2 min read
This video reminds me of a couple documentaries I saw over the past month. The Source Family depicts a "radical experiment in '70s utopian living", involving sex, drugs, surprisingly not-bad rock 'n roll, and health food restaurants. I found the whole scene around Father Yod unexpectedly gripping viewing, even if the narrative arc of euphoria to disillusion had a certain grim inevitability to it. (Then again, many of the Family still view the experience in surprisingly positive terms.) I also saw The Magic Trip, and again was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I'm a fan of Ken Kesey, but had read and seen so much about the Merry Pranksters over the years I doubted there was much that could feel fresh to me. But Don Fleming and others have restored the audio and for the first time synched it to the jumble of film that the Pranksters shot on their voyages. That, and the vivid quality of the visuals gives the footage an immediate and even contemporary feel to it... Worth watching for the Neal Cassady raps behind the wheel alone.
One other thing I like about the J Mascis video above is how it implies the countercultural transition from "back to the garden" hippiedom to Silicon Valley capitalism, documented by Fred Turner's From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism and John Markoff's What the Dormouse Said.