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first_imgWhen Tom Wolfe passed away on Monday, the literary world lost one of its most influential minds. Throughout his career, Wolfe tackled the human experiences, manners, and morals of a variety of areas within American culture. His 1979 book, The Right Stuff, captures the bravery and resolve of post-war military test pilots during the beginnings of NASA’s push into outer space. His satirical 1987 novel, The Bonfire of The Vanities, tackled all the vastly varying, endlessly interlocking storylines that make up New York City. From Wall Street suits to Grand Concourse street criminals and everyone in between, Wolfe’s examination of the ripples that emanate from a racially tinged hit-and-run in the Bronx deftly echoed the city’s all-too-real societal ills, despite being a work of fiction. The list goes on and on…Wolfe was a pioneer of “New Journalism,” the more narrative, novelistic style of reporting used by many of the celebrated writers of the 1960’s—a time of cultural revolution and reinvention in American unlike any the country had seen before. As Wolfe explained in his 1973 anthology, The New Journalism:The Sixties was one of the most extraordinary decades in American history in terms of manners and morals. Manners and morals were the history of the Sixties. … A hundred years from now when historians write about the 1960’s in America, they won’t write about it as the decade of war in Vietnam or of space exploration or of political assassinations…but as the decade when manners and morals, styles of living, attitudes toward the world changed the country more crucially than any political events.That notion was never more true than in one of Tom Wolfe’s earliest books, 1968’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The work of nonfiction still stands today as one of the seminal examples of “New Journalism,” as well as one of the most thematically and descriptively accurate depictions of the burgeoning LSD culture in the mid-’60s.In the book, Tom Wolfe trails author, scholar, and West Coast psychedelic pioneer Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters as they begin the acid-oriented lifestyle that eventually made them idolized figures in the growing counterculture. Tom’s writing style fit this new lifestyle perfectly, making him ready and able to capture the interactions, emotions, and often fragile mental state of affairs that came along with it. Despite being fully engulfed in the movement and aligned with the Prankster’s philosophy, the book is still hailed for Wolfe’s ability to distinguish between the realities of the Pranksters and Kesey’s experiences and the emotions and actions triggered by their acid-fueled paranoia and disarray.[1965 Acid Test Flier]The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test chronicles the rise of LSD culture with Kesey and the Pranksters as its vessel, from the earliest acid parties thrown on his La Honda, California property to, eventually, the notorious “Acid Tests” for which the book is named. That is where they came in contact with The Grateful Dead, another rising psychedelic institution that truly cut their teeth as improvisational musicians playing at Kesey’s manic Acid Tests.Today, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test stands as one of the most important 60s’ counterculture texts, as it sees Tom Wolfe (now known for his unconventional and uniquely descriptive style of nonfiction reporting) using all his literary power to describe the experience of the Grateful Dead (which would become widely known simply for defying description)–well before either entity was a household name. You can check out several great Tom Wolfe passages about The Grateful Dead and the Acid Tests from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test below:On The Grateful Dead’s Acid Test PerformancesThose who were … not on the bus … would come to the realization that there was no schedule. The Grateful Dead did not play in sets; no eight numbers to a set, then a twenty-five-minute break, and so on, four or five sets and then the close-out. The Dead might play one number for five minutes or thirty minutes. Who kept time? Who could keep time, with history cut up in slices. The Dead could get just as stoned as anyone else. The … non-attuned would look about and here would be all manner of heads, including those running the show, the Pranksters, stroked out against the walls like slices of Jello. Waiting; with nobody looking very likely to start it back up. Those who didn’t care to wait would tend to drift off, stoned or otherwise, and the test would settle down to the pudding.On The Origins Of Ken Kesey & Jerry Garcia’s RelationshipKesey had hooked up with a rock ‘n’ roll band, The Grateful Dead, led by Jerry Garcia, the same dead-end kid who used to live in the Chateau in Palo Alto … and you had to throw them out when they came over and tried to crash the parties on Perry Lane. Garcia remembered—how they came down and used to get booted out “by Kesey and the wine drinkers.” The wine drinkers—the middle-class bohemians of Perry Lane. They both, Kesey and Garcia, had been heading into the pudding, from different directions, all that time, and now Garcia was a, yes, beautiful person, quiet, into the pudding, and a great guitar player. Garcia had first named his group The Warlocks, meaning sorcerers or wizards, and they had been eking by playing for the beer drinkers, at jazz joints and the like around Palo Alto. To the Warlocks, the beer drinker music, even when called jazz, was just square hip. They were on to that distinction, too. For Kesey–they could just play, do their thing.On Young Jerry Garcia Trying To Have A Real-Life Conversation At The Acid TestsGarcia, for his part, however, doesn’t know which bursts out first, the music or the orange laugh. Out the edges of his eyes he can see his own black hair framing his face—it is so long, to the shoulders, and springs out like a Sudanese soldier’s.On Owsley’s Acid & How The Dead And The Acid Tests Invented “Acid Rock”When the acid scene spread to England in late 1966 and 1967, the hippest intelligence one could pass around was that one was in possession of “Owsley acid.” In the acid world, this was bottled-in-bond; certified; guaranteed; and high status. It was in this head world that the … Beatles first took LSD. … Through The Dead’s experience with the Pranksters was born the sound known as “acid rock.” And it was that sound that the Beatles picked up on, after they started taking acid, to do a famous series of acid-rock record albums, Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.On The Influential Effects Of The Acid Tests & The Grateful Dead On Media Consumption“Mixed media” entertainment—this came straight out of the Acid Tests’ combination of light and movie projections, strobes, tapes, rock n’ roll, black light. “Acid rock”—the sound of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album and the high-vibrato electronic sounds of the Jefferson Airplane, the Mothers of Invention and many other groups—the mothers of it all were the Grateful Dead at the Acid Tests. The Dead were the audio counterpart of Roy Seburn‘s light projections. Owsley was responsible for some of this, indirectly. Owsley had snapped back from his great Freakout and started pouring money into the Grateful Dead and, thereby, the Tests.Maybe he figured the Tests were the wave of the future… Maybe he thought “acid rock” was the sound of the future and he would become a kind of Brian Epstein for the Grateful Dead. I don’t know. In any case, he started buying the Dead equipment such as no rock n’ roll band ever had before, the Beatles included, all manner of tuners, amplifiers, receivers, loudspeakers, microphones, cartridges, tapes, theater horns, booms, lights, turntables, instruments, mixers, muters, servile mesochroics, whatever was on the market. The sound went down on so many microphones and hooked through so many mixers and variable lags and blew up in so many amplifiers and roiled around in so many speakers and fed back down so many microphones, it came on like a chemical refinery. There was something wholly new and deliriously weird in the Dead’s sound, and practically everything new in rock ‘n’ roll, rock jazz I have heard it called, came out of it.Rest in peace, Tom Wolfe. To purchase The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and read more about Tom Wolfe’s adventures with Ken Kesey, the Merry Pranksters, and the Grateful Dead, head here.last_img read more

first_imgCheryl Best works hard, even by Harvard standards. The College junior takes a full courseload each semester to fulfill the requirements of her concentration, psychology, and her secondary field of study, the classics. During the week, Best is a research assistant at Harvard’s Social Neuroscience and Psychopathology Lab, where she aids a study of the relatives of people diagnosed with schizophrenia. On weekends, she puts in two eight-hour shifts with the mentally ill at McLean Hospital. An independent student, Best picks up extra cash working late nights as assistant manager at the Quad Grille.But when Winter Break came around, Best decided to go home to Arizona and do something really difficult for most Harvard College students: slow down.“When I got back from school, I did a lot of sleeping and lounging around,” Best said. “I was so busy during the semester — working at least 40 hours a week at three different jobs on top of being a full-time student — that it felt unbelievably good to do nothing. Since then, I’ve been reading fun books rather than textbooks, baking, and going on rides out in the desert with family.”College officials applaud students like Best, who choose to spend Winter Break away from campus, where they can recharge and reconnect with loved ones. The officials say that the “nothing” that undergraduates often think they’re doing — sleeping, eating well, having fun, and tending to relationships — is actually vital for academic success, and for physical and mental health.“The academic year at Harvard is rigorous,” said Suzy Nelson, the College’s dean of student life. “When a student comes, they dedicate their mind, body, and spirit to learning. We see how many activities that our undergraduates are involved in. It’s exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting. All people, if they’re thinking about staying well and healthy, need to take a break.”Paul Barreira, director of behavioral health and academic counseling at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said he and his colleagues at Harvard University Health Services supported the adoption in 2009 of a new academic calendar, in part because it gave students substantial time off between semesters. He said the old calendar left undergraduates barely a moment to catch their breath.“With the old schedule, classes would end before the holidays, but students still had lab reports and papers to work on, then two weeks of exams,” he explained. “Maybe you got a few days off for intersession, but there was no meaningful break. Now students finish the work, go home, and have four weeks with no pressure. They can do the things that they enjoy.”Like many of her classmates, Best enjoys spending Winter Break off campus, resting and reconnecting with family and friends back home. Other undergraduates use the time for research or to gain career experience in ways that wouldn’t be possible during the academic term. Antonio Sweet ’13, an engineering sciences concentrator, returned home to Los Angeles so he could explore his interest in energy and infrastructure through an internship at one of the state’s public utility companies.“I’m working for Sempra in their downtown offices,” Sweet said. “I look for and evaluate suppliers owned and operated by minorities, women, and/or disabled veterans in order to give them an equal opportunity to bid for contracts with Sempra. I’m learning a lot about the real world application of my studies, and getting my foot in the door with a company I really want to work for this summer.”Sweet said that because Sempra’s offices are close to home, he also has time for trips to the beach, for all-you-can-eat barbecue in Koreatown, and for playing with his newborn niece. Barreira said students like Sweet often find that Winter Break gives them a chance to do something different.“We’re giving them a month,” Barreira said. “We hope they spend much of that time visiting family, free from pressure. But if there are other things that pique their curiosity, then go do it. There are no requirements. It’s different than being here for reading week and to finish up course work.”Best and Sweet both say that the time they spend off campus will pay dividends when they return. Sweet knows that some of his classmates will come back early for Wintersession (Jan. 13-22), and he’s impressed by the programs and activities that will be offered during that period. He has chosen to stay in Los Angeles, however, because the job experience at Sempra will make his summer planning much less stressful.“While many of my friends are doing on-campus activities that seem like a lot of fun, I know I’ll be able to have a great time with them during the semester,” he said. “Right now, I enjoy being with my family and friends while doing meaningful projects for a great company that I hope makes me a better job candidate in the future.”Best admitted that she’s getting a bit antsy in Morenci, the small Arizona mining town that is home, but said that time away from Harvard increases her appreciation for her College experience. It also makes her eager for the semester’s start.“I live in a small, sheltered community, and I never thought I would have the opportunities in life that I have now,” she said. “Being home takes me to a home within myself, where I can remember why I enrolled at Harvard in the first place and what my goals in life truly are. It helps me to remember my values and my experiences a little better, and to appreciate the amazing experiences I do have at Harvard more after realizing how truly rare and incredible they can be.”last_img read more

first_imgHead coach of the Black Stars, Charles Kwablan Akonnor has handed fresh call-ups to four players in his first squad announcement.Ahead of Ghana’s double tie against Sudan in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, C.K Akonnor announced the 23 players who would represent the country in those games.Among the list are four debutants, and a notable return for Mohammed Yahaya of Aduana Stars to the Black Stars.Richard Attah – Accra Hearts of OakSigned from Elmina Sharks, Richard Attah has been a formidable figure for Accra Hearts of Oak.The 24-year-old replaces Asante Kotoko’s Felix Annan after the goalkeeper has seen limited playing time for his club this season after 12 games.Richard Attah has made 10 appearances this season and has conceded just two goals in the last five games for Phobia. He has four clean sheets to his name too.Tariqe Fosu – Brentford24-year-old Tariqe Fosu has been handed his first national team call-up after impressing for English Championship sides Oxford United and Brentford.The midfielder signed for Brentford from Oxford in the January transfer window.He played 25 games for Oxford and scored on eight occasions for the Championship side. After moving to Brentford, he has featured three times but has no goal yet for his new team.Eugene Ansah – Hapoel Ra’ananaPlying his trade in Israel, Eugene Ansah has earned his first call-up to the Black Stars.The forward has featured 25 times for his club side, Hapoel Ra’anana in the Ligat ha’Al. He has scored three goals so far and has picked up the same number of yellow cards this season.Habib Mohammed – Asante KotokoAsante Kotoko’s defender, Habib Mohammed has also been called up to the senior national team after impressing in this season’s Ghana Premier League.The 22-year-old has featured 7 times for the Porcupine Warriors but is yet to find the net, however, he has been a solid player in the heart of defense for Kotoko.last_img read more