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High weirdness from the Lower East Side: Ira Cohen’s ‘The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda’

It’s an hallucinatory, almost trance-inducing experience, said underground film-maker, photographer and poet, Ira Cohen about his film The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda (1968).

It’s like going on an ecstatic journey to another planet, full of magical beings, animals and plants.

It’s certainly all that and more, and also has a soundtrack by The Velvet Underground’s original drummer Angus MacLise.

Cohen filmed this phantasmagorical short at his apartment in New York’s Lower East Side. Cohen called his home “The Mylar Chamber,” as its walls were covered with Mylar, and he used its distorted and reflective quality to photograph various artists, writers and musicians. It was also a key component to The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, where its wonderful ripple effect is like one long trip. But to Ira Cohen back in the 1960s, it was “just reality.”


Bonus—An interview with Ira Cohen.
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Shaman of the Lower East Side: Ira Cohen R.I.P.


Posted by Paul Gallagher
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