Having been on at least the back lines of the psychedelic revolution, I was privileged to see some wonderful light shows in my time, even at the tail end. Most of the metropolitan areas had people that were creating these visual masterpieces, in the early days in New York you had Joshua White, San Francisco was known for Glen McKay and Jerry Abrams HeadLights and Bill Ham's Light Sound Dimension. Fillmores, Avalon, Carousel, Winterland, Electric Circus all had light shows of some kind.
I was privileged to see Bill Ham's work at the Tribal Stomp in Berkeley and I have never before or since seen such such sublime mastery. Zen sutras morphed into indian chiefs that exploded in the dawn of creation... Of course I may have had a serious buzz on at the time that some would say calls everything I experienced into question. You can trust me or not. Your choice. It's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I mean under the right circumstances, mixed in the proper chemical alembic, I suppose your belly button lint could like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel but that is a topic for another day. We must take some things on faith. These were symphonies of the single moment, a momentary synaptic flash that has now flickered into the eternal void, never to be recaptured. Talk about multitasking...Everything lined up perfect once and I ain't going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen again. But as a very visual guy I have to take my hat off to these lysergic pioneers and admit to pining for that kind of truly magic experience that a few of us once shared.
Later on Candace Brightman did some very marvelous things with the Dead, they were a touch more formulaic than the earlier work that I was privileged to catch but still quite wonderful. The moment had changed.
|Pinnacle - John Van Hammersfeld|
|Rick Griffin - Who|
It could have been so much more, something rotten must have happened to consciousness somewhere along the way. I don't know. Burroughs and Gysin were trailblazers. Give this acid test record a little listen, Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were way out front.
My sister hung out with Nam Jun Paik in New York in the early days, the Dead were doing those far out things with Morton Subotnik, people had a respect for the visual circus back then that seems pretty lacking these days. Honestly, people have become very boring.
It took a microdot to make a microchip and we had to trip before we could hyperlink. Maybe in 50 or 100 years things can start vibrating again. whooosh!