Monday, December 12, 2011

Magic Trip: Ken Kesey and Merry Pranksters

It was great to see this film released several years after reading Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-aid Acid Test. It brought the characters to life in a way only a documentary film can. I remember reading the book and wishing there were more pictures of the Pranksters.

As much as I enjoyed the film, it did not spark my imagination in quite the same way as the book. On the flip side the book could not capture the reality nearly as well as the film.

Personal side note: After a Rave-like festival in downtown S.F. in the mid nineties (DJ'd by Perry Ferrel!) I found myself helping Ken Kesey push the Further bus to get it started in the rain at 4am in the morning. I remember asking Kesey if we were indeed pushing the original Further bus. This seemed poignant to me at the time because I realized I was as old as the bus was. Kesey didn't answer, but just looked at me and said nothing, as if the answer to my question didn't matter.

As Kesey says in the film, one thing that bothered him: "Reporters who wrote down the hand-painted destination sign as 'Farther.' It’s 'Further'. 'Farther' is about passing a certain measurable distance. 'Further' is about pushing past some invisible limit."

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