Tag Archives | Psychedelia

Salvation Mountain Creator Leonard Knight Dies At 82

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.
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The Psychedelic Christian Radio of Pastor John Rydgren

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.
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The Explosive Pop Art Cinema Of Pramod Pati

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.
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No Retirement Plan For Wizards: The Shulgins Are In Trouble

Picture: Charlie Llewellyn (CC)

Alexander Shulgin, a genius chemist who has made unfathomable contributions to the psychedelic community, and our culture at large, needs help. Via Teafaerie.org:

To All Concerned,

I am writing this letter in an attempt to inspire right action. As many of you may already know, Ann and Sasha Shulgin are currently suffering from financial distress largely due to Sasha’s increased medical expenses. This lamentable state of affairs is well within our collective powers to redress, and I feel that it is high time for the the psychedelic community to shower our heroic pioneers with a tangible demonstration of our everlasting gratitude.

Everybody knows who the Shulgins are. It’s pretty much impossible to overstate their collective contribution to psychedelic culture, and indeed to the very fabric of human society at large. They not only brought us most of our favorite alphabetamines, they tested them on themselves and published their extensive notes so that the rest of us could benefit from their groundbreaking discoveries.… Read the rest

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The Beatles Imagined As Mayan Gods

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:
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World’s Largest Historical Collection Of Deviant Erotic And Drug-Related Cultural Works Now At Harvard

Harvard Gazette on a treasure chest for anyone looking to explore the darkest corners of human experience:

Harvard’s newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection is the largest of its kind in the world. It includes a vast collection of boxes, drawers, shelves — whole rooms — full of art, literature, and popular culture artifacts dating back to the 16th century, related to the chief avenues to altered states of mind: sex and drugs.

The Santo Domingo collection is on long-term deposit at Harvard. “We do not own it,” said Morris, but the owners “want us to catalog it, and they want it available for research.” The largest collection of its kind in the world, it will gradually be available to scholars of literature, fine art, photography, film, history, medicine, popular culture, and more.

It has an estimated 30,000 books and 25,000 posters, photographs, and other ephemera assembled by Colombian businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Jr., who died in 2009.

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Psychotronic Soundscapes: Top Twenty Mind-Bending Albums for 2012

Picture: Maf04 (CC)

Disinfo pal Thad McKraken has written a run-down of this year’s top mind-bending albums, complete with samples for your enjoyment:

Say what you will about 2012, but since consciousness is comprised of linguistic information, the idea of a coming apocalypse in itself propagated some rather delicious undercurrents of sound rippling through the Akashic record this year. I’ve never written more than a top five list in my life, but when I was thinking back on the insane amount of mind-bending albums that dropped in the last 12 months, I was kind of in shock. Most of this stuff’s fairly obvious, at least in my world. Was it people like Terence McKenna and his mechanized Timewave Zero prophesies, inspiring people like Grant Morrison to write the great Invisibles hypersigil, that summoned this record deluge of psychoactive soundscapes into motion? I have no idea. Did the Mayans get in every band’s head and subconsciously encourage them to bring their A game in 2012 as it might be their final chance?

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Painter Creates Cosmic Paintings in Minutes

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.
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Psychedelic Art From Science Textbooks

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 then. Most of the art come from materials published by Communications Research Machines, including their titles Life and Heath, Psychology Today, and Developmental Psychology Today.

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Spiritualism was the Psychedelic Movement of the 1870s

Spiritualism…complete with altered states, free love, and millenarian ideals. In this piece, Victorian Gothic discusses “The Lighter Side of Victorian Spiritualism”:

“One important and often overlooked aspect of Victorian mediumship is that it could be enormous fun,” says Alex Owen in The Darkened Room: Women, Power and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England. This is the picture that emerges when one looks particularly at the “star mediums” of the 1870′s, who were known for performing theatrical, full-body materializations for eager audiences.

In a dim seance room, the medium would enter a closed cabinet wherein she would tap the mysterious psychical forces that would allow her to manifest one of her spirit familiars. This familiar would then emerge to from behind the curtain to entertain the assembled sitters. Each medium had her own repertoire of otherworldly entitles at her command, each with his or her own distinct personality, speech patterns, favored tricks and antics.

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