Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary at the Hog Farm Pignic.
LOS ANGELES, CA --|
Dr. Timothy Leary, the Harvard psychologist who became the LSD guru of the 1960s, the man President Nixon called "the most dangerous man in America", is preparing for the afterlife. Leary, 75, is dying of terminal prostate cancer. And he takes a final journey in the explosive new documentary film "Timothy Leary's Last Trip... with Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters."
Tim's friend from the psychedelic revolution, Ken Kesey -- author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- gathered the tribes of all ages to say goodbye to Tim last September at the "PigNic"... an annual three day rock-n-roll festival at "The Hog Farm" in Laytonville, CA. The Hog Farm was founded as a hippie commune in 1965 by Wavy Gravy, author and comedian.
"I wanted to honor Tim as the point guard on the psychedelic dream team," said Kesey, referring to notoriety's such as "Be Here Now" author Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg, Alduous Huxley, Jack Kerouac and beat legend Neal Cassady. They all worked with Leary to front the consciousness revolution of the 1960s with the slogan "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out." SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
Kesey achieved worldwide fame after traveling across the country in 1964 in a psychedelic bus named "Further" with a group of friends who became known as "The Merry Pranksters." The trip gained bigger notoriety in Tom Wolfe's best-selling book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
When they reached New York, Kesey and the Pranksters visited Leary in Millbrook, NY, at his psychedelic retreat called "The International Federation for Internal Freedom." Better known as IFIF, it was founded when Leary was fired from Harvard University for doing research with his students on the hallucinogenic drugs LSD-25 and Psilocybin.
To honor Leary, Kesey drove a replica of the original bus "Further" from his home in Oregon down to the PigNic in Northern California. Leary rode on top of the bus as it drove through the grounds of the PigNic festival. After an emotional speech, the cheering crowds wished the grandfather of psychedelia farewell on what will become his next great trip... the afterlife.
"I'm going to be acelerating out pretty soon," said Leary to the crowd. "Maybe two years, maybe five years, maybe 55 years. But I'm living every day as though it were the last! And it's getting better!" SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
Kesey fired off a cannon from the top of the bus, declaring he was "canonizing St. Tim."
"This is another warrior," Kesey said. "A great, great damn warrior for a long, long time. Thirty years of fighting, and then some. He's been there and he's been upbeat about it every step of the way." SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
For an aging man with terminal cancer, Leary seemed to be in remarkable spirits as he sat on Kesey's bus the entire day and answered the questions of admiring youth.
"What is the secret to the universe?" a teenager asked.
"Think for yourself," Leary replied.
Admitting that his cancer makes it hard for him to travel, Leary was happy to be at the PigNic. "Every single person you see here, their eyes are smiling! Their eyes are smiling! And they have wrinkles here! You have to earn those. You can't just order smile wrinkles from your plastic surgeon! Kids are wandering here totally safe, this is the safest place you could possibly be in the world." SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
"I've run into lots of enlightened people," Kesey said of Tim. "They're a dime a dozen. But a warrior is different. A warrior is doing something that doesn't quite make sense. I mean, look at Leary. He's full of enthusiasm and emotion. When you got that kind of freedom and grace to where, my God, I don't know where I was coming from before here. I don't know where I'm coming from after here." SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
It was evident to Leary and Kesey that their reunion at The Hog Farm might be their last. One week later, on September 17th, Kesey was in Los Angeles for a reading of his new book "Last Go Round," published by Viking Books. It was also his 60th birthday. On route to the airport he stopped at Tim's Beverly Hills home to share some birthday cake. They haven't met since, though there is talk of hooking them up via an internet video link.
In the 50 minute documentary film Leary shares his views of what awaits him in the afterlife. Both he Kesey give extensive interviews about their thoughts on death.
"Most of the philosophers have run into this basic, human, taboo mystery: What happens after you die?" says Leary.
"Technically your in exactly the state that Buddhists say you should get into. Of detachment. There's no more body anymore. So forget the body. But the brain. Boom!" SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
Leary said "My interests are, as they have been in the past, been inner space and learning how to explore the two to 15 minutes between the time that your heart stops and your brain stops. I consider this new land. The new territory."
Kesey appears in the film as the voice of a skeleton who is familiar with what is beyond life.
"When Tim says, 'I've exhausted this planet's particular pleasures, I believe him,'" said Kesey. "And thou dost not stack up treasures in the land where the worm doth corrupt." SOUND: (MAC).....(IBM)
The film features music by The Grateful Dead. Directed by A.J. Catoline. Host/narrator O.B. Babbs, son of original Merry Prankster and author Ken Babbs. Produced by David Herman of On The Bus Productions. Distributed by FOX LORBER Home Video. A HAZARDOUS MEDIA Production. Email any comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org