Here's a story I wrote for a Timothy Leary art show coming up in L.A. That's Tim on the left shaking hands with his old nemesis, Gordon Liddy. Liddy led the team that busted Leary at Millbrook, New York. The man in the middle is Hunter Thompson who is always shooting things down.
-- Capn Skyp
WHAT'S YOUR HANDICAP? by Ken "Capn Skyp" Babbs
Tim Leary was a great psychedelic pioneer and teacher and sharp witted Irishman and also a family man.
When we looked for a parking place he saw the handicapped spot open and said, "Park there."
I said, "Can't do that, we're not handicapped."
"I am," he said.
"Oh yeah, what's your handicap?"
"Brain damage. Too many drugs."
We parked someplace else and walked in. We were at the Oregon UCLA football game in Eugene. My son O.B. was on the Oregon team and Tim wanted to know all about him, what his number was, what position he played, offense or defense, good blocker, good tackler, everything he could find out.
By the third quarter we were freezing. A cold wind came roaring through the stadium and rain was whipping sideways. I looked over at Tim. He had a big smile on his face and was shaking with the cold. His lips were shivering. "Here, Tim." I gave him my big down filled winter jacket. Tim Leary had a smile that could light up a stadium.
After the game we went to my son O.B.'s apartment where he roomed with some of the other football players. The other parents were in the kitchen raising hell because Oregon had blown the game in the last minute on a long pass UCLA threw for a touchdown. Tim was sitting in the living room on a raggedy couch talking quietly to the students. After a while we shook hands all around and left. As we went out the door I heard one of the players tell his dad, "That's Timothy Leary." The dad could give a rat's ass. He was thowing down a beer grousing about the game.
Whenever I would call Tim during his last days he would always talk about that game and how great it was to meet the kids. The Babbs boys he called them. By then O.B. was living in L.A. and went to Tim's house whenever he had the chance. Tim said he could always tell when O.B. was there. He could hear O.B. and his friends in the other room, laughing and yakking while playing pool and it always cheered him up.
Light Space Gallery presents an intimate "flashback" into the world of
23 Drawings by Timothy Leary and Other Works opens on Saturday, April 26,
with a reception from 6 to 9 pm, and runs through June 7.
In the last year of his life, Leary made 23 playful artworks based on his
most famous Bartlett's Quotations slogan, the 60's youth movement rallying
cry: "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out." It is the first time this previously
private collection has been exhibited.
Complementing these uninhibited self-explorations are artworks by Robert
Williams, Kenny Scharf, and Dean Chamberlain; raw home video by Leary
residents Joey Cavella and Chris Graves; contributions from
Ram Dass, Michael Horowitz, Winona Ryder, Paul Krassner, Ralph Metzner, Laura
Huxley, John Perry Barlow, Tom Robbins, Douglas Rushkoff, Alex Grey, Genesis
P. Orridge, R.U. Sirius, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Keith Haring, Tom Davis, Denis Berry, Brummbaer, Michael Segel, Coco Conn, Ken Babbs and other friends of Leary's; and a tableau vivant of authentic Leary artifacts and handwritten papers.
For decades, Leary enjoyed friendships with many talented artists. He cheered
them on, shared inspired exchanges and collaborated with them. These
drawings came about when Leary approached artist/photographer Dean
Chamberlain, who suggested the media and topic. What resulted were
"word-plays" ranging from witty streams of consciousness to altered states of
Timothy Leary (1920-1996) had an enormously varied career as West Point
cadet, clinical psychologist, psychedelic drug researcher, activist
philosopher, generational icon, sloganeer, man-of-letters, gubernatorial
candidate, prison convict, escapee and exile, stand-up comedian, personal
computer advocate, lecturer and entertainer. He used virtually every form of
media available - books, interviews, records and tapes, video and film,
lectures and stage performances, bumperstickers, computer software, and the
Internet, which he anticipated and declared just as influential as the
psychedelic experience. His autobiography, Flashbacks, vividly describes his
Light Space Gallery is located in Venice at 1732 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, just
south of Venice Boulevard. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday,
noon - 6 pm, and by appointment.
For more information, call 310-301-6969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Years ago, I mean when I was still a teenager, I read
Leary's book "The Politics of Ecstasy."
Leary seemed to dance like a wee neon leprechaun upon
dendrites of conciousness, and to spiral down strands
of DNA like a fireman sliding down an endless barber
pole. Dazzling psychedelic illustrations purported to
be maps of conciousness exuded bliss tinged with
My teenage sensibilities were soon strewn like suits
and ties in a bordello foyer, and my pupils opened
wide enough to engulf a sizable chunk of the Milky
As promised, I turned to vapor and floated through
every chink in my armour, which, empty, crashed to the
floor. All of the programming, the love and care of my
parents, the expense of Catholic education and the
cheapness of television, everything lay in a heap next
to a puzzled vapor cloud.
Capn, I tell you it was difficult to reestablish some
vision of what the point might be when it became
self-evident that it is all pointless. Leary's book
indeed became the most useful chart when sailing that
colorful sea, for there is fearlessness of depths when
one knows the whereabouts of shoals.
I am concerned for anyone who
makes the journey upon that paisley pond, who zaps
through the spirals, rides DNA to the beginning of
time and then shoots like a spitball out into the
motley zones of future extrapolations.
Timothy Leary's charts are molding in dank, fishy
bookshops down by the wharf. Where can a kid get a
Capn, here's my point: I think we should sell
psychedelic compasses. We could probably raise enough
money for a really neat clubhouse.
-- Skypilotclubber Airy Ace
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