stuff a long time ago, are still doing stuff. Some of them have taken off their tie-dyes for shirts and ties and business suits, but it was never really in the beads, the hair and dyes anyhow. I would say it was in the eyes actually, but certainly not their clothes or overlay.

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Corinne & The Posse of Barry Sless, Mookie, & Joshua Zucker. photo: Marc Margolis. SEVA Benefit at the Berkeley Communtiy Theater. Yowza!

***

A Quick Sketch of My Thumbnail
From "Something Good For A Change" by Wavy Gravy
Born: Hugh Romney, May 15, 1936, East Greenbush, New York.
Sign: Slippery when wet.

Education: P.S. 16, Albany, New York. William Hall High School, West Hartford, Connecticut. Volunteered for the military draft in the fall of '54 and was honorably discharged after twenty-two months of service in the United States Army. (I am in no way recommending the military as a career choice. The Korean War had just wound down and I figured it was a reasonable assumption that I could slip in and out before the next little war rolled around. It was a dumb decision on my part but it helped pay for my college education.)

1957: Entered Boston University Theater Department under the Korean G.I. Bill. Started jazz and poetry on the east coast at Pat's Pebble in the Rock on Huntington Avenue in Boston. After a year and a half, defected to the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York City. Graduated in 1961.

1958-1962: Attended Neighborhood Playhouse by day, served by night as poetry and entertainment director (with John Brent) at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village. (I went from being a published teen-aged beatnik poet to hip comic tongue dancer right before my very eyes.) Was married to Elizabeth by a blind Harlem Street singer and preacher named Reverend Gary Davis in the Gaslight.

1962: Moved to California at the request of Lenny Bruce, who became my part-time manager. Recorded "Hugh Romney, Third Stream Humor" for World Pacific Records. (I recorded this live when I was the opening act for Thelonious Monk on the night the great Club Renaissance closed its doors forever.)

1963: Joined the Committee, an improvisational theater company in San Francisco. Daughter Sabrina born. Purchased a condo in Marin City and a Packard Caribbean convertible in Hollywood. Tuned in, turned on, and dropped out -- way out. Entered deep space. Left wife, daughter, and stuff and journeyed to northern Arizona to join up with Hopi Indians and await the coming global cataclysm. (The Hopis said I was early but let me hang out anyway and regroup my head.) Connected with interconnectedness of everything and surrendered to Law of Sacred Coincidence. Returned to Los Angeles and regrouped life. Divorced wife, gave away stuff, and began to float aimlessly on the ocean of one thing after another.

1964: Financed free-floating lifestyle through sale of single ounces of marijuana packaged in decorator bags and containing tiny toys. (The dubious apex of this short-lived profession was when I scored a kilo for the Beatles.) Met Bonnie Jean Beecher at her restaurant, the Fred C. Dobbs. She put peanuts in my hamburger. Together we survived L.A. Acid Tests and in 1965 we married each other. We also married the Hog Farm. The Hog Farm is the name still associated with our expanded family. We acquired it while living rent free on a mountaintop in Sunland, California, in exchange for the caretaking of forty actual hogs. Within a year of moving there, the people engaged in our bizarre communal experiment began to outnumber the pigs. At first we all had separate jobs. I had a grant to teach brain-damaged children improvisation while teaching a similar class to contract players at Columbia Pictures. Harrison Ford was one of my students. My wife Bonnie was a successful television actress. Joining the scene were musicians, a computer programmer, a race-car driver, a telephone company executive, a cinematographer, several mechanics, and a heap of hippies.

And speaking of that LA Time frame [1965-66] - You might have still been at the Free Press when I used to sleep under Hugh R's [Romney] (now Wavy) desk on occasion -- he called me "The Desk Boy."

-- Hammond, writenow@spiritone.com http://www.diggers.org/guestbook_03_nov.htm


1966: We performed light shows and energy games at the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles with Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead. The Shrine holds ten thousand people. On Sunday afternoons we had free happenings on our mountaintop. Maybe a hundred people in open celebration.

1967: We scored a couple of old school buses with funds earned as extras in Otto Preminger's movie, Skidoo, and outfitted them for our exodus. I underwent my first spinal surgery and joined the caravan of Hog Farmers in New Mexico.

1968: Summer Solstice. Accompanying our extensive entourage was Pigasus Pig, the first female black-and-white hog candidate for president. We debuted our traveling road show at the Los Alamos proving grounds and set off cross-country to share our open celebration with the rest of the free world. (Driver! The United State of America! And step on it!) We were a light show, a rock band, a painting, a poem, an anti-war rally, an anthem for freedom and change. Mostly we were a palette for the audience to blast off from, and the audience was also the spaceship and the star. Bought twelve-acre farm in Llano, New Mexico.

1969: Served as chief of the Please Force at the Woodstock music festival, where the Hog Farm administered the free kitchen and bad-trip/freak-out tent. Was captured in the movie "Woodstock" and propelled into the world press. Became good-humored peacemaker and purveyor of life support at major rock festivals and political demonstrations of the sixties and seventies. Changed name to Wavy Gravy at the Texas Pop Festival. Experienced spinal fusion and acquired all-star cast.

1970: Helped initiate an experiment of buying back the earth and deeding it back to itself. Purchased 590 acres in northern Vermont and called it Earth People's Park. Made a movie, Medicine Ball Caravan, for Warner Brothers, which ended up in England.

1971: Journeyed with two buses filled with food, medical supplies, and forty-two people from seventeen countries, to Pakistan and the Himalayas. Returned to United States and captured record for having the largest number of active diseases in a single human being at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. Upon my release, I dictated my book The Hog Farm and Friends and traveled to the west coast.

1972: Third and final spinal fusion. The surgery left me in my cast of thousands, firmly ensconced at Pacific High School in the Santa Cruz mountains. This is a center for alternative education rented by David Crosby for me to recuperate at with the whole Hog Farm. Bonnie Jean gave birth to Howdy Do-Good Gravy at the Tomahawk Truckstop in Boulder, Colorado. We helped the Zippies run a rock for president and a roll for vice president (so you can always eat the vice president); I lose the rock in a New York taxicab. We traveled to Sweden for the United Nations Conference on Human Environment with a contingent of eco-freaks, indigenous Americans, poets, scientists, and Margaret Mead.

1973: Blanko.

1974: The largest teaching hospital in Southeast Asia was destroyed by U. S. bombers on Christmas Day. I joined others in effort to rebuild Bach Mai hospital. Camp Winnarainbow founded in the Mendocino woodlands.

1975: Woolsey Street house purchased by the Hog Farm, followed soon thereafter by the founding of the Babylon Telephone Answering Service on the front porch. I attended the World Survival Symposium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and started a new world religion in San Francisco called The First Church of Fun. Wife Bonnie Jean takes Sufi name, "Jahanara."

1976: American bicentennial and birth of the Birthday Party, which nominated Nobody for president. I journeyed to Kansas and the Republican convention, where I was advised by state and federal agents, "Get out of here. You're too weird to arrest." Tenth wedding anniversary. Bill Graham produces The Last Waltz. I told him, "Bill, you shouldn't have."

1977: More blanko.

1978: Temporarily died in Berkeley and was later resurrected in Boulder Creek and Boston.

1979: Purchased the Henry Street house and sold Woolsey Street house, with the exception of the front porch, where we continued to maintain our answering service. The Seva Foundation founded in Heartlands, Michigan.

1980: "Nobody for President" tours cross-country in the family Greyhound, which is temporarily dubbed "The Nobody One."

1982: Began purchase of land in Laytonville, California, called Black Oak Ranch.

1983: Moved Camp Winnarainbow to Laytonville.

1984: Toured in Greyhound bus with Unreal Band for Nobody. Seva "Sing Out for Sight" concert held outside Toronto with The Band and the Grateful Dead.

1986: Turn fifty. Had mind blown publicly by family and friends at massive Berkeley benefit.

1987: Jerry Garcia, with acoustic and electric bands, inaugurated our annual fundraiser to help pay for Black Oak Ranch. Produced in cahoots with Bill Graham, it is called "Electric on the Eel."

1988: Nobody IV tour, with the rock band Vicious Hippies. We went from sea to shining sea. Busted with the homeless in Washington, D.C. Help produce Home Aid Concert for The Seva Foundation in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

1989: Woodstock twenty-year anniversary.

1990: Hog Farm twenty-five-year reunion. Ran for Berkeley City Council with slogan "Let's elect a real clown for a change." Lost election, but kept marbles, mind, mittens, and sense of humor.

1992: Became ice-cream flavor for Ben & Jerry's.

1994: Master of Ceremonies at Woodstock 2.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:27 am

Dianne Lake, aka Snake
by charliesfamily.tripod.com

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Dianne Elizabeth Lake was born sometime in late 1953. While Diane was still very young, her parents embraced the "hippie" lifestyle and brought their young daughter with them to Wavy Gravy's Hog Farm Commune in southern California. It was while living there that 13-year-old Diane met Charles Manson at a party in Topanga Canyon. Charlie immediately took a liking to the auburn-haired beauty and it was not long before she became a permanent fixture on the black magic bus. After all, she had nothing holding her back; she joined the Family with her parents' permission.

During her days at Spahn Diane earned the nickname "Snake." Author Ed Sanders has said that the moniker comes from the "transverse ophidian wiggles" that she made during sex, although Lake has firmly denied this. Whatever the case may be, it is undoubtedly true that young Diane's early background left her relatively free of sexual hangups; at various times she has been cited as the favorite sexual partner of both Manson himself and his "second-in-command," Paul Watkins.

Snake's life with the Family was not all fun and flowers, though; it has been documented that Manson beat her on a somewhat regular basis. Prosecutor Bugliosi has said that at various times Charlie had punched her in the mouth, broke a chair leg over her head, kicked her across a room, and whipped her with an electrical cord. "Despite such treatment," says Bugliosi, "she stayed, which implied something tragic about the alternatives available to her."

Snake's young age, prolonged drug use, and possible mental illness led to her to be completely delusional by the time she was arrested at the second Barker Ranch raid in October 1969. Snake apparently thought that the murders were wrong, but was unable to do anything because of her fear of Charlie, whom she believed to be in her head at all times. It was only after kindness and coaxing from Inyo County officer Jack Gardiner that Diane came out of her shell and found the courage to speak against the Family.

After a six-month stint in a mental hospital, Gardiner and his wife took in Diane as a foster child. While living there she attended Big Pine High School and did a tremendous job at acclimating herself into "normal" society. She went on to get her associate's degree and worked in a bank for many years. Today she is a born-again Christian and is married with three children. She apparently shows no scars from her Manson days.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:27 am

Dianne Elizabeth Lake
by M. Turner
charliemanson.com

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LAKE, DIANNE ELIZABETH: (aka Snake, Dianne Bluestein) Born around 1953. Said that her parents became hippies when she was a child. By the age of 13, she was a member of the Hog Farm commune and had tried group sex and LSD. Just before her 14th birthday she joined the Family with her parent's approval. She later told police that Manson had beat her several times. She said about a month before the Tate murders (she thought July) Manson told the Family "I'm going to have to start the revolution." She said many times during June, July and August 1969 that Manson told the Family "We have to be willing to kill pigs in order to help the black man start Helter Skelter." She also said Watson had told her that Manson had ordered the murders and that he had stabbed Tate. She said one morning about a week or two before the August 16 raid, that Van Houten had come to the back house at Spahn with a purse, rope and a bag of coins and hid them. A short time later, a man knocked on the door and Van Houten hid. The man left and Van Houten came out. Van Houten told her that the man had given her a ride from Griffith Park (which was near the LaBianca house) and she didn't want to be seen by him. Lake and Van Houten counted the money (about $8 in change) and it was split up to buy food. She said she believed it was divided between her, Cottage and Good. Good was in jail the morning after the LaBianca murders, though. So, Lake testified that Good "might not have been there." This cast doubt on whether this happened on August 10. She also had told the grand jury that she was in Inyo County on August 8 and 9 rather than at Spahn Ranch. At trial she testified that Manson asked her to lie, though. Said she did because she was afraid for her life. When asked if there were any foreign coins, she said "Canada." In one statement she said the coins were in the purse but testified they were in a plastic bag. Van Houten built a fire and burned the purse, credit cards and rope. Burnt her clothes, too, but Lake didn't notice any blood on them. In late August or early September, Van Houten told her that she had stabbed someone who was already dead (near Griffith Park near Las Feliz). Van Houten said someone had written something in blood on the refrigerator and that she had wiped everything clean of fingerprints, even things they hadn't touched. Said they took a carton of chocolate milk. Described a boat outside. Said she wasn't at Tate murder. Van Houten also told her she had been reluctant to stab but after she'd done it, it became fun. The more she stabbed, the more she enjoyed it. At Willow Springs, Krenwinkel told her she'd dragged Folger from the bedroom into the living room. Krenwinkel also told Lake that Watson had told Leslie to stab Rosemary LaBianca and to wipe fingerprints off everything they had touched but Lake was not allowed to testify to this. Lake suffered emotional problems and had LSD flashbacks. Said she loved Manson but feared him. She was arrested in October 12, 1969 Barker Ranch raid. On November 26, 1969 she was questioned by police but gave no answers. On December 8, 1969 she testified before the grand jury and denied any knowledge of the Tate/LaBianca murders. In late December she did finally talk to police. Manson testified that Lake wanted attention and would cause trouble and accidents to get it. He said she wanted a father to punish her and he obliged to keep her from burning down the ranch. In January 1970, Inyo County court sent her (at age 16) to Patton State Hospital because of her emotional problems. The staff psychiatrist called her schizophrenic but said her problems were emotional instead of mental. Said they were behavioral disorders of adolescence and possibly drug related. In early June, she was still in Patton but making straight A's in school. After her release from Patton, detective Jack Gardiner and his wife were appointed as her foster parents and she lived with them until graduating high school.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:28 am

Dianne Elizabeth Lake, aka Snake, Dianne Bluestein
Excerpt from "Helter Skelter -- The True Story of the Manson Murders"
by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry

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Dianne Lake was born in the early '50's. Her parents were prominent members of Wavy Gravy's Hog Farm commune. From an early age, Dianne was subject to both group sex and hallucinogenic drugs. In 1967, just before her 14th birthday, Dianne met the family at the "Spiral Staircase" house in Topanga Canyon. With her parent's permission, Lake left to travel with the family. Manson seemed to have it out for Snake (Dianne's alias in the family), often beating her in front of others. When police raided Spahn's Ranch on August 16, 1969, Dianne, along with Tex Watson were hiding out at a ranch in Olancha. It was there that Tex laughed at a newspaper headline about Sharon Tate's murder. "I killed her. Charlie asked me to. It was fun," Watson told Snake. He told her to keep quiet, and she did.

In October of 1969, Dianne was arrested with the family in the second Barker Ranch raid. In December, Lake testified that she knew nothing about the murders. She remained silent even after LAPD interrogated her for hours, threatening her with the gas chamber. She finally broke her silence when she was befriended by Jack Gardiner - an Inyo County officer - and his wife. Afterwhich, she provided the District Attorney with loads of incriminating evidence against the family.

In January of 1970, Dianne was admitted to Patton State Hospital, where she was labeled "schizophrenic" due to an emotional trauma. She spent 6 months there, and even began attending high school. She made good progress, and was eventually declared competent to testify at the murder trials. After being released from Patton State, Dianne was taken in by Jack Gardiner and his wife. Dianne went on to graduate both high school and college. Today she is reportedly happily married with 3 children.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:29 am

Excerpt from "Helter Skelter -- The True Story of the Manson Murders"
by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
December, 2001

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When interrogated in Los Angeles, sixteen-year-old Dianne Lake had been threatened with the gas chamber. And had said nothing. Inyo County Deputy DA Buck Gibbens and investigator Jack Gardiner tried kindness, something Dianne had known little of during her life.

Dianne's parents had "turned hippy" which she was still a child. By age thirteen she was a member of the Hog Farm commune, and had been introduced to group sex and LSD. When she joined Manson, just before her fourteenth birthday, it was with her parents' approval.

Apparently not finding Dianne submissive enough, Manson had, on various occasions: punched her in the mouth; kicked her across a room; hit her over the head with a chair leg; and whipped her with an electrical cord. Despite such treatment, she stayed. Which implies something tragic about the alternatives available to her.

After her return to Independence, Gibbens and Gardiner had a number of lengthy conversations with Dianne. They convinced her that other people did care about her. Gardiner's wife and children visited her regularly. Hesitantly at first, Dianne began telling the officers what she knew. And, contrary to what she had told the grand jury, she knew a great deal. Tex, for example, had admitted to her that he'd stabbed Sharon Tate. He did it, he told her, because Charlie had ordered the killings.

On December 30, Sartuchi and Nielsen interviewed Dianne in Independence. She told them that one morning, maybe a week to two weeks before the August 16 raid, Leslie had come into the back house at Spahn with a purse, a rope, and a bag of coins. She hid them under a blanket. When, a short time later, a man arrived and knocked on the door, Leslie hid herself. She told Dianne the man had given her a ride from Griffith Park and she didn't want him to see her.

The two LaBianca detectives exchanged looks. Griffith Park was not far from Waverly Drive.

After the man left, Leslie came out from under the blanket and Dianne helped her count the money. There was about eight dollars in change, in a plastic sack.

Because of Leno LaBianca's coin collection, the detectives were very interested in that bag of change.

Q. "O.K., you say you helped Leslie count the money or coins. Did you see any coins in there from another country?"

A. "Canada."

Leslie then built a fire and burned the purse (Dianne recalled it as being brown leather), some credit cards (one was an oil company card), and the rope (it was about 4 feet long and 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Then she took off her own clothing and burned it too. Had Dianne noticed any blood spots on the clothing? No.

Later, in late August or early September, while they were at Willow Springs, about ten miles from barker Ranch, Leslie told Dianne that she had stabbed someone who was already dad. Was it a woman or a man? Leslie hadn't said.

Leslie also told Dianne that the murder had occurred someplace near Griffith Park, near Los Feliz; that someone had written something in blood on the refrigerator door; and that she, Leslie, then wiped everything so there would be no prints, even wiping things they hadn't touched. When they left, they took some food with them. What kind of food? A carton of chocolate milk.

Had Leslie said anything about the Tate murders? Leslie had told her she wasn't in on that.

Sartuchi attempted to get more details. The only other thing Dianne could recall was that there had been a big boat outside the house. But she couldn't remember whether Leslie had told her about the boat or whether she had read it in the paper. She did, however, remember Leslie describing it.

Prior to this, the only evidence we had linking Leslie Van Houten with the LaBianca murders was the testimony of Susan Atkins. Since Susan was an accomplice, this would not stand up in court without independent corroboration.

Dianne Lake supplied it.

There was a question, however, as to whether Dianne would be able to testify at the trial. She was obviously emotionally disturbed. She had occasional LSD flashbacks. She feared Manson, and she loved him. At times she thought he was insider her head. Shortly after the first of the year the Inyo County court arranged for her to be sent to Patton State Hospital, in part for treatment for her emotional problems, in part because the court didn't know what else to do with her.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:54 am

Farewell to the Chief: Ken Kesey's Long Strange Trip
by Bill Weinberg

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Taken alone, either one of Ken Kesey's claims to fame would have won him that fabled indelible mark in the annals of American culture. The young author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--the 1962 novel whose intransigent anger at authority presaged a cultural explosion--would be remembered today even if he hadn't gone on to actually pioneer, even spark, that very explosion. Or an indispensable element of it. As "The Chief" of the Merry Pranksters, Ken Kesey played the ultimate reality hacker, liberating the secret of LSD from the CIA mind-control laboratories like Prometheus stealing fire from heaven. He let the experiment get out of control, turned on the masses, and almost inadvertently unleashed the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s. Nothing would ever be the same again. And when that wave crested, he became an icon of the search for new rural roots, of applying the lessons of reckless rebellion and experimentation to responsible family life -- without apology or regret. Although, for Kesey, this was really a return to his roots.

Ken Kesey had the redneck creds to break through the harsh cultural limits of post-war America. Of Okie stock, he was born in La Junta, on the Colorado plains, in 1935, and grew up in Springfield, Oregon, where his father became a prosperous dairy farmer. His upbringing was wholesome and vigorous -- wrestling, football, camping, shooting the rapids. He graduated from high school in 1953, voted "most likely to succeed," and enrolled at the University of Oregon, where he concerned himself with sports and fraternities. In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart Norma Faye Haxby. In 1957, he got his diploma, briefly hung out in Hollywood to pursue an acting career, and finally entered a Stanford University writing program led by Wallace Stegner, the legendary novelist of the American West. He took up residence at Perry Lane, Palo Alto's bohemian enclave. What happened next would be the impetus for both his novel and the fantastic episode that followed it.

In 1960, Kesey volunteered for Army-funded experiments at the Menlo Park Veteran's Hospital. It was research linked to the joint CIA-Army MK-ULTRA program, a search for truth serums and behavior-modification drugs designed for interrogations, psychological warfare and other such sinister purposes. Kesey served as a guinea pig in tests of numerous "psychotomimetic drugs"--mescaline, Ditran, LSD. He found the Ditran nightmarish (and the questioning shrinks bothersome). But he thought the LSD -- then practically unknown outside the research community -- was great. He took a job at the hospital, working graveyard shift on the psychiatric ward -- where he could dip into the chemical stash. Late-night mescaline trips on the ward gave him the inspiration for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

When the book was published, the hospital was not amused. Cuckoo's Nest showed the inner workings of the psychiatric ward from the perspective of the inmates, and vindicated those who refused to knuckle under as heroes. Worse, there was a particular staffer at the hospital who recognized herself in the unflattering description of a minor character, and threatened to sue. In the second printing, the character, a Red Cross representative, was transformed into a public relations man to fudge the identity. (In the UK edition, some references to the original character were missed, and the text is inconsistent.)

Pauline Kael wrote in the New Yorker in 1975, when the movie came out, that "the novel preceded the university turmoil, Vietnam, drugs, the counterculture. Yet it contained the prophetic essence of that whole period of revolutionary politics going psychedelic, and much of what it said has entered the consciousness of many -- possibly most -- Americans."

In 1963, Kesey moved into a spacious log cabin in the redwoods at La Honda, outside Palo Alto. The following year his second novel was published, Sometimes A Great Notion -- which, like its predecessor, took its name from a line of popular folklore (in this case, the Leadbelly song "Goodnight Irene"). The book was the saga of a tough Oregon logging family in a town hard-hit by bad times and labor strife. Greeted respectably by the critics, it never achieved the success of Cuckoo's Nest. But Kesey was already losing interest in the written word, and was increasingly interested in the politics of experience.

He had started bringing drugs home from the hospital to turn on his friends, and soon the scene at La Honda outshone that at Timothy Leary's mansion in Millbrook, New York, in its fearless spirit of psychic exploration. As Tom Wolfe relates in his 1968 book of gonzo reportage on Kesey's venture, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, La Honda was the matrix of the Merry Pranksters.

Neal Cassady, the beat legend who had been immortalized as Dean Moriarity in Jack Kerouac's On The Road, was sprung from San Quentin prison in 1960 after two years on a marijuana rap, and sought out Kesey. It was a passing of the torch from the beats to the proto-hippies. Cassady invited out his old friend Allen Ginsberg, the New York poet, Buddhist and prematurely uncloseted gay. With Kesey's pals Ken Babbs, an ex-Marine, and Hugh Romney, the core of the Pranksters was formed. Their followers donned monikers like Mountain Girl, Cool Breeze and Sensous X. Kesey became The Chief, Cassady became Speed Limit, and Romney became Wavy Gravy. To the chagrin of the neighbors, they turned La Honda into an LSD playground, with speakers aloft in the redwoods blaring Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. They even invited the Hell's Angles for acid parties -- a strange mix with New York intellectual Ginsberg. An odd figure called the Mad Chemist started manufacturing LSD for the project.

In 1964, Kesey purchased a 1939 International Harvester school bus, and the Pranksters painted it psychedelic. The back read: CAUTION: WEIRD LOAD. The destination sign on the front read: FURTHUR. Prankster technical whiz Tim Skully wired the vehicle with a sound system, and, with Cassady/Speed Limit at the wheel, they headed east on a cross-country odyssey that would become a prototype for a new American sub-culture. Decked out in bizarre costumes and high on acid, the Pranksters "tootled the multitudes" (as Wolfe described their ecstatic fun-poking at straight society). They were too weird even for their idols. In New York, Ginsberg and Cassady arranged a meeting with Kerouac -- but the beat legend snubbed them. They were also snubbed by Leary at Millbrook: he refused to come down from the mansion to meet them, claiming to be deep in an important psychic experiment.

Back in California, Kesey was sought out by one Augustus Owsley Stanley III, a renegade chemistry student who offered his services, and soon became a legend for his pure industry-standard LSD-25. The Pranksters started holding "Acid Tests," inviting the public to dose on Owsley's product while Skully's wizardry with sound and light provided a mind-expanding environment. A local rock'n'roll band called the Warlocks changed their name to the Grateful Dead and provided the aural atmosphere, taking electric blues jams into outer space. The Pranksters took the show on the road, traveling the coast in the psychedelic bus, staging Acid Tests in Santa Cruz, Muir Beach, San Jose and Watts -- where the Pranksters provided garbage cans filled with spiked ("electric") Kool-Aid. "Can You Pass the Acid Test?" challenged the flyers announcing the events.

The Acid Tests culminated in a January 1966 Trips Festival -- a three-day acid party at a San Francisco hall, which energized the whole emergent youth "scene" in the city. But within days of the big event, Kesey's psychedelic career was interrupted by a pot bust.

Of course the antics at La Honda had attracted the scrutiny of the law, and police were all the more frustrated that LSD was still legal! Kesey was already looking at six months on a work farm -- and probation terms mandating breaking all contact with the Pranksters -- for an earlier pot bust at La Honda. (The cops said they caught him flushing his stash down the john; Kesey said he was painting flowers on the toilet bowl.) Now he was relaxing with Mountain Girl on the roof of Stewart Brand's house on Telegraph Hill, just nights before the festival -- when the cops arrived. When they found the stash, he grabbed it back from the officer and flung it over the ledge. This was not a brilliant move. He was charged with resisting arrest and assault on an officer as well as possession -- and was looking at serious prison time.

Out on bail, Kesey disappeared. The bus was found abandoned near Eureka with a stoned, chipper suicide note the windshield, implying he intended to hurl himself off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean. Just as the new culture the Pranksters had spawned was taking root in the run-down San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury, and Chronicle columnist Herb Caen had coined the word "hippie" for the strange new breed of strobe-eyed post-beatniks -- the scene's progenitor had vanished, faking his own death.

It didn't take long for folks to figure out that Kesey was really on the lam in Mexico. People spotted him there, word leaked out, and the San Jose Mercury headline ran: KESEY'S CORPSE HAVING A BALL IN PUERTO VALLARTA. Fellow Pranksters started filtering down to meet up with him, and they even held a Manzanillo Acid Test, with local mariachis providing the music in lieu of the Dead. Once, when his car was stopped by police on a desert highway and pot was found yet again, he escaped by winning permission to go into the bushes along some railroad tracks to take a piss -- and grabbing onto a passing freight train. Tom Wolfe relates that he got away in a hail of bullets.

In October he returned to California, and -- still underground -- began organizing the Acid Test Graduation, a big reunion party for everyone the Pranksters had ever initiated, to be held at an abandoned San Francisco pie factory. It was time to go "beyond acid," he told his flock. "It's no longer 'Can you pass the Acid Test?,' but 'Did you pass the Acid Test?'"

Again, just days before the big event, he was busted -- recognized by police while driving on the San Francisco Freeway and chased down. His lawyers told the judge the whole point of the Acid Test Graduation was to "warn his young followers against drug use" -- which there was a grain of truth to, at least. ("You don't get anything free, everything bruises something," he told a reporter when asked if his drug experiences had come with a cost. "So you trade off.") LSD was just then becoming illegal. The judge called him a "tarnished Galahad," but Kesey was able to cut a deal: to serve the original six-month sentence on a work farm. He started doing time shortly after the Graduation.

Upon his release, Kesey moved with Faye back to his father's farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon. The media hyped the 1967 Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury, and the Beatles appropriated the Prankster gestalt for their Magical Mystery Tour. But The Chief was going back to the land. When Wavy Gravy tried to talk him into taking the bus cross-country again for the Woodstock festival, Kesey would have nothing of it. (Wavy went out to Yasgur's farm with his own new hippie tribe, the Hog Farm.)

The movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was released in 1975, and the following year won five Oscars, including best picture; best director, Milos Foreman; and best actor, Jack Nicholson. But Kesey disapproved of both Nicholson and the script, and sued the producers, eventually winning a settlement. He refused to ever watch the picture.

Although he had a daughter with Carolyn Adams/Mountain Girl -- they named her Sunshine -- Kesey's life partner remained Faye, and it was with her that he raised a family back on the Oregon farm. (Mountain Girl subsequently took up with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia.) Ken had three children with Faye -- Shannon, Zane and Jed -- and they raised them much the way Ken himself had been raised on that same farm. In 1984, Jed, a University of Oregon wrestler, was killed when a van carrying his team to a match over icy mountain roads skidded and dropped 185 feet down a steep embankment. In an open letter to Sen. Mark Hatfield, Kesey protested that budget cut-backs had reduced the university to sending the team to matches in a borrowed van without seat belts or snow studs at the same time that Reagan was bloating the Pentagon budget. "Help deal with this, Senator. Please ... Talk about bringing some of these umpteen billions back home, back to the vulnerable guts of this nation where our dollars can actually be used for our actual national defense."

Ken's next book, Demon Box, came out in 1986, and was dedicated to Jed. It was a series of semi-autobiographical short stories with the names changed to fudge peoples' actual identities -- however slightly. Neal Cassady (who had died of exposure while counting the railroad ties between two desert towns in northern Mexico on a dare) became Houlihan. Kesey himself became Devlin Deboree.

His next novel, Sailor Song, came out in 1992. Set in an Alaska fishing village in the near future, it dealt with themes of imminent environmental apocalypse. "Critical reaction was mixed and his anti-drug critics were at their most venomous," read Kesey's obituary in the UK Guardian.

Kesey also published two books of Prankster reminiscences and memorabilia, Kesey's Garage Sale (1973) and The Further Inquiry (1990), as well as a children's book based on an Ozark folktale his grandmother used to tell him, Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear -- which was included on the 1991 Library of Congress list of suggested children's books. ("I'm up there with Dr. Seuss," he boasted.) At performances, Kesey would recite Little Tricker to orchestral accompaniment, dressed in a top hat and tails -- or with a shawl over his head, like his grandmother. For the hippie crowd, he performed with his own invention, the Thunder Machine -- a contraption devised from an old Thunderbird fender, piano strings, a smoke machine and sound-mixing gear. The thing made an awful racket, and was sometimes the opening act at Grateful Dead concerts.

His last book was 1994's Last Go Round: A Real Western, co-written with his lifelong friend Ken Babbs. This was a work of fictionalized history, about a 1911 Oregon rodeo, the Pendleton Round Up, which was distinctive for including an African American cowboy and a Nez Perce Indian among the competitors. It was based on a 1917 book chronicling the legendary rodeo, Let 'Er Buck, and was illustrated with period photos of the real-life characters -- including Buffalo Bill Cody, who makes a cameo.

On Oct. 28, 2001, Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, one of the original Pranksters and Tom Wolfe's primary source for The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, died at his home in New York. The New York Times obituary made much of the fact that "he regretted the way Mr. Kesey and his followers had glorified drugs." Just about the same time, Kesey was undergoing surgery for liver cancer. There were complications, and on Nov. 10 he passed on at a hospital in Eugene. His own New York Times obit was written by Sandy Lehmann-Haupt's own brother, Christopher, a staffer at the paper. It revealed that nearly to his final year Kesey still took acid with some close friends for an annual Easter Sunday hike up Oregon's Mount Pisgah. "Just enough to make the leaves dapple," the obit quoted him from a recent interview.

So even after Reagan and the new War on Drugs, and the Acid Test being replaced with the Urine Test as the icon of the new orthodoxy, even after Kesey returned to his redneck roots, he remained unfashionably unrepentant.

"The first Prankster rule is that nothing lasts," Kesey told an interviewer way back in heady 1966. "And if you start there and really believe that nothing lasts, you try to achieve nothing at all times."

Well, if you're trying to achieve nothing, countered the reporter as he eyed the extravagant sound and light equipment, why do you put so much effort into achieving nothing?

Responded The Chief, in an off-the-cuff Zen koan, "We have nothing else to do."

Ken Kesey is gone, but his all-American, rough-and-ready spirit of pushing freedom to the outer limits will survive him. Because those of us who were touched by his life and works have nothing else to do.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:24 am

Acid Dreams, The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, and Beyond [Excerpt]
by Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain

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Wavy Gravy holding "BZ" fish


It was from Hoffmann-La Roche in Nutley, New Jersey, that Edgewood Arsenal obtained its first sample of a drug called quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ for short. The army learned that BZ inhibits the production of a chemical substance that facilitates the transfer of messages along the nerve endings, thereby disrupting normal perceptual patterns. The effects generally last about three days, although symptoms -- headaches, giddiness, disorientation, auditory and visual hallucinations, and maniacal behavior -- have been known to persist for as long as six weeks. "During the period of acute effects," noted an army doctor, "the person is completely out of touch with his environment."

Dr. Van Sim, who served as chief of the Clinical Research Division at Edgewood, made it a practice to try all new chemicals himself before testing them on volunteers. Sim said he sampled LSD "on several occasions." Did he enjoy getting high, or were his acid trips simply a patriotic duty? "It's not a matter of compulsiveness or wanting to be the first to try a material," Sim stated. "With my experience I am often able to change the design of future experiments ... This allows more comprehensive tests to be conducted later, with maximum effective usefulness of inexperienced volunteers. I'm trying to defeat the compound, and if I can, we don't have to drag out the tests at the expense of a lot of time and money." With BZ Dr. Sim seems to have met his match. "It zonked me for three days. I kept falling down and the people at the lab assigned someone to follow me around with a mattress. I woke up from it after three days without a bruise." For his efforts Sim received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service and was cited for exposing himself to dangerous drugs "at the risk of grave personal injury."

According to Dr. Solomon Snyder, a leading psychopharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University, which conducted drug research for the Chemical Corps, "The army's testing of LSD was just a sideshow compared to its use of BZ." Clinical studies with EA-2277 (the code number for BZ) were initiated at Edgewood Arsenal in 1959 and continued until 1975. During this period an estimated twenty-eight hundred soldiers were exposed to the superhallucinogen. A number of military personnel have since come forward claiming that they were never the same after their encounter with BZ. Robert Bowen, a former air force enlisted man, felt disoriented for several weeks after his exposure. Bowen said the drug produced a temporary feeling of insanity but that he reacted less severely than other test subjects. One paratrooper lost all muscle control for a time and later seemed totally divorced from reality. "The last time I saw him," said Bowen, "he was taking a shower in his uniform and smoking a cigar." [2]

After extensive clinical testing at Edgewood Arsenal, the army concluded that BZ was better suited than LSD as a chemical warfare agent for a number of reasons. While acid could knock a person "off his rocker," to use Chemical Corps jargon, BZ would also put him "on the floor" (render him physically immobile). This unique combination -- both "off the rocker" and "on the floor" -- was exactly what the army sought from an incapacitant. Moreover, BZ was cheaper to produce, more reliable, and packed a stronger punch than LSD. Most important, BZ could be dispersed as an aerosol mist that would float with the wind across city or battlefield. Some advantage was also found in the fact that test subjects lapsed into a state of "semi-quiet delirium" and had no memory of their BZ experience.

This was not to belittle lysergic acid. Although LSD never found a place in the army's arsenal, the drug undoubtedly left its mark on the military mind. Once again LSD seems to have acted primarily as a catalyst. Before acid touched the fancy of army strategists, Creasy's vision of a new kind of warfare was merely a pipe dream. With LSD it suddenly became a real possibility.

As the CIA and the military began to phase out their in-house acid tests in favor of more powerful chemicals such as BZ, which became the army's standard incapacitating agent. By this time the superhallucinogen was ready for deployment in a grenade, a 750-pound cluster bomb, and at least one other large-scale bomb. In addition the army tested a number of other advanced BZ munitions, including mortar, artillery, and missile warheads. The superhallucinogen was reportedly employed by American troops as a counterinsurgency weapon in Vietnam, and according to CIA documents there may be contingency plans to use the drug in the event of a major civilian insurrection. As Creasy warned shortly after he retired from the Army Chemical Corps, "We will use these things as we very well see fit, when we think it is in the best interest of the US and their allies."

_______________

Notes:

2. Pentagon spokespeople insist that the potential hazards of such experimentation were "supposed" to be fully explained to all volunteers. But as Dr. Snyder noted, nobody "can tell you for sure BZ won't have a long-lasting effect. With an initial effect of eighty hours compared to eight for LSD you would have to worry more about its long-lasting or recurrent effects."
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:30 am

Wavy Gravy: Salute to a Good-Humored Humanitarian
by Paul Krassner

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YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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When I first met Wavy Gravy, he was Hugh Romney, a thin, goateed, stand-up comic who wore a three-piece suit and performed abstract material. Now he's a roly-poly, socially active clown -- the illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Teresa.

Wavy's portable commune, the Hog Farm, provided free breakfast at the original Woodstock festival; he has campaigned several times as Nobody for President; he kept the Yippie candidate -- a porker named Pigasus -- in a Lower East Side bathtub; and more recently Wavy has become a Ben & Jerry's ice-cream flavor.

While traveling, the Hog Farmers once found themselves at a fork in the road. Up above, a pair of sky-writing planes were playing tic-tac-toe, and Wavy decided that they would go one way if the X's won and the other way if the O's won.

Meanwhile, between the time that Charles Manson got released from prison and the time he orchestrated a mass murder, he was busy exploring and exploiting the counterculture, from Haight-Ashbury to Strawberry Fields.

Driving his family around in a school bus painted black, Manson stopped at the Hog Farm, whose school bus was painted in rainbow colors. They were back on their land, all standing in a circle chanting "Om," which somehow caused Manson to start choking and gagging, so *his* family began counter-chanting "Evil." It was an archetypal confrontation. Manson even tried to exchange one of his girls for Wavy's wife, Bonnie Jean. But the black bus finally left, mission unaccomplished.

When Bonnie Jean, whose Sufi name is Jahanarah, gave birth to a baby boy, they named him Howdy Do-Good. However, on his 13th birthday, Howdy legally changed his name to Jordan Romney. He is now a computer programmer.

Wavy and Jahanarah run Winnarainbow, a performing arts summer camp. One year, I was the comedy counselor, and at the end of the season I had a one-night stand with another counselor on the outdoor trampoline.

Wavy's Rainbow Bridge

At camp, Wavy always led an orientation, at the end of which he would turn out all the lights and tell the kids, "In ancient times, I was a teenage beatnik, and I used to brush my teeth with Snickers bars and gargle with Hoffman's Black Cherry Soda and, after a while, I began to get these cavities and my teeth would rot out...."

In fact, when he joined The Committee, a satirical improve troupe in San Francisco, dentists would leave their cards for him at the box office. Eventually, the Merry Pranksters' dentist, Dick Smith, began to work on his teeth. He overheard Wavy mutter to Neal Cassady, "After listening to a lot of Vietnam War body counts, the only flag I wanna salute is a rainbow," so Smith secretly made a rainbow bridge, each tooth a different color of the rainbow spectrum. Kids thought it was really cool.

Wavy's rainbow bridge was formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for their exhibit, "I Want to Take You Higher: The Psychedelic Era." We had a gig there, and he was walking a rubber fish named Saul Bass on a stiff leather dog leash. Wavy takes him everywhere.

"I don't know what that means," he told me. "It may be my latent Christianity. But walking this fish in New York City, nobody asks me for money. People either enjoy the fish or they pretend it's not happening."

The Heady Days of the Great Softball Game

In addition to the rainbow bridge being on display, there was Wavy's sleeping bag, called "Home Plate" because it had actually served as home plate in the Great Softball Game. Two communes had challenged the Hog Farm. They all ate a lot of green acid left over from Woodstock, then proceeded to make up the rules.

Second base was inside a cottage on the second floor looking out the window. Third base, you had to slide down a rope into a big barrel of water. And to get to home plate, a player had to pick you up and carry you home. And home, when you got there, was a foot rub, a cheeseburger and a line of coke.

"It was back in those nutty days," Wavy explains, "and we didn't know any better. These days I think cocaine is Nature's way of telling people to spend money and be mean to their kids. If you saw the Woodstock movie, there is a scene where I'm snorting a line before I hit the stage. My mother said, 'What are you doing there?' I told her I was clearing my sinuses. That's when I started calling cocaine the Thinking Man's Dristan.

Wavy's Arresting Performances

Wavy has been arrested dozens of times at demonstrations for a variety of humane causes. Most recently he was busted while wearing a Santa Claus outfit with large red sunglasses and a red clown nose, calling himself "Insanity Clause." Wavy was among those arrested for trespassing and blocking the gates of San Quentin Prison, to protest the scheduled execution of Kevin Cooper, the only condemned inmate who has actively organized anti-death penalty protests. Cooper, an African-American, was convicted of murder, although an 8-year-old boy who survived the attack said the killings were carried out by three white people.

Wavy also expends tremendous time and energy organizing benefits for a variety of humane causes. On December 13, he organized and emceed a concert at the Berkeley Community Theater as a benefit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Seva (the Sanskrit word meaning "divine work" or "service to God"), featuring performers Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Dead, Hamza el Din, and Steve Earle. The concert raised $250,000 for Seva. And on May 8, Wavy staged another Seva fund-raiser at San Francisco's Great America Music Hall.

Co-founded by Wavy, Seva has been supporting projects and hospitals that have given back sight to more than two million blind persons through low cost or free surgery in developing countries around the world, plus community self-development programs that have helped thousands of indigenous peoples to drink clean water, read, write and deliver healthier babies, as well as promoting diabetes prevention for Native Americans.

A couple of things I've learned from Wavy's work: (1) that altruism is the highest form of selfishness; and (2) that absurdity can be a spiritual path.

Paul Krassner is the author of Murder at the Conspiracy Convention. A new book, Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs from Toad Slime to Ecstasy was edited by Krassner. Additional examples of outrageous accomplishments and creatively anti--authoritarian behavior are on view at: http://www.paulkrassner.com.

Celebrate Seva's 25 Years of Compassionate Service

To learn more, contact the Seva Foundation, 1786 Fifth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710, 510-845-7382, fax: 510-845-7410, orders: 1-800-223-7382. http://www.seva.org.
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Re: A Clown For Our Time, by wavygravy.net

Postby admin » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:31 am

Ben & Jerry's Puts the Woodstock Generation's Gravy on the Table
by Ben & Jerry's Vermont's Finest Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt
For Immediate Release: July 1993

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


WATERBURY, Vt. Just when you thought it was safe to reach into the freezer again, Ben & Jerry’s comes up with its second ever “living flavor” - Wavy Gravy ice cream.

“I’m so excited about being a living flavor, a politically correct ice cream,” pronounced Wavy Gravy in his tie-dye clown outfit. This is the guy who in 1969 greeted the musical pilgrims at Woodstock with the now historic salutation, “what we have in mind is breakfast in bed for four hundred thousand."

From breakfast in bed to dessert on the table. Turning the menu upside down is nothing strange for Wavy, he’s the jocular pundit who posited “the Nineties are just the Sixties standing on your head."

“The flavor is called Wavy Gravy,” said Ben Cohen, Chairperson of the Vermont-based superpremium ice cream company, “because he symbolizes taking Sixties values, peace and love, and turning them into action in the Nineties."

Wavy Gravy is a caramel cashew brazil nut ice cream, with a chocolate hazelnut fudge swirl and roasted almonds. The flavor is available at Ben & Jerry scoop shops around the country with the world’s first tie-dyed pints due out this summer (1993).

Wavy Gravy’s work with children will benefit from sales of this flavor.

The first “living flavor” from Ben & Jerry’s is Cherry Garcia, named after the Grateful Dead’s lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia. It is one of the all-time best-loved Ben & Jerry’s flavors.
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