It’s A Revolution Mother also known as Biker Babylon is a 1968 mondo documentary about bikers, peaceniks and hippies.
The motorcycle club that is the subject of this shocking expose is the New York-based Aliens. Some of the footage looks like it was shot on the Lower East Side near the Hell’s Angels’ headquarters on East Third St. But the Angels are much classier than this lot.
The hippie music fest looks like a low-rent Woodstock as imagined by Herschell Gordon Lewis -2000 Maniacs on acid. It took place somewhere in Florida. There’s no band footage, so it’s hard to tell exactly what festival this was. I guess the film makers didn’t have it in their budget to pay for any music licensing. The mud was free.
Beyond the lurid biker shit and anthropological shots of hippies in their natural habitat (swampland), what makes this ripe chunk of schlock worth watching is the hardboiled prose of the narrator. Sounding like a combination of Sgt. Joe Friday, Philip Marlowe and Raoul Duke, this guy is more fired up than an amphetamine-crazed frog on a hotplate.
Here are some highlights and lowlights from the end of the sixties.
The Museum of Anti-Alcohol Posters showcases an array of posters from the Soviet-era. From a design standpoint, these illustrations are really cool, but I wonder if they were truly effective with getting their message across to Friends of Bill???
Two of the planet’s most dangerous minds, Timothy Leary and Paul Krassner, meet in a video shot by Nancy Cain, Paul’s wife, a few months before Leary’s death.
There is an aura of sadness (perhaps mine) laced with much humor and hope in this intimate video. Understandably wistful and distracted at times (he’s dying), Leary becomes most alive when talking about death. He seems to be genuinely excited about exploring the psychedelic possibilities of the final frontier (or is it?), the ultimate out-of-body experience, THE death trip. In these moments you see the fearless shaman who always embraced expanding his realities, regardless of public outcry or legal persecution. And it is both moving and inspiring.
In an e-mail message to Dangerous Minds, Nancy reminisced about Leary and that day in September of 1995:
Paul and Timothy had been friends since the early days at Millbrook when the famous LSD experiments took place. Now that Timothy had inoperable prostate cancer that was moving into his bones, we stopped by more often to visit him at his home up Laurel Canyon. Even though he was not well, Timothy was ever the perfect host. On the afternoon of this interview I had tagged along, and Paul and Tim were happy to have me record what would probably be one of the last times they would be together. Paul interviewed Tim. I could feel the sweetness and the warmth that they felt for each other. The back and forth and banter was wonderful. Tim’s remarks about technology and the future still seem fresh and innovative today.
Among other visits with Tim in Laurel Canyon, I recall one Sunday afternoon with guests Ed Moses, the painter, Harry Dean Stanton, the actor, and Aline Getty, the heiress (by marriage). Aline was currently touring with Timothy, doing college gigs. They had a traveling psychedelic video show and gave a talk on the subject of death. They were both near it. Death, that is. Aline had AIDS and Tim had senility (so he said). They did a flashy good show, which I had seen at Chapman College in Orange County. That afternoon Aline was playing us the videotape that she and Tim shot the previous week when they were busted at the airport in Dallas for smoking a cigarette inside the terminal. They set the whole thing up (perhaps more of an art event, I thought), arriving in a silver stretch limo and video of them looking around the airport for a police officer to light up in front of. The nice young cop said, “Oh, please go outside to smoke—don’t do this—you give me no choice.” So Aline and Tim were busted and carted off to a place where the camcorder couldn’t go. They were the first, I think, to get popped for any nicotine-related crime, other than Connie Francis (smoking on an actual airplane). I think it was quite satisfying for them. Especially for Aline. Tim, after all, had already had some rather more astonishingly terrifying adventures, including escaping from prison and being a fugitive.
On an afternoon not long before he died, I recall Tim asking each of his guests to join him in a balloonful of nitrous oxide. At first I said no, but Timothy pointed out, “Why not?” He shuffled over to his closet carrying a gigantic wrench, pulled back the sliding door and revealed the hugest tank of nitrous I had ever seen.
During the political conventions in 1972 in Miami, there was a lot of nitrous. We had what they called E-tanks full of the gas. Hudson Marquez, of TVTV, scored it by posing as a whipped-cream artist. Nitrous is used to propel whipped cream, which I hadn’t known until then. An E-tank of nitrous, which is the size you see at the dentist’s office, is heavy but it can be carried. The tank in Timothy Leary’s closet would need to be moved on a dolly. Anyway, Timmy took his wrench to the thing and expertly filled the first balloon. “Here ya go. Take it back over to the bed so you can fall back if you like. But wait till we all get there so we can do it together.” We had our twenty seconds that day.
On the day Timothy Leary died, Friday May 31, 1996, on Channel 9 they said it happened a few moments after midnight. The news crew interviewed a friend who was standing out on Timothy’s driveway. She said that he suddenly sat up in his bed and said, “Why?” Then a moment later, “Why not?” He seemed excited and he died. Channel 9 then showed a recent clip of Timothy standing outside a club on Hollywood Boulevard wearing a jazzy black and white sport jacket. On TV, Timothy was disregarding the reporter altogether and looking directly into the camera. “Don’t ask me anything,” Timothy was saying. “Think for yourself.” Then he added, “And question authority!”
We’re pleased to share Nancy Cain’s video of Paul Krassner interviewing Timothy Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) on September 5, 1995 in its entirety.
For insight on the cultural impact of video read Nancy’s fascinatingly informative “Video Days.”
Paul Krassner’s homepage is a motherlode of wit, insight, provocation and counterculture history. Indispensable.
Bryan Lewis Saunders is a visual artist, musician and brain addled fucking dopefreak genius. Don’t stare at his self-portraits for too long or they’ll invade your soul like a swarm of amphetamine-crazed humming birds. Saunders’ approach to the demons inside his head is to unscrew the lid.
On March 30th 1995, I started doing at least one Self-Portrait everyday for the rest of my life. At present I have over 7,900 of them. Like fingerprints, snowflakes and DNA they are all different, no two are the same. For hundreds of years, artists have been putting themselves into representations of the world around them. I am doing the exact opposite. I put the world around me into representations of myself as I find this more true to my Central Nervous System.”
Pay a visit to Saunders website and see what sleep deprivation, massive amounts of chemicals and divine intoxication can do to a man.
French special effects genius Geoffrey Niquet collaborated with Gaspar Noe on the creation of the mindblowingly wonderful Enter The Void. Here’s a clip that shows the multi-layered visuals that were composed for the film. It’s like looking through a glass onion. For those of you have seen the movie, this will be a reminder of its loveliness. For those of you who haven’t experienced the Void, this will tantalize and perhaps compel you to see it.
LSD-25 is a goofier than average drug scare flick produced in 1967 for the San Mateo Union High School District in San Mateo, California. The entire film is narrated by a tab of LSD - a device that Bunuel would have admired.
This one has it all: over-the-top freakouts, groovy fashions, a Satanic mass, trippy visuals and little known factoids like LSD makes kids “paint themselves green.” It also features an obscure Jonathan King tune called “Round Round.”
Strap yourself in and “join the mind expanding world where colors and sounds and smells and tastes and people all take on new dimensions and qualities.”
A fascinating, 30 year old BBC documentary on the Good Doctor and Ralph Steadman, five years after Nixon’s resignation, and on a road trip to Hollywood (to work on what would become “Where the Buffalo Roam“).
Includes an interesting scene of John Dean chatting with Hunter about his Watergate testimony (at about 32 minutes), the birth of the “Re-Elect Nixon Campaign” (with a Bill Murray cameo), and a remarkably eerie scene with Hunter and Ralph planning Hunter’s final monument and his ashes being shot into the air, long before the actual fact.