George Condo, Internal Space 2005

"Our research has almost limitless possibilities for the expansion of the human mind," say Leary and Alpert, and they plan to pursue that expansion through their federation as long as their supplies of psilocybin hold out."
Time, March 29, 1963 "Psychic Research: LSD"
"By last fall, it became clear that some psychiatrists and some investigators who were supposed to be experimenting only with animals were slipping LSD to unqualified buddies, who were using the drug for kicks. In Los Angeles, beatniks and assorted addicts lapped the stuff up, buying (for $1 apiece) lumps of sugar in which a drop of the potent raw material had been absorbed. Leary and Alpert, in their Harvard days, got a supply of psilocybin from Sandoz. Then, under last October's amendments to the Food and Drug Act, came stricter control. Sandoz, in an earnest effort to keep the drugs out of unlawful channels, promptly cut down its clientele to animal experimenters and scientists who are getting federal or state grants for research with human subjects." Time, March 29, 1963 "Psychic Research: LSD"
"This journal is published and sponsored by the International Federation for Internal Freedom (IFIF), an organization whose purpose is 'to encourage, support and protect research on psychedelic substances.' The basic long-range goal of IFIF is to work to increase the individual's control over his own mind, thereby enlarging his internal freedom. The present journal is an attempt to contribute to the realization of this long-term objective." IFIF Statement of Purpose, June 1963.


The Acid Feed

NY Post, March 24, 2011


I traveled deep into the buried regions of the mind. I discovered that in addition to being, consciously, a loving mother and respectable citizen, I was, unconsciously, a murderess, a pervert, a cannibal, a sadist and a masochist.

–Constance A Newland (Themla Moss), 1962

Letter from Laura Huxley to Julian Huxley 16 days after Aldous Huxley’s death

Then I don’t know exactly what time it was, he asked for his tablet and wrote, “Try LSD 100 intramuscular.” Suddenly something became very clear to me. I knew that we were together again after this torturous talking of the last two months. I knew then, I knew what was to be done. I went quickly into the cupboard in the other room where Dr. Bernstein was, and the TV which had just announced the shooting of Kennedy. I took the LSD and said, “I am going to give him a shot of LSD, he asked for it.”

The doctor had a moment of agitation because you know very well the uneasiness about this drug in the medical mind. Then he said, “All right, at this point what is the difference.” Whatever he had said, no “authority,” not even an army of authorities could have stopped me then. I went into Aldous’ room with the vial of LSD and prepared a syringe. The doctor asked me if I wanted him to give him the shot—maybe because he saw that my hands were trembling.

His asking me that made me conscious of my hands, and I said, “No I must do this.” I quieted myself, and when I gave him the shot my hands were very firm. Then, somehow, a great relief came to us both. I believe it was 11:20 when I gave him his first shot of 100 microgrammes. I sat near his bed and I said, “Darling, maybe in a little while I will take it with you. Would you like me to take it also in a little while?” I said a little while because I had no idea of when I should or could take it, in fact I have not been able to take it to this writing because of the condition around me. And he indicated “yes.”

We must keep in mind that by now he was speaking very, very little. Then I said, “Would you like Matthew to take it with you also? And he said, “Yes.” “What about Ellen?” He said, “Yes.” Then I mentioned two or three people who had been working with LSD and he said, “No, no, basta, basta.” Then I said, “What about Jinny?” And he said, “Yes,” with emphasis. Then we were quiet. I just sat there without speaking for a while.

After half an hour, the expression on his face began to change a little, and I asked him if he felt the effect of LSD, and he indicated no. Yet, I think that a something had taken place already. This was one of Aldous’ characteristics. He would always delay acknowledging the effect of any medicine, even when the effect was quite certainly there, unless the effect was very, very stong he would say no.

Now, the expression of his face was beginning to look as it did every time that he had the moksha medicine, when this immense expression of complete bliss and love would come over him. This was not the case now, but there was a change in comparison to what his face had been two hours ago. I let another half hour pass, and then I decided to give him another 100 mg. I told him I was going to do it, and he acquiesced. I gave him another shot, and then I began to talk to him. He was very quiet now; he was very quiet and his legs were getting colder; higher and higher I could see purple areas of cynosis.

Then I began to talk to him, saying, “Light and free,” Some of these thing I told him at night in these last few weeks before he would go to sleep, and now I said it more convincingly, more intensely—“go, go, let go, darling; forward and up. You are going forward and up; you are going towards the light. Willing and consciously you are going, willingly and consciously, and you are doing this beautifully; you are doing this so beautifully —you are going towards the light; you are going towards a greater love; you are going forward and up. It is so easy; it is so beautiful. You are doing it so beautifully, so easily. Light and free. Forward and up. You are going towards Maria’s love with my love. You are going towards a greater love than you have ever known. You are going towards the best, the greatest love, and it is easy, it is so easy, and you are doing it so beautifully.”

Once I asked him, “Do you hear me?” He squeezed my hand. He was hearing me. I was tempted to ask more questions, but in the morning he had begged me not to ask any more question, and the entire feeling was that things were right.

Later on I asked the same question, but the hand didn’t move any more. Now from two o’clock until the time he died, which was five-twenty, there was complete peace except for once. That must have been about three-thirty or four, when I saw the beginning of struggle in his lower lip. His lower lip began to move as if it were going to be a struggle for air. Then I gave the direction even more forcefully.

“It is easy, and you are doing this beautifully and willingly and consciously, in full awareness, in full awareness, darling, you are going towards the light.” I repeated these or similar words for the last three or four hours.

Once in a while my own emotion would overcome me, but if it did I immediately would leave the bed for two or three minutes, and would come back only when I could dismiss my emotion. The twitching of the lower lip lasted only a little bit, and it seemed to respond completely to what I was saying. “Easy, easy, and you are doing this willingly and consciously and beautifully—going forward and up, light anf free, forward and up towards the light, into the light, into complete love.” The twitching stopped, the breating became slower and slower, and there was absolutely not the slightest indication of contraction, of struggle. it was just that the breathing became slower—and slower—and slower, and at five-twenty the breathing stopped.

–8 December 1963



Accidental overdoses. Halfhearted stints in rehab. Martin Sheen’s teary-eyed press conference. The briefcase full of coke. The Mercedes towed out of the ravine. The misdemeanor third-degree assault on the third wife, who also went to rehab. Sheen allegedly threatening to cut off same wife’s head, put it in a box, send it to her mother. Sheen chain smoking on TMZ. The priceless dialogue. (On CBS executives: “They lay down with their ugly wives in front of their ugly children and look at their loser lives.”) The September 11 conspiracy theories. Shooting Kelly Preston in the arm. Fucking porn stars Ginger Lynn and Heather Hunter and Bree Olson. Compared with Cruise, Sheen has put on a mesmerizing and refreshing display of midlife-crisis honesty. He’s just himself, an addict—take it or leave it. It’s thrilling watching someone call out the solemnity of the celebrity interview, and Sheen is loudly calling it out as the sham it is. He’s raw and lucid and intense: the most fascinating person wandering through the culture.
–Brett Easton Ellis on Charlie Sheen

Owsley "The Bear" Stanley - January 19, 1935 - March 13, 2011

"The name Owsley became a noun that appears in the Oxford dictionary as English street slang for good acid. It is the most famous brand name in LSD history. Probably the first private individual to manufacture the psychedelic, "Owsley" is a folk hero of the counterculture, celebrated in songs by the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan.

Bear studied ballet, acting and Russian, worked in jet propulsion labs as well as radio and television, and then entered UC Berkeley in 1963, but lasted less than a year. He found the recipe for making LSD in the Journal of Organic Chemistry at the UC Berkeley library. Soon after, Bear began to cook acid. By conservative estimates, Bear Research Group made more than 1.25 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967, essentially seeding the entire modern psychedelic movement.

Less well known are Bear’s contributions to rock concert sound. As the original sound mixer for the Grateful Dead, he was responsible for fundamental advances in audio technology, things as basic now as monitor speakers that allow vocalists to hear
themselves onstage.

"We'd never thought about high-quality PAs," says the Dead's Weir. "There was no such thing until Bear started making one."

Bear made the first public address system specifically dedicated to music in 1966. If he was the first concert sound engineer in rock music to take his job seriously, his habit of making tape recordings of the shows he mixed also gave the Dead an unprecedented archive of live recordings dating back to the band's first days. Many of Bear's tapes have been turned into albums.

As a sound mixer, Bear holds equally strict viewpoints, insisting that the most effective rock concert systems should have only a single source of sound, his argument quickly veering into the realm of psycho-acoustics.

"The PA can only be in one spot," he says. "All the sounds have to come from a single place because the human brain is carrying around the most sophisticated sound processing of any computer or living creature. It equals the bats that fly by echo. It equals the dolphins. It equals the owls that hunt at night without any daylight at all. It is a superb system for locating and separating one sound from everything else."

He keeps up with the music scene -- he singles out Wolfmother and the Arctic Monkeys as new bands he likes. "Any time the music on the radio starts to sound like rubbish, it's time to take some LSD," he says." (SF Gate 2007)


Brotherhood of Eternal Love bust 1973

the shake and bake method

"You've got Coleman fuel, you've got ammodium nitrate, you've got lithium strips, so virtually what you have is a bomb."


drugs on film / film on drugs

GASPAR NOÉ: In Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, the priest or the shaman is giving a magic drink to all of the people around him, and I was surprised to read in some books about you, that he's giving them yage. I've done yage many times in the jungle in Peru, and it's a drink that is full of DMT. Have you ever done yourself chemical DMT? Or have you drunk ayahuasca?

KENNETH ANGER: No, neither one. I've read about them, but I've never tried them. I don't go out of my way to seek that sort of thing. But yage is from South America, isn't it? I tried peyote, which makes me kind of ill before it clears up. But that takes all night.

NOÉ: Have you tried it many times?

ANGER: A few times. I haven't taken any drugs, of any kind, in years. It was an experimental period in an earlier part of my life.

NOÉ: They open your mind, if you don't lose your mind.

ANGER: Well, one thing you cannot do—once, I tried to film when I was on LSD. And I had very good LSD in the early days, because I was a friend in San Francisco of Owsley Stanley, the famous chemist. And in the early days, it was just a drop of it on a sugar cube. So I had very good LSD, but the problem was—I tried making a film, or doing some filming, when I was on LSD, and it's impossible. I couldn't focus. I tried focusing, but when I looked through the lens, I'd see all different layers of focus, and I couldn't find which was the real one behind the camera. And I just thought, this does not work, and I never tried that again.

NOÉ: I have a heavy question... What is the essence of cinema for you? Is it reproducing the language of dreams, or creating a shamanistic trance?

ANGER: I think it's basically quite different from dreams. If only cinema was that easy. Because dreams, all you have to do is fall asleep, and you can have fantastic vision. I know Baudelaire and people like that enhance their dreams with opium or something. But films are very constructed—they're like architecture. They're pieced together, glued together. To me, it's a craft. It's like making a tapestry. And I prefer to think of it—you know, um, the sweat is supposed to be invisible. But a lot of sweat can go into making a film. But of course, if you enjoy doing it, you enjoy doing it. I will go on cutting for three days without sleeping. You can have everything from a realistic story with recognizable people, or...

I actually love the Italian neo-realist films, and in some ways they seem very dreamlike. You know, the early Rossellini and so forth... But you can have a very expensive dream, which is quite beautifully done, which is like Cameron's Avatar, which you probably saw. Did you see it?

NOÉ: Yes.

ANGER: Well, that can be considered like a dream, a very expensive dream. I prefer simpler things.

(Interview Magazine)


turning on

The upsurge in drug taking is intimately related to the impact of the electric media. Look at the metaphor for getting high: turning on. One turns on his consciousness through drugs just as he opens up all his senses to a total depth involvement by turning on the TV dial. Drug taking is stimulated by today's pervasive environment of instant information, with its feedback mechanism of the inner trip. The inner trip is not the sole prerogative of the LSD traveler; it's the universal experience of TV watchers. LSD is a way of miming the invisible electronic world; it releases a person from acquired verbal and visual habits and reactions, and gives the potential of instant and total involvement, both all-at-onceness and all-at-oneness, which are the basic needs of people translated by electric extensions of their central nervous systems out of the old rational, sequential value system. The attraction to hallucinogenic drugs is a means of achieving empathy with our penetrating electric environment, an environment that in itself is a drugless inner trip.

Drug taking is also a means of expressing rejection of the obsolescent mechanical world and values. And drugs often stimulate a fresh interest in artistic expression, which is primarily of the audile-tactile world. The hallucinogenic drugs, as chemical simulations of our electric environment, thus revive senses long atrophied by the overwhelmingly visual orientation of the mechanical culture. LSD and related hallucinogenic drugs, furthermore, breed a highly tribal and communally oriented subculture, so it's understandable why the retribalized young take to drugs like a duck to water.

PLAYBOY: A Columbia coed was recently quoted in Newsweek as equating you and LSD. "LSD doesn't mean anything until you consume it," she said. "Likewise McLuhan." Do you see any similarities?

MCLUHAN: I'm flattered to hear my work described as hallucinogenic, but I suspect that some of my academic critics find me a bad trip.

PLAYBOY: Have you ever taken LSD yourself?

MCLUHAN: No, I never have. I'm an observer in these matters, not a participant. I had an operation last year to remove a tumor that was expanding my brain in a less pleasant manner, and during my prolonged convalescence I'm not allowed any stimulant stronger than coffee. Alas! A few months ago, however, I was almost "busted" on a drug charge. On a plane returning from Vancouver, where a university had awarded me an honorary degree, I ran into a colleague who asked me where I'd been. "To Vancouver to pick up my LL. D.," I told him. I noticed a fellow passenger looking at me with a strange expression, and when I got off the plane at Toronto Airport, two customs guards pulled me into a little room and started going over my luggage. "Do you know Timothy Leary?" one asked. I replied I did and that seemed to wrap it up for him. "All right," he said. "Where's the stuff? We know you told somebody you'd gone to Vancouver to pick up some LL. D." After a laborious dialog, I persuaded him that an LL. D. has nothing to do with consciousness expansion--just the opposite, in fact--and I was released. Of course, in light of the present educational crisis, I'm not sure there isn't something to be said for making possession of an LL. D. a felony.

"Sheen takes a swig from a bottle labeled "Tiger Blood." It's become a popular phrase since Sheen said his formula for "winning" is "tiger blood and Adonis DNA."

Leonard Freed, 1970

they come in grams—cocaine

Andy Warhol, A, A Novel



Welcome to the glamorous world of cocaine

Helmut Newton, 1988


Pop culture used to be like LSD—different, eye-opening and reasonably dangerous. It’s now like crack—isolating, wasteful and with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
–Peter Saville