WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2004
Must be interview month. They are calling and writing from the further regions wanting to know all they can squeeze out of me about everything that ever happened. Today I am in dutch. With a TV crew from Holland. I've been beating my brain for something clever and original but gave it up, drank some wine and had a good night's sleep, figgering in the grand tradition of Cassady, Leary, Kesey and other ad lib gurus, I will wing it, a true skypilot attribute. Same goes for this guy who emailed me. He's all over the place.
Ken: I am writing an article on the Acid Tests for L.A. Weekly. My focus will be on the Tests that took place in Los Angeles--primarily at the Onion church in Northridge and the Watts Youth Opportunities Center--and then weave in the 40th anniversary of the cross-country trip to the World's Fair and other pertinent Kesey/Prankster info. I'm also interested in knowing how you think our current involvement in world affairs (The War in Iraq) compares/contrasts with our involvement in Vietnam. Furthermore, I'm interested in getting your take on our society's increasingly widespread tendency to enjoy itself within the confines of home (pick up dinner, a movie at Blockbuster and close the garage door) versus back in the Prankster days, when everyone was letting it all hang out in the open. This, plus lots of other questions.
Are you available to discuss over the phone this week? I probably need about an hour of your time.
-- Michael Hoinski
Take your time. Take all the time you can, remembering time is money and if you need money seek no further than how much time you have on your hands or as grampa said, "Hold out both hands, shit in one and wish in the other and see which one fills up faster." Time waits for no man.
What's that other famous saying? Something about, sure, it will happen, it will happen when pigs fly. Well, we pilots know that is not an impossibility. It is a skypilotclub reality, one we participate in every day.
-- Capn Skyp
The interview is on. Michael, proving himself a participant, is joining skypilotclub so this will be between members, for members, and about members.
A very singular manner of curing madness-- to place the disordered in mind on the brink of a pool. The patient, having no intimation of what is intended, is, by a sudden blow on the breast, tumbled into the pool, where he is tossed up and down by some persons of superior strength, till, being quite debilitated, his Fury forsook him; he was then carried home and certain musical numbers sung over him. The Cornish call this Immersion Boosening, signifying to dip.
pic by Darrin Brenner-Rolat
Soothing mists on springs sprunginess
towering titans tumble forward
besieged by devilish tree roots
a forwarned forearm freakily phrunctured
time for an adult beverage and hole up
-- Wingman Nalaflow
We started the Dutch TV interview by singing America The Beautiful: spacious skies; amber waves of grain. Purple mountains. Fruited plain. And the best line in an American song: crown thy good with brotherhood. Thank you, Ray Charles for keeping the song alive. True patriotism, not like that wimpy God Bless America, ripoff of monarchy ass kissing.
The kleig lights and camera flummox people. Put them in front of the camera and they'll say and do anything and come out of it as shiny eyed as if they'd been kissed by the pope. We knew it from both ends, in front of and in back of the camera, and it always worked its magic.
When Kesey was talking Cassady into driving the bus to Madhattan in '64 he explained to Cassady that we were making a movie. Cassady puffed up like a bantam with his chest swelled out and, having a realistic idea of his dramatic worth, said, "You mean I'm going to be a movie star in my declining years?"
"There's nothing I'd rather do for you," Kesey told him.
During the interview we sang Home On The Range because that's what Kesey played on his harmonica on the stage at the Vietnam Day Protest in Berkeley in '65. At the end of the song we joined in with our tootle flutes and harmonica and when I finished my harp solo, George said, "Was that supposed to be Home On The Range?"
"Jazz version," I replied.
We also sang and played, "As you go through life make this your goal: watch the donut and not the hole," a song that was in Sometimes a Great Notion and one Kesey and his frat mates sang in college.
We thought we were done but the Hollanders wanted us to stay in the bus so they could shoot us from outside so we did a couple versions of Skypilot: when he passes through the sky, there's more to him than meets the eye." We had to do a couple versions because we botched up the first one so bad.
I stopped at the Jasper store on the way home. Got a fountain pepsi to go with the drap of rum I had in my shoulder bag. Went across the street and parked alongside the Willamette River. A tumbling waterfalll from a creek came gushing over the rocks. I downed the drink, got out and pitched the empty cup in a trash can and in a moment of exuberance raced down the hill to check out the waterfall. I leaped over the roots of a tree, one of the bastards reached up and grabbed me by the foot, and I went tumbling ass over teacups face first into the rocks alongside the creek.
Pain has a way of straightening you out even when you are hunched over barely able to walk the final few steps to give the waterfall a baleful hated look before clambering back to the car, teeth gritting, forearm that took the blow getting wet, from blood no doubt, but I wasn't going to look now. Forearmed but not forewarned, blinded by the light, and isn't it funny how just when you are careening into the heights of a fourth dimensional carnival ride, the third dimensional material world rises up to slap you down again. Hello, oh beautiful.
-- Capn Skyp
THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2004
As forewarned yesterday (forewarned is fourarmed as we say in pigeon skypilotese) we were in dutch with the tv interviewers but the interviewer was well versed in colloquial Americanese and all went swimingly, thanks to the bottle of wine George brought. Hoo, me? George is naysaying, never wont to hog the glory and pass the glass, please.
Here's the lineup for today's perfromance: Phil, George and Capn Skyp, along with
Zane. It turned out to be a very easy going affair with none of the searching, tricky, probing, going for the dirt questioning, but more of a free for all gab fest, with all of us tripping over each other's raps, filling in where one couldn't remember a pertinent detail, completing a thought that was lost in the telling, gone astray the way thoughts will when brought to the fore, and of course a song or two, for we are, after all a merry BAND of pranksters. "Yes," George said, "We have come a long ways. We used to drive people away by the hundreds but now we drive them away by the thousands." Was he speaking of driving the bus, I wondered, not willing to admit our musical prowess was ever anything less than classical.
John, the cameraman. He and Ray are from San Francisco, hired for the shoot. Anelique and Tsooska are roaming the country doing a special for their TV station in Holland, the subject being the 60's in America and we covered the gamut, expostulating on the events of the 60's and the good things that were started then and still going on: the civil rights movement, the green movement, women's lib, love peace and happiness and we talked about the downers of the Kennedy assassination and Martin Luther King and then related some good stories about Vietnam and the peace movement but when Tsooska asked about sex drugs and rock and roll we had to shamefacedly admit we were in the dark about that (ha ha in the dark, becuz that's where it all happened, according to my music scene friends).
We squeezed inside the bus, three on the bench seat behind the driver's seat where George sat (can't see him, the sly bugger). Phil stood in the stairwell and took these pictures. It was a verbal free for all, everyone talking at once, filling the bus with so much hot air we were stripping off our clothes and a good thing no one lit a match.
Tooske asked Zane what it was like gowing up in his family with all these characters around all the time. He said it seemed perfectly normal to him and he couldn't figure out why someone at school called him a hippy so he asked his mom, "What's a hippy?" and she replied, "It's someone Jesus loves," and he said he was okay with that.
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