July 06, 2016

HEADS NEWS #15: Decompression, Prolonged DMT Trips, Colorado Peyote 1896, "Terrapin" Demos

A good & slack-filled X-Day to you, Heads: Seven stops and 17 guests later, the first round of Heads Talks is over and I'm back in Brooklyn, working on a semi-gentle reentry into regular life. Enormous thanks to the venues, guests, facilitators, and all who came out. Big love to the Blank Space gang for helping generate the proper amount of chaos.

The finale of the California leg, at the Brower Center in Berkeley (presented with ERIE), was an all-star blowout, featuring a beautifully revamped Psychedelic Pioneers presentation by Marc Franklin, a peek at Ken Adams' VR project about peyote, and the Bloom Network's Magenta Ceiba giving an overview of contemporary psychedelic culture. The biggest treat for me, though, was Sarah Matzar, ex-LSD cook and psychedelic quilter. I interviewed her for Heads, but in Berkeley we got to talk about a wider range of topics. Though an insider in the extended Dead world in the early '80s, Sarah has lived in Guatemala for nearly three decades, and it was fascinating to get her semi-outsider take on the contemporary psychedelic resurgence; and to hear her reaffirm her skepticism at the globalization of indigenous psychedelic medicine and faith in the continued non-denominational impact of LSD.

I'm enjoying some summertime fun and get back to reading, writing, radio, and such. I'll be hanging on some podcasts and radio shows in the upcoming weeks, starting this Saturday on the Jake Feinberg Show at 1 PT/4 ET. Psychedelic Baby also said some kind things about Heads in their new review, thanks! As always, tune into @HeadsNews and/or Facebook for breaking psychedelic updates and history. Signed copies are available via Blank Space, and I'm available by email or smoke signal. Love & space, Jesse.

1. A model for prolonged DMT experiences. Infamously, DMT has been called "the businessman's trip" for its short duration. What makes it a singular and intense psychedelic experience also makes it difficult to study from a clinical perspective. Now, Rick Strassman (pioneering researcher and author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule) and computational neurobiologist Andrew Gallimore have designed a new method to create "a stable and prolonged DMT experience, making it possible to carefully observe its psychological contents, and provide more extensive accounts for subsequent analyses." They have posted a provisional article (downloadable as a free PDF) in Frontiers in Pharmacology, titled "A Model for the Application of Target-Controlled Intravenous Infusion for a Prolonged Immersive DMT Psychedelic Experience.
2. Secular Peyote Use in 1896 Colorado. I'm especially fascinated by the spread of peyote into colonial North America in the 20th century and, eventually, into the bohemian underground, which is where Heads begins, In Colorado, Westword presents a nice historical find on just that topic, first published in the Aspen Daily Times in January 1896. Documenting a rare instance of indigenous Kiowa sharing peyote with European-American settlers, there are some brief trip reports and--most interestingly--some a mention that the Kiowa helped the neophyte trippers interpret their visions, a surprising and progressive cross-cultural integration circle.
3. Uncirculated Terrapin Station Demos. A new Grateful Dead audio oddity turned up last week, seemingly recorded by Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and singer/songwriter Jim McPherson at Hart's studio, The Barn, sometime in 1976. (The file is labeled June 1st, but I doubt its accuracy.) The music would later turn up as the instrumental sections of the complete "Terrapin Station," titled "At A Siding" and "Terrapin Flyer." Here, though, McPherson sings early lyrics, that sound (to my ears) like something written by somebody other than Robert Hunter. I suspect this was just material that Mickey and others were working on for the Dead, perhaps with the idea of drafting in McPherson as a collaborator, before the sections were sewn into Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter's "Terrapin Station." Other theories welcome. 

4. Headline News
o Nice news from Festival Season: An attendee at the Electric Daisy Carnival challenged an unlawful search and won.
o Solid and thoughtful look at the challenges facing contemporary researchers: "Trips and Traps: Psychedelics Seek Legitimacy in the World of Modern Medicine"
o In the UK: It is now illegal for undercover law enforcement agents to consume drugs in order to win the trust of gangs they are infiltrating. 
o Out soon: "Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story," by former undercover agent Stephen Bentley, who decidedly did consume drugs in order to win the trust of the LSD dealing circle he was infiltrating.
o Practical matters: "How to Tell If Your Drugs Have Gone Bad"
o In Australia: The Therapeutic Goods Administration is considering legalizing small amounts of DMT for religious use.
o Tim Devin (creator of the Boston countercultural Google Map featured in HEADS NEWS #14) has a new book/zine about '70s hippie parenting, titled "What Are You Raising Them For?" (See also: the Psychedelic Parenting podcast.) 
o Deadology Update: The field of Pigpen studies takes a few greasy steps forward with Lost Live Dead's excellent dive into Pig's various solo studio sessions, and Dead Sources' transcription of a rambling "interview" with Pigpen, Bobby Petersen (lyricist/poet), and Hank Harrison (no comment).

5. Events
o The excellent humans at the Women's Visionary Congress are presenting two Drug Safety for Psychonauts sessions in San Francisco and Oakland, with Earth and Fire Erowid, on July 16th and 20th. Well worth going, I'm sure, if you're in the Bay Area. Seems likely that the event at the Internet Archive on the 16th will inevitably end up online. See below.

7/1-9/3 - NEWCASTLE - Freaks! An Archival Exhibition - The Alternative Press & the Psychedelic Underground (more info)

7/3-10/2 - NYC: Bruce Conner retrospective (more info)

7/7-8/3 - EVERYWHERE: SydArthur Festival: The World’s First Psychic Rock & Roll Festival (more info)

7/9 - WAPPINGERS FALLS: Visionary Salon: Xenolinguists with Diana Slattery, Alex Gray, and Allyson Gray (more info)

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

7/16 - SAN FRANCISCO: Drug Safety for Psychonauts with Earth & Fire Erowid, presented by Women’s Visionary Congress (more info)

7/20 - OAKLAND: Drug Safety for Psychonauts with Earth & Fire Erowid, presented by Women’s Visionary Congress (more info)

7/20 - SAN DIEGO: Psychedelic Awareness Salon & MAPS Fundraising Dinner with Rick Doblin, presented by Aware Project San Diego (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)

9/16-1/16/17 - PHILADELPHIA: Bill Graham & the Rock & Roll Revolution, National Museum of American Jewish History (more info)

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

10/7-10/9 - NYC: Horizons 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)

Early psychsploitation in the Berkeley Barb, May 1966 (via Corry Arnold)