Psychedelia



salvation mountainThe Los Angeles Times reports the death of an eccentric visionary who assembled his own psychedelic-religious portal to another dimension out in the desert of California:

Leonard Knight, the lean New Englander who spent three decades joyously painting religious messages on a tall mound of adobe he called Salvation Mountain in the Imperial Valley desert, died Monday at age 82.

His death was announced on his Salvation Mountain Facebook page by his devoted followers who have been attempting to preserve his labor of love east of the Salton Sea near the squatter village called Slab City.

Until his health declined, Knight had lived in the back of his truck, sharing his space with a variety of cats without names, undeterred by the brutal desert heat or howling winds. To his amazement, Knight had become a favorite of folk art aficionados.


rydrenFeel the need for some old time religion on this Christmas Day? The best delivery method may be the bizarre late-’60s psychedelic Christian radio programming of John Rydgren. WFMU writes:

Heading into the Summer of Love, Pastor John Rydgren was the crafty head of the TV, Radio and Film Department of the American Lutheran Church. The straight-looking Rydgren created a daily radio show called Silhouette in which he became the reassuring, resonant-voiced Hippy for God.

Rydgren wrote, announced and programmed Silhouette, taking his musical and cultural cues from The Electric Prunes, Herb Alpert and the cover of Time (Is God Dead?), with a vocal delivery that was straight out of the school of breathy baritone radio seduction.

New York’s WABC-FM picked up Silhouette on a daily basis, but Rydgren and the American Lutheran Church aggressively syndicated the show beyond New York, and in that effort, they issued a double LP in 1967.


Avant-garde filmmaker Pramod Pati created luscious, poetic, beautifully-scored short films on behalf of the Indian government (sometimes with social-educational purposes such as promoting family planning). Highlights include Abid, below, and 1968’s symbolism-rich Explorer. The Seventh Art provides some background:

Pramod Pati, who died an untimely death at the age of 42, worked for the Films Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India, which commissioned feature-length and short documentaries as well as short animation films for the purposes of cultural archiving and nationwide information dissemination. The documentaries generally consisted of profiles of artistes practicing traditional forms, educational films for adults, and simple moral tales and basic literacy courses for children.

Although there was an obvious restriction on the type of subjects filmmakers can choose, the Films Division, like the Kanun in Iran, was free from commercial concerns and thus presented a higher scope for formal experimentation for directors.



Can the divide between pop culture and ancient wisdom be crossed? A particularly strange episode of the late-sixties Beatles cartoon series features the Fab Four journeying “to the inner world” and becoming extraterrestrial gods of a civilization resembling the Mayans:




Artist Brandon McConnell creates some pretty stupendous outer space images with a few cans of spray paint, some pages ripped from a magazine, a blow torch and a handful of other tools you’d find at a local hardware store.
The finished paintings are reminiscent of the covers of sci-fi paperbacks from the 1950. Nice stuff, and with a little bit of practice you could probably do the same.


50 Watts has a jaw-dropping collection of seemingly hallucinogen-inspired illustrations culled from 1970s science textbooks, revealing striking new ways of understanding biology, psychology, and sex ed concepts. School was truly trippy back…



Via VictorianGothic.org:

This 1896 Lumière Brothers film captures a performance of Loïe Fuller’s “Serpentine Dance.” No, there was no LSD in the 1890′s, but yes, there were colorized films. In the technique used above, each frame was individually hand-tinted using stencils and colored dyes. It was a laborious, manual process, and it was first employed to recreate Loïe Fuller’s stage magic; acclaimed for its early use of chromatic theatrical lights that illuminated the dancer’s flowing white silk…


“It’s the hula-hoop of the jet generation.”

Out of several decades worth of iconic anti-marijuana television scare-verts, my favorite is this vintage American Medical Association PSA, which appears to have definitely been made by animators who were high on something.


On the Ides of March, a farewell from Arthur Magazine: After years of service, Arthur departed the material plane today. He died as he lived — free, high and a-dreaming of love,…