June 13, 2016

HEADS NEWS #12: Bay Area Heads Talks Tickets, Northeast Report, Norwegian Activists Arrested

Come to the Sunshine, Heads: Well, that was a delight. Thanks to all who came out to the northeast Heads Talks last week in Portland and Burlington and Boston and New York, all enormous fun. Hope to have some audio posted in the near future, but further reports and notes are below. Big love to Blank Space and all the venues for helping to set these up. I'm home in Brooklyn for a few more days, then off to northern California for a week-and-a-half of Heads Talks and hopefully some new adventures with old friends.

Before I get into the details, I'll mention that (for The Influence) I did a close historical read of the four earliest issues of Micro-Gram, the government's secret internal drugs newsletter, first published in 1967 and scanned recently by Erowid. (Issue #5 went up on Erowid this week with some more tantalizing stuff, as well.)

Californians, if you're around the San Francisco/Berkeley axis, I'll be in your neck of the woods next week, and hope to make it down to Santa Cruz, too, with updates to come. A newsletter might be delayed due to travel, but if you're itchin' for the latest, there's @HeadsNews and Facebook. Or if you're just itchin' to acquire a copy of Heads, Blank Space can help with that. If you come out to one of the events, do say hello, especially if we've interacted on social media. See you soon, Jesse.

18 June - Jesse Jarnow @ Women's Visionary Congress, Petaluma, CA 
I'll be reading from Heads at the 10th annual Women's Visionary Congress, part of a remarkable lineup of multidisciplinary presenters. Schedule. Register here.
20 June - California Historical Society, San Francisco, CA with Mark McCloud (LSD historian), Nicholas Meriwether (founding archivist, Grateful Dead Archive, UC Santa Cruz), Ramon Sender (Trips Festival co-organizer/San Francisco Tape Music Center/Morningstar), and Dennis McNally (Grateful Dead biographer)
Tickets are free, but space is limited. RSVP here.

27 June - Goldman Theater, David Brower Center, Berkeley CA with Marc Franklin, presenting high-definition portraits from his Psychedelic Pioneers series, and a panel discussion with guests TK, co-organized with ERIE. I'll be presenting about Humbead's Revised Map of the World, drawn in Berkeley in 1968.
Tickets are $20, available here.
Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia manager Richard Loren, Workingman's Dead author Buzz Poole, & me, at the Heads Talk at SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine on June 5th

1. Northeast Takeaways. I had a great week tootling about the northeast with Buzz Poole for these first five Heads Talks. Enormous thanks to Buzz for the killer conversation and piloting. After listening to Buzz read a different passage from his Workingman's Dead book at each event, I'll recommend it again as a thoughtful and fresh perspective on some well-trodden territory. His passage on Robert Hunter's $50,000 acid trip is especially excellent, and served as a good springboard into a Deadology conversation in Boston, as we realized that the week marked the anniversary of Hunter's difficult trip as well as Garcia's own. To paraphrase Bill Watterson, the days were just packed.

Portland It was pretty incredible to talk to Richard Loren, the cool-headed Garcia and Dead manager circa 1974-1980. The talk included both Loren's memories of booking the Dead and the Wall of Sound into venues across the country (difficult), as well as his shared reading material with Jerry Garcia (such as the esoteric classic The Morning of the Magician), Egyptology, governments, inner freedom, his friendship with Terence McKenna, and other matters. His High Notes: A Rock Memoir is well worth reading if you're that kinda Dead freak.

Boston For starters, I learned that there's probably no record store in the world more aligned with my personal tastes than Deep Thoughts in Jamaica Plain, where we had our Heads Talk. Paul Martin and I talked about his years at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab in the early '70s, what AI even meant in the context of the era (simply, any tool that extended human intelligence), the internet's first lyrics file, Phil Lesh's visit to the Lab, and more (much of it also covered in Heads). Michael Yacavone did an incredibly articulate presentation about psychoacoustics, expanded listening, and concert taping. The slides are viewable as a PDF, and he'll post audio sometime. I learned a lot about the philosophy of some of the '80s tapers, as well as some of the psychoacoustic tricks used by the Dead's sound/light staff during that period, like applying various filters to the mix so the second set of the night filled a broader audio spectrum than the first, or opening doors to the outside and letting blasts of cool air rush into the venue.

Burlington - While I've seen the Bread & Puppet crew perform numerous times (and maybe even marched inside a paper mache head with them at anti-war protest circa 2003), it was cool to talk to Susan Bettman, who was part of the company when they relocated from the Lower East Side to Goddard College in Vermont in the early '70s, and Mark Estrin, who was a Goddard professor when they arrived on campus. It was especially interesting to hear them discuss founder Peter Schumann's virulent anti-psychedelic stance and his attempts to keep his art at arm's length from certain elements of the counterculture. Also incredible to have was Richard Wright, the experimental four-track musician sometimes known as Nancy, author of the Phish songs "I Didn't Know" and "Halley's Comet," who spoke of the well-psychedelicized Goddard campus in the early '80s, and the techniques behind some of his recordings. (Richard, too, is well-covered in Heads.) We had a last minute special appearance, as well, from Melvin Backstrom, currently writing his PhD dissertation on San Francisco and the avant-garde, 1965-1975, who spoke about the ideals and appeal of rural psychedelia in the late '60s and early '70s. 
2. Norwegian Psychedelic Activists Arrested. Teri Krebs and Pål Ørjan Johansen are the founders of EmmaSofia, the Oslo-based organization that argues for personal use of psychedelics as a human right. Both researchers and activists, the two were recently arrested at a march protesting marijuana laws, and subsequently had their home searched and their children taken from their custody. Detailed coverage here (in translation), as well as an editorial protesting the couple's treatment, in addition to a petition. Both will appear Monday in Oslo at an event titled Sofia Minds: Psychedelics and Human Rights.

3. Festival Season Notes. Suddenly, we're in the thick of Festival Season, with the usual reports filing in about arrests at Bonnaroo and elsewhere. More encouraging is the spread of the Zendo Project, the psychedelic risk reduction area established at music and art festivals, and a reliable conveyor of the truth that attendees continue to use festivals as platforms for psychedelic experiences, aiding around 100 people per event so far this summer at gatherings like AfrikaBurn in South Africa and Lightning in a Bottle in California. Working in coordination with MAPS, they are now registering volunteers for Burning Man and elsewhere. Very related, I thought this was an extraordinarily perceptive essay about Bonnaroo, mainstream festivals, the Deadhead scene, and psychedelics
The anonymous First Church of Love, from Avant-Garde #2

4. Headline News
o Gorgeous scans of Avant-Garde magazine, 1968-1971, a collision of art, design, and counterculture, with much psychedelia to spare.
o Results from a recent drug analysis in the Netherlands with some interesting numbers. The average hit of LSD measured around 75 micrograms, but 27% of the samples that claimed to be LSD didn't contain LSD. More fun with numbers within.
o Notes from the International Conference on Psychedelic Research in Amsterdam with some skeptical notes on the interaction of science vs. spirituality in the psychedelic research world. 
o Burning Man purchased a 3,800-acre ranch in Nevada, near their current site, for a permanent outpost. There are no plans to relocate the festival.
o For sale, $5,000: An original pressing of the Grateful Dead's debut single on Scorpio Records, unplayed and once owned by one of the Thelin brothers, owners of Haight-Ashbury's Psychedelic Shop.
o Some counterpoints from Psymposia about the call to come out of the psychedelic closet: "The Asymmetric Risk of 'Coming Out' in Queer & Psychedelic Communities" by Emma Kaywin, and an Anonymous piece, "Why I'm Staying in the Psychedelic Closet."

o I learned on Twitter that early '70s Jerry Garcia collaborator Howard Wales returned to the stage (with Sons of Champlin guitarist Terry Haggerty) and is currently writing a memoir. Much of the long out-of-print Side Trips (optimistically subtitled "Volume One") can be streamed via YouTube and contains some excellent space-jazz.

5. Events

6/13 - LONDON: Psychedelic Rhythms Dance/Movement Meditation (more info)

6/13 - LOS ANGELES: Psychedelic Awareness Salon: Cognitive Liberty (more info)

6/13 - OSLO: Psychedelics & Human Rights (more info)

6/13 - TEL AVIV: MAPS’ Rick Doblin in conversation with editor of Israeli psychedelic magazine LaPsychonaut (more info)

6/14 - SAN FRANCISCO - MDMA & MDA in Psychotherapy with Richard Yensen & Donna Dryer, California Institute of Integral Studies (more info)

6/16 - BIRMINGHAM, UK: Decomposing the Shadow with James Jesso (more info)

6/17 - OCCIDENTAL, CA:  Botanical Dimensions and Green Earth Foundation fundraiser with Kat Harrison and Ralph Metzner (more info)

6/17-6/19 - PETALUMA, CA: 10th Annual Women’s Visionary Congress, Institute of Noetic Sciences (more info)

6/19 - BIRMINGHAM, UK: Summer Solstice Road Trip to Stonehenge (more info)

6/23 - BALTIMORE: Psychedelic Integration: Weaving the Lessons Into Your Daily Life (more info)

6/23-6/26 - BUCHAREST: Sumiruna Conference on expanded consciousness (more info)

6/24 - SAN FRANCISCO: Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences with William Richards, California Institute of Integral Studies (more info)

6/24 - BROOKLYN: Psychedelics & Death, a Brief Introduction with Dr. Neal Goldsmith, Morbid Anatomy Museum (more info)

6/24 - LONDON: Psychedelic Supper: Neuroqueering & Mental Health (more info)

6/27 - LOS ANGELES: A Good Trip: A Psychedelic Comedy Show (more info)

7/16 - LONDON: Decolonizing Psychedelics: Summer Picnic (more info)

7/31 - LONDON: Psychedelics & Non-Duality (more info)

8/9-11 - CAMPINAS: Sacred Plants conference (more info)

8/11 - SAN FRANCISCO: An Evening with Paul Stamets: Mushrooms & the Mycology of Consciousness (more info)

9/10-2/26/17 - LONDON: You Say You Want Revolution, Records & Rebels, 1966-1970, Victoria & Albert Museum (more info)

9/30-10/2 - PRAGUE, CZ: Beyond Psychedelics conference (more info)

10/14-10/15 - VICTORIA, BC: Psychedelic Psychotherapy Forum (more info)

10/17-10/22 - RIO BRANCO, BRAZIL: AYA2016 (more info)

11/11 - LEEDS, UK: Historical Insights on the Psychedelic Renaissance, Society for the Study of Addiction (more info)

Richard Wright (aka Nancy) and me, ArtsRiot, Burlington, VT on June 8th