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Keith Millea
03-22-2011, 12:48 AM
Oh My!!!http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n152/KLM_010/smilies/smokinpeace.gif


Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place

(Docu)

By John Anderson (http://www.variety.com/biography/2792)

Read other reviews about this film (http://www.variety.com/jumplink.asp?target=http://www.mrqe.com/varietyref?id=VE1117944365&sponsor=MRQE&loc=MRQE)
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A History Films presentation in association with Optimum Releasing, Imaginary Forces and Jigsaw Prods. Produced by Will Clarke, Alex Gibney, Alexandra Johnes. Executive producers, David McKillop, Molly Thompson, Robert Belau, David Kowitz , Gareth Wiley. Co-producer, Zane Kesey. Directors, writers, Alex Gibney, Alison Ellwood.

With: Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs, Neal Cassady, Gretchen Fetchen, Allen Ginsberg, Stark Naked. Narrator: Stanley Tucci.

The counter-cultural equivalent of an archaeological dig -- or maybe an acid flashback -- "Magic Trip" is Alex Gibney and Allison Ellwood's reconstruction of the LSD-fueled, bus trip-cum-rolling revolution of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, long pinpointed as the start of the psychedelic '60s. Fans of the subject matter, especially students of the Beat era, will find this revisionist reconstruction indispensible; others will share the same tedium claimed by some of the principals on the bus. Nevertheless, doc is like a hipster's King Tut's tomb, and History Films' involvement assures cable exposure. Arthouse openings also seem likely.

As explained early on in "Magic Trip," Kesey and his crew decided to film their journey -- begun on the West Coast and aimed like a misguided missile at the New York World's Fair -- and bought the cameras to do it. But they didn't think, or know how, to synch sound, so Gibney and his longtime editor Ellwood were faced with an editor's nightmare -- miles of film, and no indication of who was saying what or when. As narrator Stanley Tucci informs us in the opening chapters of the film, the Pranksters spent 40 years trying to edit it before Kesey simply put it away.

The solution for Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side," "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer") and his longtime editor Ellwood was commentary that the group recorded post-Trip, while viewing the raw footage. These voices provide the soundtrack for the film, along with questions interjected 45 years later by Tucci, and a musical score that eschews psychedelic rock for the music of the period -- Ike Turner, Dion, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane.

The Pranksters -- who included novelist Robert Stone, Beat icon Neal Cassady (the model for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's "On the Road") and passengers with such nicknames as Stark Naked, Intrepid Traveler and Swashbuckler (Kesey) -- were never proto-hippies: They were post-Beatniks, with a far greater affinity for the intellectual adventurism of the late '50s than the free-love ethos of the late '60s (not that there wasn't a lot of love aboard the bus). Kesey was a novelist with two acclaimed books ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Sometimes a Great Notion"), and all had approached LSD not so much to get high, but in search of enlightenment. (The film does go into protracted detail about the history of LSD and, during one particularly lengthy episode, a recording Kesey made while taking a government-sanctioned trip.)

The real bus trip was a relatively anonymous event, although much of what came out of it became part of the cultural infrastructure (yes, the Grateful Dead and their involvement with Kesey is part of the conversation here). The Prankster mythology was really thrust into the mainstream by Tom Wolfe and his nonfiction novel "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," which came out in 1968 and inspired all manner of tuning in, turning on and dropping out. There's no mention of Wolfe in the film, but what Gibney and Ellwood are re-creating is of a moment, and predates the book's publication.

Production values are largely irrelevant, given the homemovie aesthetic, but the use of period archival footage and music are terrific, and the animation by Imaginary Forces is often quite clever.

Camera (color/B&W, 16mm); editor, Ellwood; music, David Kahne; music supervisor, John McCullough; associate producers, Sam Black, Susan Johnson; design/animation, Imaginary Forces. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Premieres), Jan. 21, 2011. Running time: 90 MIN.

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944365/

Magda Hassan
03-22-2011, 01:06 AM
a government-sanctioned [LSD] trip
Oh, man, that brings up some strange images.....

Keith Millea
03-22-2011, 02:04 AM
I better get tickets soon if I want on the bus........:hitball:

http://www.mcdonaldtheatre.com/event_info/kesey-magic-trip.html

Keith Millea
08-10-2011, 08:52 PM
Ken Kesey’s Pranksters Take to the Big Screen


It took an Oscar-winning director to make sense of the drug-addled footage shot by the enigmatic author and his Merry Pranksters

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Ken-Keseys-Pranksters-Take-to-the-Big-Screen.html#ixzz1Uez4IlBm (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Ken-Keseys-Pranksters-Take-to-the-Big-Screen.html#ixzz1Uez4IlBm)


View More Photos » (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Ken-Keseys-Pranksters-Take-to-the-Big-Screen.html?c=y&page=2#)
http://media.smithsonianmag.com/images/Magic-Trip-Ken-Kesey-on-bus-631.jpg (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Ken-Keseys-Pranksters-Take-to-the-Big-Screen.html?c=y&page=2#)In 1963, author Ken Kesey came up with the idea of leading a cross-country bus trip from California to New York.

Ted Streshinsky / Corbis

Before there was a Summer of Love, before the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” became a counterculture rallying cry, before Easy Rider and the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey set out on a journey to free America from a society he believed had grown intolerant and fearful. The success of his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, whose anti-hero Randle McMurphy rebelled against conformity, gave Kesey the financial freedom to test his theories in public.

In 1963, the author was in New York attending rehearsals of a Broadway adaptation of Cuckoo’s Nest when he came up with the idea of leading a cross-country bus trip from California to the world’s fair, which would open the following year in New York. He was inspired in part by On the Road, the 1957 novel by Jack Kerouac that raised “road trip” to an art form. Kesey would use his journey not only to discover a “real” America where rugged individualism and a frontier ethos still reigned, but to show a new way to live, one free of outdated norms and conventions.

Back in California, Kesey and his friends, who would call themselves “The Merry Band of Pranksters,” outfitted a school bus for the journey, adding a generator, building a rooftop turret, and daubing the bus with psychedelic paint. Kesey cemented his connection to Kerouac by asking Neal Cassady to fill the “Dean Moriarty” role from On the Road and drive the bus.

The Pranksters’ journey led them through the deserts of Arizona to the Louisiana bayous, from the Florida Everglades to the streets of Harlem. Along the way Kesey met with the Beats and with Timothy Leary, but found their vision of society as disappointing as the corporate future on display at the world’s fair.

Kesey purchased state-of-the-art 16-millimeter motion picture cameras and crystal-synch tape recorders to document his journey. The resulting 40 hours of film and audio form the basis of Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, a new documentary directed by Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood.

Gibney points out that none of Kesey’s footage had been screened properly before. For one thing, filming during the trip was a haphazard process. “They were farm kids,” Gibney (whose films include Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side) explains. “They had great confidence in machinery, and a great skepticism of experts.” The Pranksters felt they could figure out the equipment themselves, and in fact did manage to achieve good exposures with the notoriously difficult 16-millimeter reversal stock. But they never mastered synchronizing their sound to film.

“Every time you run a camera and an audio recorder simultaneously, you have to make a synch point,” Gibney says. “Over the 100 hours of footage, Kesey’s people did that exactly once, when they hired a professional sound person in New York, who would put up with them for only one day. My co-director and editor Alison Ellwood had to comb through the footage looking for a bump or a clap or someone pronouncing ‘p’ in order to find a synch point. But even when she did, there was another problem. Since the Pranksters were running the recorder off the bus generator, which would pulse according to how fast they were driving, the sound and picture would go out of synch almost immediately. We even hired a lip reader at one point to help.”

And while Kesey showed some of the footage during his “Acid Trip” parties immortalized in Tom Wofle’s best-selling 1968 book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, for the most part, the films and audiotapes remained in storage. By the time Kesey’s son Zane granted Gibney access to the material, it had suffered from decades of neglect. Backing from the Film Foundation helped pay for restoration and preservation work at the UCLA Film and Television Archives.

What Gibney and Ellwood discovered when the footage was finally ready for editing was more than a time capsule and more than a nostalgic trip back to the ’60s. For all their miscues and technical glitches, Kesey and the Pranksters recorded an America on the verge of tremendous change, but also a country surprisingly open and friendly to a ragtag group of wanderers. “Hippies” had yet to be defined, drugs were still under the radar and observers seemed to be bemused rather than threatened by the Pranksters. Gibney notes that they were stopped by police a half-dozen times, but never received a traffic ticket—even though Cassady lacked a driver’s license.


“What they were doing was glorious, fun and magical in the best sense of the word,” Gibney says. The director sees Kesey as an artist and adventurer who was at heart a family man, the coach of his local school football and soccer teams. “In a way, the bus trip is kind of Kesey’s art piece,” Gibney argues. “I think part of his mission was to be a kind of Pied Piper for a country that was just enveloped in fear. He was saying, ‘Come out of your bomb shelter. Have fun. Don’t be trapped in a maze.’”

Gibney agrees that Kesey was attracted to the chaos of the journey, a chaos amplified by the extraordinary amounts of drugs consumed by the Pranksters.
Unlike many of his followers, Kesey tried to use drugs to explore his personality, not to repeat the same experiences. “You take the drug to stop taking the drug,” he said.

“He was talking about enlightenment,” Gibney explains. “At one point Kesey says, ‘I didn’t want to be the ball, I wanted to be the quarterback.’ He’s trying to gently guide this trip to become a sort of mythic journey rather than just, you know, a keg party.”

In execution, the trip turned into an extended binge, with the Pranksters using any excuse to drink, smoke and drop acid. Early on Cassady swerves the bus off an Arizona highway into a swamp. Kesey and his companions take LSD and play in the muck while waiting for a tow truck to rescue them. Whether visiting author Larry McMurtry in Texas or poet Allen Ginsberg in New York, the Pranksters—as their name implies—become a disruptive force, leaving casualties behind as they set off on new adventures. For viewers today who know the effects of hallucinogens, the sight of Kesey passing around a carton of orange juice laced with LSD is chilling.
Kesey and his companions returned to California by a different route, a slower, more contemplative journey. Gibney likes this section of the film best. By now the camerawork, so frustrating in the opening passages, feels more accomplished. The imagery is sharper, the compositions tighter. The Pranksters detour through Yellowstone, drop acid by a mountain lake in the Rockies, and drift through beautiful but secluded landscapes. Back at his ranch at La Honda, California, Kesey would screen his film at extended "Acid Test" parties, where the music was often provided by a group called the Warlocks-soon to evolve into the Grateful Dead.
Gibney came away from the project with a greater appreciation for Kesey’s presence. “He’s a Knight of the Round Table and a comic book figure all at once, a classic American psychedelic superhero. He’s got the barrel chest of a wrestler, and when he puts on a cowboy hat, he’s like Paul Newman. But there’s always something bedrock, Western, sawmill about the guy.”

Magic Trip lets you participate vicariously in one of the founding moments of a new counterculture. Directors Gibney and Elwood give you a front row seat to the all-night drives, bleary parties, sexual experimentation, mechanical breakdowns, breathtaking vistas, Highway Patrol stops and even the occasional compelling insight into society and its problems. In a sense this is where hippies started, and also where their movement started to fail.

Magic Trip opens Friday, August 5, in selected cities, and is also available on demand at www.magictripmovie.com (http://www.magictripmovie.com/).


Movie Trailor:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-G_OdTgsu40

Magda Hassan
08-11-2011, 01:53 AM
Keith, have you got a ticket to ride yet? We'd love your review when you reach the destination. :hippy:

Gary Severson
08-11-2011, 09:22 PM
POST SAYS:
Before there was a Summer of Love, before the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” became a counterculture rallying cry, before Easy Rider and the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey set out on a journey to free America from a society he believed had grown intolerant and fearful. The success of his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, whose anti-hero Randle McMurphy rebelled against conformity, gave Kesey the financial freedom to test his theories in public.


Back 73 I met Kesey in N.Dak. at a writer's conference and he told me this story. He said he made money off of the book but not a nickel off of the film, Cuckoo's Nest. He didn't see the small print in the contract that said if he was ever caught with as much as a marijuana seed he would forfeit all royalties to the film. He was stopped for a routine traffic stop and a seed was found in his ash tray that he hadn't used. Producer Michael Douglas is the one Kesey blamed for this scam.

Keith Millea
08-12-2011, 06:29 PM
Keith, have you got a ticket to ride yet? We'd love your review when you reach the destination. :hippy:

Magda:

The movie only opened in a few selected cities so far.What is interesting,is that this will eventually make it to cable tv because the History channel is involved.Of course,then we'll see the DVD release which will be on my shelf for sure.It might be a hard movie to review,as I think most of the footage is probably rather silly stuff.It's historical value though,is imeasurable,as seen by the interest of the Smithsonian.

Being a Kesey junkie,I'm pretty stoked..........

Jan Klimkowski
08-12-2011, 07:10 PM
Back 73 I met Kesey in N.Dak. at a writer's conference and he told me this story. He said he made money off of the book but not a nickel off of the film, Cuckoo's Nest. He didn't see the small print in the contract that said if he was ever caught with as much as a marijuana seed he would forfeit all royalties to the film. He was stopped for a routine traffic stop and a seed was found in his ash tray that he hadn't used. Producer Michael Douglas is the one Kesey blamed for this scam.

As Gordon Gekko opined in Wall Street: "It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another."

Gary Severson
08-13-2011, 12:20 AM
I hadn't thought of that but yes Douglas was playing himself.

Keith Millea
08-13-2011, 01:28 AM
A couple of years ago,I posted up a memorial to Ken Kesey,which can be found at the link below:

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?2599-Ken-Kesey-Further-Along


As Gordon Gekko opined in Wall Street: "It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another."

How about this story.........

The father of Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart,was the bands financial manager.One day,he up and disappeared with his girlfriend AND all the bands earnings.Mickey was so distraught that he quit the band for a couple of years.

Magda Hassan
08-13-2011, 01:35 AM
The author of Forest Gump was gazumped as well. His useless lawyer made a film rights contract based on $350,000 plus 3% net not gross profits of the film. Naturally, Hollywood accounting made sure the film made a loss.