I’m sure we’ve all considered who we’d take psychedelics with, if given the opportunity. Off the top of my head, my choice would be Pauly Shore, Encino Man era. Bud-dy! For independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi, that person was folk songwriter, Will Oldham. And he made that dream come true, on camera.
Tripping with Caveh is a thirty-minute film documenting one man’s hallucinogenic outing with Bonnie “Prince” Billy. As its introduction illustrates, the two got in contact in 2001, when the Independent Film Channel approached Zahedi to air his 1999 video diary, In the Bathtub of the World. The project contained two of Oldham’s songs without his permission and they needed to clear the rights in order to proceed. Shortly after, Caveh reached out again to inquire whether the Palace Brother would take psilocybin mushrooms with him to pitch a new television series. The product of that interaction is depicted in Tripping with Caveh.
Somewhat of a psychedelic take on John Lurie’s cult television series Fishing with John, Zahedi’s bizarre docu-reality pilot was filmed at Richard Linklater’s property in Austin, Texas. The youthful Oldham, first introduced while munching on ice cream cone at the airport, happily obliges with Caveh’s direction and retains a cheerful persona throughout the journey. What ensues is an afternoon of speculative and existential discussion, go-kart rides, pool lounges, and a late-night serenade of “I am a Cinematographer.” Oh, and Oldham steps in a hornet’s nest, which pretty much derails the whole thing.
To be honest, the short isn’t very good, but take what you make of it. Caveh’s filmmaking style is the product of his own narcissism and self-confession, which kind of interferes with Oldham’s carefree and heartfelt performance. If anything is to be gained, it’s maybe don’t take hallucinogens with your idols - because they may think you suck after the whole thing is said and done.
But yeah, I’d tooooooootally take shrooms with Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
Watch Will Oldham trip out with a random guy in the short film ‘Tripping with Caveh’ below:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Woodshock ‘85’: Richard Linklater’s first short film featuring a young Daniel Johnston
‘Memorial Day 2000’: Disgusting ‘found footage’ classic of drunken hillbilly white trash insanity
Appalachian Gothic: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s ‘Blindlessness,’ exclusive video premiere