Lar's Memoirs, with final words by Al Rubottom

Lars Kampman's Memoirs

"Rock, Roll and Rumble" read the headline on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle on January 13, 1967 -- Friday the 13th, even. None of us took it as anything but a good omen. The article started in a box and continued inside the paper under the headline "Thunder in the Mountains." The writer, Jonathan Cott, told about us, the Anonymous Artists of America, and how he had found us by chance in our "rambling Mediterranean villa" perched atop the San Francisco peninsula in the middle of a redwood forest. From the house you could see the Pacific Ocean twenty miles in the distance. Between us and the ocean was only one building: an old barn that only added to the richness of the scenery.

A week or two before the article appeared, Cott had dropped in on us at Rancho Diablo, to see if we knew anything about a runaway girl he was writing an article about. Everyone in San Mateo county knew that we were a wild new band, somehow connected with Ken Kesey's acid test and all the crazy happenings of the Love Generation. We weren't famous yet, but certainly notorious. Uninvited guests were not popular at our house, since we'd had problems on several occasions with the local police and every stranger was a police informer until proven otherwise. But Cott convinced us of his credentials and even though we couldn't help him find his runaway, we did convince him to write an article about us. There wasn't much to say, really, since we hadn't done a great deal. But Cott's reaction was the same as many others': here was a group of attractive young people with a strong appetite for the mushrooming hippy movement in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

The Anonymous Artists of America started as a concept, as did so many of the psychedelic phenomena. While I was a student at Stanford University, I fell in with a number of students in the art department. Beth Jensky was a drop-out who was a few years older than me. She was tall and blonde and always ready to go. Parties, art openings, thrift store explorations, anything was occasion for having fun. In 1963 we were at a party together in a house off-campus, and she asked me if I wanted to turn on. I knew what she meant, but I had never tried it. Rather than admit to my lack of experience I suavely accepted her offer, and we retired to the bathroom.

In those days marijuana was not smoked in the open, even in the more artistic circles. Thus it was not unusual to se ten people or more squeeze into a bathroom together. Since I was always on the inside, I don't know what it must have felt like on the outside. Lonely, I'd think. But on this first occasion, Beth and I were alone in the bathroom. Beth had a little film can full of marijuana and a pack of ZigZag papers. Rolling a joint is a precision operation. The paper has to be folded just right and then the pot has to be carefully poured into the paper. Too little pot results in a skinny little joint (a "viper") that won't draw, and too much results in a "bomber" or, worse, in spilled pot. Beth folded the paper and gave it to me to hold while she poured the pot into it. I was trying to be ultra smooth and act as if this was an every day occurrence, when in fact I was thrilled to the gills that I was finally going to get turned on. Just as Beth poured the pot I jerked my hand and all the pot ended up in the deep-piled bath mat. "Oops," did not adequately express my embarrassment, but after a while we managed to salvage enough of the leafy matter to roll a joint and get high. Whether or not I really got high, I can't tell. But the power of suggestion is strong, and I certainly wanted to get high. The rest of the night was spent dancing wildly to Chuck Berry records. There must have been others who were high on grass, but we didn't talk about it. It was still considered a big deal.

During the next few years, however, everyone I knew began turning on regularly. Marijuana was plentiful and cheap, and not very good. For $15 you could buy a "lid" - an ounce - of Mexican pot of indifferent quality, and for $25 you could buy the same quantity of Acapulco Gold, a much better product. A kilo ("key") of the cheap stuff went for $80 to $100, whereas the good stuff cost as much as $250. As there is just over 16 ounces in a half a key, profits were considerable. But as there was a very limited number of users, the market was not great and I didn't know anyone who sold drugs as a living. You did it as a favor to friends, who all realized you were making a fairly large profit, but who didn't care. No one was getting poor, and no one was getting rich either.

Beth had a friend in the art department called Michael Moore. Our group all agreed that he was the best painter at Stanford. He was also the best-looking painter and everyone had a crush on him. I know Beth did, and I certainly did myself. But at the time I was still firmly in the closet and in any case Michael was not interested in boys at all. He had grown up in Malibu and was a prototype surfer-boy. Now he painted brilliantly psychedelic landscapes. Abstract just enough to avoid being banal, yet specific enough to appeal to everyone. His line drawings, too, were exquisite: intricate cartoon-like studies of rock formations, desert scapes, mountains, vividly colored and embellished with psychedelic lettering ("turd writing" we called it at first, since that's what the letters looked like).

In 1965 I met a girl named Carrie Heldman, who moved in with me. We rented a house on Homer Lane in Menlo Park, where we soon had a sort of salon for the art-and-fun crowd at Stanford. Night after night we'd get together with a few joints, maybe a few benzedrine tablets and a little beer or wine, and sit around listening to music and drawing in our sketch books. You'd work on a drawing for a while, then pass it on to someone else to continue. The good artists worked right along with the truly bad. Felt-tip pens were new and made everyone able to participate. Everyone sat on the floor, talking and laughing, admiring each other's contributions.

On one of these occasions Michael Moore came up with the concept of the Anonymous Artists of America. "They terrorize the country side. Riding from town to town, painting the center line on all the highways in America red." The idea appealed to us all. It didn't matter who you were, you could participate. And there was no message behind the action. It was a Happening, pure and simple. The Phantom Artist, egoless and pure of intent.

At about that time I became art editor of the Sequoia, the Stanford literary magazine. Rather than put my own name on the masthead, I decided to live out our new philosophy, and the Anonymous Artists of America appeared instead. Light shows were new, too. At Ken Kesey's Acid Tests we'd first seen them: liquid overhead projectors, bathing the walls with amoeboid shapes in various progressively muddier colors. Present day light shows are very high tech with many strobes and video projections and effects carefully synchronized with the music. But in these early days all you needed was a projector and some glass petri dishes to slosh around the colored water and oil. If you were very ritzy you might have a strobe light and maybe even a black light. But the investment was minimal.

We had to have our own light show too, of course. Adrienne and Carrie and I somehow got our hands on a projector and hired ourselves out to do the lights at parties. In fact we only appeared three times. Our name: Anonymous Artists of America, of course.

All this - the art salon, the lit mag, the light show - happened in 1965, which must have been the birth year of the Psychedelic movement. The Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium presented three bands each every week-end. Admission was $2 and you could always get in. Everyone would get dressed up in their brightest party clothes and head for San Francisco. By that time Acid -- LSD-25 -- had hit the scene. It was hard to get, but only because it was so new. It wasn't even illegal to possess it yet. Carrie's father had given her a huge, convertible Oldsmobile, into which we'd all pile and head for the dance of our choice. Sometimes just a few of us would go to a disco; a popular one was the Tiger a Go-Go at the San Francisco Airport Hilton Inn. No one suspected that we were a bunch of stoned out hippies. We were just exuberant young students who loved to dance. And there was a strange dance hall in Redwood City where our friend Sara's ex-husband, Jerry Garcia, and his band played to empty houses. The name of the band was the Warlocks, later to become the Grateful Dead and the Acid Test house band.

I'm describing a movement, but that's not what it felt like. It was my life. Later it became a movement. I'd come from Denmark to America in 1959, to go to boarding school in Massachusetts. My mother was American, so I had the choice of becoming one, too. Since America was the land of Hollywood and I wanted to be a movie star, what could be more natural than moving to America? Under this reasoning was the knowledge that I was homosexual and that this would be a problem for me at home. Sure, Denmark had a reputation for being sexually liberated even then, but the fact was that my family and social peers were not ready to accept homosexuality. There were always condescending jokes about gays and snide references to gay people. Even though I had never done anything and in fact carried on with girls along with the best of them, my tendency was towards men.

When I was only three or four my family took me to the circus in Copenhagen. One of the acts was a strongman, painted gold all over, wearing the tiniest pouch, displaying his muscles on a revolving pedestal. My face flushed with heat and I couldn't watch. I spilled my ice cream on my pants and onto the floor and had to be taken to the bathroom by my father to be cleaned up. How long did I watch? A minute at the most, and yet the image is indelible in my memory.

My grandmother sent us Life magazine from America. One week there was an ad for Jockey Skants, a new kind of very brief underwear for men. Although it was just a drawing of a man pulling down his T-shirt over his Skants, the picture excited me like nothing ever had done before. I'd look at it whenever no one else was around. But if someone came in I'd quickly put it away. For some reason I was ashamed of the feelings this picture stirred up in me, but I couldn't leave it alone.

When I was confirmed at the age of fourteen, my parents gave me a trip to London. I stayed with friends of theirs in Chelsea and was free to roam around the city by myself every day. I went to museums, to movies, even saw the original production of My Fair Lady. And of course The Mousetrap. But the most exciting event was discovering "physique magazines". One was called Adonis, the other Body Beautiful, I think. They were both small, designed no doubt, to fit handily in a pocket. And both contained photographs of young men as close to naked as possible. Posed as sailors or Greek gods or what have you, they all wore the same kind of pouch as the muscle man had in the circus. The writing was minimal and, in retrospect, ridiculous. All about how the guy in the picture devoted his time to exercise and aspired to a career in films, or what have you. In the back were many adds for sets of photos of the same models. I went to the address of one place: 60 Greek Street, in Soho. There was just an office building. I don't know what I expected to find; beautiful men loitering around, waiting to take me to heaven?

In any case, I bought as many of these magazines as I could. Asking for them was not easy, but somehow no one ever refused to sell them to me, even though I was very young. Back at my parents' friends house I'd carefully hide the day's new purchases in my suitcase under the clothes. Whenever I looked at them I'd become very aroused and then very ashamed, too. I kept the first two I bought for a few days, then smuggled them out of the house and threw them away in a public trash can. Then I saw an other one in a different kiosk and had to have it. In the end I took some back to Denmark with me and masturbated over them until the fear of discovery made me get rid of them, too. But then I discovered ads in the classifieds in the Sunday papers in Denmark of stores that dealt in Danish gay magazine. One was called Eos, and it featured not only totally nude shots, but wildly romantic gay fiction, too, not to mention a letters column.

Parallel with this was my interest in movies. I wanted to be a movie star. I subscribed to Photoplay and Silver Screen and knew all about all the young actors and actresses in Hollywood. I collected pictures of my favorite ones. My scrapbook of Audrey Hepburn pictures was the biggest in Denmark. Other favorites were Jane Wyman and Vera Ellen. But secretly it was Tab Hunter who turned me on the most. I developed a fantasy that I would move to Hollywood and be Tab Hunter's secretary (read: lover). When the opportunity to go to boarding school in New England presented itself, it seemed the perfect way to follow my dream, and off I went. Unfortunately the freedom I had thought would be mine once I left home, did not materialize. My grandmother lived in New Jersey, and I spent all my vacations with her. She was very "social" and arranged for me to participate in all the dances and balls that young people were expected to go to around 1960. It soon became clear to me that I would be even more stifled by family in this atmosphere than I had been in Denmark. So when it came time to pick a college, I decided on Stanford University. Just to show I could get in, I applied to Yale, too, but I wanted to get farther away. My third choice was the University of Hawaii!

During Christmas vacation my senior year at prep school, I went to California to look at UCLA and Stanford. Staying by myself in a hotel in Los Angeles was somehow too exciting. I was free to roam the streets at night and what I saw terrified me. It was too good to be true. The newsstands were full of physique magazines in gorgeous color. This I could deal with. But what was harder to take was all the men cruising the streets. There could be no doubt as to what was on their minds. I dutifully visited the UCLA campus, which scared me with its huge size, but more terrifying was the thought of all those men. A friend of my uncle was a director of TV-shows, and he took me to the set where I met a then famous actor. I was amazed to find that this blonde hunk was interested in me -- amazed and scared. I knew I'd never be able to study if I went to UCLA -- there were too many temptations in the street.

Stanford seemed much safer, and that's where I went. My freshman year I lived in the dorm and acted like any other student. Had dates with girls, went to football games, acted in plays, even studied. But I knew about men and I knew what I wanted.

I think it's an exaggeration to say that every choice I've made in my life was determined by my desire to fulfil my homosexual tendency. But it was definitely a big part of it. In the end I don't think it made any difference, though. Motivation is one thing, another is what actually happens. Yes, I went to Stanford to avoid staying on the East Coast and because I was not quite ready for what seemed like certain perdition in Los Angeles. But when I got there it turned out to be the start of the entire psychedelic movement, or flower power era, or what you will, and that's what finally became important in my life. Under it all I still struggled with my homosexuality, but it was not the most important thing. On the contrary, the other things that happened became that much more important because they allowed me to avoid dealing with my sexuality.

In fact most of my homosexuality was known only to myself. On the surface I went with girls and girls liked me. I was good looking, smart and not too demanding. In prep school I fell in love with a beautiful girl named Abby Angell. We carried on a correspondence romance, primarily, and when we'd be together on occasion, during vacation where we might go to a dance together, we'd neck and make out a little, but there was never a question of actually doing it. The summer after our graduation she came to see me in Denmark. She'd been to Perugia to learn Italian and had met someone else. No doubt a guy who was more interested in sex with a girl that I was. Abby and I spent many days romantically weeping over the impossibility of our love, and then she left. What she didn't know was that I'd discovered the gay bars in Copenhagen. My mother let me use her car and I'd drive into town and pick up some guy and make out in the car with him before hurrying home. I never saw any of these men again; that would have been an admission of homosexuality on my part, and I continued to go with girls at the same time, but I couldn't stop going with these men.

After my freshman year at Stanford, it was the same. I went steady with Georgina Simpson, a girl from England, and from time to time had a roll in the hay with some guy who I'd never see again. I joined a fraternity and became "pinned" to Georgina. She even slept in my bed with me and we made a charming young couple, but we never did it.

Oh, I'd done it all right, but it wasn't what turned me on. The same summer that Abby visited me in Denmark, I spent a week-end with my brother Christian in Aalborg, Denmark, where he was working as a journalist. I was five years younger than him and h is friends, but got along fine with them due to my precociousness. One evening we all got very drunk -- we always did in those days -- and I ended up in bed with a girlfriend of his. Next day she stayed home from work and we continued our romance. I remember that it was pleasurable, but more than that it was scary. This was not what I really wanted, yet here I was doing it. What made it ok was my brother's reaction: I was some kind of guy to be making it with s woman five years older than me.

The rest of the summer I'd make up stories to tell my mother (my father never asked) about who I'd been with when I'd go to Copenhagen to pick up men in bars or on the street. I had a job working as an apprentice with a film company, so I knew some of the popular actors in Denmark and could use their names to impress with. My mother was thrilled when I'd tell her I'd been out with this or that young beauty, when in fact I'd been prowling the sleazy parts of town.

At Stanford it was very different. The excitement of college and the camaraderie of belonging to the drama department kept me out of trouble most of the time. Now and then I'd end up under a bush with some guy at a pool party, but generally I stuck to Georgina or the girl of the moment. The safest thing for me was to find a somewhat famous girl to latch on to. Did I think I wouldn't be expected to perform if the girl was famous or was I just an early groupie? I don't know.

Through my involvement with the anti-war movement I met Joan Baez and made up a story that we had a great romance. In fact, we were friends and she reluctantly agreed to go to one party with me. If I had been seriously romantic about her, this would not have been enough, but since I just needed a smokescreen, it was perfect. Ironically this was the time when she had her subsequently famous lesbian relationship, so she probably used me in the same way I used her.

We met at Kepler's bookstore in Menlo Park, which was run by Ira Sandperl a peace activist and vegetarian. Kepler's was the gathering place for the vaguely left-oriented population. Aside from a truly good selection of books on all subjects, Kepler's offered espresso coffee and KPFK on the radio -- the commercial free, left leaning public radio station. Ira was a devotee of Ghandi; everyone read the Life of Ghandi and The Autobiography of a Yogi and so on, and devoted to non-violent demonstration against nuclear arms. The Vietnam War was still in its infancy; that wasn't what we protested against. No, it was the Bomb. Ira had been in many demonstrations in San Francisco and been arrested many times. Joan, who was a close friend of Ira and who helped fund his work with some of her newly acquired wealth, hung out at Kepler's, too, as did her friend Kim and two brothers named Marc and Steve Weisbluth. I realize now that this was the Jewish intellectual left of Palo Alto; at the time that was not a factor. These were exciting and (not unimportantly) good-looking people who were committed to a correct cause.

When school started after Spring break in 1963 hundreds of fallout shelter signs had been put up all over campus. But there were no fallout shelters; they had simply placed boxes of hardtack crackers and drums full of water in the basements all over campus. Ira was incensed: "They want us to accept the possibility of surviving nuclear war. No one will survive even one day in these so-called shelters. We have to get them to take them down."

We students started a sit-in in front of the University president's office round the clock. We also demonstrated a this house. Everything was non-violent according to Ghandi's principles, but the effect was anything but peaceful. We were all threatened with expulsion from school if we didn't stop; our parents were notified of our wicked behavior. I asked if my parents supported me in my cause and was told that if I got kicked out I was on my own. Of course we couldn't abandon such a cause, and in the end we were not kicked out. Instead vacation came and everything just petered out. The signs were not taken down, but our point was made: the fallout shelters were a joke and no one believed in them. Since only Stanford Students could legally sit in on campus -- every one else was a trespasser -- those of us who were involved assumed somewhat heroic proportions to the outside organizers.

The Quakers in Palo Alto stood up for us through it all. And Joan, who was a Quaker, cheered us on, too. That's how I came to date her. in the middle of all this was rush for fraternities and eating clubs. I was not very interested in joining either one, but some friends insisted I go to the rush parties. I didn't give it much thought, but when the time came to go, I asked Joan to go with me and she did. Yes, it was a bit of a sensation, but not anything extraordinary. Yes, I was proud she went with me, but I got over it pretty fast. And no, I didn't end up joining the eating club, but rather a fraternity. Then summer came, everyone left for vacation, and in the fall I moved into a house off campus with some non-student friends I'd met at summer school.

College is very much divided up by the vacations. It's as if everything artificially is ended and you start off at square one in the fall. If you happen to stay for the summer, the atmosphere is very different than during the regular school year. This first summer, the summer of '63, I stayed to take part in the Absurd Theatre Festival at Stanford University.

Freshman year had been very much taken up with socializing with other freshmen. My room-mate, Dick Potter, was from Ventura, where he lived with his widowed mother. He had a girlfriend named Marilyn back home, who was his main subject of conversation. Over Thanksgiving I went with him to Ventura and met Marilyn, a dark beauty. Her father was obviously very well off; they had an automatic, built-in sprinkler system in their garden. Marilyn went to the University of California at Santa Barbara, which at the time was known strictly as a party school. Dick and I went to see her there. I only remember that we saw the Harlem Globetrotters perform and that Marilyn asked Dick to bring his Old Spice aftershave so she could replenish the scent in the T-shirt of his she slept in.

I was friendly with everyone in the dorm, but not very close. I don't know where anyone is today, except by some stroke of serendipity. Dave Shookhoff, an unprepossessing, pale Russian Jew, is directing opera, I know; Ira Hall, who was the first black student to integrate the Oklahoma public school system, lives in Connecticut; Michael Shurtleff, the senior in charge of our corridor, is the author of tofu cookbooks. I know these things but they mean nothing to me. None of these people were important to me then, nor are they now.

But during the summer I met people who were not part of the school. On University Avenue in Palo Alto the place to meet was St. Michael's Alley. Downstairs it was a coffee house where everyone could go, and upstairs on the balcony they served beer and you had to be 21 to go there. The rule was not very strictly enforced and it was naturally much cooler to be upstairs than downstairs. The record most frequently played that summer was Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain. St. Mike's was the place where Stanford met Palo Alto; and it was the place where I met Bette Mejia, a tall woman with slightly buck teeth that pushed her full lips into a permanent Brigitte Bardot pout, with straight blonde hair to her waist. She must have owned a pair of ordinary shoes, but I don't remember her ever wearing them. Either she was barefoot or she was dancing in her flamenco shoes. She and her former husband, Fred Mejia, had spent a year in Spain where he studied the flamenco guitar and she studied dancing. She also gave birth to a boy, Manolo. When they returned to San Francisco they performed at the Old Spaghetti Factory together, and then broke up. Fred moved to New York, where I would later meet him and stay with him. Bette settled in Palo Alto.

At the time Bette seemed much older than me, but in fact she was maybe two years my senior at the most. She roomed with a secretary from Stanford, a woman named Sandy who originally was from Queens. I was interested in Bette because anyone glamorous always attracted me. Bette demanded attention wherever she went and she generally got it. Later I was to discover that she thrived on backbiting and intrigue, but at first all was fun and excitement.

The Absurd Theatre Festival began. Among the visiting professors for the summer were Martin Esslin, the British scholar, and Carl Weber, who had been assistant to Brecht during his last years in Berlin. Esslin was directing Becket's Endgame and Weber was directing the English language premiere of Brecht's adaptation of Lenz's play Der Hofmeister. In addition students and faculty were staging a dozen or so other plays that loosely fit the category of Absurd Theatre. In addition to working on the crew of many productions, I was cast as the juvenile lead in Der Hofmeister and given the task of designing costumes for Endgame. The character of Fritz in Der Hofmeister was the typical Aryan ideal: blonde, idealistic and a bit dumb.

At the first read-through of the play Weber told me I'd have to bleach my hair for the performance. I was thrilled and hurried over to Bette's to tell her about it. Immediately she and Sandy set to work on me. First they stripped all the natural colour out of my almost black hair. This took some time and resulted in my scalp being covered with scaly and bleeding sores. The pain was excruciating, but the result was worth it. Bette decided we had better wait a couple of days before applying the final dye - strawberry blonde, I think we picked - and so I showed up for classes the next morning with Jean Harlow white hair. By chance I sat next to a middle-aged elocution teacher from Texas who was amassing credits for her Master's degree. Behind us the class could be heard snickering quietly, when I realized my hair was the exact same colour as this woman's. She seemed oblivious and I tried not to laugh out loud.

"Is it true blondes have more fun?" became the standard joke when people saw me with my blonde hair. I could only answer "Yes". It looked great and I loved the attention it provoked from all sides. The summer rushed by. Der Hofmeister received a great deal of attention. We were reviewed in the New York Times, my picture appeared in Theatre Arts Magazine and almost in Life magazine. The production was mentioned in Time. Endgame made less of a splash, but my costumes looked good and Paul Winfield, who played Hamm, gave a powerful performance.

At the end of the summer Bette and I and two other friends rented a house off campus together. I moved my stuff in and set off for the East coast for a vacation. One of the new roommates went with me. His name was Ken and I don't know now nor did I k now then, what exactly he was doing. His mother was a producer who currently had a big hit with Little Mary Sunshine, his father was a society dentist in Manhattan. Ken had a crush of some sort on me, but it was not reciprocated. He never came on to me directly but instead started an affair of sorts with Bette.

The trip East took four days non-stop. Armed with a carton of cigarettes each we drove and drove in my Volkswagen from Palo Alto to New York. When one was driving, the other would sleep. We had a passenger along, too; a girl from the theatre workshop named Louisa Rawle. For some reason -- I think it was because she had eaten at one in London -- Louisa insisted that we stop in Chicago and eat at a Blimpie. This seemed perfectly reasonable, even though there was no other good reason to stop there. All of this is flooding back into my memory these twenty-five years after the fact. I haven't thought about it since then, but here it is, bubbling up to the surface.

I visited my grandmother in New Jersey and Ken visited his family before heading for Boston where I was to pick him up. Louisa was going back to her college in the East so instead Carol, a classmate from Stanford, was riding back West with us. I went to visit her family on Long Island before we set off for Boston to pick up Ken. When we got to Boston Carol and I had an accident which landed her in the hospital with some nasty cuts in the face. Ken and I checked into a cheap hotel and I called my grandmother to ask her to wire me some money so I could have the car fixed. Carol's father flew up and it was decided that Carol would not be well enough to drive with us to California but would have to fly later. In fact, Carol was left with an ugly scar over her eye. I ran into her in New York some ten years ago and the scar was still there. I don't think the accident was my fault --I certainly was not held accountable -- but I do think Carol blamed me for it in her heart. I would probably have done the same, had I been in the same situation.

The car needed repairs, so Ken and I had time to kill. He talked me into going to a gay bar with him. This was the first time I'd ever gone with anyone to such a place. In the past I'd slink into a bar by myself and pick up some guy. But here we were, flirting and chatting with all the preppy guys in this Boston gay bar. Nothing happened, though, except that we got roaring blind drunk. In order to fall asleep I had to keep one foot on the floor and the overhead light on. Whenever I closed my eyes the whole room started spinning.

We finally set off for California two days later. Again we drove non-stop. The only setback occurred in the middle of the night in Utah where we took the wrong turn somehow. This was before the age of the Interstate so it was easier to get lost. Ken was driving and I was sleeping. I awoke when I felt the car had stopped. We were in the middle of the desert at the end of a dead-end dirt road. "I think I took the wrong turn back a ways," apologized Ken. "How far back?" "A ways." Like an hour back.

Did we have amphetamines? Maybe not, but surely we had NoDoze and lots of coffee and again one cigarette after the other. Eventually we made it back to Stanford and my sophomore year.

The first production of the fall quarter was Threepenny Opera to be directed again by Carl Weber. I'd become great friends with both him and his wife Marianne, and was cast in the small but fun role of Filch. Georgina Simpson, a new student from England, and Leith Speiden, an English literature student, were cast as two of the whores. Georgina and I hit it off right away. She was an only child of the owner of Simpson Piccadilly in London. Spoiled, stubborn, bright, pretty and with an eye to having a good time. Leith was nursing a broken heart by over-eating and dressing sluttishly, but she too was bright and fun to be around.

Meanwhile Ken and Bette were now an Item and our other room-mate, Mike, had moved in a young dancer named Kat, so the house off campus was filling up. After I moved out Ken and Mike finally got together, much to everyone's excitement. As a footnote I should mention that Mike had a brother named Anthony with whom I'd tricked a couple of times. All these things went on, but no one said anything about it. Georgina became my steady girl. We threw a lot of parties at the house and generally the house was a gathering place for the artsy fringe from Stanford. The Queen of England's cousin, Prince William of Gloucester, was at Stanford that fall, too, in the Business School, I think. Georgina knew him from back home and he used to visit the house regularly. An Egyptian heiress from Cairo who was in the drama department with Georgina and me had her eye on William and eventually followed him to London where they continued their relationship until William was killed when he crashed his Lotus a year or two later.

The reputation of our house was wild, but in fact the goings-ons were quite innocent. A favorite pastime was cooking big spaghetti dinners with lots of garlic bread and cheap red wine, followed by reading from Winnie-the-Pooh. Really. On occasion we had some pretty noisy parties. But the wild sex that supposedly went on was all in people's minds, I think. Innocent fun.

Georgina had the first of the Beatles' albums, which made us very popular. We'd show up at St. Mike's with it and five minutes later the whole place would be dancing - strictly against the rules. Over and over we'd play it at our parties, along with the American music of the time, too. Chuck Berry, Inez Fox, the Coasters, Paul and Paula. The dances of the day were the Swim, Walking the dog, mashed potato and the twist. The frug appeared at the time, too.

When I decided to start writing my reminiscences it all seemed very simple: just do it. But a person's memory doesn't work sequentially. When I remember something I do it in the context of my entire experience, whereas when someone else reads this he has no idea what I'm talking about unless I explain it. And yet I don't remember from point A to point B; I remember all in a bunch. When Leith comes to visit me in Colorado in 1987 because I have AIDS and she wants to see me again, I experience her visit in the context of our entire friendship; almost twenty-five years of seeing each other on and off again. But when a stranger reads about her visit it's about a disembodied event in time. As soon as I start to explain who Leith is, I'm in trouble, because it involves telling not only my story but hers, too, spanning the many years. The reader of this paragraph reasonably enough says "Wait a minute! How did you get AIDS? How did you end up in Colorado?" I want to tell it all. But do I just spill it all out disjointedly or do I try to create a false sequence? Time is convenient as an organizer, but it is artificial. Associations are much more formless than time.

Why it made a difference in my life that John Kennedy was assassinated, I can't explain. But it apparently did. In any event, a few days after it happened I moved out of the house off campus with Bette, Mike, Ken and Kat, and into the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity on campus. I had already been accepted as a "brother", but had decided not to move in. The explanation I gave myself for moving in was vaguely connected with the assassination, but how could that be true? Looking at it now, I think I was trying to avoid dealing with my sexuality, yet again. It never ceases to amaze how much I was motivated by my sexuality to make the choices in my life I've made. At this time, though, I was unaware.

Alphadelt, as it was called, was the fraternity for people who didn't want to belong to a fraternity. Several friends lived there and the atmosphere was very low-keyed. The fraternity was brand new, built on the very edge of campus, more like a luxurious dormitory than a fraternity house. My room-mate was Lupe Lupen, who had been rooming with Gary Fuller until I moved in. Gary moved back in with his parents to save money, and so there was suddenly a room for me. Across the hall from Lupe and me, lived a classmate of mine named John Stolurow. John's ethnic background was Greek, and he was a blindingly good-looking guy. No doubt I had a great crush on him, but there was no question of doing anything about it. Anyway, everyone knew I was going steady with Georgina who was considered quite a catch. Not only was she good looking, she was rich, too. John had a girlfriend who spent a lot of time at the fraternity. Of course it was against regulations to have girls sleep over, but no one paid any attention to the regulations. Nor did they mind that John's room was painted black and he kept a motorcycle under his platform bed.

One day a big, dark-haired girl showed up. She was a runaway. From Ohio, I think. Her name was Caroline Adams and she was a friend of John's girlfriend. A nice enough girl, but a little out of control, clearly in need of some kind of help. Caroline moved in with John and his roommate. She was not a student at Stanford, didn't work either. She spent her time zooming around on a motorcycle. At times I would see her with a rifle slung over her shoulder. We were not close friends, but we were friendly. I must have been in a depression at the time; I remember sleeping a great deal and not much else.

Yes, now I remember: I had my first affair with a man at this time. His name was John, too. He was a senior in the English department; tall, blond and a little boring. I had noticed him around the student union for some time and finally we met through friends. These friends -- Ken was one of them, a graduate student in business named Lou was another -- were more "out" than I was. I hung out with them, but by virtue of going steady with Georgina I could persuade myself that I wasn't gay, somehow. It seems like an eternity now, but in fact blond John's and my relationship can't have lasted more than a month or so. And I suddenly think I may have moved into the fraternity house to be able to carry on this affair, since it was easier to come and go unseen at the fraternity than it was in the house off campus.

Blond John rented a cottage in someone's garden, and I spent the night with him a few times. That's all I can remember. The end of the affair came with Christmas vacation. I went to Denmark for a few weeks and when school started again, we moved on to other adventures. The real reason we broke up was my inability to accept having a gay relationship. And I was still pretending to be romantically interested in Georgina. We even got "pinned" when I was finally initiated into the fraternity. Perhaps, too, the fact that blond John and I had nothing in common beyond our sexual preference led to the end of the brief affair. But as it was the first, it remains in my memory.

Over Christmas I visited Georgina in London. Carnaby Street was in full swing, the Beatles were the hottest ticket. One night we went to a party at some of Georgina's friends, where we met Ray Davies of the Kinks, who were just becoming popular. I also met an America, named Michael Bowen. A few years later I would run into him again in the Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. At this time he was hanging out in London and this night he had some cocaine which he invited me to sample. As with my initial experience with marijuana, it was somehow important for me to give the impression I knew all about coke, had been using it for years. We went to Michael's car and he laid out a few lines on a mirror and handed me a rolled-up dollar bill. I put the improvised straw to my nose and proceeded to exhale - in preparation of inhaling deeply -- thereby blowing the entire quantity of coke onto the floor of the car. "Oops," I laughed feebly, as Michael produced another line for me, this time admonishing me to be careful.

I don't remember if I felt anything. But I certainly felt grown up and excited. That fall I'd acquired a bottle of benzedrines, too. I can't remember from whom. But definitely the drug age had begun. After visiting Georgina I went on to join my family in Denmark for Christmas. I have an image of smoking something - hash? - in the bathroom. And I know I took speed. I told no one about it and got a great thrill out of functioning normally despite my altered state of consciousness. My parents didn't notice anything, though my father complained about my too long hair and odd clothes: bell-bottom pants, wildly flowered neckties, John Lennon cap. Look at the pictures today and I appear completely conservative. But at the beginning of 1964 it was radical.

The 'sixties started in 1964, and they lasted until 1974. At least for me. My brother Henrik came to visit Trixie and me in the spring of '66, it must have been. Trixie and I had just taken over the house on Alpine Road where Norman and Ellie had lived while Trixie and I lived on Homer Lane. Norman and Ellie had moved to Rancho Diablo with Toni and Len and so Trixie and I had moved into the run-down old summer cabin, which was much roomier than the tiny little affair on stilts on Homer Lane.

Henrik was attending business school at Cornell for the year, on his way to becoming a straight business man, just like our father. This may have been a career he was well suited for, but it didn't turn out that way. His visit to me that spring had a lot to do with it, I think.

Trixie had dropped out of school when she moved in with me. It didn't seem worth the effort. Her mental state was tenuous at best and she found it absurd trying to attend classes and write papers and the like. Instead she kept house for me and our many friends and amused herself writing obscure poetry (I think), producing troublingly twisted art (I'm sure) and dressing herself in as bizarre a manner as was possible. She had entered our relationship with a steamer trunk full of patterned stockings from Henri Bendel's. I mean it.

The first time I laid eyes on her, I had recently returned to Stanford from my time as an apprentice with the Actors' Workshop in San Francisco, Spring '65. I was sitting in the student union when the electric door swung open to reveal Trixie -- she was still called Carrie at the time -- On her feet she wore purple velvet high-heeled shoes with silver laces that wound around her brightly stockinged calves to her knees, where commenced tweed knickers of the kind Japanese golfers wear in old prints. Above that she wore a "distressed" leather jacket; this was before that look was considered chic, and the garment in question was a rag to put it conservatively. Her make-up was clown-like: white lips outlined in black, silver-dollar sized red circles on her cheeks, copious amounts of mascara smudged all round the eyes. Topping off this stunning vision was a purple satin Belle Epoque hat that must have escaped from a musical comedy. At least three feet wide, it had no crown, and was decorated with vast amounts of hot pink ostrich feathers that swooped and swayed every which way. I was not in lust, perhaps, but I was certainly in love, and our relationship began.

The night Henrik was to arrive in San Francisco, Trixie, Michael Katz, Adrienne and I set off in Trixie's battleship of an Oldsmobile convertible. We were all festively dressed. Wild paisleys were in; Adrienne had on her fake leopardskin vest, probably; Michael no doubt wore his fancy new belt festooned with red-white-and-blue pom-poms. Trixie wore a transparent green Baby Doll-nightgown covered by a clear vinyl raincoat. Not the most conventional outfit, but she was dressed in a manner. It was a warm evening so she naturally carried her coat, which must have been quite uncomfortable against all that bare flesh.

We met Henrik at his gate, introductions were made, and we headed for the baggage area. While we stood around waiting, Trixie put her coat on. Maybe it was drafty. Suddenly out of nowhere a policeman swooped don on her and threw a blanket around her. There had been complaints that a woman was promenading naked around the airport, he blustered. We were highly indignant; how dare he and so forth. In fact, her breasts may have been visible from the side; but the truth is they were not very big (still aren't). We got out of there with Henrik's suitcase and headed back to Menlo Park, laughing riotously at our experience.

I guess I was a bit of an evangelist. I wanted to demonstrate the marvels of LSD to Henrik. We'd all started taking it in the previous year -- it was still available directly from Sandoz in Switzerland, from whom a number of friends imported it quite legally. We could sit around the house and get high, of course, and often did, but the real fun was doing something while you were "tripping". We had decided to take him to Disneyland. On Acid.

Our old college friend had an apartment on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles and was away at the time. She agreed to let us stay there for a few days. Off we went in the Olds, top down, cruising down the Coast highway. Michael, Trixie, Beth, Henrik and me.

We got to LA late in the afternoon and went to Nicky Wilder's gallery to pick up the key to the apartment. He was having a show of paintings by an unknown English painter named David Hockney. We thought they were pretty but facile. Large flat "portraits" of American tract houses with real milk bottles glued to the front door. They were selling for the ridiculously huge amount of $2000, I think -- for a huge painting. Never mind; we didn't have any money anyway and if we had and had bought the painting we would probably have cut it up to make collages or some such psychedelic thing. Today Hockney's paintings are masterpieces, Nicky Wilder is an artworld visionary, and we still don't have any money. But we're happy.

We showed Henrik the Strip and went to hear the Byrds play. Their song Eight Miles High was a big hit. All that twangy twelve-string guitar was not my cup of tea exactly, but it was clear that something important and memorable was going on. We were all pretty loaded anyway and had a fine time.

Next morning we were up bright and early. Had breakfast at Ben Frank's, dropped acid, and headed for Disneyland. We got there just as the park was opening. It was a week-day, so it was not particularly crowded. We were just getting high as we pulled in to the vast, nearly empty parking lot. When acid begins to come on, you often have a queazy feeling in the stomach, which was increased by the eeriness of the vast, paved area. Like true pilgrims we forged ahead to the gates. "Your hair's too long," said the ticket lady. What was she talking about? "We have a rule here at Disneyland. No hair on men over six inches long." She wielded a ruler. I was to run into this rule (and ruler) years later in Denver, where I swam every day at a Disney-owned pool. At this time the acid was coming on strong and the situation threatened to become tiresome. It was Michael's and my hair that was too long. Henrik's was perfectly proper. But even ours was perfectly reasonable, styled after the Beatles. Bushy, yes, but actually long, no. The ticket lady's tone of voice meant business, there was obviously no point arguing. "We're both students at Stanford and we're in a production of Shakespeare's Hamlet and have to have long hair. We've come all the way from Palo Alto to show my brother Disneyland. He's an exchange student from Denmark ..." Yackety-yack, it worked and they let us in.

The day remains in my memory as one of the best of that whole period. No problems. Disneyland is the perfect place to take acid, especially if no one suspects a thing. Everything is so psychedelic it seems so logical. The tiny buildings, the super-clean environment, the squeaky clean staff with their frozen, twinkling smiles. And the wonderful rides. Even Trixie, who normally had a very hard time with LSD, enjoyed herself this day, and everyone was happy and tired when we returned to LA in the evening.

I think we took a little speed in order to be able to go on. Perhaps our youth gave us Herculean stamina. In any case, that night we went to a garage in an alley of Hollywood Boulevard to see a strange show. It consisted of Del Close, Hugh Romney -- aka Wavy Gravy -- and Tiny Tim. The Tiny Tim. First came Del Close who performed with a number of electrical devices which were perilously connected to a bulb socket in the ceiling by a vast network of ragged extension cords. His piece de resistance was somehow causing fluorescent tubes to light up by merely holding them in his hand. Del Close was an early devotee of the ultra crackpot of all times, the great physicist Tesla.

Then came Hugh Romney with silly monologues. He hasn't changed over the years, although he was a lot younger and slimmer back then and of course hadn't started the Hog Farm yet. I don't recall what he talked about, but it must have been all right, for we were still there when it was Tiny Tim's turn.

We'd heard of Tiny Tim at Stanford. A friend of ours named Denise had met him when she was with Ken Kesey and the Acid Test in LA earlier that winter. So had Sara, who later became Michael's girl friend and the singer in the AAA along with me. "This guy is too much," they told us. "He's a fruitarian - eats nothing but fruit, and only in private. Locks himself in the room so no one can see him eat. He sings duets with himself. He calls us Miss Denise and Miss Sara. We call him Mr. Tiny. He had hair to the middle of his back." On and on they raved, and that's the real reason we were there that night.

And still we couldn't believe what we saw. This hook-nosed, chalk pale guy wearing a baggy old jacket and disheveled pants sidled onto the stage carrying a brown shopping bag that had been repaired with tape, apparently for years. Tape on tape on tape.

The man seemed intensely ill at ease at being on stage, couldn't tell whether people were laughing with him or at him. But the show must go on. Out of the bag he produced a tiny ukulele, which also was mended with tape. He struck a chord. Plink, it fell to the tiny stage. And he started to perform his amazing repertoire of silly old songs. Duets between Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, complete with the original instrumentations and perfect recreation of the very scenes in the movies. Our minds, already soft, were totally blown. Now it was our turn to fall on the floor. Hysterical with laughter and joy. He was so funny it hurt, so accurate the mind reeled, so innocent and sweet you could weep. The man was clearly a genius, and we felt we 'd discovered one of the wonders of the world.

As he became famous and eventually married Miss Vicky on Johnny Carson and made albums with lush string accompaniments, he became just a travesty. Today he is fat, dyes his hair red and performs in the Borscht Belt. Wild horses couldn't drag me to se e him. But then, in that little garage in Hollywood, a world class artist revealed true genius to a privileged and select few.

Henrik had a lot to think about. The next day we took him to the airport to send him back to Cornell. I have a snapshot of him in the airport cafeteria. His chin is resting on his hands clasped in front of him. There is a look of wonder on his face. And indeed his life was never the same. It took a while for him to work things out, but today he is living an unconventional and happy life as an art dealer in Copenhagen. He has a wonderful young wife and two adorable children by her.

My father held it against me that he gave up his career as a big business man. When it came time for my sister to visit the following year, he put his foot down and forbade it. I wasn't going to poison her mind, too. But Henrik, who had been troubled by nervousness in his youth and had a tendency to ulcers, chose the unstressed life, and is today fat and happy. I'm proud to have had a hand in that.

Later that year I went back to LA. This time with Dick Alpert, who had been my neighbor on Homer Lane. Along with Timothy Leary he might be held responsible for the entire LSD phenomenon and all that it led to first in America and then in the world. In any case he was fun to be around and attracted exciting people. Stuff always happened around him. When we decided to start the AAA band, Dick said he wanted to help us out. So he bought us an electronic music synthesizer and gave us 100,000 micrograms of acid. That was enough for about 500 hefty wallops. Nowadays more like a thousand. The theory was that acid helped you learn. So we decided to take acid every day and play music and in no time or less we'd be competent musicians. That's not exactly how it turned out, but we could've fooled many people.

Dick had just co-authored a tacky little book called, I believe, LSD. The other author was a doctor named Sidney Cohen, who specialized in organizing trips for people with money. His most famous "tripsters" to date had been the Luces of Time-Life fame, who were very enthusiastic about their experience. Dick had told us all that Sidney Cohen only gave small doses, no more than 125 micrograms, to his "tripsters", and so the experience they had couldn't really be the true acid experience, as far as we were concerned. You had to take at least double, and even four times as much was not unheard of and led to much more of an "out of body experience" than the pathetic little amount Cohen dealt with. The third author was Lawrence Schiller. Schiller is a rich man today with many irons in many fires. Back in '66 he was still grubbing for deals and seemed willing to do anything to get ahead. He worked for Capitol records.

Dick was scheduled to appear on the "Joe Pyne Show" with the other two authors to promote the book, and I was to meet him on the set. Afterwards we were going to hang out for a while and then, at midnight, go to Stanley Livingstone's gorgeous Beverly Hills home to discuss the possibility of Capitol backing the anonymous Artists of America's idea of building a million dollar pleasure palace called Headquarters in New York. Part of the psychedelic thing was punning. Headquarters was of course the center of it all, but also the place where "heads" met -- "heads" were people who got high.

In keeping with our policy of being turned on at all times (Kesey asked the question "Can you pass the acid test? and we were always answering "Yes!), I dropped some acid and flew down to LA, then took a cab to the studio, where I was admitted to the live audience. Joe Pyne was an unpleasant man, the first talk-show host to be deliberately rude to his guests. We all knew this about him, but it was still galling to experience first hand. He used other low tricks, I soon realized, aided in my perception, perhaps, by my expanded state of consciousness. Pyne had on about an inch of brightly colored make-up and was lit to within an inch of his life. His guests, by contrast, looked slimy and lifeless, since they had no make-up and were harshly lit. But the sleaziest trick was something the guests couldn't possibly be aware of, cause they couldn't see the monitors. From my vantage point in the audience, though, I could see that Joe Pyne was the only person who ever got to speak directly to the camera. Everyone else was shot from the side. The camera crew could control this by simply placing the cameras where they wanted them. Pyne's cameras were head on in front of him or behind the guests, so that when he spoke to them he still was able to speak to the camera. But when the guests looked at him to answer, they were photographed from the side. This put them at a tremendous disadvantage and they didn't even know it.

The subject of Cohen's "controlled trips" was brought up and he was blathering away about how insignificant his clients' experiences had been, in fact he very much doubted that LSD could cause the kind of revelatory experiences Alpert, Leary and their followers claimed. Remember, this was early on and we felt almost religious about acid. Later we learned that acid may be able to show you the way, but it won't take you through the doors of perception, in Huxley's words.

I was seething with rage when Joe Pyne looked at the studio audience and asked if anyone in the audience had ever taken LSD. The camera turned to the audience, the lights came on, and up went my hand. Who remembers what I was wearing? I'm sure it was out there. Probably skin tight suede pants and boots that came over my knees and a shirt wildly patterned shirt, fluorescent, no doubt. My hair was very avant garde. I was in the middle of being tried for possession of marijuana, so I had to be able to look somewhat straight in court. With this in mind I had fairly short hair in back, but the front part was long enough to cover my face, if I let it, but could be combed back for court appearances. Oh, and it was bleached blonde. Joe Pyne asked me to step up to the dock, I think they called it. "Tell us about your experience."

I had figured out the cameras and rather than look at Pyne, I looked at the camera with the little red light and told how swell I thought acid was. I don't know what kept me from announcing that I was at that moment on acid, but I didn't. Just as well. I later found out my grandmother in New Jersey was watching, mortified, of course. I asked Cohen about the size of the doses he gave. Neither Pyne nor the other guests knew that I was a friend of Dick's --they were taken aback at how well informed I was, and when Dick joined in it seemed to us that we made a pretty good showing. Pyne was annoyed. They kept switching cameras on me, but I just followed the little red light and managed to speak directly to the viewers. Twenty-odd years after the fact this seems a minor accomplishment, at the time it seemed a triumph.

Dick and I left the studio giddy with success (and acid) with Larry Schiller. He was (and still is) a short and unattractive man. Definitely not a flower child. I knew about him because he was the photographer that released the nude shots of Marilyn Monroe that he shot illegally on the set of her last and incomplete picture Something's Got to Give. Some people said they helped bring on the depression that led to her suicide. But then others say she was murdered. In any case, I knew this was the guy and furthermore, in my elevated mood, the guy gave me the creeps. We decided to eat dinner in a Chinese restaurant, and on the way Schiller told of his current projects at Capitol. The latest thing was cassette and eight-track tapes. The studio envisioned a big market for documentary tapes that people would listen to while they drove. The boom-box thing had not occurred to anyone yet, and there was clearly no market for tapes in the home, where everyone had record players already. But tape decks in the car made sense. His first project was about LSD. He interviewed a group of young people before they got high. Then they dropped acid and the far-out music began, sitars, distortions, you know the stuff. Everyone is mellow, lots of "Oh, wow, far out, man..." and so on. Then the police arrive and everyone is arrested.

Schiller laughed: "I tipped off the police, of course, thought it would be a dramatic way to end the tape." Dick and I were horrified, but as we had had no illusions about the man before, we kept our mouths shut. Next Schiller, who must not be a very sensitive guy, told us about his "fag tape". Some other producer at Capitol had produced a tape about homosexuals. This was the era where the first glimmerings of understanding were appearing. "This tape was so boring you wouldn't believe. Perfectly ordinary sounding guys being interviewed. So I just took the tapes and whenever it's the fag talking I speeded the tape up just a little so you could at least hear it was a fag talking. Effeminate, I mean."

I was still in the closet at the time, and so was Dick, but we were both stunned at the coarseness of the guy. At dinner Schiller went out to telephone. When he came back he told us that Lenny Bruce had died. Of an overdose.

Dick had said something about having heard that Schiller was a CIA agent. At the time we heard that about many people, and with the Freedom of Information Act we discovered that in many cases it was true. It later appeared that Lenny Bruce had been killed by some very pure heroin supplied by the CIA. Who did Schiller call that told him about Bruce hours before it hit the news? I didn't like the guy then, I don't like what he does now, and I'd love to think I was right in believing he called the Company and got the scoop direct.

At midnight Dick and I proceeded to Stanley Livingstone's house. We drove up to a concrete wall and spoke into the intercom whereupon the gate swept open and admitted us to your basic fabulous mansion. Lanais, swimming pool, tacky art, conversation p its, grotesque lighting fixtures (why are the lamps always by far the tackiest element in a tacky decor?). Livingstone had not been president of Capitol for long, but he was signing every band in sight, hoping to duplicate EMI's success with the Beatles. For a while he rode the crest of the wave, but when the bubble burst they let him go. So few of the California bands panned out and John Hammond over at Columbia signed the survivors. But for now, anything went. He had a lovely new wife, a lovely new home, everything was copacetic.

For the next couple of hours I told him about Headquarters. This was going to be a place where everything was available, twenty-four hours a day. Concerts, of course, but also a wonderful restaurant with the best deli food in New York (many of the members of AAA were Jewish, of course we had to have deli!); and a spa; and various room to trip out in, music listening rooms, video rooms; a garden on the roof; fountains; boutiques. In fact, everything to make a "head" happy. Livingstone was not naive. Dick and I didn't have to mention drugs for him to get the picture. He had eyes in his head and he knew the market we were talking about existed and was willing to spend to satisfy its whims. He agreed to bring the matter up with Lord Grade in London.

And that was as far as the project ever got. Lord Grade didn't live in LA, he lived in London where the psychedelic wave hadn't broken yet. Oh yes, there was Carnaby Street and the Fab Four, but it was several years before they headed to India to be with the Maharishi.

That night in LA, though, all the signals seemed to be go, and Dick and I headed for Kanter's to wait out the rest of the night before flying back to San Francisco in the morning. Did we take more drugs to stay awake? I don't remember putting anything in my mouth, but I'm sure we did. And we probably smoked a little pot, too. We always did, so why not now, too. Kanter's is a Jewish deli that's open all night. It was the place for young heads to hang out. All night long a succession of beautiful boys paid court to Dick in our booth. At the time I knew but hid the fact that I was gay; I suspected that Dick was, but wouldn't think of mentioning it; but there was no doubt about these boys of the night. They were, however, very deferential to Dick, wanted advice about their acid trips, wanted to thank him for having helped turn them on. Dick loved it all, and who wouldn't. I felt oddly important to be there with him as his friend, but I might as well not have been there as far as all the boys were concerned. They were star struck and Dick Alpert was the star. I was just another groupie, like themselves.

I'm forever talking about what we wore. Who gives a rat's ass? you're probably saying, but it was a big deal to us. We were, after all, the Anonymous Artists of America, and everything we did was supposed to be a statement to that effect, was supposed to blow your mind. It started pretty low-keyed. The Beatles, again, and their mod gear, had opened our eyes to the fact that it was possible to dress differently than basic Ivy League. Drugs really did it, though. We discovered the beauty of paisleys, of simple American country prints, later of the new fluorescents that could be achieved with synthetics. The stores were not full of bright clothes to suit the fancy of every "head", so we had to make our own.

To begin with we sewed panels of pretty fabric on top of storebought shirts. It didn't require much skill and it looked swell. You could be elegant and tasteful or you could be wild and use a different fabric for each panel. But soon that did not suffice. I bought an old sewing machine and Trixie and I started sewing. Beth was already a good sewer and cheered us on in our first feeble efforts. We never thought of buying a pattern; in our stoned state it would have been impossible to follow the directions. We just cut up an old shirt and used it as a pattern.

My first shirt was blue with little red flowers. The collar was round and attached in a most peculiar way. The sleeves were slightly puffy at the shoulder, which was easier to achieve than the perfect smooth fit. The buttons were bright red plastic. It took a whole night to make and, with its funky handstitched buttonholes, it looked distinctly home made. A few nights later Trixie and Adrienne and I were invited to have dinner with Ed Janss, the great real estate tycoon and patron of the arts who made his fortune developing Thousand Oaks, near LA. His daughter Dagny was a classmate of mine and although we weren't close friends, Dagny was sympathetic to what we were doing with the AAA. Since Ed supported Harry Partch at the time, and invested in the wildest art of the time and had himself dabbled in psychedelics, it seemed natural to try to persuade him to back our Headquarters plan. At this point we hadn't even bought our instruments yet, but we did have the overhead projector and Ed had been at a party the night before we were to have dinner, at which we had done the lights without causing too many problems.

Everything seemed to be going well during dinner, pleasant conversation, everyone a little stoned, nothing radical, we just smoked a joint. Then the conversation hit on money. Ed didn't say much, but Dagny was a little outraged that we had the nerve to ask him to give us money. "Here you are in your flower-print shirt with its red plastic buttons," she sneered. Maybe I misremember, but I'm quite certain my shirt made her hostile. And in fact I had spent maybe a dollar on the whole thing and toiled through the night to be able to look my most turned-on. I've never seen Dagny since then, so I've never been able to ask her about it. She is now Dagny Corcoran, the famous art patron and Martha's Vineyeard hostess, and I probably never will talk to her about it, but if you read this, Dagny, try to remember that night and what it was that rubbed you the wrong way.

Whatever it was, it didn't stop us from making clothes, and we eventually got very good at it. Beth was the best. (That sentence brings us to our motto: Life music is Beth's. It was a pun based on the musicians' union's slogan Live music is best. Life music! Like the music of the spheres, the sounds of life.) The first complete outfit she made for me was a riot of rainbow stripes. I'd bought a beautiful rainbow-striped western shirt at the Goodwill for a quarter. To go with the shirt Beth bought some narrow-striped rainbow material out of which she made bellbottoms with big baby-blue buttons at the fly. Then I found some wide-striped rainbow material and some camouflage, and we topped the outfit off with a rainbow-caped lined with camouflage. For Norman and Manny Beth made exquisite shirts copied from Renaissance paintings. Norman's was paisley with a white ruff at the top, and Manny's was a languid copy of the shirt Albrecht Durer wears in his glamourous early self portrait where he more or less pictures himself as Jesus. This is the painting that led me to suspect that Durer was gay.

Trixie stuck with her short nightgowns for a while, but soon branched out. One outfit consisted of large petals on a ribbon tied at the waist, and a few petals glued to the nipples. Annie had a similar outfit, but with feathers on the nipples. I couldn't understand why she was so surprised that black men wouldn't leave her alone when we performed in the park in the ghetto. Here was a nearly naked, pink and delicate woman, lustily playing the drums, her ample and firm breasts proudly bobbing about. And healthy, horny men were supposed to ignore her!? Come on...

Our costumes became a very important part of our show. Michael had a pink satin clown suit that he wore with a motor cycle helmet when we played at the Fillmore. He also wore very dark sunglasses. Unfortunately he couldn't hear anything, nor could he see, which caused a few problems in the music. Adrienne, who was our drummer to begin with, until everyone had to admit that she was unable to keep the beat, any beat, and was reassigned to managerial duties, wore a pirate hat made of heavy felt. Again, with the hat she couldn't hear the rest of the band. It would be a lie to lay the blame for the singularity of our sound on this one fact.

The first time we performed, at Lee Quarnstrom and Space Daisy's wedding at the Fillmore in August of 1966, we were a few amplifiers short, so two instruments had to share one amp. This seemed regrettable but no biggie. The fact, however is, that the two instruments cut each other out, so the two musicians who were sharing found themselves alternately hogging the amp or not coming out of it at all. Very frustrating, I'm sure. But never mind, the very next day we were offered to sign with two different record companies, and asked to come to a studio to make a demo for Capitol records right away. We did.

After many hours of hard work the engineer was heard to say that he sure hoped our sound didn't catch on, cause he certainly couldn't figure out how to record us. This was understandable. None of us was an expert musician. Norman and Manny had some experience, the rest of us had never played a note until six weeks earlier. So there was a certain element of -- shall we say -- cacophony in our sound. But it was enthusiastic and very, very loud. On top of it all was the synthesizer, which Len played. Don Buchla, the inventor, had delivered it to us just a few days earlier, and it wasn't clear to anyone how it would function in the band.

It never became clear. For the time being, it made desultory shooshing and swooping sounds at frequencies that seemed completely random. We were all of the opinion that everything was everything and were thrilled to be producing any sound at all, so apparently the sound engineer never caught on that what we did was much ruled by chance. He thought we were some kind of far out harbinger of things to come. In fact, of course, that's exactly what we were. But I think he would have had a happier time recording us if we'd been able to control what we did a little. As it was, we just let it rip and hoped for the best.

Clothes again: I had a harlequin shirt made of 100% polyester in blindingly bright diamonds, with points at the cuffs and the waist at the end of each hung a little bell. With the shirt I usually wore navy bellbottoms painted with rainbows. I made my self a pair of fluorescent pink satin bib overalls, skin-tight, with big gloppy plastic buttons, pink, too. With them a pair of work boots that I painted to look like yellow patent leather, and a fluorescent paisley shirt with pink pom-poms at the cuffs. Trixie made me a beautiful shirt based on the Fool in the Tarot. Big batwing sleeves lined in mauve flower-print silk. With it I wore a shoulder length blonde wig which I removed in the middle of my pretty campy version of the Howling Wolf's "Three Hundred Pounds". I made a little blue uniform with red trim, a sort of psychedelic bell-hop outfit. And lots more.

Trixie, who had been dressing wildly before all this started, has continued to do so to this day, and it has been very satisfying to see that gradually over the years every outrageous thing she has thought of has appeared among the designers in Europe or the glitterati in America. She did it first. And, I like to think, best. A tasteful brocade dress that swept the floor but ended just below the breasts. The breasts were daintily covered by two large ears. A miniskirt with no top except two gold lame gloves, stuffed to look like arms, the reached down over the shoulder (covering the breasts on their way) to hold up the skirt between thumb and forefinger. Jewelry made of raw vegetables. Panties and bras as hats. She appeared as Rolling Stone's girl of the year, topless, playing the bass. The magazine printed up a poster of her like that with the legend "Get it here."

When we hit the road in 1969 to cross the country in our psychedelic school bus, the clothes had to calm down a bit. You couldn't drag a sewing machine everywhere. Or could you. We didn't. Before we left I made an outfit to wear to my sister's wedding in Denmark, and later to Sibyl and Ali's wedding in Connecticut. I spared my family in Denmark, when I realized it would just make my parents unhappy. But Sibyl and Ali loved it: grey suede shoes (store bought) cut velvet bell bottoms, burgundy, grey, fawn, a HUGE print suitable for a royal throne; purple mother-of-pearl buttons the size of silver dollars at the fly. A wildly romantic white shirt with miles of jabeau to wrap around the neck and tie into a huge bow. Over this a black velvet cutaway jacket with pink and turquoise paisley lining that peaked through slits in the sleeves. Hair (to the middle of my back) gathered in a gigantic black satin bow. Mozart on acid, we decided. Not at all out of place at a wedding that took place on a silver covered barge in the middle of a pond and was performed by a lapsed Jesuit and a self-styled American Buddhist.

The rest of that summer I wore Indian cotton pyjamas or less. It was more practical. And comfortable. But the costume esthetic stayed with us and was not unique to us, and it was not a question of wanting to provoke the straights. Fuck the straights. We wanted to please the "heads", and we surely did.

The reason we started the band was simple. Every week-end we went to either the Fillmore or the Avalon to dance to the bands. This cost money. A good way to get in for free would be to work there -- they might even pay us. And some of the bands who played there were clearly total amateurs. This looked easy; easy enough for even us to do.

The biggest thing happening was acid -- LSD. Every week-end we'd take some and careen into San Francisco in Trixie's giant convertible Oldsmobile. Why we didn't kill ourselves can only be explained by saying it wasn't time yet. Through the LSD-high what was happening at these dance halls seemed revolutionary. I had chosen a career in the theatre. But this was much more exciting theatre than sitting in rows staring passively at a stage. I staged a rock'n'roll version of Lysistrata as my senior project at Stanford. At the end of the play the audience was invited on stage to dance with the cast. On the program I printed the following:

Director's message spelled out: in San Jose, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, stood on the stage in the Civic Auditorium, screaming, "I can't get no satisfaction". In the audience, several thousand kids screamed that they wanted to give him just that. But he didn't want it: at the climax of the evening --which could have become something involving a great deal of love -- a concrete-grey fire-curtain separated the Stones from the audience, and everyone was herded into the street -- frustrated, rejected, and really believing that there is no satisfaction to be had, except, maybe, in hate.

"Tonight, I ask everyone in the audience to admit it if they fall in love with anybody in the cast. The cast is prepared to fall in love with you. When somebody asks you to dance, do so, if you want to. You won't be confusing the cast -- they all want it. If you don't want it, just dig people digging each other. If you don't dig, I'm sorry. I must have been dreaming ... Lars."

They dug. Every night after the show the strobe lights blinked, the rock music rolled, and two hundred people, only a little self-consciously, got on stage and celebrated the new peace and love philosophy. I was supposed to go to New York University in the Fall to get my master of fine arts degree. I was already accepted. But I didn't want to go. One reason was my fear of being gay. I dreaded having to deal with this in New York, which was somehow more "real" than San Francisco. I pictured myself being sucked into the City of Night (John Rechy's book was big at the time and it terrified and thrilled me) and somehow being destroyed by it. My grandmother had set up trust funds for all her grand children. So when I turned 21 in 1965 I came into about $20,000 worth of stocks. I hadn't done anything with this money, but now seemed to be the time. Why not start a rock'n'roll band? So what if we didn't know how to play? We'd take a lot of acid every day and learn. It couldn't be so hard. Some of the bands we paid to hear could barely play. What mattered was attitude. If we were cute enough and happy enough, people would love us.

Norman and Manny knew how to play the guitar and were sure they could teach the rest of us. Norman was supposed to go to Yale in the fall to teach economics. Ellie, his wife, was furious at me for making the band possible, but there was nothing she could do about. Norman didn't really want to go to Yale anyway. He saw what the rest of us did: the Age of Aquarius was really happening, though we didn't come right out and call it that. Whatever it was, though, it was important and we wanted to be a part of it. Anything else could wait.

A day in June, 1966, Norman, Manny, Michael, Sara, Adrienne and I got dressed up in our best party clothes and headed for downtown Palo Alto. We were colorful, to put it mildly. Later we were to become much more colorful, but on this early date, we caused a stir walking into the Wells Fargo Bank. In less than an hour I had signed my stocks over to the bank and the bank had loaned me $20,000. The idea was that we were going to become successful so fast that we'd be able to pay back the loan and I'd still have the stock. This is not how it turned out. In fact, a month later I sold the stocks and paid off the loan in full. But it seemed optimistic to take a loan at this point.

From the bank we headed to Swain's House of Music on University Avenue. Mr. Swain was an elderly man who had seen that electric instruments were here to stay and had stocked some guitars and some amps. He was far from enthusiastic about our strange group, but money talks, and ours talked quite loud. That day we headed home to our mountain-top ranch with two electric guitars, a bass, a set of drums, a Farfisa organ and all the amps to run it all. Well, no, some amps had to be special ordered. And mikes for the singers, not to mention tambourines, claves, cowbells, rattles, maracas, triangles, kazoos, everything. One of the first songs we wrote was called "Dr. Swain". It had nothing to do with Mr. Swain, but from that day we always called him Dr. Swain, much to his complete bafflement. The song was about a Dr. Strange-like character, but we also liked to be just a little more enigmatic than we had to. Herb Gold, in a short story published the next year in Playboy, quotes the whole song.

The first night we had our instruments we set them up in the huge living room at Rancho Diablo and each took a dose of LSD. Ellie didn't participate; she stewed in her room with her little daughter Maya, fretting about the irresponsibility of it all. Over twenty years later Ellie is one of the people in the world I love the most. At the time she seemed negative and hostile. But now I can understand why. We were irresponsible, there's no doubt about it. That first night we plugged everything in and had at it. The mere fact that we were able to produce a sound seemed like a miracle.

The favorite guru at the time was Meher Baba. Our friends Steve Durkee, who later started Lama Foundation, and Dick ALpert, had turned us on to Meher Baba. He had been fashionable in the twenties; there was a wonderful photograph of him with Greta Garbo from Hollywood. Meher Baba is communicating with a spelling board, as he had taken a vow of silence. He is very beautiful with dark, soft eyes and long silky hair and a big beautiful moustache. In 1966 he was living quietly (yes, he was still silent) in India, gaining popularity with our new psychedelic generation. His message, printed on a calling card, was simple "Don't worry, be happy," it said under his picture on one side, and on the other: "I am the one who can love you more that you can ever love yourself." In our psychedelic state this seemed touchingly clear and eloquent. And that first night we started whacking away at our instruments and droning the words of Meher Baba's calling card. Our first song!

Beth, who had sewn many of our most beautiful clothes, and who was our greatest fan from the beginning, became very pale and soon had to go throw up. Somehow our music made her sick. Not a good sign, but we were undaunted and hammered away.

That first night the band consisted of Norman and Manny on guitars (Norman had taught Elvin Bishop his first guitar chords at the University of Chicago and both he and Manny were close friends of Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites.

They could even read music. Manny was a whiz on the banjo, but we didn't need a banjo in an acid rock band, so he played rhythm guitar); Carlton on bass (he had never held a bass in his hands before, but he was Michael's roommate, and very cute looking. He didn't last long, as he never came to practice. After less than two weeks Trixie, whom we had considered too flaky to be an active member of the band, took over on the bass. Ironically she is the only one of the entire group who went on to make a living as a professional musician. The rest of us, though we stayed with the AAA for many years, eventually drifted into other careers); Michael on organ (previous experience: nil); Adrienne on drums (forget it); and Sara and I as singers. Sara could actually sing. She was married to Jerry Garcia and had performed with him locally singing folk songs. She had gone to high school with Joan Baez and apparently the general drift at the time was towards ethereal singing. I had a voice like a frog but was convinced that performance was the crucial factor, not vocal chords. I wasn't far off, either, although it did become frustrating in the long run not to be able to produce the sounds I could hear in my head.

Our friend Dick Alpert supported us in our venture by giving us 100,000 micrograms of pure Sandoz LSD. Michael divided it up into caps and every day we'd all take some before rehearsal started. Trixie, Adrienne and I lived down the hill in Norman and Ellie's old house; Michael, Sara and Carlton lived in Palo Alto; and Norman, ELlie, Toni and Len lived up the hill at Rancho Diablo. To begin with there were open hostilities towards the band on the part of the non-participants. But after a very short time it became clear that we were not going to give up right away. At first Adrienne, Trixie, I and Annie (who was to take over as drummer from Adrienne after a few weeks but who for the time being hung around for the general excitement) were not allowed to eat with the others. Two months later we all moved in up the hill.

Dick Alpert gave us a synthesizer, too, but it had to be built first. Don Buchla had invented this electronic instrument for the composer Morton Subotnick, who had dibs on the first one. Then we got the second one. There was no prototype and Len, who was to play the synthesizer in the group, spent much time in Oakland at Buchla' s studio, determining what the instrument should do. What we eventually got was cumbersome but entertaining. The biggest drawback was the inability to tune it. Instruments could be channeled through the synthesizer, but the result was always "pure sound", some might call it noise. We didn't mind much, it sounded very far-out and made us unique in the world.

An average day with the band started around nine AM, when we'd struggle up to the surface and meet in the kitchen for coffee and cereal. Everyone helped themselves. Around cup number three we'd roll a joint and get a buzz on. Then we'd drop a little acid (not a big dose, just enough to sensitize us for the day's music) and head down to the garage which we'd fixed up as a rehearsal hall. At least an hour would pass tuning up, waiting for everyone to get their act together, and agreeing what we were going to do first. Finally we'd play. It sounded awful. We'd stop and smoke a joint and listen to the tape of what we'd just done. One channel was out. Michael and Norman and Adrienne would try to fix it. By now they were quite high and the simplest task was a challenge. By and by we'd continue. Someone was out of tune, but who? Big argument resulting in the need to take another break and smoking another joint to get in the proper mood to go on. Meanwhile the California sun is shining outside, the redwood trees are swaying in the breeze, in the far distance the Pacific Ocean is glittering.

We stop for lunch. At first those of us who lived down the hill had to drive all the way back down (half an hour) to eat, then back up for afternoon and evening rehearsals. Later, when we all moved in together, we ate together, too. Ellie and Toni did all the cooking. I put in what money I could (I still got an allowance from my parents), but they did all the work at this point. Then there'd be a couple of hours of trying to gather everyone together for the afternoon's rehearsal. More screaming and yelling. From the very start I felt paranoid about my singing. At the time I thought it was just me, but I realize now that everyone felt the same. None of us knew the slightest thing about music (with the exception of Norman and Manny who were quite impatient with the rest of us and in fact were just frustrated by the fact that neither of them was a virtuoso either) and yet here we were being a band.

The songs we played were either blues numbers (they were easy to figure out the chord changes for) or original tunes with simple changes. Trixie, Sara and I wrote most of the lyrics, and Norman and Manny wrote the music. Amazingly we were able to actually play after a very short time. Not very well, but play.

Our day would end with a play-back of the day's rehearsal, more arguing and fault-finding, and then dinner. I think the LSD made us more paranoid about our individual shortcomings, but it also made us look at them with a greater sense of humour. In any case, we forgave each other every day, smoked a lot of joints in order to be able to fall asleep, and the next day we'd start all over again. It seemed like this went on for many years, but in fact after maybe a month, we felt ready to perform for the first time. Our goal was to be international super-stars in less than a year, with our own Headquarters in New York; so there was no time to waste. We knew about twelve songs at this point, enough for two "sets" if we played very long instrumental breaks.

We invited friends to come to the Ranch and everyone was very enthusiastic. It was not our musicianship that turned people on, it was our ingenuous attitude. We were so sure that we were wonderful that our audiences became convinced of it. We were so earnest in our efforts, that they almost seemed to succeed. And don't forget, the audience was all high on something, too. And the other bands who played were pretty odd, too. The Grateful Dead, for example, would get so involved in tuning up that the tune-up sometimes became the main thing. An hour would pass, two hours, they were all on stage with their backs to the audience, their instruments shrieking and moaning. "Have they started yet?" was the recurring question. To this day it's not always possible to tell when the Dead stop tuning up and "start playing".

There were interruptions in the practice process. One of the most tedious ones was when I got busted for possession of marijuana. Trixie, Adrienne, Annie and I were still living down the hill. One day we left Annie at home as here parents were coming to visit her. In the early evening we got a call from Carol that she had dropped by to see if anyone was home only to find the police at the house. She turned around and left. I called the house to see what was going on. The police answered. I told them who I was, they wanted to know where I was. I told them, and within minutes, it seemed, they arrived to arrest me. Hands on the car, quick frisk, handcuffs, and off to jail in Redwood City.

During the next hour I went through the possibility in my mind that I'd spend the rest of my life in jail. I had some pills in my pocket but managed to get rid of them in the detention tank, where they put me after I was booked. Before I had time to come down (oh, yes, I was high on acid, as usual), I was bailed out and back home. The house was a complete shambles. It turned out that when Annie's parents had arrived to visit her she had decided to tell them that she not only liked to take LSD but she was at that very moment high, in fact. Her parents were the worst kind of reactionary and self-righteous Southerners and had visions of insanity and depravity and decided they were going to take ANnie away from all this. Annie didn't want to go, she liked our life. A fight ensued with physical struggling, upturning of a table. As Annie's parents dragged her from the house, Annie screamed for help. The neighbors called the police, thinking that someone was being kidnapped next door.

When the police arrived, Annie and her parents had left. The house was wide open and a mess. The police went in and started searching "Looking for a possible body" they later testified in court. During this search they found a kilo of pot in my desk.

How did they know it was my desk? My passport was in it. They also found some other drugs, but they were not illegal yet, so were inadmissible evidence. For some reason they only arrested me. But everyone had to deal with it.

Norman, Ellie, Toni, Len and Adrienne had been arrested a few months earlier at the Ranch when the police came looking for Ken Kesey, who was himself a fugitive from justice at the time, and found them all in the middle of cleaning a kilo of pot. Norman had tried to flush it down the toilet, but the plumbing was old and weak and when the police broke down the door to the bathroom they found Norman frantically trying to flush the toilet in which a large amount of green vegetable matter slowly spun around.

We were sure the police was keeping an eye on us, that they thought we were involved in some kind of plot. In fact we thought they were all ridiculous, but we knew they had power, and the less we had to do with them the happier we were. So my arrest was a definite downer. My mother flew in from Denmark for the preliminary hearing. She was totally understanding, did not think pot was suck a bad thing, and laughed out loud when the DA held up a syringe big enough for an elephant and entered it as incriminating evidence. I don't remember where it came from, but it was not intended for use on humans and I had it in my house strictly for decorative purposes.

My lawyer was a friend of ours. He had gotten probation for Norman and charges against everyone else dropped. He seemed capable enough. And yet he presented a very weak case in my defense and, sure enough, I was convicted of possession. I had to meet my probation officer before sentencing. He was an ex-Marine with a short-short crew cut and a big cigar. I was a skinny hippy with bleached hair and weird clothes. "I think I'll recommend ninety days in the county jail for you. Do you good." He didn't like the fact that I was a conscientious objector, either.

The judge put me on probation for two years during which time I had to report to this guy every two weeks. Fortunately he left the area. The judge put me on probation for two years during which time I had to report to this guy every two weeks. Fortunately he left the area shortly thereafter and my case was transferred to a much more sympathetic person, who ended up dropping out and starting a career making tie-dyes and batiks.

Trixie's cousin, Johnny Kaplan, had recently joined the faculty at Stanford Law School. Just previous to this he had worked as Jack Ruby's defense lawyer (when Ruby died his trial became moot) and then he had re-written the California penal code for marijuana. The man was considered one of the most brilliant young lawyers around. He was always something of a wacko: he had had a tiger suit made for himself, which he liked to wear lolling about the house. He'd sit in his easy chair, twirling his long tail idly. Not only that, on occasion he'd wear his tiger suit to class at Stanford, causing quite a sensation.

When he heard of my conviction he was incensed. "What kind of a dummy lawyer did you have? This is clearly a case of illegal search and seizure." I told him about my lawyer, including the fact that I'd recently discovered that the guy was kind of flipped out. Apparently he was using an inordinate amount of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and it had started to affect his mind. He refused to go anywhere without an umbrella because if even a drop of rain hit him he could be damaged forever. Maybe his entire energy had not been into defending me. "How much did you pay this drug-crazed freak?" I had to confess two thousand dollars. "I'll appeal your case and it won't cost you a cent," said Johnny with a grand gesture. And sure enough. A few months later the case was brought up. I had a new short haircut and a pair of intelligent looking tortoise-rim glasses. And I wore a grey flannel suit. Johnny stepped in front of the judge, a man by the name of Rose, who was considered mean and ornery, especially in the morning. It was nine AM. Before saying a word Johnny paced up and down in front of the judge with his hands on his back for a moment. The resemblance to Groucho Marx was uncanny. Then in his best New York accent he started presenting the case. Rather than deliver a dry and boring harangue, he made the judge and everyone in the court room laugh with his ironic asides.

When he finally introduced his argument the case was already won. And thanks to Johnny a new precedent was set in California: the police may only investigate the crime for which they are called to the scene. In other words, since they were investigating a possible kidnapping and looking for a body, they were not allowed to enter my desk drawer, where they could not possibly find a body, without obtaining a separate warrant for that. Thanks to Adrienne's having been arrested for possession not too long before, the other evidence collected by the police could not be exclusively tied to me. I got off; my record was expunged, and I was free to be arrested with a clean slate in the future.

While the trial was still going on, however, I had another run-in with the sheriff's department of San Mateo County. Literally. Sara, Michael, Trixie, Norman, Manny and I were driving up old La Honda road. Usually we drove on New La Honda Road, which was wider, but occasionally we took the back way, which was very windy and narrow, even unpaved in spots. I was driving Trixie's enormous Oldsmobile. The top was down, we were all feeling fine, probably a little high, dressed to go to a job somewhere. From the radio poured loud rock'n'roll; the sun was shining; everything was groovy. You couldn't really speed on this road, the curves were too tight, but anything over five miles an hour was too fast if you should happen to encounter any oncoming traffic. Suddenly a big white sheriff's car lurched around the corner and before either of us could do anything we'd hit each other head on. Sara's arm was broken and the sheriff's foot hurt, too, so he called for an ambulance on his radio. He must have also called for other cops, because soon the place was swarming with them. Norman went and threw a bunch of acid off a bridge into a ravine. The cops spent hours combing the brush trying to find it. When they succeeded it was all for naught, since LSD was not to become illegal until three days later.

Other cops went through the Olds with a fine-tooth comb. They brushed up the lint in the corners, they searched behind the panels of the doors and inside the seats. But somehow they didn't come up with anything incriminating. Back at the Ranch, later on, we were all sitting in the library, a little shaken, somehow expecting the police to descend on us and carry us all away. Ellie was holding Maya, who was a year old, in her lap, murmuring "School of hard knocks, Maya, that's what you're going to have. School of hard knocks. Mm-mm." Even in this solemn hour she sounded silly and we all laughed hysterically.

Eventually Michael returned. Sara had stayed the night in the hospital, but she was okay. "The whole way in the ambulance I'm riding next to the cop with my briefcase on my lap," cackled Michael as he flipped it open. There was all the dope the cops so desperately had been looking for: several kinds of pot, LSD, some downers, some uppers, papers, pipes, you name it. Calm as a cucumber, Michael had figured the best thing he could do was get the evidence out of there before the cops started their search. The one with the sprained foot was concerned about his own pain, not busting the girl with the broken arm's boyfriend.

I myself was issued a summons for reckless driving. This seemed a bit unfair since the sheriff was going just as fast as I was. But when the time to appear in court came, I simply pleaded nolo contendere, and the judge let me off with a small fine. Fortunately it was not Judge Rose. He might have been less amused.

Why was Michael carrying a whole briefcase full of drugs? Not so we could take them all, but so we could take exactly the right thing at the right time. Michael was a graduate student in the psychology department before having a showdown with the head of the department and dropping out. His greatest interest was hypnosis and thought transference. During one hypnosis experiment (during which he had been high), Michael and the subject somehow got their wires crossed. The head of the department, who was conducting the experiment, was not about to admit that his assistant was having the thoughts that were issuing from the subject, and vice versa; no such mumbo jumbo could even be considered. But Michael swears that's what happened: rather than the subject going into a deep trance, Michael went, and the subject started having "Michael's thoughts." When the head of the department refused to deal with all of this, Michael quit the department and joined the Anonymous Artists of America. And he also continued experimenting with hypnosis.

For my birthday he designed a set of cards, each of which was supposed to induce as different state of consciousness in me. First he hypnotized me and pre-conditioned me to each card. One would make me feel a little high on pot; another very high on pot; a third, high on speed, and so on. Then I would no longer need to take a drug to alter my consciousness, I could just look at the card of my choice. Did it work? Not really. But something happened. Could it work? Who knows. I wanted our experiments to work, so I was a very willing subject for hypnosis. But we were probably too inexperienced to design sophisticated experiments like this. One evening Michael hypnotized me and regressed me to my very early childhood. Suddenly I could only speak Danish, which was very frustrating. He then told me to forget the whole thing when I woke up, and brought me out of the state. But I hadn't forgotten everything. Instead I new I was supposed to forget, so I didn't admit that I remembered. The feeling was one of frustration and finally I persuaded Michael to put me under again and tell me to remember everything.

The reason for carrying all these drugs wherever we went, then, was to be able to induce just the right state of mind at any time. Drugs were fun, sure, but they were modern tools, too, to be used to create just the right effect at any given time. Yes, we took a lot of drugs, but in the case of Michael it was the potential of being able to control people's state of mind that was exciting.

There were certain events that still remain as monumental. The Human Be-In was one. On Haight street in San Francisco Ron and Jay Thelin had opened the Psychedelic Bookstore. Norman sold some silk screened mandalas there, so we dropped by regularly. They sold books dealing with Tibetan mysticism and drugs. Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, stuff like that. And incense and prisms; and ZigZag cigarette papers. At this time Bull Durham and Rizla were the brands of cigarette paper that were readily avail able, and they were ungummed. ZigZags were gummed, so infinitely better for rolling joints. They were not exactly illegal, but you knew that the guy selling them to you knew what you were going to use them for. The Psychedelic Store was safe, we felt. One day we saw a poster announcing the First Human Be-In to take place on a Sunday in Golden Gate Park. No explanation as to what it might be. But that was the way with the psychedelic movement: a lot of information was communicated by the choice of words. The medium was the message. Somehow we knew what they meant, and we planned on attending.

On the day, thousands of hip people showed up. There was no event as such, or rather, we were all the event. There was a stage on some flatbed trucks from which Allen Ginzburg read poetry and Dick Alpert spoke and, I think, the Grateful Dead played some music. The Hell's Angels had been invited to provide security, which offended some of us. But Kesey and Alpert assured us they were cool, and there were no unpleasant incidents. A parachutist landed in the middle of the field of people, to every one's delight. Nothing happened. We were just there; a human be-in. But for the first time we knew how many of us there were. We had suspected it before, from the increasing number of wildly painted cars you'd see, or long hair; and people had started giving the "peace sign" to each other as a greeting that conveyed that they recognized a fellow hip person. But the Human Be-In was different: we were strong; something was happening that was huge. Within weeks be-ins became love-ins, and they were taking place all over the country. There was one in New York that attracted many thousands, and in LA they became a regular event; in San Diego, too. Soon you could buy tie-dyed T-shirts and headbands; incense and rolling papers; psychedelic posters, god's eyes. All the things you needed to make your trip groovier. It was understood, all these things were drug related. The papers wrote about the peace movement and the love children; not so much about drugs. But in fact drugs started it all.

The first psychedelic dance was staged at the Longshoremen's Hall in San Francisco by the Family Dog. The featured bands were the Loving Spoonful and the Charlatans. The Spoonful had played at Stanford University the previous week, outdoors at the student union on a Saturday afternoon. Now they were going to play at night in a situation where you could dance. Until then bands only gave concerts at huge halls like the Cow Palace. You couldn't dance. You had to sit there and listen. The dances let the audience participate. At this first one there was no light show. There was a bar, I remember, behind a roped off area. You had to show your ID to get a drink. But most important, there was a huge dance floor. The dance floor was the central item , not the band. We all went. I spent much of the evening dancing with Allen Ginsberg and Neal Casady. For the first time that was okay. The people who went to this affair were together as one: men danced with men, women with women, or you could dance alone, or everybody could dance together. Express yourself.

This turned out to be the last time the Loving Spoonful appeared in San Francisco. One of their members had been busted for pot and, in order to get off, he turned in a friend who instead was prosecuted. Word got out, and the band was finished. They were never forgiven.

But the idea of the psychedelic dance remained. Shortly thereafter Ken Kesey started staging his Acid Tests. The very first one was in San Jose on the night of the Rolling Stones' concert. Norman, Ellie, Trixie and I went to the Stones concert at the San Jose civic Auditorium. The atmosphere was cold and unfriendly. The Stones played fine, but the vibes were bad. We were on acid (not Ellie), so we were double sensitive. Afterwards we walked over to the house where the Acid Test was to take place.

On our way a girl ran up to me and asked if I was Rudolf Nurejev; he had just defected from Russia and I may have had a passing resemblance to him: high cheek bones, a big mouth, wild hair.

We got to the house. Hundreds of people were crammed into a small house. There were black lights in some rooms, strobes in others. The Grateful Dead were playing (or tuning up, who could tell); everybody was high on acid. Signs everywhere asked "Can you pass the Acid Test"? That night we mainly milled around. Ron Boise's thunder machine may have been in one room, but mostly this initial acid test was like the Be-In; it just was. Later ones were much better organized.

The Trips Festival was the most impressive one. Held at the Longshoremen's Hall, it was organized by Bill Graham. He was the business manager for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and somehow got involved with Kesey to stage this week-end long event. Kesey and the Merry Pranksters appeared; and various bands; and lightshows. Adrienne and Trixie and I showed up as the Anonymous Artists of America, a light show. At one point we dropped a can of film off the balcony and almost killed someone on the dance floor below. General pandemonium reigned, fortunately, so we were soon forgiven. Casady came by while I was chatting with Ramon Sender from the tape center at Mills College. Casady must have been very high -- he generally was -- because from that day on he always called me Ramon, and I'm told he called Ramon, Lars.

The crowds at the Trips Festival were stunning. People had to be turned away. And the most striking thing about it was that the entertainment was not the crucial factor. The audience was the entertainment. Being there was what counted. Everyone came in elaborate costumes. Either beautiful or far out. The most legendary costume, never to be forgotten, was a prankster who wrapped his entire body and face in gauze and black electrical tape and wore a sign saying "I am a pimply freak and you're in the Pepsi Generation." No one needed to ask what he meant, somehow.

A few weeks later Bill Graham and Ken Kesey again staged an Acid Test at the Fillmore Auditorium in the heart of San Francisco's black ghetto. To everyone's amazement it was no problem attracting people to this seediest of neighborhoods. This was the best acid test I ever went to. The Kool-Aid was spiked and there was excitement in every corner. TV cameras were set up for anyone to record what they felt was worthwhile. Ron Boises's beautiful sculptures were placed all over for people to play with. The Dead played -- were they tuning up, or were they playing? Who cared, we all danced.

And from then on Bill Graham staged dances every week-end. At first at the Fillmore, later at Winterland and the Starlight Ballroom, which became known as Fillmore West. And on the other side of town the Family Dog put on their dances at the Avalon Ballroom, a much mellower and smaller place. And after a while we friends saw the folly of being onlookers. Why not participate actively? Become a band. The message of the day was clear: you can do anything you want, given enough perseverance ... and acid.

From the start I disliked the Jefferson Airplane. They were much too earnest, they had no glamour. Their singer was pregnant, for god's sake! They handed out buttons at their early gigs, saying "Jefferson Airplane Loves You." Ick, I thought. So when the time came for the AAA to have buttons, our message was "We Love More" -- and you were supposed to interpret this every possible way, especially with the emphasis on the last word: we love MORE. That became the Triple A's leitmotif: excess in everything.

Trixie, Adrienne, Annie and I kept living down the hill throughout the fall of '66, though we spent less and less time there. We had taken the house over from Norman and Ellie when they moved up the Ranch, and we had redecorated radically. Juliet of the Spirits made a profound impression on me. Clearly Fellini was on some kind of psychedelics when he made it. The day after seeing it I ran amok on the house. The bedroom became a fantasy in pastels and white: pale cheesecloth draped over the bed in many layers. All surfaces white. There was something innocent about the effect. Many parties would end up in this bedroom, but nothing every happened; we'd just lie in a big pile on the bed, hugging and giggling. In fact, my experience of all this so-called free love in the hippy movement, was very innocent. Until we made our cross-country bus trip, at which point we made up for lost time in a big way.

Next to the bedroom was the closet room: an entire room to hold Trixie's and my many clothes. It was inspired by Mickey Mouse and was painted vivid sky-blue, yellow and pink. The washing machine was candy-apple red, for some reason. Outside nature had its way. The house was set in a meadow run wild. Over the picnic table was another Juliet-of-the-Spirits arrangement of dyed cheesecloth. At the back of the property ran a little creek where it was possible to fish for crayfish, though we never did. To-day there are five large, suburban homes on this piece of property. Twenty years ago it was for sale for $20.000. Who had even twenty cents, though?

Before we started the band, Trixie's and my house was the daily gathering place for the friends. Adrienne first dropped in, later moved in. Len dropped in on the way up the hill; Michael was always there. It was the place to be. We'd have a drink and smoke a joint and listen to music and draw. And fantasize about what was happening. Neal Casady would drop by on occasion to see what drugs he could pick up on. Once he even took one of Trixie's birth control pills. There was nothing else around. On his way to court for sentencing for driving without a license, he dropped a large dose of acid and several amphetamine pills. Later he came back to recount, verbatim, the proceedings in court. Although he was always in trouble for driving without a license, he had told the judge that there was no chance that he would ever stop driving. Driving was an organic part of him. So the judge might as well accept this and give him back his license. Unfortunately the judge didn't see it that way, and Neal regularly served a couple of weeks in the County Jail. And he never managed to get a license, so the prospect for an end to this cycle was not bright.

Riding in a car with Neal at the wheel was better than Disneyland. He could steer, roll a joint, talk independently to every passenger in the car, and play the radio, all at the same time. And you never felt like you were in danger. Play the radio, that's not such a big deal, you might say. For Neal it was an art. He would flip between the stations in such a way that he created a separate, somehow coherent narrative, put together of bits of commercials, newscasts, songs, talk shows. His mind was able to pursue seemingly unlimited trains of thought and keep track of them so that he could use them to his advantage. Once he turned the sound off on the TV and narrated a movie made up by himself, by flipping between the channels and creating a separate, logical and hysterically funny program. At a party I saw him converse with six people at once (I was one of them); six different conversations about six different subject matters. Not one of the six ever felt that he or she was waiting his or her turn to speak. We all just held up our end of the conversation, while Neal, literally spinning around, with no effort maintained all six conversations at once. And what he said was interesting, too, never boring. There's been a lot of writing about the desperation that had a hold of this man. In fact he seemed caught up in a life that moved so fast that his only problem was finding people to be around who could move as fast as himself. When he finally decided to end it all, in Mexico, perhaps it was because he saw himself slowing down, becoming boring, being like everyone else. Rather than sink into ordinariness, why not just get out of it? He didn't seem desperate; he seemed to enjoy life at a pace ordinary people could not keep up with.

Were we drug addicts? It didn't seem like it, but writing about it now, we certainly seem to always have been taking drugs. We were seeking out new experiences, not running away from the ones we saw. How far could you take it? It was the "more" syndrome. One time I shot up a thousand micrograms of acid. Usually we did not use needles, but I'd tried shooting speed a couple of times and had loved the rush, and now wanted to try what it would be like to get high on acid instantly, without waiting f or the sometimes unpleasant period of getting high. Before the needle was out of my arm I was gone. Friends laid me down on the floor and covered me to keep me warm. I was not afraid in any way, but I had no ability to act or even think. I just was. I could hear my friends talking, but I couldn't answer them and I couldn't make out what they said, either. I was just a part of the air in the room. No problem. After a few hours I came down enough to participate. It had been a positive experience.

I received my notice to appear for my physical exam. When I turned eighteen and had to register for the draft, I had registered as a conscientious objector. A few years later I had had to back up my claim by writing essays and getting letters of recommendation from teachers who knew me well enough to corroborate my alleged pacifism. This had been no problem and my CO status had been accepted at my draft board in New Jersey. But now I had to go to the physical to see if they wanted to use me for alternate service. The thought was appalling and I would do anything to get out of it. Of course I could just tell them I was homosexual and that would be that. But then I'd have to tell my friends, too, and I wasn't ready for that. So I had to get out of the draft some other way.

The night before the physical I took a lot of speed and stayed up all night so as to look as wasted as possible. In the morning I dressed in clothes that were too small: pants that were too tight, a shirt that barely buttoned; and boots that reached to the hips. I gathered up a handful of metal fingerpicks and drown to Oakland in the Olds. At the induction center they made me get undressed along with everyone else. I peed in a bottle, I bent over, I turned my head and coughed. There was nothing wrong with me. I asked to see the psychiatrist. Why? I used drugs and I was a ... homosexual. In that order. They let me get dressed. The psychiatrist looked at me with undisguised contempt as I nervously tapped my fingers on his steel-topped desk. On every finger I had slipped on a fingerpick, so the effect must have been quite annoying. There was no arguing with the fact that I was, at the time, a convicted felon, on probation for possession of marijuana. Later in the Vietnam war this did not deter them from drafting you, but at this early stage in the war it did. "It says here you're homosexual?" I really didn't want to talk about it, but I wanted even less to have to do anything at all connected with the armed forces. I wanted to be a rock'n'roll star, there wasn't time for this other stuff. So I told him that well, maybe I was bisexual, actually, but I was afraid if I was locked up with a lot of guys I'd get in trouble. Yes, I had had sexual experiences. The psychiatrist let me go. "You have to see a social worker before you leave."

The social worker sat in the middle of a room. Along the wall were all the misfits who had to be interviewed before being let off the hook. Perhaps the social worker was deaf, in any case he spoke very loud. I think his job was to humiliate all of us undesirables by shouting out the news of each of our perversions. But at this point, who cared? We all knew it was almost over and we wouldn't ever have to think about it again.

When I got home we had a party. I bragged about my ruse with the fingerpicks and glossed over my story of being homosexual; that was just something I said, of course, and they went for it.

Around Christmas we all moved up the Ranch: Sara and Michael and Sara's daughter Heather lived downstairs next to Adrienne and Annie; Norman and Ellie had the library; Toni and Len had the master bedroom; and Trixie and I had the guest bedroom, with a view across redwood forest clear to the Pacific Ocean, twenty miles away. Beth took over the house on Alpine Road. The reason for the move was to save money. Len was the only one of us with a job, and he planned to quit as soon as his synthesizer was finished. Otherwise we were living on what was left of my $20.000 and my monthly allowance from my family, which amazingly was still coming in. But there was no very promising sources of income, so the less we spent, the better.

We did have occasional gigs. One loyal employer was the Barn in Santa Cruz, where we somehow built up a following. We were not known for the virtuosity of our playing; we were known as the band who took acid everyday. Since a large number of our audience did the same, there was a certain affinity between us. I'm not sure the acid helped the music; it certainly complicated matters. The Barn was a good forty-five minutes from the Ranch where we lived. One of our first times there we reluctantly had to admit that we had left one crucial cord at home. There was no way around it, someone had to drive back and get it. By the time we discovered the situation we were all tripping our tits off. I got in the Olds and drove like the wind to be back in time for our first set. It is a miracle that I survived, since I would drive under any condition. It often felt like I was driving a rocket and not a car, but I somehow always managed to get safely to my destination. Except of course for the encounter with the sheriff; but that had more to do with the road than the mental condition, I like to think.

Finally all the equipment was operative and it was time to tune up. Who could tell if we were in tune? Everything sounded very interesting. I was a singer, so I didn't have to worry about tuning the guitars, but if they were out of tune, my singing suffered. There were occasions when we never got in tune and the result was a feeling of malaise in the entire crowd. No one could put their finger on the problem, but something was definitely off. It was like feeling slightly nauseated, for no particular reason. But we were wonderful, and the audiences responded to that part of our show. It was possible to dance to our music, although you probably could not understand the lyrics to our songs. But the visuals were the best: we were always in bright and elaborate costumes; sometimes we featured a belly dancer; often there were kids on stage; when we played outdoors we had our dogs along. The audience maybe saw in us a group of people who dared do what they themselves only dreamed of. And they forgave us our shortcomings. As the years passed we got a lot better at playing. By the time I left the band we were much better musicians, but somehow a little less wonderful.

The big event of 1967 was going to be the Acid Test Graduation. Kesey had announced his return from Mexico, where he was a fugitive from justice. He would take the rap. But first he wanted to stage one last bash. Bill Graham had agreed to stage it at Winterland, starring the Grateful Dead. It looked like we would be involved, too, although in what capacity was not clear. Bill Graham still didn't like us. We were convinced it was because Adrienne had broken the door of the Fillmore with an amp when we played at Lee and Space Daisy's wedding the year before. Perhaps he just didn't think we were a very good band. In any case, it was a great big deal and the papers were full of it for weeks ahead of time. Then Kesey and Mountain Girl got busted with a little bag of grass on the roof of some building in San Francisco. Slight scandal: the family man Kesey with this young girl who was Jerry Garcia's girlfriend; what were they doing up there in the middle of the night, anyway. The answer was fairly obvious.

Because Kesey was under such close scrutiny of the law, Bill Graham suddenly got cold feet and decided not to have the Acid Test Graduation at Winterland, after all. There was bound to be trouble, he said. Hell's Angels, drugs; nothing but trouble. What was more, the Dead were booked by Bill Graham to play at Winterland, regardless of what the event was called. It was Halloween, a big party night in San Francisco, and he wasn't about to let go of his headliners.

Which left Kesey with his loyal Merry Pranksters; and us. He hired a smallish warehouse around the corner from police headquarters and put out flyers to the effect that the Graduation ceremony would be taking place there. "Cleanliness is next!" proclaimed the flyer in typical psychedelic enigmatic fashion. The word in general was "No more drugs." Kesey announced that as soon as the graduation was over he'd turn himself over to the authorities to serve his sentence. This was his swan song.

Tom Wolfe, impeccable in his wife suit, showed up from New York to chronicle the event for New York Magazine, which at the time was the Sunday supplement for the New York Herald Tribune. For several days before Halloween he hung out at Kesey's in La Honda; he came to visit us at the ranch, too. We talked about the whole acid scene and showed him our dining room table, which used to be Kesey's; an old wire spool into the surface of which all the hells angels and Merry Pranksters and other assorted knights of the acid round table had carved their names.

Kesey asked us to play at the graduation. No one else seemed to be available. The Pranksters were going to play too, but they could not be counted on to produce anything that even remotely resembled rock'n'roll. We had, by now, worked up a sufficient repertoire, to get a crowd cooking. We were probably the only people who were really happy about the developments. This was a big deal, to be the main band at the Acid Test Graduation, an obvious Historic Occasion.

We arrived at the warehouse in the afternoon with all our costumes for the evening. There was a pile of risers lying in one end of the room. We went to assemble them, to create a stage. As I worked I suddenly realized I had built these risers when I was an apprentice at the Actors' Workshop a couple of years earlier. Cosmic coincidence!

Hundreds of people were milling around: all the Pranksters, of course, but also a lot of people from the media, and Kesey's friends from Stanford. I don't know what everyone was expecting, but something. Would Kesey dose the San Francisco water supply ? Or, conversely, announce that everyone should stop taking drugs altogether? We were getting geared up to play and didn't give the historical implications of the event much thought.

The evening certainly turned out to be a good party. If anyone had thought it was going to be drug free, they were wrong. Everyone was tripping their brains out. Since it was Halloween, we were appropriately costumed: Sara was a princess, I was a skull; our masks hung on the microphone stands in front of us. They were to play a major part in Milton Greene's cover illustration on New York Magazine a few weeks later.

Chaos of the best kind ruled. We did not suddenly become the Beatles, but the vibes were right and everyone loved the Triple A that night. Rumours had flown that the police meant to bust the graduation in a massive way; that everyone would be carted off to jail; that the police was really going to teach us hippies a lesson. But nothing of the sort happened. Frenzied, sweaty dancing, was the order of the night. Tom Wolfe remained unruffled in his Edwardian finery, though he looked somewhat stunned by the goings-on.

The rest of us, and there must have been no more than a few hundred, gradually dissolved in sweat and acid-grins. In the early hours of the morning, Ken started handing out diplomas to some of his most loyal followers. It was not clear what made you a graduate. He spoke for a long time. People who were just there to party drifted away. Finally just the handful of Pranksters and friends remained; the group that had been "on the bus" from the start. We all knew that something was over. When Kesey got out of jail he would not continue this wild and provocative behavior. On the one hand that was sad, but on the other it was a relief. How long could it have gone on without leading to an ugly confrontation?

It was not the end of the world, but it was the end of the beginning. Later came Altamont, Woodstock, rock festivals everywhere. But the Acid Test did not return with its formless intensity.

When the LA Free Press wrote up the graduation, it was gratifying to read that the Anonymous Artists of America was the best band the reviewer had ever heard. Gratifying, and impossible to take too seriously: "That guy must reallly have been stoned," was the general reaction. Many of the members of the AAA had gone to the University of Chicago. Norman and Ellie, Toni and Len, Adrienne, Manny; after graduating they all moved West for the sun. Norman to go to graduate school, Ellie cause she was his wife, and to finish her own degree at Stanford, Adrienne to work as a research assistant at the Stanford Hospital. At the University of Chicago they had all lived in a sort of communist-inspired dormitory. The step from communism to commune was easy to take.

There were other friends from CHicago who kept up the connection. In particular Ron Polte and Julius Karpen. These two men were into a little bit of everything, not necessarily on the right side of the law, but in the late sixties they found themselves managing rock'n'roll bands. Ron managed The Quicksilver Messenger Service and Julius Big Brother and the Holding Company. Julius was especially tight with Len and Adrienne. Gradually it became clear that the Triple A was not going to be an overnight sensation, instant super stars. That would have been so convenient, but alas, it would take more work. Julius agreed to become our manager. Our landlords at the Ranch informed us that we'd have to move. There were some legal complications pertaining to the ownership of the house which had nothing to do with us, except that in order to clear everything up they wanted the house uninhabited. We had to get out.

Julius' first assignment was to find us a house to live in and to buy us a kilo of pot, to which end we furnished him with some ridiculously small amount of money. Nonetheless, he disappeared off the face of the earth. It turned out that he had gone to Denver to look up some old girlfriend. All we knew was that he had our money and w e were a little miffed. Not seriously, though. Julius was an old friend; he might very well fuck up, but it was inconceivable that he'd rip us off. Meanwhile, though, we had to get out of the ranch. The upshot of Julius' disappearance was that he did show up one day with a kilo and for the next several years, it seemed, we never had to pay for pot again.

We decided to move to San Francisco, where they action was. Also we could live more cheaply. We rented a sad house with two flats and a basement on Potrero Hill, just south of San Francisco. This was not quite a slum, but almost; on the other side of the hill were the truly grim slums, derelict emergency housing from World War II, dilapidated housing projects for poor blacks. Our block of Rhode Island Street was populated by a group of teenagers who spent most of their time sniffing glue. They never bothered us and occasionally would come into our practice room to hear our music.

My father decided to stop sending me an allowance. This seemed fairly reasonable to me. Why should he support a scene that he disapproved totally of?But we still needed money to live. Ellie and Toni took clerical jobs, just so we'd be able to pay the rent. We may have made a little money on gigs, but it wasn't much. Mostly we played for free. I sold a few shirts in various stores in San Francisco, but it didn't amount to a great deal of money. For all of our poverty, this is when I learned that there was no point worrying about money; somehow things would always work out. One day there was no food at all in the house and no money to buy any. Nor was there any prospect of any money coming in. We had communal finances, and the money box was empty. I had some shirts on consignment in a store on Polk street, so I decided to go and see if they'd sold any. Sure enough: two shirts had been sold that very day, which meant I could take home twenty-four dollars. Not a fortune, but enough to buy dinner as well as food for breakfast the next day.

Occasionally we had paying gigs; at the New Orleans House in Berkeley, at California Hall in San Francisco; the second-string places. We must not have been such a great band, for it was a struggle for JUlius to get us jobs. Other bands maybe just showed up, played their music, collected their money and went home. Not us. We descended on a place with all our babies and dogs and hangers-on. Immediately the entire place would be thrown into a chaotic state. While the band was trying to set up the tons of equipment, mothers would be looking for a place to change their babies; groupies would loll about, getting in everyone's way. Finally we'd play; sometimes it sounded okay, but at other times we'd never quite get it together. You couldn't put your finger on it, but instead of creating a good feeling, everyone would get sort of nervous.

We were hired to play at the Straight Theatre along with a movie. A new concept in entertainment: rock'n'roll and sci-fi. We had a drummer named Little Richard (no, not that little Richard, a white boy from Dallas) who played two sets of drums and was known for his cataclysmic solos. We'd met him in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park and invited him to join the band. He had the same kind of theatricality we went for and we thought he'd be an asset. And he was. Audiences loved his flamboyant solos at the end of which he'd hurl himself into space, upsetting all his drums.

The only problem was, he was not very good at keeping time, so the music sometimes became quite tense. Norman in particular would go crazy when the time was off. He'd scowl and generally look disgusted. After each song he'd complain; everyone was generally too high to have much control, but somehow the tension would spread to the audience. This night at the Straight Theatre was like that. The set dragged on and on; nobody was dancing. The music got louder and louder, but not better and better. This was often the case; we'd compensate by turning up the amps. The management starting signalling for us to stop, but we still had several songs left to play of our set and no lousy stage manager was going to tell us when to stop. So they turned off the power. The instruments fell silent, but Little Richard played on. For the next half hour his drums thundered away. It was such a bravura performance that by the time he finally threw himself off the stage, all was forgiven. Everyone knew what had been going on and everyone had gotten caught up in it.

It was often like that: our gigs were like psycho-drama; exhausting, but never boring.

Julius and Ron hired California Hall to put on a concert with Quicksilver and Big Brother. We got to be the warm-up act. Another friend from the old Chicago days was the artist and film-maker Bruce Conner. Like all aficionados of the absurd, Bruce Conner was a great fan of ours. He loved Trixie's ding-bat sluttish look and the high level of insanity in general of the whole group. So when Aline Saarinen came to San Francisco to do a piece for the Sunday Night News about the bands, it was only natural that Bruce suggested she focus on us. She interviewed us, filmed us at our house and wanted to show us playing, too. This was a human interest piece, not a music piece.

It was decided that her TV crew would film us at California Hall. For some reason Janis Joplin decided that this was just a ruse, that in fact the TV crew was there to film her. No way was she going to allow that, they didn't have a contract, she certainly wasn't going to play and so on and so forth. Sulking in the dressing room, sucking on a fifth of Southern Comfort, Janis was getting ready to be a real drag. Julius assured her that the TV crew was there to film the Triple A; they were not interested in her at all, they wouldn't even stay around to hear her set. That was the wrong thing to say. Now she threw herself into a fury. Who did they think they were?Why did she have to put up with being treated like this?

We all explained patiently that it had nothing to do with music; the TV people were doing a human interest piece. Janis wasn't convinced, and the evening was ruined for her. Somehow she was not the undisputed center of attraction.

Mostly we played benefits. That was fine, but not a good way to make a living. Or we played in the parks on week-ends. The park gigs were our shining hour. Somehow the audiences were prepared for anything in the park; no one was uptight. The more critical members of the band took it a little easier, and the good vibes in general overcame the possible problems.

Bruce Conner called us up one day and asked if some of us wanted to be in a movie. They'd pay us twenty-five dollars a piece. Sure! A hundred dollars was a lot. The movie was Psych-Out, a sort of sequel to The Trip, only instead of being about acid i t was about the new drug, STP. Trixie, Adrienne, Richard and I were picked to appear as sort of a hallucination. Susan Strasberg is the deaf girl who comes to find her crazy brother, Bruce Dern (he sets fire to the Fillmore). As she rides into the Haight on the bus she sees the four of us skipping along in our wild outfits, and she follows us down to the Panhandle where we cavort among the trees. Many traumas later, as she's freaking freely in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge and Dean Stockwell has just been run over and god only know what has happened to Jack Nicholson, she remembers us; we're sort of the symbol of her lost innocence, I guess.

We had a lot of fun shooting the scene and couldn't believe our good fortune. When the movie came out we all went to see it in the drive-in (on a double bill with The Trip, in fact). We were on the screen for all of a minute, at the most. But we were there, and we were thrilled. And every now and then, at four a.m. on the local movie channel, there we'll be, over twenty years later. Is this immortality?

The next month we appeared in a magazine called Sick. I forget what the caption was, but it was a put-down. We were thrilled. Any publicity was good publicity.

In a house on the opposite side of Rhode Island Street we discovered Charlie and Sandy. They were rooming with Denise, who was a far-out friend of Norman's who played the guitar. Charlie was a major organ player, really a musician; Sandy was his girl friend. For some reason he was not in a band at the moment, and when Michael and Sara decided they had had enough of acid rock and that we probably would never become international superstars, Charlie joined the Triple A. For the first time our sound approached professionalism. Charlie satisfied Norman's need for musicianship and he played with such a firm hand that even Richard managed to keep time.

Within the house on Rhode Island Street some major soap operas were unwinding, but as some of the participants are still alive, I won't go into it. Suffice it to say that Annie left us to move back home. That Adrienne became, along with Julius, our manager, and that Michael and Sara moved out.

About this time the groupies and hangers-on started showing up. Maurice and Walter were friends of friends from back East. Maurice smarmed his way into the house until he drove everyone crazy with his irritating pushiness; then we'd drive him over to the Haight and tell him not to come back. Half an hour later a cab would again deposit him in front of the house. "Surely we didn't really mean that he had to stay away!" Surely we did. Walter was some kind of mathematical genius on a set of pills. He invaded our living room; scrubbed the desk to near sterility, then covered it with Saranwrap before proceeding to work out the formulas for the interaction of the overtones in a tambura. Later he became a Scientologist and impossible to take, but in the early speed-crazed days there was a great deal of charm in his madness.

Corinna appeared out of nowhere. She fancied herself a witch of sorts. A large, fleshy, pale girl who was probably much younger than the sixteen she admitted to, she'd lead strange rituals on the street in front of the house. Breaking eggs in the gutter, strewing salt here and there. She claimed to have been a girlfriend of Bob Dylan in Woodstock. Who knows? We did discover that she had, in fact, lived in Woodstock. The image of her that lasts indelibly for me is the time we had all smoked some opium. "Can I have the scrapings?" she asked. Sure. She proceeded to mix the scraping from the bowl of the pipe with a little water and gouge a hole in her vein with a safety pin. Into this she squirted the black sludge with an eyedropper.

There were friends who had their own homes, too. Sibyl painted Norman and Ellie's room in the attic. Beth still led the way in sewing the best costumes. A documentary film crew discovered us in the park and followed us home. The movie is called Revolution; I never run into it. But in it you see us eating a spartan meal. On the soundtrack Maurice drones on in his obnoxious manner. As I recall, everything looks a little tawdry.

Reality, was in fact, rearing its ugly head. There was not enough money coming in. Ellie and Toni had to go to work so we could pay the rent. Julius kept us in pot, so that was not a problem. But the kids needed to eat and the rent had to be paid.

Denise was a vegetarian, and the days she spent at our house she'd cook up a delicious dinner for herself. "We ate bones," says Ellie when I ask her how we managed to survive. But Denise cooked brown rice, lentils, a few stir-fried vegetables with soy sauce. This was clearly more nourishing than "bones". Trixie and I decided to become vegetarians.

Vegetarianism was a philosophy, an acknowledgment that you take better care of your body than you had been. So I gave up drinking coffee, too, and smoking cigarettes. Until now I was never without a cigarette, even during performances. On some level I thought this looked cool when in fact it just looks sloppy. And think of what it did to my already inadequate singing voice.

Sara decided we should start doing yoga exercises. We were turning into sedentary creatures. So every morning we went into our "back yard" and performed the salute to the sun together. First we had to remove large amounts of dog turds and pull up vast bunches of wild fennel. But eventually we created a place where we enjoyed saluting the sun. We still smoked dope, but for the first time in my life I had a sense of wanting to do the right thing for my body.

There was a good deal of friction in the group, at this point. Somehow when the going gets rough, people's real feelings about each other tend to surface. Sara and Michael were not happy in the group, and why should they be? Norman was becoming more and more critical of those of us who were not musicians. I suppose he was dissatisfied with himself; his old friends from the University of Chicago were having great popular and critical successes with their music, and here he was with a sort of joke band. The band that takes acid every day. Suddenly Michael didn't play good enough guitar. In truth, he didn't, but Norman was not very diplomatic about it; and I sang off key. Which I did, although when I listen to old tapes it was not as bad as all that, just kind of thin. Sara started teaching me vocalises which we performed every day for maybe two weeks. I didn't want to practice; I wanted to be a star.

Annie's drumming became erratic; she got tangled in an emotional mess. One day when she was swinging on the chinning bar in the kitchen door way she fell on her head. A few hours later she started acting strangely: she stuck her head in the waste basket, she said things that made no sense. We took her to the hospital, which was just a few blocks away, where they told us she had a concussion. When she got better she moved home to her parents. A couple of years later we heard she had a job teaching painting somewhere. But I have never seen her since. If I should name an "acid casualty", it would be Annie. I've never quite forgiven myself for what happened to her. Somehow we (I) could have helped Annie more; but we were too caught up in our own interests to respond to her signals. And going home to her parents was not the right thing, I'm sure of it. A creative and highly-charged individual was squelched.

Little Richard became our drummer. He lived in a real hippy crash pad in the Haight, run by a large, dishevelled woman named Sylvia. Anyone could crash at her apartment, and many did. Sylvia had a boy of about four and was hugely pregnant. The pad was a mess. No one cleaned, no one took responsibility. Sylvia and the longer-term crashers supported themselves making jewelry they peddled to tourists in the streets. I imagine Sylvia got welfare, too, so the daily needs were met. Despite the chaos that prevailed, the feeling at Sylvia's crashpad was warm, friendly and comforting. The door was never locked and everyone was welcome.

The doctor from the Free Clinic dropped by to see how Sylvia was doing from time to time. But the day she had her baby, he did not happen to be there. We received a phone call to hurry over, the baby was coming. Adrienne, Richard and I rushed over, and by the time we got there, Sylvia was lying on her bed on a bunch of newspapers (they were supposed to be sterile), with the new baby in her arms. It was a girl, and she had obviously just appeared.

Cowering in the corner of another room was Sylvia's little boy. "When I went into labor, we all dropped acid," said Sylvia. "Todd took some too. It's his first trip." The boy looked terrified, but he was keeping a grip on himself. Somehow he sensed that the birth took precedence. "We better get the afterbirth," said Sylvia. Adrienne and I, who had no experience in these matters, set to work. While we gently pressed on Sylvia's abdomen, we pulled at the bloody substance hanging out of Sylvia. Thank god she was such a big woman; there were no problems. Suddenly she had one contraction and whoosh, out came her afterbirth all in a piece. A number of stoned young hippies watched and cheered. We wrapped the mess in some newspaper and threw it in the garbage. For some reason all the windows in the apartment were open. We closed the ones in Sylvia's room. When we looked around it became obvious that the room had been cleaned for the baby's birth, and fixed up. There was incense burning. Some food had been set aside for Sylvia. Usually food was devoured the instant it entered the apartment. Someone was sent to the Free Clinic to get the doctor, who came quickly. He treated the baby's eyes and pronounced her healthy. We propped Sylvia up in her bed with her new baby and her boy, and went into the Haight to celebrate the birth. Everything was groovy.

Denise was going to join our band, but one day we heard she was in the mental hospital. This happened a lot in those days and seemed unreasonable to me. Parents decided that their children in deciding to drop out of straight life and become hippies, had lost their minds. Some of them had, of course, gone overboard, but often it was just a question of parents refusing to accept that their might be a different approach to life than the one they had opted for. Now that I'm the parental generation, I see what they meant. At the time it seemed unreasonable. When Denise got out she was somehow involved with an all-girl band called the Ace of Cups. Julius was going to manage them, too. So she didn't join the Triple A. But Charlie and Sandy did. Or rather Charlie did; Sandi didn't play an instrument.

It was a real turning point when Charlie joined the band. He was an excellent musician, played fabulous Hammond organ. Norman finally had someone he was proud to play with. And we others realized (slowly) that Charlie considered what we did worthwhile. He loved Trixie's songs. He thought I performed just fine. Michael's guitar playing wasn't great, but it was adequate. Richard's time was a problem, but if Charlie played with a firm hand, he managed to keep it together. We gradually started to be a little more bookable. We were not just a novelty-act. People could actually dance to our music. Until now the main reaction of all but the most far-out had been puzzlement. Now it became approval.

Not that we became any less stoned or far-out. Every day we practiced in our windowless basement. In order to muffle the loud noise and avoid the neighbors' wrath, the room, whose ceiling was so low your head grazed it, was lined with fiber glass insulation. In order to absorb the most sound possible, we hung it with the pink side facing in. At the end of rehearsal we'd all have bits of fiberglass insulation clinging to our hair and clothes. They say the stuff causes cancer. So far none of us has developed it. But in any case, it was a creepy place to spend the day. On the occasions when the glue-sniffing kids from the block would drop in to listen to us rehearse, the grim scene was complete. This was not just psychedelic, it was grotesque.

Julius and Ron were friends with the Grateful Dead's manager, Ron Scully. So were we all, for that matter. The Dead had moved to a big Victorian house on Ashbury Street, which became a kind of center of groovy activities. The year was 1967, the Summer of Love. Thousands of young people had poured into the Haight Ashbury from all over the country. The word was out, San Francisco was the place to be. In every tree in Golden Gate Park you'd find someone camping out. The streets were lined with panhandlers. The Diggers organized their daily free-food program. At the time no one wondered where they got their money from, nor would we have cared. This was the party everyone had been waiting all their lives to go to. And the biggest celebration of all was to be the Summer Solstice. A number of bands would each be equipped with a flat bed truck with a PA system and a generator. The mayor of San Francisco was cooperating. We were allowed to cruise the park, play wherever we wanted. Over a hundred thousand participants were expected. The sheriff was going along. When George Harrison walked through the park a few days before the Solstice, pandemonium broke out. Tourist buses intensified the already daunting traffic jam. Peace and Love were the rulers of the day.

When someone asked you if you had any spare change, you reached in your pocket to see if maybe you did. Generally you didn't. Our money was communal, kept in a cigar box. You didn't take any for personal needs; what little there was went to food. Once we all went to the twenty-five cent movies to see Bonnie and Clyde which had not become a hit yet. And once, in a fit of extravagance, we all went to the Cinerama movie theatre to see Grand Prix. Michael had to see this film, and rather than send him to see it by himself, everyone had to go. A major undertaking. We claimed that we were trying to be communal. In fact I think there was an underlying fear of missing out. If he did it, we all should be allowed to do it. Because there wasn't really enough to go around, what little there was should be scrupulously divided among everyone.

Owsley Stanley, also known as the mad chemist, had helped finance the Grateful Dead, or so we were told. How? By selling vast quantities of LSD. Now, when we first started dropping acid, it was not illegal. You could order it straight from Sandoz in Switzerland, which many did. The formula was accessible to anyone. The technology was very simple, it seemed. All you needed was a rudimentary chemistry lab. Owsley, an unpleasant little man, who always struck me as being paranoid, became the king of acid. Genuine Owsley was the best that could be said about any given acid. Somehow Owsley's Acid was more psychedelic than Sandoz. It turned out that was because he put speed in his acid, which caused hallucinations on a much greater scale. Like any other entrepreneur, Owsley was too driven to rest on his laurels. He had to come up with new drugs. His major new development was called STP, and was launched to the general public on the Summer Solstice. Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of pretty little colored pills were handed out, free of charge, to anyone who wanted them. I put a huge handful in my pocket and distributed them to everyone I met that day.

I'm not sure everyone took it, but a huge number did. It was very strong, much stronger than acid. You could function okay, maybe better than on acid, but the effect was intense beyond our wildest imagination. Every sound was magnified. Every subtlety, every tiny component of even the most trivial every-day sound, became cosmically clear. During the celebrations in the park, general euphoria ruled. Everyone's music sounded fabulous. Unfortunately our truck had some engine problems -- could they have been caused by our driving the truck into a ditch at one point during the day? -- and barely made it back to the rental place, black smoke enveloping it as we roared down the street. The day was a brilliant success.

Except for the fact that Heather, Sara's five-year old daughter, had taken some STP. A whole pill. She became very quiet. Like she was listening closely to everything. Sara and Michael took her to the Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. She was put under observation. Since no one knew what exactly STP was, there was obviously no antidote. Eventually she came down, and apparently she was fine. But it must have been hard for Sara, and it might have had something to do with her and Michael deciding to leave the communal life, although the rest of us interpreted their decision as being somehow just selfish. They were not cosmic enough to go through with it.

Meanwhile the rest of us were still very much high. The first night was okay. I discovered overtones on the piano. I had often heard about overtones, but I had never heard them before, except in cases where they were very obvious, like the record with Czechoslovakian folk songs, where the singers consciously sang harmonies that created independent, totally distinctive overtones.

Maurice showed me how to depress the sustain pedal and "rock" between the tonic and the fifth of a chord. C and G, say. If you listened closely you'd suddenly hear cascades of tones playing under the two notes; every melody you'd ever heard was in there, every harmony. Then, while continuing the drone between those two notes, you could pick out a simple tune with the other hand, which would set off even more intricate patterns of overtones. All night I hung in the piano. This was the most profound experience I've ever had in music. The effect has never worn off, though it has lost some of its impact. We had a tamboura at the house -- the Indian drone instrument. Now I heard the infinite levels of overtones in it for the first time, too.

Dawn came and I was still awake. So were many thousands of hippies all over the city. I smoked a joint and tried to get some sleep. Ha! Every note of music I'd ever heard was playing in my ears. Every sound in the house, in the city, in the country, in the universe, reverberated in my head. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally, but I was not able to go to sleep. The rest of the household woke up (Ellie did not take drugs, the children didn't either) to find exhausted casualties of the previous day's excesses.

All day I tried to rest, but the music of the spheres kept me awake and alert and on edge. By that night I was in despair. Would I ever sleep again? I cried, encouraging the tears, remembering how as a child I'd sometimes been able to cry myself to sleep. And indeed, after 48 hours, I did fall into a troubled sleep.

Many people must have had the same experience. Owsley decided the dose in the tablets had to be lowered. He made them one tenth as strong in the future, and they were more manageable. Like with a kind of booze that gets you sick drunk, many of us developed an aversion to STP. I'm sure I took it again, but it was not a favorite. The overtones, on the other hand, have stayed with me. Well worth the price.

Bruce Conner got Trixie a part in another movie: Ben Van Meter's Naked Zodiac. Idiotic as it sounds, this movie featured twelve naked girls, one for each sign of the Zodiac. I never got to see the movie, but it must exist in some vault somewhere, since Ben Van Meter is one of the grandfathers of avant garde cinema in this country. I did get to take Trixie to the world premiere. Obviously there was not enough money in the cigar box to allow me to enter the theatre. But it seems odd that Trixie didn't get to take a guest. In any case, I had a Honda 50, on the back of which I drove Trixie to the theatre. One day in 1988 I was talking to Trixie on the phone: "Do you realize I wore a completely topless dress to the opening of Naked Zodiac?" "You were constantly appearing topless, dear." "I'd never do that now. What was I thinking of?"

What, indeed? In any case it made her notorious. The next year, when we'd moved to Marin County, Rolling Stone magazine had an issue about the groupies. Although she wasn't exactly a groupie, Trixie was featured as the topless bass player for the Anonymous Artists of America. I was described as her yoga-practicing near-saint of a boyfriend who got up at six every morning to do his asanas. The real excuse for the article, of course, was to run pictures of Trixie. Topless. One where she stands in a little mini-skirt and silver boots holding her bass in one hand as if it were a dead fish or a foreign object of some enigmatic origin. Another picture appeared as a poster for the issue: Get it here! read the caption, and the picture showed Trixie sitting on the floor playing her bass, one breast peeking coquettishly over the instrument. The pictures were a big hit: at year's end, Trixie was the Rolling Stone Girl of the Year.

Trixie and I were still room-mates, but we were not having sex anymore. Somehow we avoided talking about why not. I convinced myself I was just too cosmically oriented. Did I really? Probably not. One evening I wandered into San Francisco by myself. In a doorway I passed to hookers who whistled at my long hair and hippy-dippy outfit. One was black, the other white. I don't know how I came to be walking around by myself. Usually no one did anything by themselves: everyone went everywhere; it was as if we were afraid we'd miss out on something. But this night I was alone; after wandering around for many hours, probably dropping by gay bars, I was headed home, when out of a second story window I saw a face looking out: the black hooker. It must have been four in the morning. There was no one in the street. The hooker asked me up; I was pretty sure she was a drag queen, but not a hundred percent. I'd never had sex with a drag queen before, the thought was exciting. So I went on up. Very demurely we started having sex. Eventually the very tight underpants she was wearing came off to reveal, as suspected, a huge dick. The experience was a total success. After having sex, I lay in bed with my new friend and took in the house: a real fleabag boarding house. I slept for a few hours and in the morning when I got up to go home, other lodgers were up and about. As I walked out the stairs I was followed by whistles and wolf calls. "Oh, Mary, you got yourself a hippy this time," sing-songed one of my hooker's friends. Somehow I was proud of having had this tacky experience. I didn't go back, though; but I didn't have to pay, either. Not that I could've paid, of course.

At a gig in San Jose, Trixie met Steve Miller. We all met him, of course, but Trixie was the object of interest. She had written a very elaborate song called "Swann's Way", inspired by Marcel Proust, but not in any real way connected with his book. The music for this song was so complicated it was hell to play. There were endless chord and time-signature changes. But when we managed to play the song through without coming to a dead halt, it was indeed a lovely and unusual piece of music. Steve Miller and his band walked into the dance hall just as we launched into "Swann's Way", and for once it went off without a hitch. He stood at the foot of the stage and listened slack-jawed.After the set was over he came gushing over: "That was the most beautiful song I've ever heard. Who wrote it?" Trixie did. And thus began a flirtation that was to continue for the next year or so.

Adrienne and I became sort of Trixie's Panders. Rather than just show up at Steve Miller's house, she'd get us to go with her, as if we just happened by. Since they always had great dope, Adrienne and I didn't mind. Sometimes we'd just visit and then all go home, but usually we'd leave Trixie there. While Adrienne and I smoked opium with the other members of the band, Trixie would vamp Steve Miller, who, it must be said, was a good deal more attractive in his younger days than he became at the height of his career.

We were completely poor. My father had cut off my allowance and our only income came from Ellie and Toni who went to work every day to support us, and from the occasional gig that actually paid. Most were freebies. So when Christmas rolled along there was no money for presents. If we wanted to give any, we had to make them. That was fine by me, I always loved making things. I decided to make candles. For weeks I saved up all the cardboard tubes I could get my hands on. These were mostly from paper towels or toilet paper rolls. The technique was to melt wax, dye it in lots with old crayons, and pour it in the tubes where I'd arranges wicks beforehand. The result was endearingly coarse, and the candles did in fact burn. I was melting wax in a coffee can on the stove. It must have gotten too hot: suddenly it burst into flame. I quickly turned off the flame and covered the can with a plate to starve the fire. In a moment the flames were out and I removed the plate and grabbed the edge of the can with a potholder, so I could carry it outside. Sickening fumes were still pouring out of the can. As soon as I moved the can it spontaneously burst into flame again. The hot wax splattered up my hand. I was in agony as I dropped the can, screaming. My hand immediately blistered up. The pain was excruciating. I stood there staring at my disintegrating flesh, catatonic.

Adrienne whisked me into a car and rushed me through a dozen red lights to San Francisco General Hospital, which fortunately was in the neighborhood. The shock had worn off. I was in agonizing pain. We rushed into the emergency room: "Quick, this guy has third degree burns," hollered Adrienne. A laconic nurse took a look at my burns and shrugged. "Come with me," she said. I was moaning with pain. "I need a morphine shot," I begged. The nurse gave me a fish-eyed look and sat me down on a stool in front of a rickety old typewriter table. "Put your hand in this water," she said and placed a basin of lukewarm water in front of me. "And take this." She gave me an Excedrin. "The doctor will see you as soon as possible."

I waited an hour like that, in excruciating pain. Finally a doctor turned his attention to me. "Nasty burn you got here." He cut off the hanging bits of skin and covered the whole burn with some yellow ointment before bandaging it. "You have to come back every day for a new bandage." Since I lived in the neighborhood, that was no problem. Since it was Christmas, my daily visit to the hospital was like seeing a new horror movie every day. "Yeah," said one of the nurses who worked on me one day, "the holidays are always the worst in the emergency room. People get drunk and have accidents. They get drunk and shoot each other or stab each other. They get drunk and set fire to their house. I don't know, they just get drunk and get in trouble."

When Adrienne and I got back to the house, my friends had mustered all their resources. Someone had found a couple of Codeine; Walter had gotten out a lump of opium; and the communal cigar box had yielded money for a bottle of brandy. Within an hour I was feeling much better. The pain was still there, but it didn't matter, and eventually I passed out.

After New Years we decided to move to the country. Living in the city was depressing. If we were going to poor, we might at least try to make the most of it. We saw an ad in the paper for a large house in Novato, which is in Marin County. In 1968, Novato was at the end of the line as far as Marin County went. There were still farms and dirt roads. The owners of the house we rented were leaving in a great hurry for Pago Pago. Really. We were later to discover that they owed the bank a great deal of money; eventually the bank repossessed the house and we rented from the bank. But at first we worked out a deal with these strange people: we'd take responsibility for their house and their daughter-in-law's horse (!) and each month we'd deposit the rent in the bank. It all seemed too good to be true. The house consisted of a big main house with a number of bedrooms and a big attic that became bedrooms for more people, eventually. In the back yard was a garage/barn and an outbuilding with a bedroom, that became Trixie's and mine, and a big ugly office, that became our practice room. A creek ran through the corner of the property; big trees shaded the drive way. And best of all, there was a swimming pool. We had really landed in Heaven, somehow. A half a mile away, the Grateful Dead rented a ranch where they kept horses; many other bands lived in Marin County, too. Somehow we were moving into the big league.

The only hitch was how to pay for all this. The solution we came up with was that Adrienne would get a job working at the linear accelerator at Stanford University. She could live free of charge with our lawyer-friend, Jim Wolpman, and his wife Anita. Every week-end she'd come home in the boat of a Lincoln Supreme that she got to buy for commuting: it was white with tinted glass and white leather upholstery. Everything was power-controlled. You felt like you were sloshing around in a vat of jello when you rode in it. It had a lot of power. Eventually the thing died and had to be abandoned on the highway, but for the time being it was a little compensation for having to work. Also, Adrienne got a very nice bedroom with its own bath. She became sort of the person of honor in the group.

Not very logically, Ellie decided to help Adrienne with spending money. Every Sunday before Adrienne got ready to go back to Palo Alto, Ellie would bake a batch of rogelach, traditional Jewish pastries. Adrienne would take them to the Free University 's office in Palo Alto, where they'd be sold for a quarter each. Whatever money she took in this way, she got to keep. It couldn't have been more than a few dollars. It was the thought that counted.

Our life was greatly improved. I'd go riding on the horse, Emily, who was a sweet old thing. At the end of the road I entered a huge cattle ranch with meandering trails where I could ride around for hours without seeing anyone. And I did, in fact, practice yoga. We all enjoyed the pool, at first greatly shocking our neighbors who were German immigrants of the whitest, most upright sort. Eventually we put up canvas on the fence around the pool so they wouldn't have to watch us cavorting naked. A few blocks away was a houseful of Christian hippies. Their mission in life was feeding the hungry in the Haight Ashbury. They had an arrangement with the local supermarket. Every day they'd collect the produce that could no longer be sold, and make a big vegetarian stew that they'd cart to the city and ladle out free of charge. I suppose they dispensed Christian pap, too. Since we were not Christians, we didn't get free food from the store; but what the Christians didn't use for themselves, they 'd give to us. Christian garbage, we laughingly called it, and made plans for marketing canned food under that label. The Christians brought their children over to swim in our pool. When they left, they left behind paperback New Testaments for our edification. We had to tell them to stop littering our pool area or they would not be welcome to come back. But in the long run their greatest offense was naivete, and we got along fine with them.

I got a loom from someone, and set up a workshop in the garage. Adrienne started grinding a lens for a telescope. Trixie got involved in making huge collages from magazine clippings. We lightened up, slowed down a bit.

We fell in with a group of hippies from San Diego. Dope dealers, I realize now, but everyone was a dope dealer in those days. They were also into rock'n'roll. Trixie started up an affair with "Fred Tushe", who had a more conventional name, but was given this one that has stuck to this day by Maya. He was supplying the Jefferson Airplane with cocaine and talked big about how big he was going to make the Triple A. Great, but meanwhile we needed to eat. We found a place in Glen Ellen called Rita's Mexican Kitchen, that was just our speed. Rita could have stepped out of a Tennessee Williams play; very relaxed about life and interested in having a good time. Her place was kind of dirty and dilapidated and attracted a boozy, laid back crowd. They liked us. Liked that we weren't too slick; that we sometimes had to stop a song and start over again to get it together. And no doubt liked that we'd play for dinner and a hundred dollars.

Musicians flocked to Marin County. Bloomfield moved there, Carlos Santana. When Butterfield came on tour (he lived in Woodstock still), he and his wife stayed with us and everyone got together to jam in our rehearsal room. These were the times when Norman was the happiest: real musicians playing real music. When they all left he'd be less happy again and more critical of the rest of us and himself. Too bad we couldn't perform miracles and suddenly turn into B.B. King and Howlin' Wolf.

My mother announced she was coming to visit, which was cause for joy as she always made her visits into non-stop parties, even the one that was caused by my bust. I think I was living out her fantasy. She'd given up the wild life to marry my father and have a family and here was I, thirty years later, living way out on the edge. Although she had to feign concern, she approved.

Adrienne vacated her room so my mother could stay with us. We started planning a big party to welcome her; a party she would, of course, pay for herself. Then suddenly someone had an idea: why not make it an occasion? Why not have a wedding? Yes, Toni and Len would get married and we'd have a wedding party. It must have been Toni and Len's idea to a certain extent, but somehow I remember it as a group idea. In any case, it was a biggie. The ceremony took place by the pool. Adrienne, in top hat and tails, read from The Naked Lunch; Trixie read from Gerard Manley Hopkins; our friend "The Rev", who was in a local soul band, administered the actual vows. Everyone we'd ever known was there and the party promised to never end.

Every few hours my mother would decide we didn't have enough booze and she'd corner Adrienne to get her to go to the store for fresh supplies. Fortunately the store was at the end of the street. "I had to drive with one eye closed," half-bragged Adrienne, aware that she might as well be in jail or in her grave. "I just followed the center stripe till it stopped. I knew that's where the store was."

The party went on for several days and no one seemed to need to sleep. Cocaine was the reason. No one attempted to hide the fact from my mother that drugs were flowing freely, and she was fascinated: "Are you on or off?" she'd ask people, staring intently in their faces. They were definitely "on".

We were not an easy band to book. People were intrigued by what they saw and heard, but they were not so sure they liked it. Some times we sounded pretty great and the general feeling of joy would pervade the entire crowd where we appeared. But at other times, not infrequent ones, unfortunately, there was something a little off about our music. Maybe we were hassling each other, which especially if it was Little Richard hassling with Norman, would lead to erratic drumming and consequently a beat that was impossible to dance to; or maybe Norman was just a little too stoned to quite get his guitar in tune. The music proceeded, but it kind of upset your stomach and produced a worried feeling in the crowd that couldn't be explained. And we were not your typical band: four guys and an equipment manager, maybe a couple of groupies; no hassles beyond a little drunkenness. We brought along everyone: naturally the children; but generally the dogs, too; any friends who happened to be around were welcome. The result was that to book us was to invite a motley invasion. On good days this could result in a veritable love-in; on bad ones, it was like veritable love-in; on bad ones, it was like booking an encounter group.

So it was with considerable excitement that Julius told us we'd been asked to play at the Sky River Rock Festival outside Seattle. This was a weekend-long event put on to benefit the Indians of the Pacific Northwest whose salmon-fishing rights were being disputed by the department of the Interior. There was no money in the gig, but all our expenses were covered. Which were considerable: they flew us up to Seattle and put us up in a fancy high-rise hotel downtown where we were allowed to order food from room service. The groupies attached themselves immediately, much to the thrill of the single males in the group. Charlie's girlfriend Sandy took control of matters right away, decided who could come up to the suite and who couldn't, and when. Her organizational powers were considerable and we all agreed she should start a cathouse some day.

The weather was abysmal; for days it had been pouring rain and it was making no signs that it would stop. We could care less, of course, since we were staying in the lap of luxury in Seattle. But at the festival, it was another matter. Twenty thousand people were camping out in two feet of slimy mud. It was like a great seething stew. Amazingly everyone was very happy. They just dubbed the event the Sky River Mud Festival, dropped a little more acid, and decided to enjoy themselves. The first day we played at sunset, immediately following Big Mama Thornton. She's a hard act to follow, a real crowd grabber. But this was our lucky day: we seemed to have it together. This was by far the biggest crowd we'd ever played for: you couldn't see the end from the stage. Our friend Glynn, who was a belly-dancer, was performing with us, and the effect was quite lovely. With the sun coloring the receding rain clouds all around us, we struck up our music. The stage was huge, so Glynn had ample room to twirl and sway, letting her rainbow colored scarves fly up into the beams of the spotlights. The rain had stopped, finally, and the feeling was definitely mellow. We were a hit.

The next morning I walked through the lobby of our hotel when a man in full Indian drag approached me. "Hello, friend." "Hello!" "What tribe are you from?" I could easily be mistaken for an Indian; I wore my hair in braids, was clean shaven, and my clothes, though hardly traditional in any way, might belong to some kind of acid-crazed Indian. "Actually I'm from Denmark," I smiled. This elicited a big laugh from my questioner, who introduced himself as Rolling Thunder, from Nevada. He was here to help the cause, too. I assured him again I was not an Indian and he chuckled as he walked away. All day I noticed Rolling Thunder eyeing me with a smile. Just before it was time for us to play again, he came up to me once more: "Seriously, what tribe are you from?" Again I looked him straight in the face and told him the actual truth. Again he clearly thought I was kidding. When I told someone about this incident later on, they explained to me that I had exhibited typical Indian humour: when someone asks a question you answer it so outlandishly that you can only laugh. But you avoid telling the truth. Of course, I had been telling the exact truth with no intention at creating a humorous situation, but I was unable to convince Rolling Thunder. I met him several times in the following couple of years, and he always greeted me with a crooked, ironic smile, as if to say, "You joker! You've really got me confused."

Ellie's sister, Joansie, told us about a wonderful Indian guru who was coming to town. His name was Maharishi and he taught a kind of meditation that anyone could do and that inevitably led to Cosmic Consciousness. To be initiated you had to pay twenty dollars and stop smoking dope for two weeks before initiation. And you had to attend two introductory lectures. Joansie had been initiated in the first group in Berkeley and was thrilled.

Suddenly Maharishi was everywhere: on the cover of Time, Newsweek, Look, Life. The Beatles were going to India to study with him; so were a bunch of movie stars. Our friend Sibyl, who was at Yale, told us she was getting initiated when they did the first group in New Haven. Ellie and I decided to check it out. We drove to Berkeley for the introductory lectures. They were given by a man named Jerry Jarvis, who was also going to do the actual initiation; he was Maharishi's right hand, so to speak. I decided I could give up smoking dope for this. After all, dope was just a way to get close to cosmic consciousness; maybe this would really get me there, in which case giving up dope would in no way seem like a hardship. Ellie didn't smoke dope or get high in any other way, anyway.

We went to the headquarters of Students International Meditation Society in Berkeley. It was in an old fraternity house; in 1968 fraternities were at a low ebb and their houses could be bought for a song. I line had formed outside of people who wanted to sign up for initiation. Ellie's and my turn came and we told a nice young man wearing a flasher-type raincoat over shorts (no shirt) and bare feet in black businessman's shoes, that we could not afford to pay twenty dollars each, but that we really wanted to learn, so we hoped they understood. "What can you pay?" he asked. "Well, the group has decided we can have ten dollars for both of us." "Fine. Bring a clean handkerchief each, three flowers, and some fruit and rice. They're part of the initiation ceremony."

The day of the initiation Ellie and I got dressed in our nicest clothes. For Ellie this meant a little red-white-and-blue striped dress I'd made her; for me it meant rainbow-painted bellbottoms and the fluorescent harlequin shirt, along with a rainbow colored set of beads and matching head band I'd made myself. Most of the other initiates were more soberly dressed, but we were not the only ecstatic participants. The initiation ceremony took place in a room with subdued lighting and was very simple and somehow moving. Most of it was in a language I didn't understand. Hindi? Sanskrit? But at the end, Jerry Jarvis whispered my mantra in my ear and said: "When you plant a seed, it grows best if you leave it be in the ground; don't disturb it. A mantra is like a seed: don't say it, once you know it, just think it."

Much has been made of this; obviously these people want to make the maximum amount of money possible, so they don't want anyone to tell anyone else their mantra. But their explanation has always made sense to me and I have never spoken my mantra, even when I was completely alone and no one could have heard me. After initiation we were led to another room with a number of chairs, where we were to meditate; to make sure we had a clear idea of how you did it.

For once I was not high on any mind-altering substance, but I was floating. Both Ellie and I felt euphoric and giddy. Light-headed. At the toll-booth of the San Rafael bridge a big hairy biker walked up to my window and indicated that I should roll the window down. I didn't know what was going on, but I did as he said. Before I could ask how I could help him, he punched me in the mouth. "That'll teach you to cut a guy off." I was completely stunned, I had no idea what he was talking about. But probably in my blissful state I had failed to give him wide enough passage. I always thought the real reason he hit me was the vibes I was giving off; very much the opposite of what he was exuding. In any case, no major damage was done, and Ellie and I proceeded home.

Meditating changed my life. For the time being I stayed off the drugs; I was getting high on meditating. This made for a healthier and more peaceful life. And it made me see the insanity in getting caught up in the various intrigues within the group. Toni had started singing with the band, too. Being black, she was supposed to be a natural singer. Only she wasn't. But somehow I was made to feel that she was much better than me; and Norman started singing as well. He wasn't so great, either. I was perfectly aware that I was not a great singer; but from there and to Toni and Norman being Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding (I guess he'd prefer James Brown) was a long jump.

Rather than obssess about it, meditating let me deal with it lightly. I made myself scarce at rehearsals and spent my days doing other things that made me happy; cooked breakfast for the kids, worked with my loom, painted fabrics, went riding on Emily. I had my Honda 50, too, and went for long rides all the way up to the mouth of the Russian River on nearly deserted country roads.

Trixie and I still lived together officially, but in fact she was hanging out with Fred Tushe a lot by now. They stayed in a tent by the pool; so I had the room to myself. An old college friend of Trixie, Elaine, and her husband, Chip, had recently moved to "Meatball Mountain" in Sonoma County. Chip had been in a group called The Free Spirits with Larry Coryell and Gary Burton; they'd had a quasi-hit with an Indian peyote chant, "Wichitaito". But now they'd disbanded and Chip and Elaine had move d out here. Like us, Chip was very interested in geodesic domes. They shared their tiny house with a steady stream of friends who came and went, among whom were Robert Sussman, a New York artist, David Ackerman, a dope dealer and drummer and Ace Hanson. This was not his real name, but a "prankster name", just like Trixie Merkin wasn't her real name either, or Fred Tushe his. It was the thing to do, to make up a name that somehow was amusingly more appropriate than the one you had been given.

The first time I met Ace was at Chip and Elaine's house on Meatball Mountain. He seemed strange. Far from good-looking, he nevertheless exuded sexuality. He was always rubbing everyone's back with more than normal intensity. You had the feeling he wanted to have sex with everyone. Men, women, children, dogs, cats. Chairs? If he could find a way, he'd do it. Nothing happened between us that afternoon; I tried to stay away from Ace, after all there were people all around, I couldn't just drop all my inhibitions and start getting it on then and there. But I was thinking about him all the time. My meditations became struggles to accept my desires. Whenever I meditated, there was Ace. I had to deal with it, there was no way around it.

Some days later Ace and Robert showed up at our house in Novato in a huge Flexible Flyer bus. As they pulled over the bridge to enter our yard, one of the front wheels ran off the bridge and the bus got hung up, dangling there in our driveway. It was evening and nothing could be done about it till the morning. They decided to spend the night. When I said goodnight and went to bed, Ace got up and went with me. I feeling quite panicky. What would my friends think? But I was also determined to admit to myself what I wanted and to go through with it. Ace spent the night with me and it was wonderful. No one said anything the next day, though there could be no doubt as to what had gone one. I thank meditation for making me able to accept who I really was and for giving me the courage to "come out" to my friends.

Fred Tushe had a group of friends in San Diego; hippies in a commune-like situation with dope-dealing as the main source of income. Like the rest of us. Some of their "names" were Loose George, Loose Nick, Anchovy, Hawk, Bobo. Loose George's father w as a prominent business man. He lived in an elaborate house on the beach in Del Mar. Picture windows overlooking the ocean, swimming pool, indoor barbecue grill, the works. When his parents were away on vacation, George set up a gig for us at the University of San Diego in La Jolla. We'd stay at George's parents' house. It sounded perfect.

As soon as we arrived at the house it was ascertained that the bar was locked. No problem; we just removed the hinges. A small party was planned for after the gig. Somehow word got around and it turned into a rather large party. There were a lot of bikers there; some fights broke out. By the end of the week-end the house was fairly trashed. Everyone laughed and joked about it, but we were not asked to stay there when we came back a few months later. And George was definitely in trouble with his parents.

Our return engagement in San Diego was to play at a new dance hall that our group of friends had decided to open. The local authorities were not thrilled and had been giving them a hard time from the start; but somehow they had gotten all their permits together and were staging dances every week-end.

We knew that the San Diego Police was as conservative as the San Mateo Police or the Orange County Police and we were in no way hoping to have a run-in with them.

Sibyl had met a guy at Yale named Al Rubottom. She called him "Ali" and her "Tibetan prince". We knew she was given to fantasy; but when she announced that they were going to get married, we decided that we had to play at the wedding, even though it was three thousand miles across the continent in Connecticut.

Sandy had a friend named Lucretia whose boyfriend, Alan, was the heir to a major hotdog fortune. He had a great deal of money. It would be ingenuous of me if I pretended this fact had nothing to do with our agreeing to let them move in; remember we h ad a communal money system. "From each according to their means, to each according to their needs." Well, there wasn't quite enough for that. But we needed money, and Alan was willing for us to have his. The fact that Alan was sliding into insanity was just a minor detail we had to deal with. After all, who was totally sane? So we set up a joint bank account between Alan and Adrienne, and we started spending. Adrienne quit her job and moved back home. If we were to go to the wedding, we had to have a way of getting there; we bought an old school bus and painted it up real bright and fixed it up with pretty curtains and tables and benches.

Ellie had just had a new baby, a boy called Allright, and was not in any condition to travel. So we left her alone in Novato with Alan. To this day she has not forgiven us, but in fact nothing happened other than possible psychological discomfort caused by Alan's having begun to mutter incoherently to himself. It turned out the Caballah was somehow closing in around him.

Off we went to San Diego where we were farmed out with various friends, among them Ali's family who lived in La Mesa in an old avocado grove. The bus may have been brightly painted, but it was up to code and spiffy looking and no one harassed us.

Friday night we all got ready to go to the gig. I wore cut velvet knee pants with slashes and flaps, a bat-wing shirt in a fluorescent pattern and the bright colored shawl I had woven for myself. In my hair I wave feathers and I had on a beaded head band. I was one of the more flamboyant dressers in the group, but no one wore a gray business suit.

There was a good crowd at the dance and the first set went off fine. Then as we returned for the second set we noticed a number of uniformed police entering the hall and heading for the stage. Norman, who was still on probation for his pot bust, was heading for the stage too, but rather than go up there, he kept his guitar in his hand and headed out the door and got in a car. The rest of us were arrested. We were never quite sure why. There were never official charges filed, but we were told that we "played too loud" and "disturbed the peace."

In any case, we were booked. Due to our extravagant dress the booking was an event in itself. Then we were put in cells. San Diego City Jail was located in Balboa Park in a Spanish mission-style building. The cells were small and dismal. There was a constant din and clatter, but since we did not expect to spend much time on the inside, we took things with resignation. It wasn't until the morning that we were finally bailed out. Money had to be raised to pay the bail bondsman, lawyers had to be contacted. Before we were released we got to experience "breakfast": a heap of cold, gelatinous stuff, allegedly oatmeal. It was affixed to an aluminum tray by its own adhesive power in such a way that the tray could be turned to its vertical and pass ed through the bars without the slightest danger of the foodstuff falling off. Accompanying this was a tin mug of warmish, watery reconstituted powdered milk. I skipped breakfast that morning. By seven o'clock, we were out of there and headed for La Mesa to rest up for the evening's performance.

The evening passed without incidence. The doors to the dance hall were kept shut and perhaps we turned down our volume; the police left us alone and the dance progressed as planned. At two o'clock we packed up our equipment and headed to our various homes. I was in a car that was going to La Mesa with, among others, John Steinbeck, Jr. He is an old school friend of Ali's and had spent time as a reporter in Vietnam. He had become deeply interested in the Vietnamese culture and played peasant flutes from that country.

We had not driven a hundred yards when red lights started blinking and we were pulled over by the police. Apparently one of our headlights was out. There had been nothing wrong with the headlights when we parked the car earlier in the evening. A thorough search was conducted. When the officer came across John's flutes he became very agitated; clearly they were some kind of dope paraphernalia. We were all arrested and taken to the San Diego City Jail. The booking procedure this evening was conduct ed amid unbounded hilarity. But the charges this time were possession of illegal substances and paraphernalia; a felony and a drag. Again our friends started calling around. Fortunately Trixie was in the car this evening, so her father was called. He was a powerful business man in Houston and within a matter of hours we were out of jail again. But it was not until weeks later and considerable lawyer's fees, that the charges were dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.

We headed back north the next day; tired and wondering about Southern California hospitality. We never played in San Diego again after that. The striking thing about that week-end was that we had clearly been subjected to harassment by the police. You can be sure that if we had done anything even remotely against the law we would not have gotten off so easily. And yet we had no recourse. We just had to eat shit; pay the money to the bail bondsman, which we never saw again; patiently wait for the San Diego Police to finish their charade. Everyone knew what was going on: we, fuming with impotent rage, and the police, yukking it up with their idiotic shit-eating grins. And that was the point that they wished to make: don't think you can get away with anything we don't let you get away with, legal or not.

The Spring of 1969 was spent getting ready for the Big Bus Trip. The bus was outfitted with a bench in front, and a table that seated four. In the middle we installed Charley and Sandy's king size mattress and way in the back, along with the storage space for the amps and instruments, a double-decker bed that became known as the torpedo tube. This was for serious sleeping, like after you'd been driving all night and really needed to pass out. The only trouble with the torpedo tube was that it was so narrow that you could hardly get in or out of it, let alone move around when you were in there. Everyone agreed that waking up in the tube when it was very hot and you needed to get out of there immediately, could cause severe claustrophobic panic.

We sewed pretty little curtains and painted every surface brightly; we even installed a carpet. Len and Toni had inherited Ron Boise's big old step van. It had a kitchen in it of sorts, so we didn't have to install one in the bus. Ace Hanson had clearly joined our group, and since he was an Ace mechanic (hence his name), he was welcome. Unfortunately he had a notion of himself as a saxophone player, but we discouraged it as best we could and encouraged him to look after the motor.

Rock Scully had told Adrienne that we could leave our Flexible at the Grateful Dead's studio in Fairfax for the summer. So we packed all our earthly possessions together and drove the wheezing old hulk the fifteen miles to "Alembic", which is what they called their place. All of our clothes were in it, and furniture, kitchen equipment, records, hi-fi, my loom, down comforter, sheepskin coat, paintings; everything we owned, since we were giving up the house. At each of our previous moves we'd gotten rid of as much stuff as possible. No one had any books anymore; I'd taken a suitcase full of tailor-made clothes to the dump when we left San Francisco; the goal was definitely to be in the here and now, unencumbered. Nevertheless that bus was stuffed to the gills when we hove into the Dead's parking lot.

Since it barely ran and was almost impossible to start, when it sputtered to a halt Adrienne announced that this is where we were leaving it. Owsley appeared and said that it had to be moved. "Oh, man," complained Adrienne and told him she had no intention of moving it an inch. A screaming fight ensues. Owsley was about as small as Adrienne; there was a definite element of farce in these two pint-sized furies screaming invective at each other. Finally Adrienne screamed the loudest and stalked out of there with a resounding "Fuck you" to the fuming Owsley. On our way back home Adrienne continued her harangue against that little cock-sucker, who did that little asshole think he was, Sculley had given her permission to park the bus there and Owsley wasn't gonna suddenly tell her otherwise. "Okay, okay, okay," we all tried to calm her down, and she just kept right on sputtering with self-righteous rage.

When we returned to retrieve our stuff at the end of the summer, the bus had been completely emptied: everything that interested anyone was gone, and what was left lay scattered like garbage, trampled and torn. "Owsley told us to help ourself to anything we wanted," one groupie informed us. This was his revenge. So we had to stage a search all over the studio. Some of my paintings hung on a wall; my sheep skin coat was in a closet. The loom was gone forever and the down quilt had been cut up to make a baby quilt. But I'm getting ahead of the story.

My sister was getting married in Denmark at the same time, so I was flying to Denmark to participate in those festivities and then joining up with the band in Connecticut at Sibyl's house for the wedding. The band would drive East without me. Alan the hotdog heir was going along; he was after all the source of funds. And we'd gotten a new drummer and guitar player in San Diego, named Frank and Tim; we still had our old drummer, Little Richard, too -- he was going to perform his solo act; Charley and Sandy; Ellie and Norman and their two children, Maya and the infant Allright; Toni and Len and their daughter Taeza; their son Mazeo was on the way; Trixie and Fred Tushe; Adrienne; Ace Hanson. Seventeen souls in a bus and a van, headed into the blue.

I created an elaborate outfit for both weddings, though I ended up only wearing it to Sibyl and Ali's; as a concession to normalcy I agreed to wear a rented set of tails to my sister's. But to make sure my integrity showed I wore the tails with a pair of dove grey suede wing tips on my feet and a huge black satin bow around my pony tail. The effect was theatrical but not grotesque. For Sibyl and Ali's I made a velvet jacket with a peacock print satin lining; stand up collar; silver and bakelite buttons; ten inch wide cuffs. And grey and burgundy cut velvet bell-bottoms with purple mother of pearl buttons the size of 45's at the fly. A white shirt with a "jabot" many yards long that tied into a truly extravagant bow. And the dove grey wing tips and the satin bow. The effect, though odd, was profound. Like someone plucked out of an elaborate children's theatre pageant. Loony and festive.

I left before the bus did, but secure in my faith that somehow they'd all show up at the right time in the right place. Dropping into middle class Denmark for two weeks was a little like visiting the moon. Or I should say visiting from the moon. People looked at my long hair and hippy paraphernalia like I had truly dropped from outer space. My grandmother from New Jersey spent any time she was around me making little disapproving clucking sounds in the back of her throat. The wedding itself was an elaborate affair in the little church in Rungsted, where we had grown up. Dozens of locals gathered to gawk at the bridal party, which is the accepted custom; I remembered doing the same many times in my childhood. The dinner was held at elaborate rooms outside of Copenhagen, belonging to the Shooting club. Women in long gowns, men in tails; long speeches, endless toasts, followed by dancing to a feeble "jazz" quartet. Eventually this glitch in time and space was over, and I flew to New York where Sibyl and Ali met me and took me to their house in Newtown, Connecticut. Sibyl and Ali met at Yale. He was an undergraduate, she was in the School of Art, getting her MFA. She had been Michael Moore's girlfriend for several years. For a period they had lived near our old house on Alpine Road in Menlo Park; this was after the band had moved to San Francisco, but we still kept up the connection, of course. When I was busted for pot and my mother came to check out what was going on, we took her to the Avalon for a dance. Sibyl and Michael were going along, so first we went to their apartment in North Beach. They had just moved in and were living like most of our friends, on a mattress on the floor and out of a few orange crates. "You need some furniture," my mother kept saying. "How can they live without any furniture at all?" Everyone found this screamingly funny. Furniture? Who needed it? My mother had along her special flask that she called her "gay deceiver": it looked like an eyeglass-case that your spinster aunt might carry, but it contained a half pint. The evening was a great success.

Eventually Sibyl had to leave Michael Moore; she'd developed a severe allergy to him and often was reduced to a wheezing, confused heap by his off-the-wall carryings-on, like when he'd decide that all his paintings were shit and he'd cut them up into ribbons. Occasionally he'd then isolate tiny little fragments that were deemed worthy of re-stretching, resulting in a strange assortment of miniatures. Those of us who knew that they had started out as eight by ten foot canvases grieved. But at least we got to go home; Sibyl had to live with it, and it became too much.

She moved back to New Haven where, as I've mentioned, she met her Tibetan Prince, Ali. After they decided to get married they moved into a house in Newtown, Connecticut, with some friends from Yale. Mac and Patricia lived in the master bedroom, and Bill lived in the basement. Sibyl and Ali had a little cottage next to the main house. Behind the house an undulating lawn descended to a picture-perfect pond, willows weeping languorously into its mirror-still surface, and beyond the pond the ground s lost themselves in swampy woods full of skunk cabbages, dogwoods and poison ivy.

This was an ideal spot for a hippy wedding, and no doubt the house had something to do with Sibyl and Ali's decision to get married at this time. The Triple A was invited to play; who would ever dream that they'd actually show up? But we'd never been known for our rational decisions; our band was hardly streaking to the top of the charts, rock promoters were not beating down our doors to book us into their dance halls; Sibyl and Ali sent a gas credit card and Alan the hotdog heir was available f or financing the rest of the trip, so why not hit the road? Since our decision to migrate East was no more bizarre than had been our decision to start the band in the first place, everyone reacted very calmly when we announced we'd be at the wedding, when in fact our presence threw the lives of many people into near chaos.

I arrived from Denmark a few days before the wedding and right away plunged myself into the preparations. Sibyl had arranged a bed for me on the porch of her and Ali's little cabin. Also living with them were Ali's brother, Sam, who had a bed in a sleeping loft, and John Steinbeck and his wife, Crystal. They had just returned from Southeast Asia and affected Vietnamese dress: brown pajamas and Mao-shoes; they eschewed furniture, for the most part, squatting in native fashion to cook or to hang o ut. The effect was very decorative, as they were an extremely handsome couple and as the cabin was ideally suited for tropical decors: there was a skylight under which grew great ficus trees and luxuriant gardenias; the entire cabin was surrounded by a screened porch beyond which swayed the dense woods. Crickets and mosquitoes whirred and hummed incessantly. The summer was an unusually hot and humid one. You definitely felt like you had landed in a rain forest somewhere unspecified between Florida and South Vietnam.

The wedding was to take place on a silver barge in the pond. Don Johnson, who had married Toni and Len, had since studied at Yale and become friends with Sibyl and Ali, and he was to perform the official ceremony, being a Jesuit. John and Crystal, in their Vietnamese drag, would be on the barge, too, to give the Buddhist touch. John would play his flutes. So we covered the barge with silver mylar and hooked it up with ropes so it could be pulled into the middle of the pond for the exchange of vow s. A six-foot wide strip of silver mylar was laid down from the house to the pond, on which two little girls preceding the bride would scatter rose petals. In the lawn we planted hundreds of petunias in full bloom. Balloons were festooned everywhere on the actual wedding day. The stuffiest conservative would have melted at the sight of the garden on the day of the wedding. It was hot and muggy, sure, but it was beautiful, and it wasn't raining.

There was one slight problem. The band had called from the middle of Ohio a few days earlier, to tell us that the school bus had blown up. They were staying at The Wayside Tavern, a hang-out for hillbillies on the outskirts of Springfield. Everyone w as treating them great; they'd pitched a big old tent and every night was a party. Word was spreading in the area, of the "heppies" who'd descended on the town, and folks were crawling out of the woodwork to see these odd creatures, and subsequently to get a little crazy dancing to their music. They passed the hat after every set, and they were even making some money. And drinks were free. It sounded like I might never see them again.

"But don't worry," Adrienne assured me, "we've found a new bus, bigger than the other one, and should be there in time for the wedding."

Well, here was the wedding, but the band had not yet showed up. There was nothing to do about it. The guests had arrived, the hors d'oeuvres were arranged on the platters, all systems were go. Down the silver runway glided Sibyl in romantic Empire virginality and stepped onto the bobbing barge, where she was met by Ali in a cream-colored Italian suit that looked good enough to eat. Don was in his Jesuit robes, John was tootling away on his flutes, Crystal squatting picturesquely at their feet. The barge floated noiselessly into the middle of the pond. Don performed the exchange of the vows, Crystal read a poem, John read something Buddhist. The pond was surrounded by friends and relatives of the bridal couple. Sibyl's parents had come over from Vienna at the start of the War; many of their friends from the old world were in attendance, puzzled no doubt by this distinctly unorthodox ceremony; it was decidedly not Jewish, but neither did it much resemble any other tradition. But it was beautiful, no one could deny that.

The barge was tugged ashore and the bridal party made it to dry land again, man and wife. Kissing and hugging; tears. Just then the band arrived. They had bought the biggest possible size school bus. There had been no time to decorate it, of course. It was still yellow, with the legend Springfield Rte. 1 haphazardly crossed out on both sides. Len and Toni's van lumbered after the bus. Everyone looked like they'd slept in their clothes for the last three weeks, which was probably not far from the truth. The wedding guests eyed this arriving group with a mixture of panic and curiosity. Clearly people were glad to see them arrive, it was not a mistake. But bizarre!

Fred Tushe wandered over to me and gave me a hug, then he showed me a little bottle and chortled wickedly before heading towards the punch bowl. I saw him surreptitiously dump the contents of the bottle into the punch. He was grinning widely as I saw him ladling out drinks for all the elderly guests.

The result could have been a disaster, but for once the gods were on our side. The band dragged out their equipment and prepared to play. At first everyone was very nearly electrocuted, since nothing was grounded and they were standing on the bare ground. But eventually that problem was solved and the music started up. By then the acid must have taken effect on the crowd, for people who would normally have fled in horror from this dreaded rock'n'roll, were suddenly dancing happily, smiling and swaying. Champagne flowed along with the punch; no one suspected anything out of the ordinary. It was just a lovely day and a lovely wedding, and a most unusual group of young people, but charming.

There are home movies that bear me out. Proper old ladies in little silk suits with pill box hats, happily chatting with miniskirted girls with flowers in their hair and bell-bottomed hippies. The lion lay down with the lamb in Connecticut on that particular June afternoon in 1969.

The day drew to a close and the guests departed. But the Anonymous Artists of America stayed. Perhaps Sibyl and Ali had not quite imagined the effect of eighteen house-guests, but that's what they had. And we were there for the duration.

It was not until the following days and weeks that I heard about the bus trip East. The wedding party rapidly progressed from lighthearted intoxication to deep stoniness and no information was forthcoming. Not to mention, everyone had to be assigned sleeping spaces. Mac and Patricia, the couple from the house, fled in horror, not to return for the rest of the summer. In fact they didn't speak to Sibyl and Ali for years; as if it was their fault that an innocent invitation to us to play at their wedding turned into a massive occupation for two months by close to twenty freaks.

The immediate reason for the band missing the wedding ceremony was that the cops at a toll plaza in New Jersey decided to slow them down. There was no real problem, but when the cop decided to look inside the bus, someone said something smart-assed and they were asked to pull over. As usual, nothing happened, but meanwhile they'd wasted a couple of hours.

As usual? It seemed that almost every town they had driven through, they had met the police or sheriff's department in person. On several occasions in the south, they had been escorted to the county line with unsmiling admonitions not to stop. There was the time that Ace Hanson had driven the bus into the gas station's overhang, ripping it off its supports; several hundred dollars later, they were escorted out of time; and the time Len backed his truck into a gas tank; another problem that was worked out with cash.

Then there was the time the bus had to be raised on a hydraulic lift for some work. While the mechanic worked under the vehicle, several members of the band, stoned on Quaaludes, had an orgy within, many feet in the air. And the time in Louisiana when Trixie had thrown a temper tantrum and scattered hundreds of the Rolling Stone posters with her topless self proclaiming Get It Here all over a gas station.

But all in all it had been a great trip, everyone assured me, and I kind of began looking forward to being part of the return, when the time for that came. Alan the hotdog heir was still along, but he was getting worse. He kept writing numbers on pieces of paper, muttering about plots and coincidences ("Ha! coincidence!"), working himself into a frenzy about the Caballah; people in the group assumed symbolic roles in the universal plot against himself. Something clearly had to be done, but what. And meanwhile, where was the money going to come from?

Sandy met a woman who lived down the block; let's call her Ma Fisher. Ma Fisher was a big, coarse, loud, good-natured woman in her fifties or so. Her daughter was running for Miss Connecticut (she won). Ma Fisher's husband had a road construction business and was clearly involved with the mob. Ma Fisher herself earned her pin money by dealing dope, pot and coke. Immediately Tushe and Sandy were putting together deals with Ma, riding around with her in her bright red convertible Cadillac. In addition to putting together money-making dope deals for us, Ma Fisher found us gigs. Strange gigs, but gigs. Like in a sleazy bar in Avon, frequented by a handful of middle-aged Italian men who were actually there to play pool; and at the high-school youth dance, where we played for bewildered teen-agers who had expected something more like Herman and the Hermits, but somehow adapted to the Anonymous Artists of America; we even netted a few groupies from this event, who needed to be discouraged from hanging around our place which was not so subtly being surveilled by the local heat.

We were not a popular presence in Newtown, Connecticut, which tended to make us just a but rowdier. The consumption of Ripple was impressive. We bought it by the case of pints and there were members of the band who were never without a bottle in their hip pocket.

It was a very hot and muggy summer; everyone sweated profusely, resulting in monumental quantities of laundry. A trip to the laundromat, which took place two or three times a week, was like some mythological endurance test. Fifteen loads was not uncommon; twenty-five within the realm of the possible. Of course not everyone had to do the laundry; the band was sacrosanct, as always; if you had rehearsal, things got done for you. Understandably, resentments developed, but the laundry got done.

Our presence in Newtown attracted other friends. Walter the math whiz, who had joined up with Annie Goheen, an old college mate of mine, started hanging out with us; Michael Moore and his girlfriend, Poose; Ivan Tcherepnin, who had been married to Sandy Carrot many years before. These were not groupies, these were friends who wanted to be in on the fun. But of course they were bodies, more bodies, expanding the ranks. A young couple with twin babies showed up from somewhere; for a while they were there, then they were gone. A young woman with a limp was around for a while. She attached herself to Norman. Then she was gone. Myself I picked up (aided by Ace Hanson) a gangly young boy of seventeen who hung around for a while; I even stayed at his mother's apartment in the village in New York. Then he was gone, too.

Throughout the summer there was a strong effort to find jobs for the band in the city. Our friend Vicky pictured herself something of a Bohemian and lived at the Chelsea Hotel, despite the fact that she made her living teaching third grade. Vicky persuaded Shirley Clarke, the filmmaker, to lend her roof-garden for a party featuring the Triple A. The event was a great success. We played well, everyone was more or less together; high but not incapacitated. A couple of men showed up who had seen and heard us from the roof of the adjoining building. They were going to be throwing a huge party a couple of weeks later, to launch a new advertising agency. Were we available to play? We certainly were.

The party turned out to be a huge production. Charlotte Moorman, the topless cellist, played a cello of ice, topless, while it melted all over her floor length skirt; Walter Carlos (who is now Wendy Carlos) was set up in a weird cage with his at the time futuristic synthesizers. He almost had heart failure when Ace Hanson, tripping freely, crawled into the cage to check out the equipment. A sculptor handed out plaster casts of his ear. Andy Warhol, still looking gaunt and grey from Valerie Solanos' attempt to kill him with a pistol shot, stood around impassively. Dozens of other events were staged indoors and out on many levels of three adjoining luxury penthouse apartments. But unfortunately it rained. Heavily. Torrentially. Eventually it became clear that the party would have to be postponed to the next day. Basically we had no place to go; we could hang out at Vicky's next door at the Chelsea, but she just had a studio apartment; not enough room for the close to twenty people in our group. So we just hung out, much to the hosts' dismay. Ace had become quite woozy; as the guests left he sat naked in a lotus position, eyes closed, groping their legs, feeling up and down, hoping to start some kind of mass orgy. All he started was a general feeling that a madman was on the loose.

By the following afternoon, when the party resumed, that was not far off the mark. We had slept wherever we could find a spot; some in the bus, some on the floor of the penthouses, a couple at Vicky's. What we all had in common was that we hadn't slept much, had gone to sleep stoned and proceeded to get stoned again first thing in the morning, and were feeling frustrated from the long wait to play.

While waiting to play on the second afternoon Sandy and I lured a truly obnoxious woman to take a drink of a 7-up that was heavily laced with LSD. She had given us a hard time since the day before and we decided she needed to be psychedelicized. The woman suspected something was amiss. "There's just some gin in it," we lied. The woman took a huge swig. Right then and there Sandy told her she'd been dosed. The woman panicked. Within moments two psychiatrists had been summoned to supervise her. Her husband was furious at us; you can't really blame him. I felt a little sheepish, but part of me felt deeply satisfied that we'd got the bitch. She'd probably done nothing to deserve this treatment. No doubt we were just tired of waiting around and wanted some action.

The party never reached the pitch of the first day. Some performers didn't reappear; many guests, understandably, didn't either. But just as we got ready to play on the roof top terrace, Nina Simone swept into view. She was one of our great idols. "Are we gonna play some music, babies?" she asked in her loud raspy voice and joined Charlie at the organ. Suddenly everything came together. Waiting around twenty-four hours had its pay-off. The party came together for us; we were thrilled to the gills.

Whether or not the organizers of this two-day happening were glad they'd asked us is hard to say. But they certainly got our total energy. Ace did his best to start an orgy; Sandy and I tried to alter the dreary woman's level of consciousness; and finally we played to a handful of people in ecstasy. The event was a success, as far as we were all concerned.

There was a seedy little nightclub near Times Square, called The Scene. The Velvet Underground played there, in fact everyone played there. They paid five dollars a person a night, so the money was not what drew people to play there. But it was definitely the place to be seen. Adrienne set up an "audition" for us. If it went well, we'd be hired back. The pay was five bucks a man for the night; she talked them into throwing in a bar tab, too.

The premises were in the basement. The walls were decorated with tin foil (courtesy of Andy Warhol), and a few mylar balloons hung in the dusty corners. The headliners the night we were booked was a group called The McCoys; they'd had an AM radio hit with "Hang on Sloopy", a song they had not originated themselves. The McCoys consisted of three cute curly-haired blonde boys from the Midwest somewhere. In particular one of them was very cute and Ace Hanson and I both thought it'd be fun to seduce him a little. So after we'd played our first set, when everyone was feeling no pain, we lured this pretty boy off in our bus. We'd been invited to go to somebody's apartment on Park Avenue to get high. Adrienne was driving and way in the back of the bus Ace and I were putting the make on the pretty boy. During the ride he confessed that his two bandmates had talked him into leading Ace and me on; just for fun. We both found this hilarious, as it was much like the lamb leading the wolf astray. When he found himself being accosted by both of us at the home of total strangers, I think he realized the situation had not turned out quite the way he had imagined it.

Unfortunately we had to go back and play the second set. When we walked in, it was obvious that the band had become even more stoned. Another group had gone across the street to the manager's apartment, where they had taken some kind of downers. The bartender had cut us off; the tab was up to four hundred dollars. There was some ugly talk that we'd have to pay it; nobody took it seriously, since we didn't have any money and they were only paying us fifty dollars anyway. The little McCoy fled back to his bandmates with a look of terror on his face. They were giggling away, wanting to hear all about how he'd teased Ace and me. They soon quieted down as the Triple A launched into a raucous last set.

Bars stay open til four AM in New York, so it was very late by the time we got out of there. We were not booked for a return engagement. But it had been fun and we didn't care. By the time we got home to Connecticut, it was broad daylight. Ace and I had tried to persuade the pretty boy to come home with us, but to no avail. I bet he thought twice before "teasing" anyone in the near future. Nothing so terrible had actually happened. But we had the impression that he'd expected us to sort of long for him at a distance, when what happened was that at the first sign of encouragement, we attacked him from all sides.

We were asked to play at Tompkins Square Park, way East in the Village in what's known as Alphabet City, due to the fact that the Avenues are called A, B, C and D over there. The Motherfuckers were organizing the concert. What we didn't know was that there had been a lot of friction in the neighborhood between the Hispanics and the Hippies. This concert was supposed to pour oil on the troubled waters. Park gigs had always been our favorite events. Perhaps the music didn't sound so great outdoors , but the feeling of celebration made up for it.

Charlie had gotten hold of some Quaaludes; by the time we got to Tompkins Square Park, he was completely out of it. This was too bad, since he was the guiding force in the band. A Latin band was playing and making no signs that it was going to stop. Ever. The organizers were looking worried. We were all feeling no pain and leapt out of the bus and started dancing around in our best hippy fashion, arms waving, hair flying. Bottles of Ripple were passed around to the Latin musicians on stage. Gradually the ice broke and after a while they stopped so we could show them our stuff. We got the equipment hooked up okay, but when we started to play it became obvious that Charlie was totally incapacitated. His fingers seemed fused together. Instead of playing runs, he played big honks of noise. Eventually he lay down on the keyboard and went to sleep. We turned off his organ and played our set without him. The effect was anything but triumphant, but no one ever got hostile and the hippies in the park carried on appropriately. The Hispanics sulked, but no one threw anything.

After a few scrapes with the cops over possible traffic violations, we got out of there and eventually were safely back in Newtown. As we pulled in the driveway, Charlie lifted his head and asked: "Is it time for us to play yet?"

Whenever the band went anywhere it was a raucous event. Tim and Frank, the new members of the band, belonged to the "Yo, mama" school of behavior. They felt honor-bound to shout at each and every good-looking woman on the street. Since the bus was not allowed on the West Side Highway, we always had to come through the streets of Harlem. Hollering and whistling, we'd make our way slowly thru the ghetto. The mood was contagious; kids would jump on the bus, people would shout back at us. Everyone was always friendly, though; I guess they'd never seen anything like it.

This was the summer of Free Love, too. Until then Free Love had been something we heard a lot of talk about, but it wasn't going on anywhere that we knew of. Thanks to the proximity of everyone on the bus and to the free flow of drugs that summer, the phrase went from the conceptual to the actual that summer. On several occasions ten or fifteen of us would find ourselves in a big, naked heap, sucking and fucking indiscriminately. There were many who would not participate, and no pressure was put on them to do so. Some were just naturally modest and not interested, others would have liked to take part but were too up-tight over the fact that there were (brr) homosexuals involved. But those of us who got down had a wonderful, silly time. Unlike bathhouse orgies, where you find yourself in a heap of strangers, here we were, the best friends in the world, finally getting it on. It felt like the falling away of the last defenses, a blessing. All of us were aware of how special it was. And the best part of it was how much time we spent laughing and giggling.

Walter told us of a drug from South America called yohimbine; it was supposed to be this incredibly strong aphrodisiac. He found a source for it and sent away for a bunch. The night we were to take it, we were all pretty excited. We gathered in the king size bed in Charlie and Sandy's bedroom and Walter administered to drug intravenously to a whole group of us, carefully using a new needle for each person; the whole atmosphere was very hospital-like. Then we all sat there waiting for the waves of lust to sweep over us. We looked at each other expectantly. "Do you feel anything?" "Maybe a little, but I'm not sure what. I don't feel very horny, though, that's for sure."

After a while it became clear that nothing was going to happen. Maybe the dose had been too small, maybe the drug they'd sent was no good. Maybe the whole things was a hoax. Probably the latter, since yohimbine has hardly become a household word. If it worked, it surely would have caught on. Eventually we dispersed and went to sleep, relieved, perhaps, that we hadn't had to spend the night in frenzied lovemaking. And maybe just a little disappointed, too.

Ace and I noticed that we had what looked like a rash on our dicks. And when we looked real close, maybe we had it between our fingers, too. It itched. It was spreading. We made an appointment to see a public health doctor in Newtown. He worked at the mental institution, but was the local VD doctor, too. When we walked in his office we were met with a distinct chill. He demonstratively pulled on rubber gloves and asked us to produce our penises. He took a very cursory look at the rashes and told us it was Herpes. There was nothing much to do about it, it would go away by itself. We were not convinced that he was right; we felt he just wanted to get rid of us, but we didn't argue.

In the next weeks, one person after the other noticed the same itchy little spots, particularly on their hands and feet. We explained it as prickly heat, maybe. By the time we got back to the West Coast, we all had it and soon Glynn, our belly dancer friend, with whom we moved in, had it, too. Again we went to a doctor. She was a psychiatrist, the mother of Sandy Carrot, our good friend; but she had worked as a regular doctor during World War II, and so she had seen our condition before. It was scabies, a microscopic arachnid - spider - that lived in the pores of the skin. It seemed probable that Ace had picked it up while camping out at a dome conference in Texas that spring. People got it from cattle; there had been a lot of cattle where they'd camped out. Normally scabies are easy to get rid of, but we all were infected so completely that it took some of us months to get rid of it. The treatment was highly uncomfortable: after soaking in as hot a bath as you could stand you had to scrub your entire body with brown soap. Vigorously, to open all the pores. Then you rubbed a poison called Kwell all over. Not only did it smell, it made you itch and was greasy, too. The procedure had to be repeated daily for a week. Everything had to be fumigated: towels and bedclothes had to be washed in extra hot water; blankets and mattresses had to be sprayed with Lysol, all articles of clothing had to be sterilized.

With sixteen people living in close quarters, the task was formidable; dozens of loads of laundry were washed every day; quarts of Kwell were appropriated. Ace and I got rid of the scabies fast enough, but for Glynn it was a nightmare. She danced barefoot, so the skin on her feet was very thick and tough and somehow the Kwell didn't penetrate; she'd do the treatment every day for two weeks. Then two weeks later she'd notice that the scabies was back. It must have taken her six months to get rid of it. By then we were hearing that there was an epidemic of scabies in the bay area. This was odd since the affliction had not been seen in those parts since the thirties. We tried to keep quiet about it, but we suspected it was the Triple A who started the epidemic. To a great extent we blamed the fastidious doctor in Newtown. If he'd maybe put aside his distaste for us smelly, long-haired deviates, could literally thousands of people have been spared itching agony?

Frank, our drummer from San Diego, was homesick for his wife and son and decided to return to the them. Since we had Little Richard in reserve, this was not a disaster, although Norman was less than happy about it. In fact, Norman was not happy about our music in general. He had developed an ambition to be a heavy rhythm-and-blues band on the line with Booker T and the MG's. We were never going to be that, no matter what we did. Nevertheless he'd decided that Toni and he should do more of the singing. He thought they sounded more soulful. We rented time in a studio to record a demo-tape of one of Norman's new songs. I was going to sing only back-up and not much of that. Naturally I felt pretty rotten about this, like I was being pushed out of the band. I had no illusions about my singing abilities, but I knew that in performance people responded to ll my jumping around and shimmying and shaking. I listen to the tape today and I know that I was not so bad, after all. Norman and Toni sound about the same as me. None of us sound great. But the damage was done; there was bad blood between Norman and me from that point on, and to a certain extent between Toni and me, too.

Alan the hotdog heir was going from bad to worse. He'd spend whole afternoons sitting on the lawn, yelling angrily, pounding the ground with a hammer. One day we came home from an excursion somewhere and Ellie was up in arms: "He glared at me all afternoon, threatening me with a screw driver." Ellie had enough to worry about as it was. Her baby cried incessantly; the only time he was happy was when he was riding in the bus.

Adrienne was somehow in charge of Alan, and she had tried everything. She had taken him to a psychiatrist. Alan was convinced he was part of the plot against him and refused to see him again. She had taken him to Hartford and showed him the Institute for Living, a private psychiatric clinic with a great reputation. Alan refused to go. Somehow he seemed to trust Little Richard. Finally Richard persuaded Alan that he should go to San Diego where Loose George's brother had an institute on the line of Esalen. There were psychiatrists around and most important there were people who'd be able to look after him. What was for sure was that there was no way we could drive across country with Alan on the bus; he was raving by now, and a month or more in the confinement of the bus would very possibly send him -- or all of us -- over the deep end.

Loose George was persuaded to take Alan and Adrienne and Richard drove him to La Guardia airport where they put him on the plane to San Diego. Five minutes later, as they were headed towards the parking lot, they were paged. It was George: "Listen, Adrienne, we're really not having any seminars here just now. We can't take Alan after all." "You listen, George; I just put him on the plane. You better be there when he gets off. And don't send him back."

I've never seen Alan since. We continued to spend the money in the joint account Adrienne had set up with him. Not until we got back to the West Coast was the account closed. Maybe it was just depleted. I have no idea what Alan is doing today. He might be dead, he might be the CEO of a major corporation. Some people keep popping up in one's life; others disappear without a trace.

Michael Moore and Ace Hanson had spent the better part of the summer fixing up the new bus. They had taken the engine out and rebuilt it completely, in the process painting each different part in its own vivid color. Michael had painted the outside of the bus to within an inch of its life. It was mostly blue, with a silver roof and rainbow-colored details. Floating over the surface were psychedelic clouds, or was it popcorn? On both sides as well as the front was the legend AAA, done in the psychedelic clouds. On one side it said "Life Music is Beth's", on the other "Universal Life Music". Ace wrote the word "Ozone" under the driver's window. On the hood Michael painted a huge symbol that looked like a Mayan glyph. On each window we stuck a n American flag-decal. Sibyl painted the interior with flowers and stars and floating ribbons and fantastic creatures. I sewed blue and white striped curtains.

Michael and his girlfriend decided to drive west with us. His truck was like a cartoon version of an army jeep. It was painted in olive-drab camouflage. The front end was modified to include a steel mesh milk carton on either side of the headlights. Over the bed he'd constructed a "camper" with convex windows. On top of this was a vast quantity of paintings and art supplies and just plain stuff, all held down by an olive tarp and a lot of rope. Rag-tag is an understatement.

The final vehicle in our convoy was Len's van which hadn't gotten any less colorful in the course of the summer. But despite the definite conspicuousness of our vehicles, to me they seemed benign. There was nothing threatening about our appearance, somehow. And although we drew attention to ourselves wherever we went on our trip back west, we avoided any major hassles. On the way East, which granted had been along the southern route, they had had nothing but trouble with the law; on the way west we sailed blithely through. Perhaps the key to our success was assuring any agent of the law who stopped us that we were "just passing through, officer", and smiling alot.

The entire East Coast heaved a sigh of relief when the Anonymous Artists of America finally headed back to California. Our first destination was Springfield, Ohio, where our friends at the Wayside Tavern were planning a big reception for us "Heppies", they called us fondly. But first we had to spend a considerable amount of time in Ono, Pennsylvania, parked along the side of the highway, repairing Michael's truck, I think it was. It really didn't matter which vehicle was down. The whole expedition ground to a halt at the smallest problem. It was hot and muggy and ugly in Ono, at least the part we saw.

Aside from the irritation of being broken down, stopping for any reason was very expensive. Everyone needed something: soft drinks, candy bars, cigarettes, whatever. It was not unusual for a pit stop to cost over a hundred dollars. Including gas, but still. So we tried to gas up when everyone was asleep, but even so, the cessation of motion usually woke up Ellie's baby who'd start crying and wake up everyone. And then there'd be the run on the candy-bars.

In Springfield, the folks at the Wayside had erected a big tent for us to play under. I was not a returnee, but everyone else was, and there was much excitement. We decided to stay for several days. We drove over to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, a few miles away, and arranged to play on the front steps of the school's main building. Oddly enough, the front steps faced the back of the building; somehow it had been built backwards. The students at Antioch were very receptive to our entire trip. We were invited to stay at people's houses; we were taken swimming in a waterfall up the Mad River a ways. We spent an afternoon wallowing in black mud and rinsing off in the cascading falls. And we played for the students in the daytime and the hillbillies in Springfield at night.

Then we continued to Chicago. Going to Chicago was a sentimental journey for many of the members of the group. They hadn't been back since their college days. But they still had friends there. One of them lent us his apartment so we'd have a place to bathe Danny Lyon, the photographer, arranged for us to play on the Shakespearean stage at the University of Chicago. He shot a little movie, documenting it. The mood is mellow; students lolling about and dancing in the sunny, hot afternoon. By this stage in the trip our costuming has calmed down considerably. Comfort and convenience is more crucial than theatricality. Laundry continued to be a Herculean task.

Adrienne's parents invited us to their home in Cicero for a cook-out. They lived in a typical suburban house, complete with a show-piece living room entirely slip-covered in clear plastic, with a little gate across the doorway, lest anyone be tempted to enter. We all gazed in wonder at this kitchy arrangement. To this day Adrienne's mother talks about the laundry. Never in her long life had she seen so much of it. Since we brought everything with us wherever we went, of course we had our laundry along, too. And when we saw a free washer, of course we set to work. I'm sure it wasn't even that much; a mere six or eight loads. But to a housewife with just her husband around that must have been formidable. We were used to twenty loads. We didn't like it, but we were used to it.

We stayed in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, near the University. The bus and the vans we parked in an empty lot near the apartment we borrowed. This being 1969, the year after the Democratic Convention, we were prepared for the worst reception imaginable from the police. But they surprised us. Yes, they checked on us, but they didn't hassle us. We told them we were just staying a couple of days. They told us to be careful, that this was the big city, and then they left us alone.

Our next destination was Southern Colorado. Oh, we had some stops to make on the way: we wanted to buy a new generator at a huge tool store in Nebraska; we wanted to visit Little Richard's brother in Denver. But our goal was Gardner, Colorado, in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the southernmost part of Colorado. Chip and Elaine were spending the summer there, and so was David Ackerman and Robert Sussman. They'd all heard about this magic valley -- The Huerfano Valley -- from Dean and Linda Fleming and Peter Rabbit and Tony Megar who'd all been at the dome conference in Texas where Ace picked up the scabies (we think).

The drive was peppered with the usual amount of breakdowns and delays. In Nebraska we found ourselves driving through fields of marijuana, twelve feet tall. Had we died and gone to heaven? We had to pick some. Ace stuffed two pillow cases full and we headed to a laundromat where we dried it in the dryer. Unfortunately it was no good. We've since learned that cultivating marijuana is like cultivating anything else; you have to develop the characteristics you're after. This pot, it turned out, was grown for the hemp, not for the tetrahydracannabinol. It made great rope, but it didn't get you high. But it was pot, there was no denying it, and at a later stage we traded it with some unsuspecting hippy for silk-screened T-shirts. Since we made no claims as to the potency of the stuff, we didn't feel guilty. And like I said, it was in fact pot. Richard's brother was understandably less than thrilled by the invasion of his attractive middle-class home by hordes of hippies. So as soon as we'd taken care of our business -- as usual we needed to scour the junk yards for some spare part or other for one or more of our constantly ailing vehicles -- we headed south on I-25 to the Huerfano Valley.

Since we couldn't park the bus in front of Richard's brother's house, we spent the night in a public park. That would have been unproblematic, had it not been for Ace Hanson. He had recently decided that in order to become a great musician he should feign blindness. Clearly sight interfered with hearing. Look at Ray Charles, look at Stevie Wonder. He was not convinced by any arguments that lots of really terrific musicians had 20-20 vision. He had started pretending to be blind around people who didn't know any better. At the party in New York where he'd groped everybody, it'd been as a blind person.

This night in Denver he wandered off with his saxophone. A little later he was escorted back to the bus by a park ranger. "Does this guy belong here?" Ace was acting kind of spacy. We acknowledged that, yes, he was with us. "Well, keep him from wandering off. He was playing his saxophone in the restroom. He was waking all the campers up." "The acoustics were out of sight," interjected Ace. "Never mind that. Just don't be disturbing everybody's peace. If you do, you'll all have to leave." "Thank you, we'll keep an eye on him." "You shouldn't let him be walking around all alone, you know, being blind and all." "Right; we won't; thank you." Ace could really piss you off at times.

As we headed south the landscape changed. Vast prairielands stretched to the east, while mountains rose out of the plains to the immediate west. We went past Colorado Springs and Pike's Peak, then through Pueblo with its belching smelters and sweltering heat. And then there was only nature. Vast stretches of black-eyed susans leading to the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristos in the distance. We turned off at Walsenburg and headed west on Route 69 to Gardner. Our friend David Ackerman was running a gas station there. He'd know how to find Chip and Elaine as well as Robert.

Gardner is situated at the confluence of the Huerfano River and the Muddy River, two insignificant streams, of interest only to the local ranchers who depend on them for irrigation for their otherwise parched fields. Since it doesn't have a particularly glorious past, Gardner's present is quite unremarkable. Its inhabitants are mostly of Mexican background with a strong peppering of Native American. As a result of the Great Depression, Anglos were able to buy out the original homesteaders' descendants, so the large ranches are Texas-owned nowadays.

A spectacular butte rising straight out of the plain marks the site of Gardner. The day we drove past it for the first time, an eagle was soaring around it. This, it turned out, is not unusual, as eagles nest in the safety of the shear face of the butte. The first thing we came to was David's gas station. A Chicano boy was sitting on the ground. His name was Harold Vargas and his parents were to become our great friends. Next to the gas station was the Gardner Trading Post, a derelict building straight of a Western movie. "Established 1868", it said on its facade. I suppose that in the old days before cars and zipping to Walsenburg for supplies, the trading post here in Gardner may have been a going thing. But in 1969 as in 1988 it was just an empty, falling down wreck of a building.

We all piled out of our various vehicles and started swarming all over the place. Where was David? where was Chip? Robert? A young woman with an Irish Setter introduced herself; her name was Diane, she was waiting for a ride out of town so she could go back to California. She was Robert's girlfriend; Robert and Chip were in San Francisco and would be back that evening. David would be back any minute.

We were all somewhat breathless from the altitude, but ecstatic. Diane pointed out Mt. Greenhorn to the North: "That's where Libre is." And the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the West. In fact in every direction except the East mountains rose to considerable heights. We were in a self-contained valley almost. Later, when we went up to Libre, we got a bird's eye view of the Huerfano Valley. From up there you could see how the valley had been formed through millions of years. How the mountains had risen up, and then been worn down by rivers, even oceans. And most spectacular of all, three or four different kinds of weather was always visible at any given time: a thunder storm over there, perfect sun over here, soaring clouds a third place. Nature served itself up in a way none of us had ever seen before; it was almost like a text book come to life.

When David showed up he took us to the house where he was living with Sarah, about fifteen miles Southwest, in Chama. Chama consisted of a church and a few houses, but it was a distinct community. The house David and Sarah lived in had no water or electricity. It was an old adobe that could use alot of fixing up. But its setting was so spectacular that the house's shortcomings seemed unimportant. Sarah was making pies. It was very hot, so the crust was giving her a hard time. She stomped around the kitchen in skin-tight leather pants, a satin cowboy shirt and knee-high cowboy boots, cursing at the dough. When it would break she'd ball it up and throw it in a rage at the wall. "Throw it over here," joked Adrienne. But Sarah's rage was really no joke; she seemed a little out of control.

Not far from the house ran an irrigation ditch. As soon as we discovered it, Ace and I tore our clothes off and got in for a bath. We even drank from the ditch, it looked so clean and mountain pure. Fortunately none of the oldtimer locals saw us; they would not, we later realized, have been able to handle naked hippies wallowing in the ditch. We were just so thrilled at being out of the bus and surrounded by this vast space that we never considered the possibility of offending anyone. Blissed out.

Ever since its first publication, The Whole Earth Catalogue had played a significant role in our lives. We all read it voraciously, fantasizing about the self-sufficient and ecologically correct lives we could lead by following the ideas of the books mentioned therein. In fact Stewart Brand was an acquaintance of ours in California; after we left Rancho Diablo and the legalities involving that property eventually were ironed out, the Portola Institute, AKA the Whole Earth Catalogue, moved in. Stewart was far from a back-to-nature pioneer; when he travelled it was with an Airstream trailer, not a funky bus. But we somehow avoided making the connection between Stewart the man and the voice that spoke through the Whole Earth Catalogue. Of all the guiding spirits behind both the WEC and much of what we were thinking about, Buckminster Fuller was the one source of constant inspiration. The way he presented the idea of geodesic domes, that was obviously the solution to the housing needs of the future.

At Libre we got to see domes in actual use for the first time. Libre, about ten miles north of Gardner in the foothills of Mt. Greenhorn, was an artists' commune. Some of the people who lived there had been involved in Drop City, the prototype of geodesic communes outside of Trinidad, Colorado. Drop City had served its purpose and been abandoned to the bikers and junkies. And now Libre was created. About half a dozen artists of every sort had persuaded Rick Klein, a gentle musician who happened to have some money, to pay for a piece of land for this venture. Local people were mildly amused at the thought that these artists were going to try to survive on this arid mountain side which was normally thought fit for nothing but grazing. But the artists were ready for it: Dean and Linda Fleming had moved from New York, as had Toni and Marilyn Magar; Peter Rabbit came from Drop City, and others from all over joined up early on, like Steve and Pat Raines and Tom and Peggy Grow.

The Triple A was invited to play at Libre in one of the domes. The first thing that strikes you when you finally get to Libre is the panoramic view; suddenly you understand geology: you just have to look at it to see how it works. We were met by the inhabitants with hugs and smiles, truly welcome. First we were given a tour. We saw Dean and Linda's brand new dome which they had built for a few hundred dollars. It was an elegant and spacious building whose roomy interior promised endless possibilities. The fact that domes are extremely inconvenient to live in only became apparent in subsequent years. There are no flat walls to put things against or hang paintings on; they leak like a son-of-a-bitch; the acoustics could drive anyone crazy. None of these factors counted at this point. We saw elegant structures built by amateurs for next to nothing. We could do something like that, too!

Toni and Marilyn's dome, where we played, was a little different. They had modified the strict geodesic design to lower the ceiling and eliminate some of the overhead space. The structure was not completed, but it turned us on. And then there was Peter Rabbit's so-called Zome; a house that resembled a giant molecule of some sort. It was built along geodesic principles in order to take the best possible advantage of a piece of plywood. The result was not pretty, but somehow it was the most succesful building for a human being to live in.

For two days we partied with the hippies. Robert and Chip showed up and we invited everyone to come to Chama for what became the First Annual Red Wing International Pops Festival. It consisted of the Triple A playing along with whoever felt like sitting in. David and Sarah's landlord and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Martinez, attended, as did a number of local cowboys. Linda and her year-old daughter Lia wore matching yellow mini-dresses, the rest of us wore our hippie-special guru pajamas and bedspread specials. At one point it rained and everybody got under a huge plastic tarp where the music continued for all it was worth.

When we left the Huerfano valley something had happened to us all. We had known about communes and back to nature before, but not first hand. Now we'd seen it. David and Sarah paid twenty dollars a month rent. Libre had paid ten thousand dollars for their big piece of land. So what if it wasn't luscious bottom land? It was theirs; no one could take it away from them, and they didn't have to pay anyone to stay there.

Maybe the most important thing in the world wasn't being an international household word, after all. We were definitely thoughtful as we headed west again. Trixie, Fred Tusche and Little Richard had gone to Taos to visit friends of Tusche's at a commune there called New Buffalo. David had played the drums instead of Richard in the Pops Festival; I guess we'd managed without a bass player. We met up with Richard in Fort Garland, as planned. He was just as turned on as the rest of us were. He'd helped make adobe bricks and seen a building go up. The materials had cost next to nothing; all it took was manpower. Trixie and Tusche had decided to make their own way back to San Francisco. Telling about it later, Trixie tried to make it sound funny, but it had been a bit of a nightmare with Tusche, who was trying to deal with a pretty severe cocaine problem, flipping out at regular intervals, throwing tantrums, beating up Trixie and leaving her by the roadside, then begging her forgiveness in floods of remorse. But they finally did get on a plane and made it back to the Coast; and Tusche kicked his habit, too, by and by.

I read the Whole Earth Catalogue more and more, when I wasn't in the driver's seat. About goats and rabbits and canning fruit and harnessing wind power. About organic gardening and sun-drying berries and moccasins made by zuni Indians. We were headed back to San Francisco where the future was completely up in the air; we had no place to live and no one was waiting anxiously for our return. I kept thinking about what we had just seen. It looked very good.

The drive was not without its problems. Len's truck had problems with its transmission and the bus had weak brakes. The truck didn't hold in second gear, but popped out at even the slightest pressure. This meant I -- I was driving the truck that night -- had to use the brake as we came down through Wolf Creek Pass that night. I could have kept the truck in first gear, and probably should have, but I was impatient, and going three-four miles an hour seemed out of the question. Adrienne was driving the bus. I could tell she was having difficulty, too. Luckily everyone was asleep as this drama was unfolding. We continued our descent through the pass. Whenever I tried to use second gear to hold the truck, it would slip and I'd start picking up speed. I could smell the bus's brakes heating up. Adrienne didn't seem to be able to control her speed, either. Finally we signalled to each other to pull over. I stood on the brake with both feet; the truck continued it's descent. Finally, inches from the edge of an endless precipice, by jamming the truck into first gear, grinding the transmission mercilessly, pulling on the emergency brake with all my might, and bearing down on the brake with my entire weight, I managed to stop. Across the road, Adrienne had finally succeeded in stopping the bus, also inches from the abyss. We both got out, a little shaky, and decided that maybe we'd better take a brake to let the brakes cool off. We smoked some hash and agreed that we might just as well be lying at the foot of the cliff. When we continued, it was in first gear. So what if it took a week to get down!

Fortunately no one had woken up, so we avoided general panic over our brush with death. Only Adrienne and I knew how close we'd come. The main objective for a driver was always to keep going, no matter what. Once you stopped and people got out of the bus or the van it might be hours before you could start again. One person would go to take a leak, then just as he or she got back on, another person would decide that they had to go, too. So the drivers just tried to keep going. With this objective in mind, the males among the drivers -- Adrienne was the only regular woman driver -- learned to pee on the go. We'd wiggle to the edge of the driver's seat and pee in a paper cup. If you really had to go and the cup filled up before you were done, you had to stop in the middle, which was against nature and no mean feat, empty the cup out the window, and then complete the task. Emptying the cup was tricky, too, if you wanted to avoid having its contents splash into the bus a couple of windows d own the line. But it was all possible, and it saved many delays.

This particular morning, Adrienne and I decided to risk stopping; when we got down out of the mountains and found a friendly looking diner somewhere near Durango, we stopped and treated ourselves to a proper breakfast. For once everyone slept on, and by the time daylight broke and everyone started to wake up, we were zipping along towards Four Corners.

Meals on the road were primitive, but adequate. There was a tiny little toy-like stove in Len's van where we could at least heat water for coffee or scramble a big mess of eggs. It had a Barbie-sized little oven in which we would bake macaroni and cheese while we drove. During one rest stop we'd mix up the stuff, then we'd stick it in the oven, fasten the door with a bungee cord, and let it cook until the next rest stop. But mainly we ate cereal, yogurt and candy bars; they were the easiest.

We had decided to visit Monument Valley which, since Easy Rider, had become something of a shrine for hippies. The fact that it was part of the Navajo National Monument only made it cooler. In the early afternoon we turned north off US 160 and headed into the valley towards the famous and endlessly icon-ized buttes. The bus sputtered to a halt after about a half a mile. Ace and Adrienne set to work while the kids chased lizards and horny toads in the desert. The temperature was at least a hundred degrees. After a half hour our departure was announced. We drove two hundred yards, then ground to a halt again. More repairs. This went on almost until sunset, but eventually we made it to the visitors' center, where we asked permission to play from the terrace towards the setting sun. "There's no electricity," apologized the Navajo custodian smugly. "No problem, we have a generator." There was no way around it, anyway, what harm could it do? Some of us drove around among the spectacular buttes in Len's van and Michael's truck for a while. Navajos tended their sheep and led their lives in their hogans in the shadow of these breathtaking, brilliantly colored rock formations. We were all deeply moved by what we saw. A way of life that had nothing to do with the so-called "American way"; a tradition that hadn't changed in thousands of years, it seemed.

Even though the band was incomplete, since Trixie was engaged in a living psycho-drama somewhere in New Mexico, we played beautifully that evening. Maybe we played the same as usual, but the dazzling beauty of the sunset over Monument Valley colored our perception. In any case, the Triple A along with the handful of tourists and Navajos who happened to be around that afternoon, experienced bliss for a few minutes.

Then we got back in the bus and van and continued our progress towards the Pacific by fits and starts. We reached Needles the next morning where it was about a hundred and twenty degrees. So we forged on. Somewhere East of Los Angeles, Len's van finally had had it. The transmission crapped out one last time. Ever since I graduated from college I'd had a credit card that the bank had sent me unsolicited. I'd never used it, but I'd kept it. This was the time to use it. We bought a new transmission, installed it, and continued on our way. When the bill arrived, I wrote a deeply sincere letter explaining that I'd never used the credit card, had in fact thrown it out, and that it must have fallen into the hands of some bad person. By a stroke of luck, they went for it. I did not feel like a criminal perpetrating this fraud, although of course that was exactly what I was. Somehow we were able to convince ourselves that the banks could afford it (which was certainly true) and that we needed it (no one could argue with that). And therefore it was ok. The argument does not hold up under closer scrutiny.

It was beginning to feel like we might never get back to San Francisco, but no one was very anxious about it, since there was nothing awaiting us there. We visited Toni's parents north of LA, then headed up the coast to Big Sur, where we had an in at Esalen Institute.

Esalen was a new phenomenon; until this point it had basically been an run-down old place with a spectacularly situated hot springs, perched immediately over the Pacific Ocean. In the past year, Fritz Perls and other, less exalted gestalt-types had started giving seminars at this beautiful place, and its doors were not as wide open to every groovy hippy as they had been earlier. But thanks to our friend, we were allowed to spend the night, although we were welcomed with somewhat chilly smiles. Who were these awful looking hippies? During the trip we'd been exposed to alot of this kind of treatment and we'd developed a way of dealing with it: they think we're going to be wild, let's run amok for them! We all headed down to the tubs which are carved out of the rock, hanging over the breaking surf. This is not the tropical, surfer-infested Pacific Ocean that you see in Southern California; this is the angry, forbidding Pacific Ocean of Jack London, wild and dangerous. The spring water was s practically boiling, and the night, starlit and windy, was chilly and brisk. As usual Ace tried to start an orgy, but the other guests fled in terror, leaving the baths to us. A couple of local hippy type girls, who were friends of the friend who'd gotten us invited to stay, offered to give us massages. On stone slabs, like altars before the seething sea, we lay and felt the kinks of the seemingly endless trip being worked out of us. We played our music that night, but we were not particularly welcome; we may have felt ecstatic and wanted to party hearty, but the people at Esalen who were paying big bucks to take themselves very seriously were not into getting crazy. Eventually we settled down and went to sleep.

The Great Bus Trip had reached its last leg. The next morning we made our way to San Francisco. Glyn, our belly dancer friend, had invited us to stay with her until we got something together. She probably imagined we'd be there a week or two; in fact we stayed seven months. Glynn's apartment -- or flat, as they call that kind of floor-through apartment in San Francisco -- was in an old wooden house across the street from Ghirardelli Square, on North Point. She had moved in before the boutiques and restaurants had appear ed, and she paid a ridiculously low rent despite the fact that the neighborhood had come up a great deal in recent years. Behind her building was another funky old wooden building where some of the members of Big Brother lived; over them was an empty apartment that had belonged to Carl Gottlieb but stood abandoned since his move to Hollywood and the big time. We parked the bus in the street and gradually oozed into these two apartments.

Glyn had a son and a roommate with two boys. The apartment wasn't so enormous to begin with; but she let us occupy every spare inch with no complaints. We even spread out to Carl Gottlieb's abandoned place across the way. The back porch of Glyn's apartment was made into a bedroom for Trixie and Tusche; Ellie and Norman and their two kids got a tiny guest room. Someone was always sleeping in the living room. At first I slept in the bus, but the police bothered me almost every night. Apparently it was illegal to camp in the streets. So I moved to Stanley and Andrea's along with Adrienne and Ace. Adrienne slept in their TV room, off the living room, and Ace and I had a room in the basement that Stanley was planning to fix up some day. For the present it was raw cement; whenever there was a heavy rain, it flooded.

The band practiced at Stanley and Andrea's, too, although somehow the activity of the band was not as intense as it had been. Charlie and Sandi found a place to live in Marin and Sandi got pregnant.

Seeing Libre had planted a new thought in most of our minds: get out of the city. The San Francisco we returned to in the fall of 1969 was a grim place. There were rumours circulating that the CIA was dumping bad drugs -- heroin and speed -- in the Haight-Ashbury in order to undermine the so-called flower power movement. People called us paranoid, whenever we'd talk about this; but history bore us out. With the Freedom of Information Act during the Carter administration it turned out that that was in fact what had happened. In any case, the street scene in San Francisco had definitely soured. People were overdosing from bad drugs; where there had been peace and love before, there was hunger and crime now. Tourists no longer toured to look a t the colourful hippies; they avoided the Haight-Ashbury like the plague. Hippie stores went out of business; storefronts were boarded up.

Like most of the people we knew, we were scrounging for a hand-to-mouth existence. The mothers with children got on welfare. I tried to pick up some dollars wherever I could, by placing shirts on consignment in stores. But the hippy vogue was on the decline, people were not buying psychedelic outfits as much anymore. We shoplifted a little from the local Safeway near Stanley and Andrea's; not a great deal, just to "supplement" our money.

There was a very nice check-out girl named Gail. One day we realized that she wasn't charging us for all our groceries. At first it was not so noticeable, but it quickly became outrageously obvious. So we decided to get to know her. Stanley and I waited outside the store in his car. When she came out, we waved her over and introduced ourselves and offered to drive her home. "Thanks for all the free groceries you've been giving us." "Oh, it's not just you. I do it on principle. Safeway is a capitalist rip-off bloodsucker and I'm just trying to spread some of their profits around." She was a Communist, she told us, and had taken this job as check-out person in order to carry out this political action. Mind-blowing! During the next couple of months she must have given us many hundreds of dollars worth of groceries. Christmas was the climax: Adrienne and I rolled up to the checkout stand with a shopping cart mounded high with stuff. Under the basket were cases of beer. We had a big turkey and all the trimmings, a couple of roasts for the next days, several cartons of cigarettes, wine, everything we needed for twenty people to spend an ample Christmas. The total came to fourteen dollars and change, thank you.

But like all good things, the era of Gail came to an end. One day she wasn't at the Safeway anymore. Maybe she was sick. But no, she didn't come back again. We asked about her at the Communist bookstore in the neighborhood, where we knew she worked as a volunteer. Eventually we connected with her: "I got fired. I told you I was giving away groceries to everybody. Well, one person who came to my line was a former Safeway manager, a stockholder in the company. He noticed what was going on and decided to come back and see if I was doing it consistently. I was, so he reported me. I admitted everything, proudly. I think I gave away over forty thousand dollars worth of stuff while I worked there, in less than two months. That made me real good. At first they were going to prosecute me, but they realized it would be hard to prove. Who, other than the guy that busted me, would testify?" Certainly not us.

There was no spare money for fun. Every cent was needed to make ends meet. Ace devised a very effective way of panhandling. Every moth-eaten hippy in town was standing around with his hand out asking for spare change. That was not the way to score. S o Ace would go to the more prosperous parts of town, like around Union Square, and approach people with this line: "Excuse me, sir (or more likely, madam), would you like to contribute to our tribal joy fund?" People were not quite sure what he was talking about, but it worked. And they would generally give a dollar, not a dime or a quarter. The tribal joy fund, of course, was money to buy new records or a gallon of wine or a fifth of whiskey; the necessary non-necessities. And asking for contributions to the tribal joy fund was in no way embarrassing; it sounded so high toned.

Stanley and Andrea's house was a big ramshackle old Victorian. It had a beautiful old stove with two ovens, where Andrea and I started to bake vast amounts of bread to feed the whole group. Jewish egg bread, or challah. The satisfaction of baking was immense. Not only from the time spent with Andrea getting the dough ready, and sitting around amid the satisfying aroma of the baking bread, but just as much from the satisfaction everyone had eating this healthy, home made bread. I learned to make Danish rye bread, too, although this was not as popular as the cake-like challah.

Glynn was into the Tarot. We'd spend hours listening to her "tell people's stories". She didn't like to say she was fortune telling. She made it like she was telling a fairy tale instead. Every night she went to work in a Middle Eastern club in North Beach as a belly dancer. Now and then we'd go see her. She was very good and the Arabs loved her strawberry coloration and soft curves. She did very well in tips. In everyday life she was a very inconspicuous looking person. Glynn Straight was her assumed name; she wanted to be listed in the telephone book as Straight Glynn. She didn't want to be considered weird, she didn't want to stick out. And yet she invited us to stay with her. All of us. She got a thrill out of living a double life, I think. When she danced with our band, the effect was always pretty dazzling. People didn't expect something like that at a rock concert; it was like spreading a little magic. This pretty mousy looking young woman with secretary-glasses transformed hers elf right there into a luscious, curvaceous creature, undulating and spinning, promising delights out of the Arabian Nights.

There was going to be a second Sky River Rock Festival, and we were invited. This time the accommodations would be slightly less grand, but the event itself was on an even bigger scale than last year; many more bands; food and crafts concessions, a much bigger area. So a few weeks after getting off the bus, we were back on it and heading north towards Seattle. Michael Moore came along for the ride, so did Sandy Carrot. This was a fun outing for all, a mere week in the bus which was running very w ell thanks to Adrienne's and Ace's constant dickering.

We hadn't seen Ken and Fay Kesey or any of the other Pranksters since they left the Bay Area right after the Acid Test Graduation. A lot had happened. Most notably, Neal Casady had killed himself in Mexico; when he saw that he'd have to slow down hi s pace, he decided to just bring it to a halt entirely. Life was not worth living in the slow lane, as far as Neal was concerned.

Life at Kesey's farm in Oregon was at some kind of half-way point between the old La Honda scene of fluorescent paints and psychedelic messages ("Leave no turn unstoned" was a message that had greeted the visitor in La Honda) and the orderly, disciplined life of a peaceful dairy farm. Further, the notorious bus, sat behind the barn, waiting for its one final glory-ride.

"Hey, we're going back East next week," Ken hollered, "why don't you guys come, too. There's gonna be a big rock festival at Woodstock, everybody's going. The Hog Farm will be there, too. We're all going to serve food to the masses." The thought of getting back on the bus and heading East again made us all weak in the knees. We'd had it. Am I sorry now that we didn't go? Definitely not. I know Woodstock was a historic event, but I also know that for those who were there, trying to keep it together with clean water to do the dishes and communication with the medical staff to handle the drug flip-outs and overdoses, it was a lot of hard work. In retrospect it became cosmic and by the time the movie came out everyone realized they'd been at t he eye of the hurricane for a moment. But at the time it was more about finding a chemical toilet that hadn't overflowed yet than it was about grooving on the mind-blowing psychedelic togetherness of it all.

Of course we had to play for the Pranksters. The last time they had heard us, we had been at a pretty primitive stage of musicianship. Now we had Charlie who had upgraded the level of the music considerably; all of us had improved, in fact. So we set up our equipment in the barn and Kesey rolled out a huge tank of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide was used at dairy farms to "sniff" the bottles to make sure they're absolutely perfectly clean. It also gets you high in a temporary and very silly way; after all, it's laughing gas. Who knows what kind of music we played? By the time we played we were all totally twisted. Ken kept passing the gas around, even while we played. I remember standing by the organ, holding the edge of its cover, when Ken thrust the tube in my mouth. I took a huge inhalation, went completely rigid, and then fell forward in slow motion, breaking the sturdy mahogany cover of the organ off with a snap. I hit the floor with a crash. My arm was bruised for weeks afterwards.

This was "fun". Fay observed the carryings-on the way Ellie did. Bemused, removed, but not openly disapproving. Actually, Ellie had stayed in San Francisco with the baby instead of going on this trip, but the way she and Fay observed us was the same. Sympathetic, but not at all convinced what we did was a good idea.

The rock festival was a great success. For one thing, it didn't rain. In fact, those of us who'd attended the by now legendary Mud Festival of the previous year, kind of missed the wild Neanderthal atmosphere. That was easy for me to say, since I had had a luxury hotel in downtown Seattle to go to. The audience had camped out in a foot of cold, slimy mud, and may have been less amused. This year the weather was perfect. From the stage you looked out over a vast sea of hippies. Some of them were grooving to the music, but most of them were grooving to the crowd. There were hundreds of booths where people sold every kind of hippy craft: moccasins, tie-dye, macrame, beads, bedspread dresses. And hippy food: brown rice, lentils, stir fry, humus, Indian food. Loose George and Adrienne parlayed ounces of the useless pot we'd picked in Nebraska into T-shirts, food, elk skin moccasins. The guy with the moccasins traded them for two hits if acid and an ounce of pot. When they went back to see him again the next day he complained about the acid, which was in fact Owsley's best, and very potent stuff; but the grass was definitely superior, could he buy some more? You go figure.

As usual, the organization of the festival was a disaster. There was no firm schedule and of course everyone wanted to play at the prime times. One group, named after its leader Lee Michaels, hadn't brought their Hammond Organ. Charley agreed to let them use his, but on condition that we got to play first. Lee Michaels didn't like that idea; he wanted to play now, at sunset. So Charley decided they couldn't use his organ. But without the organ they couldn't play. We had them over the barrel, but there were bad feelings from then on. And The Flying Burrito Brothers acted as if they were the only band at the festival. Ostentatiously they occupied the performers' tent, playing poker for large stakes, drinking Mexican beer, shouting insults and lascivious remarks to every passing girl. We all thought they were behaving "very L.A." and kept our distance.

Standing on the stage, looking out over the audience, was an amazing experience. The masses of people lost themselves in the distance. The smoke from all the food booths enveloped the huge crowd in a haze that made the scene look like the heart of a city in the third world. The organizers estimated that there were about fifty thousand people -- not even half of Woodstock. And yet it was an overwhelming experience to play for that many people. I realized that only the smallest fraction of the audience could even see the stage. This had nothing to do with music; it was a celebration of the participants, the ultimate extension of what had started way back at the Human Be-In. Being there was the point; what went down was secondary.

When we got back to San Francisco we were at loose ends. The city had palled while we were away, and we decided we didn't want to live there any more. So we started looking for land to buy in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties. I don't know where we thought we were going to get money to buy this land, but boring details of this sort had never stopped us before. We saw many wonderful places; some are famous vineyards today, all are worth many times their cost at the time. The most exciting place was a property that had belonged to Luther Burbank. It was perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the Napa Valley. It had its own electrical system, powered by a small waterfall. In the orchard were trees onto which Luther Burbank himself had grafted seven or eight different kinds of fruits. The feeling was definitely magical. But we convinced ourselves it was too expensive, that we wouldn't be able to make the payments. And since we were still envisioning supporting ourselves through the in come from the band, we couldn't have afforded it. There were so many bands in the Bay Area by this time that they practically paid to play. Only a handful managed to support themselves through their music. Most had to deal dope on the side, or the fringe members had to go to work to earn money for food and the rent.

There was nothing the matter with our spirits. During the fall of 1969 we fell into an urban routine in San Francisco. Ace and I lived at Stanley and Andrea's, where the band also practiced, and the rest of the band, with the exception of Charley and Sandy who were distancing themselves from the group at this point, living in MArin, coming to town for gigs, were cozily squeezed into Glynn Straight's flat in North Point.

The Family Dog had developed a policy where any group could come in and suggest putting on any kind of event. We went to a planning meeting and asked to stage a whole evening of entertainment by the Anonymous Artists of America. Not only would the ban d play rock'n'roll. With our new friend Bert Wilson, a wild jazz-saxophonist who was confined to a wheelchair, the band played a set of progressive jazz, too; Glynn belly-danced; Chloe Scott performed her magical butterfly dance, wearing an enormous parachute, bathed in the light of liquid projections; our dentist, Dr. Pain ("the painless dentist") played the bagpipes, even. And there were movies and free food, not to mention electrical Kool-Aid for those who so desired. All this for a dollar. The evening was a hit. No one made any money, but everyone had a great time, and we repeated the event a month later. This time we served home made bread and honey -- again free of charge.

Ace became stranger and stranger. He would disappear into the city with his saxophone and be gone for a couple of days at a time. Finally some stranger would ring the door-bell at Stanley and Andrea's house. Behind them would be Ace, "blind" and lost . The unwitting stranger would speak to us rather sternly, telling us they'd found Ace on top of some hill or under some bridge, wailing away on his sax. He seemed lost and confused; they'd finally offered to take him home. When the strangers left we 'd scream and yell at Ace for putting us all through this shit. He'd just grin and a few days later he'd do it again. He wasn't really crazy, but in his mind a different sent of rules seemed to be in effect.

Sandy Carrot was having a baby with Robert, but unfortunately they were no longer together. She wanted to have natural childbirth -- the Lamaze method -- and she needed a partner. So she asked me to do it with her. That seemed like an exciting opportunity for me. I didn't imagine I'd ever have children of my own, and here I was being given the opportunity to witness a birth as close as you could get. I gladly accepted. For two months I attended Lamaze classes twice a week with Sandy, and when the time finally came, we were ready. We went to the only hospital in Berkeley that allowed natural childbirth as soon as Sandy's contractions became regular. But nothing happened. All day she was in painful labor. Finally we progressed to the delivery room. We were blowing and puffing like a steam engine by then, and yet in between her painful contractions Sandy reminded me to set the focus, check the light, make sure I got pictures of everything. After fourteen hours, Leda appeared on Thanksgiving day. A beautiful baby, who has grown into a wonderful person.

I was the proud father, as far as everyone at the hospital was concerned. "Boy or girl?" asked the nurses on the floor, as well as people in the elevator. I wasn't going to ruin the glorious high of being at the very center of life by saying that I wasn't the father. I just thanked them all and told them about the brand new little girl. I don't see her very often, but somehow she is "my" child. And the bond between Sandy and me has remained strong ever since.

I went to Denmark to celebrate Christmas that year. My grandmother was getting very old and week. This would be the last time we all gathered together at her house. There is a series of very beautiful black-and-white photographs taken by my sister-in -law, using only candle light. My grandmother is as thin as a baby bird and looks a thousand years old. She has her arms around my oldest brother, looking at him with concern. The children all look like angels. I'm shrouded in masses of long hair and a beard. There is a magic quality about the scene. The end of something.

When I got back to San Francisco we began preparing to move to Colorado. Sandy and Charley decided to stay behind, but Chip and Elaine threw in their lot with the rest of us. Land was too expensive in California, so why not go somewhere where it was cheap. Of course it never occurred to us to wonder why it was so cheap. We would make our living from the land, live communally, share joys and tribulations.

Norman, Len and Chip were sent ahead on a scouting mission. They rented a farm in Gardner for us. $25.00 a month. Surely we could come up with that! But better still, they got to know Benny and Shirley Abila, who owned the Central Tavern in Walsenburg, and who promised them that the Triple A could play there on week-ends.

One day in the beginning of March, we all got in the bus and the truck and headed East for Colorado. Starting the band in 1966 had been a big decision, but this was bigger. Armed with the Whole Earth Catalogue and a bunch of government pamphlets about chickens, goats, pumps and adobe bricks, as well as plans for building domes of every frequency, we were intrepid travelers heading for a pioneer way of life that was to prove much more challenging than we could ever have imagined. Spring was in full swing in Gardner. Our landlord, Ted Gomez, gave us permission to make as big a vegetable garden as we pleased, and immediately Elaine and I fenced off an area that seemed appropriate. It turned out to be big, but not daunting. First things first: my birthday present had been a handbound (by Adrienne) copy of Organic Gardening which I studied in great detail and at great length. A compost heap had to be constructed immediately. Ted gave us permission to use as much of his manure as we wanted (he had a whole cowshed full), and in no time we had heaped up a huge mound which soon was so hot that the snow melted right off it.

Meanwhile the housing arrangements were barely adequate. Norman and Ellie with their two kids shared the house proper with Chip and Elaine and their two kids. That took care of the bedroom and the living room and the dining room, too. So the kitchen and the bathroom served as the common spaces: it was not uncommon to find someone taking a bath, someone else on the toilet, a third person dressing in the communal closet, and perhaps someone checking the progress of the beer-brewing project. All in the bathroom.We soon learned to get over modesty: there just wasn't room for privacy. Len and Toni moved into the chicken coop: a concrete structure with a dirt floor. Fortunately the chickens had moved out several years before. They were to disc over, as it warmed up, that the flies had stayed behind. The maggots that crawled out of the ground made them think they had landed in some grade B horror movie.

The rest of us moved into the hayloft in the barn. Adrienne, Trixie and myself to begin with.Later to be joined by Bessie. There were gaping holes in the walls of the barn. We covered them with black tar paper and wood slab.This made it a little less windy but not a great deal warmer.We installed a huge, cylindrical wood-burning stove.Unfortunately it had such a severe tendency to belch out clouds of smoke that we often found ourselves lying on the floor, gasping for air, as the windows at both ends of the loft were thrown open. Not only smoke but also heat escaped.

A few days after our arrival it snowed. "A beautiful spring snow, just what we needed," Ted Gomez grinned. We were less sure. There were about three feet of wet, sticky snow. That day the plumbing gave out: the septic tank had not been designed for the heavy use we gave it and had simply filled up.We started digging through the snow to shit under the trees.Then the stomach flu arrived. We probably weren't accustomed to the local water. Whatever the reason, everyone was tramping through t he snow day and night, feebly digging inadequate holes to relieve themselves in.When the snow finally ended we had to do a major clean-up; there were turds in great quantity.

Little Richard showed up during the storm and moved in to the barn. Eventually the snow melted, creating a sea of mud that was all but impenetrable for any of our vehicles.

"Lars needs to have a goat!" "I do?" "Oh, yes, you definitely need a goat to go with your new country boy look." I wore my hair in pigtails, had let my beard grow in all scruffy and wild, never trimming it, ignoring the fact that it left consider able hairless patches.And on my feet great, clumsy clogs from Denmark.Combined with my bib overalls and old fashioned undershirt, I did look like some kind of hick.

So a few days later Ted showed up with a small goat in the back of his pick-up. She seemed a little nervous, but settled down pretty soon. She was very pretty; grey hind quarters and front legs, and white across the chest and shoulders. Her horns curved gently away from her head. She had recently come fresh, so she was ready to be milked, which was to be my task. I had witnessed the milking of a cow once in my life, when I was four years old and my beloved nurse Minna took me home with her to her family's farm for her summer vacation. The memory was less than vivid in my mind. But somehow I was sure that one had to grab the tit firmly at the top, let the milk flow down into it, and then press the milk out into the bucket with a firm down ward motion of the thumb.

My goat turned out to be quite docile. We named her Alice after a song of Chip's called "Dallas Alice". When it was milking time I'd just step onto the kitchen porch and call "A-a-a-a-lice," braying on the a-a-a-a part, and right away Alice would come trotting over to be milked. It was not necessary to tie her up.She stood perfectly still when I milked her, patiently letting me learn the technique, in fact she seemed to love being milked, and would turn her head and nibble at my hairline fondly. I knew nothing about goats, so assumed that they were all like this one. But apparently this was not so. Our friend Sergio dropped by and saw that we had acquired a goat and sneered, "Goats, they're just too much trouble.Always jumping on the table." I didn't know what he was talking about.Alice was the perfect lady.

We let her graze freely in Ted's alfalfa field. Everyone warned us that she'd overeat and bloat herself to death. But she didn't. And she slept in the oat bin: a large room in the barn that contained several tons of oats. She ate what she felt like, but never bloated.

To make matters even more perfect, her milk was delicious. "Ick, goat's milk", was the reaction of most people who heard of our new family member. But Alice's milk was mild and fresh tasting, without even a hint of mustiness. She gave about a gallon a day, so we had enough for all our needs, and often gave away the creamy yogurt we made to our friends.

It was quite clear that Alice was in love with me. She followed me everywhere, and if I slept too late in the morning after a late-night gig, she'd tip-toe over to the barn and stand at the foot of the ladder leading to the hayloft, where I slept, calling for me: "La-a-a-a-a-a-rs!"

The ultimate proof of her devotion came when I once discovered her little round turds on my bed. While I was away, she had climbed the ladder to the hayloft, sniffed out my bed, upon which she got so excited that she left me a little memento. This was one time when I was truly grateful that my friends had decided I needed a goat and not a cow.

Ted had a neighbor known as the Goat Man.He was a recluse who kept a large herd of goats.When it was time to breed ALice again, we took her to the Goat Man.No wonder he lived by himself. The smell around his place was truly high. People will tell you that billy goats don't smell unless they're around a nanny who's in heat. Well, the goat man's billy goat positively reeked. And rude only feebly describes this animal's behaviour. He tried to butt everyone who came near him; but his worst offense was licking his own penis incessantly and squirting the resulting substance all over his own face. I was not proud of leaving Alice with this brutish creature, but everyone assured me he was just glad to see her.Apparently so, for not too much later she gave birth to a truly cute kid. Unfortunately it was a billy.We'd have to either eat him or give him away.At the time we were too squeamish to eat him, so we gave him to the Red Rockers, who named him Clark Dimond after a friend of theirs in New York. Years later I finally met the goat's namesake, but saw no resemblance.The Rockers kept him as a pet (we had castrated him, so he didn't develop nasty habits), but one day the game was up. They slaughtered Clark Dimond and invited us to the feast. It was a pretty glum affair with children whimpering and mewling all about "I don't want to eat Clark." or "I want to play with Clark, where is he?" "Hush, dear, and eat your dinner." "Waaaah!"

Sergio's brother Benny owned the Central Tavern in Walsenburg. It was an ordinary bar where many of Walsenburg's old drunks hung out drinking fifteen-cent glasses of beer. A pitcher was a dollar. Greasy Mexican food was served at lunch, featuring an excellent green chile that kept people coming back. As the hippy population increased, we too made the Central our hangout when we went to town. Norman, Chip and Len had met Benny when they first 'scoped Gardner for a place for us to stay, and Benny had promised that we could play in his bar on Saturday nights. He'd even pay us. I think we got fifty dollars to begin with and all the beer we could drink, which added considerably to the actual value of the pay.

We knew we could expect a decent audience, since all the hippies craved a chance to kick up their heels. Sure enough, everyone showed up and danced like maniacs till the bar closed. Anyone with the slightest musical ability wanted to sit in with the band, so the quality of the music was in constant jeopardy. But no one cared. We were all so turned on by the realization that here we actually were, in the mountains, fending for ourselves, back to the earth, and partying our butts off. We were ecstatic.

Then a wonderful thing happened: the feeling spread. Before long the bar would be stuffed every Saturday night, not just with hippies anymore, but with cowboys and chicanos and local anglos as well. And no one was fighting. Everyone was there together, too busy having a good time to remember all the resentments that kept the community separated during the week. Benny was so happy he doubled our pay.

So every Saturday night we'd pile into our school bus with all our equipment and head for town. Some week-ends we even played in sleazy mafioso bars in Pueblo, but these gigs were depressing. The frenzy of an evening at the Central pumped you up in a special way.

When Benny sold the Central, the bubble burst. It's hard to tell exactly what happened, but the new owners didn't have Benny and Shirley's charisma, and businesses slumped right away. We discovered the Starlight, just around the corner from the Central, and moved our gigs over there. Soon the crowds were even bigger there than they had been at the old place. Maybe because the shape of the room was better. Ellie's daughter Maya, who was five or six years old at the time, recounts how the children were terrified that they'd get stomped to death at one of these bacchanalian events. We'd bring them all along, of course, and put them to sleep on the floor at the side of the stage. I always thought they were oblivious to everything, but apparently this was not so. Let it be known, though, that we never lost a one.

The most horrific event happened one night on the way home from Walsenburg. About half way to Gardner there is a sharp curve around an outcropping, where deer like to cross the road to get to the river. Everyone knows about this, and still, deer are frequently killed at this spot by passing vehicles. This night the bus hit a young doe. The law says you must leave the deer by the wayside for the game warden. But this particular night, high from the evenings excitement and indulgences, we decided not to let the meat go to waste. Norman leaped out of the bus and with his pocket knife he and David soon gutted the animal and threw it in the back. They looked like they'd been in some bloody battle when they got home and into the light. But the me at was good, and it was free. And the game warden did not discover what had happened.

Gardening in Gardner was a treat. Ted had a very high priority on the water in the river, and he said we could use as much as we wanted since it was a wet year. So Elaine and I made an irrigation system just for us: from the ditch we led the water to the garden area where we constructed a series of little canals into which we were able to guide the water so it gently slaked the thirst of our thriving plants. Aside from the usual peas and carrots, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and so on, we had tomatoes and melons, which we were to discover in later years do not grow in the area. But they did for us that year. Local people dropped by to marvel at our garden. We took it for granted. Since we were following the advice of Organic Gardening magazine, how could we fail? The nourishment from the immense compost heap and the stinking barrel of "Manure tea" gave us a bountiful crop that was never to be duplicated.

Toni's father, mother and siblings came to visit. Louis, her father, worked for Ebony magazine, and decided to write an article about being "black in a white commune" for the publication. A convenient way to pay for their visit to Toni's new home. In the article you see us in our garden; everything is healthy and luscious. By some miracle Alice never once got through the fence, which had been one of our biggest worries. That first summer in Gardner, despite the cramped quarters and lack of money , was idyllic.

My mom came to visit. She always wanted to be in on what was happening. My dad didn't want to know about it. The whole business disgusted him. We were obviously out of our minds to be doing what we were doing. But Mom thought it sounded kind of fun. She arrived at the Pueblo airport in a six-passenger plane. "I need a drink!" She always needed a drink, but in this case I could sympathize. Adrienne and she had established a firm friendship based on partying, so she joined Mom at the bar. On the w ay home we picked up about a case of assorted spirits.

There was clearly no place for Mom to stay in our cramped quarters, so we had reserved a room for her at the Gardner Hotel. Legend had it that someone built the Gardner Hotel on spec about a hundred years ago when it looked like the stage coach would change it route and come through Gardner. But instead the railroad came and it followed an altogether different route, so the Gardner Hotel never opened. In the late sixties and octogenarian homeopath and his nurse/wife occupied it and they rented out rooms to hunters during deer hunting season.

The room they put my mother in held three bads, two refrigerators and a gas stove. What more could you want? Over the bed she chose to sleep was a large hand tinted print of the college of homeopathy in St. Louis, Missouri. The bathroom was down t he hall, but since there were no other guests, it was for all practical purposes private. Undaunted by the bizarre hotel, Mom unpacked and we proceeded to the other side of the river where we lived. It was still mud season and Mom had on a dainty pair of spectators. Adrienne chivalrously laid down boards and Mom got into the house with no problem. During the next few days Mom took in our lives; there's a snapshot of Mom in her camel hair coat and brown and white spectator shoes with stacked heels, standing on a board next to Maya, who's planted firmly in the mud and myself in bib overalls and clogs, holding Alice by the horn. The look on Mom's face is bemused but cheerful.

When we took her to the plane to go back to Denmark, she asked what we really needed. "A four-wheel drive pickup truck," answered Adrienne. "How much?" "Oh, about fifteen hundred dollars." As soon as she got back to Denmark she arranged for the money to be sent. We couldn't have made it through the next year without that truck.

Dr. Knight came back into our lives with full force later in the summer, when he delivered Elaine's baby. Home births were the hip order of the day. Also they were a great deal cheaper than hospital births. But there was no midwife available in our area, since the woman who had been delivering everyone's babies in the traditional manner had recently been arrested for illegally practicing midwifery. The authorities had discovered that she never had bothered getting a license. And the doctors in Walsenburg were not willing to perform home births. This left Dr. Knight, who was very excited when Elaine and Chip approached him about it. He bragged about the hundreds (was it thousands) of babies he'd delivered in the course of his illustrious career. Mrs. Knight nodded assent, murmuring admiring observations about "the doctor".

Birthing was definitely a communal event. Everyone planned on participating in Elaine's delivery, so when the night of the big event arrived, we were all up and rarin' to go. Chip fetched Dr. Knight on the other side of the river while the rest of us supervised Elaine's Lamaze breathing technique. Team birthing, this. Chip was soon back with the octogenarian homeopath. He stepped out of the car and proceeded to walk full force into the fence, a good six feet to the right of the gate which was wide open. Chip guided him safely through the opening and into the house where water was happily boiling on every burner. Cries of "Breathe, Elaine," emanated from the bedroom. A bright light shone on the bed where Elaine was laboring away.

Dr. Knight got his instruments ready and gowned up and then examined Elaine. "The water doesn't seem to have gone," he observed, and before we knew what was happening, he grabbed a pair of very pointed and sharp looking scissors and prepared to pierce the bag. Unfortunately his hand shook so severely that it seemed unlikely that he'd be able to control its action. We all held our communal breath watching the lethal looking instrument stab at Elaine. The second the bag burst and the water erupted, Chip grabbed the scissors out of the doctor's hand, with a relieved "Thank you, doc."

Minutes later Elaine produced a big, healthy girl, easy as could be. They called her Mavis after no one in particular (unless it was the scented talcum powder of that name, which I doubt).

Next door to the Gardner hotel lived Ralph and Lena Vargas, who were our best friends and greatest helpers. They were not really married, but had four sons and a daughter. Mr. Vargas had stolen Mrs. Vargas away from her husband many years earlier and they had had to flee the area to avoid retaliation. So they rode the rails during the depression and eventually settled out East near La Junta (in Swink, to be exact) until the day when they were safely able to move back to Gardner, where Lena had two brothers, Fred and Dan, both lifetime cowboys.

Adrienne and I often went to visit the Vargases. Lena would usually sit us down and serve us a delicious meal of some sort. Best of all was when she brought out some of her tender, home made tamales. And when the waves really were high, Mr. Vargas would interpret the Bible for us (especially the Apocalypse) and treat us to a glass of plum wine. If we'd helped do some heavy task around the place, he'd put a shot of whiskey in the wine, creating a real depth bomb.

Mrs. Vargas kept chickens, a couple of cows and a huge dog named Lib ("I got him from Libre, so I call him Lib..."). Her place was a sort of peaceable kingdom where the chickens scratched for food around the sleeping calves and Mrs. Vargas pulled the oversized Lib around in a little red wagon, a peculiarly strange and wonderful sight.

Once I drove Mr. Vargas to La Junta to pay his taxes, which were several years overdue, and to go to the livestock auction. We took along a couple of fifty gallon drums. "Gasoline is very cheap out East." The possibility of the gasoline blowing up in the scorching heat apparently did not occur to him. And indeed nothing happened. Perhaps because I drove very carefully that day. But probably more because Providence kept a protective hand over Mr. Vargas.

Mr. Vargas was born in Mexico. At the age of fifteen, he stole some money from his father, with whom he had a falling out, and accompanied by an older friend, headed for the States. The first night out the friend suggested quite logically that since he was the older of the two, it would be safer if he held the money. Ralph handed over his ill-gotten loot and they settled into sleep for the night. In the morning the friend was gone, much to Ralph's surprise and dismay. He clearly could not go back home, so he continued across the border, and during the next many years engaged in a variety of (to Adrienne and me) interesting occupations. He herded sheep in Montana with Basque shepherds -- and coincidentally learned their language. He worked for the sugar company in Holly. He cowboyed all over and got into fights everywhere. Then he met Lena, fell in love, and finally settled in Gardner for the rest of his life.

Somehow Ted Gomez convinced us that we should help him with his chores around the place. We looked at it as an opportunity to learn the ropes. And Ted got some inept, but free, assistance. What really happened was that we revealed our incredible naivete about farming and ranching and being self-sufficient. Disking the field was not so bad. It was just tedious driving the tractor up and down all day long, and unpleasant when the freezing wind blew the knife-sharp particles of dust in our faces. But the real horror show was branding over a hundred calves. First we rounded them up in the corral behind the barn. That wasn't too bad, although since we had no horses, it took a while. Trying to run through foot-deep mud wearing clogs is not easy. The clog sticks in the mud, the body continues forward, the foot sinks into the mud, now only wearing a sock, or in case of real bad luck, the clogless foot sinks into a fresh cow pie. Mm-mm! And there's no time to go change. It's branding time!

"Throw him down on his side," Ted casually hollered. I'd grab a calf, suddenly realizing how big and strong the cute little darling was. After a considerable struggle, I'd finally get the legs pulled out from under the calf and throw myself across it s squirming mass to keep it from getting up. Then Ted planted the white-hot branding iron on the calf's side. Immediately it let a roar of pain. It's strength doubled as it kicked and fought to get away. Another hippy threw himself over the bewildered animal. A sickening smell of burning hair and flesh permeated the atmosphere. "Now put on the band!" ordered Ted. With an instrument that was probably invented for the Spanish Inquisition we were then supposed to quickly slip a rubber band over the calf's scrotum. Eventually the testicles atrophy and the calf is castrated. This system is less gruesome than simply cutting 'em off with a knife. But the calf protests strenuously, none the less. Finally "Cut off their horns!" With what looks like a huge wirecutter we had to trim each calf's horns. This made the meat more valuable, since the grown steers would not be able to injure each other under transportation to the slaughter house.

This final insult put the calf in a catatonic state of tortured misery. After cutting the horns off, we gave each animal a huge shot of antibiotics and dusted sulfa powder on the bleeding base of the horn. All around us calfs were bleating in agony. Blood shot out of the severed horns, pulsing in time to each heart beat. The smell was nauseating and heart breaking. "Okay, let's break for lunch!" called Ted and hopped in his pickup to head home. Leaving us exhausted and disgusted (I was a vegetarian, for heaven's sake) and not very hungry. But we did get through the day, and although the locals had many laughs on our behalf, they respected us for trying. And when we moved to our own land the next year, everyone was more than willing to give us a helping hand when asked to do so. But I hope never to participate in such a gruesome bloodbath again.

During all this, we were searching for a piece of land to settle on. We had no actual money, but were confident that if we could find the right place, the money would materialize.One rancher tried to sell us his summer pasture."It's a beautiful place, lots of water." He took me to see it.Rather, I helped drive his cattle up there for the summer.Even though the last snow in Gardner had melted six weeks earlier, there were snow drifts under the trees and in the north facing arroyos. "What' s the altitude here?" I asked. "Oh, eight-ten thousand feet, I don't know exactly..." It was nine thousand seven hundred. Yes, it was very green, yes there was huge amounts of water and the view was breath taking (or was it the altitude?). But the l and was inaccessible from November to April, a minor drawback that the rancher forgot to mention.

Another gorgeous piece had no access road.We would have to hike in two miles.This was no problem as far as groceries went, but what about building supplies? And one piece had no water. It had a well all right, but there was no water in it.

We ventured into the neighboring valley, even though we really wanted to settle in the Huerfano. Here were green pastures and once ranch after the other for sale.But there was an eerie feeling about everything.Where were all the people. Eventually we came to a ghost town.It looked like there had been a mine here in the old days.Row upon row of houses stood empty and abandoned.Streets were crumbling. "What is this place?" we all asked. As we pulled out of town, we turned and saw the sign "Ludlow, Colorado." "Shit," said Norman, "this is where they had the massacre of all the women and children during the Coal Mine Wars." Most of us had never heard of this dark chapter in America's history before, but Norman, who had healthy socialist leanings, told us all about it. Suddenly we all understood about the creepy feeling we'd had all day. We would not be able to live in this valley.

One day Benny's brother, Sergio, asked us if we'd like to look at some land of his. He'd known all along we were looking for a home. He'd probably just waited to see if we were for real; so we felt very happy when he offered to show us his land. It wasn't really for sale, but we could at least see if that was the kind of place we were interested in. As it turned out it was next door to a piece we had tried everything to buy, but the owner just wasn't selling. Sergio owned 640 acres, split into three pieces, all abutting 560 acres of grazing land that he leased from the Bureau of Land Management. There were no improvements except some pretty good fencing. But there was a spring on the land that was legally deeded to the owner and a local water witch assured us that a well would be easy to establish. The price was $75,000.

Once we decided we'd like to live here, everyone set out to raise the money. My mother grandly gave me $25,000. Bessie came up with ten, David and Sarah with ten. Friends in California each sent a thousand. Trixie's grandmother died right on cue, leaving Trixie thirteen thousand to invest. Ellie's sister and brother-in-law came in. With relatively little effort we came up with the full amount. Sergio's eyes fairly popped the day we met to close the deal at our lawyer's office. We signed on the dotted line and I handed him $75,000 cash. Luckily the lawyer's office is in the bank building, so Sergio went straight down to make a deposit.

We continued to live in Gardner for another six months. After all the land we bought was totally unimproved, so we had to devise ways in which to keep it together when we moved up there. Being self-sufficient was the goal of the day. Already we felt pretty great: the garden was a total success; I baked all the bread the ate with flour I ground. But it seems doubtful that we would have made it without food stamps. Back then the Federal food stamp program was very liberal. You had to make some money to qualify, and of course make less than a certain amount, but that was about it. Aside from what the band made, which I don't think we declared, I made about thirty dollars a month on my stuffed toys. When we were living in California I'd made dolls for Maya and Taeza. They were popular with everyone, so I made a few to sell on commission in the local craft shoppes. They sold right away. One day I received a letter from some people asking if I'd make a special doll for the newborn baby of their best friends. Over the next couple of years they wrote me every time friends had babies. I never met these people, but we became friends at a distance.

And I was making enough to qualify for food stamps. Somehow everyone else did, too. Or actual welfare. In a way we were kidding ourselves about being so self-sufficient. Yes, we worked hard, but the US Government made it possible.

The tricky part here, is that the US Government is pretty stingy. Somehow there was barely enough, despite the garden and the almost constant baking of bread. Gluttony was not the order of the day. One time when Norman blithely ate the last hunk of cheese (there was enough to make a couple of sandwiches out of, but he made no sandwich, he just munched the whole thing), I was so infuriated that I attacked him physically. His unthinking selfishness finally pushed me over the edge. But generally we shared and shared alike. There was always plenty of brown rice or lentils, so no one went hungry to bed unless Toni had been cook for the night. Toni had a horror of leftovers, so she always prepared much too little food. On her nights you had better be there when dinner was served or you could easily go without.

Rice and lentils and beans; stir-fried vegetables; soups and stews. These were our staples. And bread. Two or three times a week I baked six loaves of Jewish egg bread and two loaves of Danish rye. The rye bread become known as adobe brick bread, due to its great weight and dense consistency. To form the crispy crust, I turned the oven all the way up when I put the loaves in and threw a cup of cold water on top of it. Vast clouds of steam poured out. The trick was to close the door quickly and make sure the gas flame was still burning. The method may have been unorthodox, but the result was always good.

We were doing for ourselves to an unprecedented extent. But soon we were going to live primitively beyond our wildest dreams. There was no running water on our new land and no electricity. There were no houses of any sort. We ordered a book on tepee-making from the Whole Earth Catalogue, and several hundred yards of canvas. Bessie and I offered to sew them, at least the first ones. Patsy let us work at her house. She lived in a former church with a big enough floor to lay out the fabric. Bessie had a good sewing machine, but it was far from an industrial one, so sewing the thick canvas was a struggle and led to much cursing and complaining on my part. "I don't mind the mess you make," said Patsy, "but I can't stand the screaming and yelling. Mellow out, please, or I'll have to ask you to stop." I controlled myself, and the first tepees rolled off the production line.

Norman and Len and Chip cut the lodgepole pines for the poles on Mt. Greenhorn. They were free so long as you had a permit from the Forest Service. Tall, perfectly straight, elegantly slender, the trees then had to skinned before they were ready to u se. Skinning was done with a draw knife, an ancient instrument that made you feel like a pioneer. The poles had to be perfectly smooth. Any knots had to be imperceptible. If not, water would drip from them whenever it rained. A good tepee-pole allowed the rain drops to run all the way to the ground. If we ever thought this was less than essential, we soon found our otherwise. Being awoken by a drip in the face was not amusing.

Ted asked us to move out of the Gardner house in April, 1971. We were far from ready, but probably never would be, so now was as good a time as any. Tuesday, March 7: Abelone had to be at the airport at 8 a.m. Lars got up early and came in the kitchen in a very good mood because the morphine was still new in his system. It was the most beautiful sight: as we drove out the driveway and down the street, Lars was throwing flower petals and blowing kisses to Abo. He had on his orange cardigan and white caftan.

I cried as I drove away because in my heart I knew it was his goodbye to Abo, that he would not see her again, even as she was saying she would come back to help him die. But she had already done that in her most beautiful, loving, innocent way. Each day she made him stronger as he grew weaker. His heart was full.

So that day was the beginning of the goodbyes. I continued from the airport to the studio to finish the library job (the banners). I knew Lars would be looked after that day by Sara and Heather Katz, who arrived at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, March 8: Sara and Heather left after dinner. During the day they had taken Lars to Mercy Hospital to have his blood checked for the transfusion the next day. Lars said his visit with Sara and Heather was good. And he was most pleased that Heather seemed happy and had said, when he asked her if she meditated, "I have my music."

Thursday, March 9: I took Lars at 8:45 a.m. to Mercy for his transfusion. On the way there I told him I had learned much at his knee about cooking, and he answered, "I have learned more at your knee about living life in a bubble of bliss and happiness." He asked me to bring him soup for lunch at the hospital, as he hated their food. Even if he wasn't absorbing much food, he cared about what kind he ate. So we agreed I would bring him lentil soup from the farmer's market. I came at lunch time and we didn't talk much. He just wanted my company. He introduced me to the man, Carl, next to him who was getting a transfusion too. When I was about to leave, Carl asked me, "Is Lars your father?" I was shocked, first thinking Lars would be hurt by such a remark, and I said, "Oh no, we're the same age, Lars is just very sick, so he looks older." Lars added, "Yes, and if I lose more weight next week, they'll ask if I'm your son!"

I picked Lars up at 5:00. He had taken 4 pints of blood. It took all day. On the way home he worried about my driving. He had taken some morphine and was fairly out of it. It was hard to stay with his rhythm.

Friday, March 10: Lars wanted to go to Paul's biography fair. Paul was Leonardo da Vinci and Lars had helped consult on his costume and cared about the whole project. But Lars was s bit morphine crazed and couldn't make up his mind about going. We finally agreed I would take my mother (Eva) in my car, to stop on the way at Trader Joe's, and Ali would take Lars directly there later. I knew the whole thing would be somewhat of a zoo, but Lars definitely wanted to go. So be it. One of his reasons for going was "I had a transfusion yesterday and I'll have plenty of energy." The fair was all a bit much for him. At one point, while dozens of children from ages 5 to 12 ran and milled around, he turned to me and said, "These children have too much sugar in their diet -- that's why their energy level is so high." But he seemed very glad he had come. I went straight to the studio and Ali took Eva and Lars home.

[Ali: As we left school and headed for the freeway, we saw a curious sight that Lars and Eva remarked on at length. A van was burning in the middle of Genesee near La Jolla Village Drive and the whole street was closed off. Later we learned that this was the van of a teacher from Paul and Otis's school that had been bombed just minutes earlier (by Iranian raghead terrorists presumably). We got home and I escorted Lars back to his chaise in the backyard. These last few weeks during the nice weather Lars spent many hours each day in the patio stretched out, sitting up, on the dayglo Mexican blanket on the chaise longue. When he could, he read. Much of his visiting time during February and March was spent there, sitting with Abo and others.]

Friday evening we went to Christine and Barry's for dinner. I could see that Lars was so weak but still wanted very much to go. It was all so noisy and hectic -- for him -- and I felt so responsible for him. I thought I just shouldn't let him go to dinner parties any more. Little did I know.

Saturday, March 11: Ali and I asked Lars to cut back on his morphine that day so that we could talk. We realized we didn't know anything about how to take care of him, how his insurance worked, where his will was, who he really wanted with him when he died, so many questions that were practical (?), yet we hadn't really talked about them, because up 'til then he was OK, and so very self-sufficient in every way. But the morphine was starting to cloud his thinking -- or so we thought. In retrospect, it's hard to know how much his mind was affected by the changes that were brewing as the virus advanced.

Saturday morning he came into the kitchen saying, "Mary is coming today, and Brent and Babs." I said, "No sweetie, that's next Saturday" instead of just agreeing, "Oh right." He made me walk back to his house and look in his calendar to make sure I was right. This took a long time, because he was so weak and walking was getting harder; each small foray was a major production. So after we checked his calendar, he agreed it was indeed the next Saturday, March 18, that they were coming. And so the day went. In the afternoon we talked a little about what he wanted. "You guys must be worried about me," he said. We were, even though we didn't fully know how much right then.

Saturday night he woke up a lot. Ali had to help him get to the toilet and back into bed. Also Sunday night he needed Ali's help to get to the bathroom, both day and night. Each trip from bed to bath took many minutes, even as he insisted he could still do things himself.

Sunday, March 12: Lars announced he would rest and stay in bed. I agreed he should. That day Paul had a friend over to play, and at this point Lars did look just terrible -- emaciated and unsteady on his feet -- and I was relieved he would not insist on moving around the house. That may sound cruel, but I felt that Paul deserved to have a friend visit and just have a fun day himself. So many days lately had been given over to careful adjustments to cater to Lars's condition. But it turned out to be the most peaceful, beautiful day I had with Lars. He would nap or doze off and I just sat by his bed on the floor. I meditated and the birds sang. It was so lovely. He would talk a little and we just hung out in a way that seemed filled with love and quiet. I found myself thinking, I wish he could just die in his sleep now, he was napping and seemed so happy. To me he did die that Sunday afternoon, because he was so at peace, and he never regained much lucidity later.

The rest of the week got more frantic and "real" each day. The death and dying seminar, as we joked about it much later.

In the late afternoon Lars tried to call his cousin Lisa, but he said the phone didn't work. I then realized that he could no longer push the numbers. It was all getting too hard for him. He wanted to take a shower and he appeared in the living room with his towel and soap and headed for our bathroom. He never bathed there normally. I stayed half in the shower with him because I feared he might fall. He wanted to shower in our shower because it was too hard to bathe in his bathtub or too cool to use the outdoor shower on the guest house. I helped him dry off. He was so weak that it was an effort just to lift his feet up to put his pants on. "This is high aerobics for you," I joked. He said, "You know, when I first got warts on my feet in the beginning, I was sure I was going to die. Little did I know." (Meaning that the warts were nothing.)

That night I made stir-fried vegetables, which he always liked. Lars wanted so much to come to the table for supper. I said I could bring him dinner in his room, since after all he was sick, and once in a while that's allowed. But he said he wanted to come, so we walked to the kitchen. As it turned out, the vegetables were too spicy, so I made him a soft-boiled egg. When he sat down in his chair, exhausted, he said, "It's so beautiful here." I helped him go to bed that night and tucked him in. He was so sweet and thanked me saying, "There are no words I can say for all you do and how much I love you." I realize how much all those little remarks mean to me now. He was happy with us. It pleased him. He felt truly at home.

Sunday night he awoke frequently and Ali helped him back to bed. He would nod out while sitting on the toilet. It was a long night, as we were up with him a lot.

Monday, March 13: We agreed Lars was very sick and so Ali called Dr. Vrhel to see if we could come in that morning rather than wait for the afternoon appointment. Of course no one called back for hours, and they finally said just come as scheduled. Lars was quite out of it (from the morphine?) even though he hadn't taken any all day Saturday and just a sliver that morning for the pain. Ali took him at 3:30 and I met them there because I wanted to meet Vrhel and hear what we should do for Lasse. It was not a satisfying visit. Dr. Vrhel was nice, but he didn't really tell us much -- meaning, how to cope or prepare for the next days. Lars agreed to the hyper-al feeding hook-up and a nurse was to come the next day to set it all up. I thought, Good, we'll have some help. By then I was beginning to feel we could not do it all ourselves.

So that night we were still alone with a very sick Lars. He could no longer hook up his drip alone (the DHPG medicine for the CMV). Ali had been hooking him up for past few days. He started the drip but had to go to a meeting. Panic! He forgot to tell me how to unhook him. So Lars tried to remember how in his morphine haze and actually tried to do it himself, but his hands shook too much. Ali called me from his meeting and talked me through the procedure. Whew! That kind of stuff is not my cup of tea -- syringes, etc. I begin to realize that without Ali I cannot care for Lars.

Ali becomes the prime caretaker. He puts Lars to sleep and tries to get him to promise not to get up so much in the night --so we can sleep! But it's all beyond that by this point. I print our phone number in big letters, because he said he tried to call us on his phone the night before but couldn't remember the numbers. That all is pointless too, I realize later, because the phone itself is just too complicated. We need a buzzer. We need a nurse!

Tuesday, March 14: It is a big day for me. I am to install the banners at the La Jolla library. Lars is worried he is losing his other eye's sight. He has an appointment at the eye clinic. Ali has an interview to go to. Mama agrees to take Lars to the clinic. So first I shower him. (He still cares mightily about looking fresh!) I just get right in with him, as it is all he can do to just stand upright while I soap him off. He did excuse himself when he had to pee. I said it was OK, everyone pees in the shower. Then we did our aerobics -- drying off and dressing. I couldn't help thinking, this is so dumb for him to go to the eye clinic, but he wanted to do it! He hated the route Mama took, her driving, and he ranted the whole way. He made quite a stink, our sweet Lasse! At the eye clinic they said his eye was OK. He wasn't losing his sight, but he was probably losing his mind, was their explanation.

When I came home from the library, the nurse still hadn't come. A mix-up at the office! Another night of craziness. Lars had not had much nourishment -- if he could even absorb anything from what he did take in. He was pretty out of it. In a lucid moment he thanked me for the nice bottle of wine I had put behind his bed. Of course that was a hallucination, but he did say it was an excellent wine! Tuesday evening Paul came to get me from Lars's house because I had a phone call. Paul then stayed with Lars while I went to talk on the phone. A few minutes later Paul came into the kitchen sobbing. I got off the phone and held him and tried to comfort him. I told him I had no idea how difficult all this would be for us when I invited Lars to come and stay with us. In essence I was apologizing to Paul for the situation. He looked up at me and said, "No Mom, it's good for me to know all this." I left the kitchen to see Lars and when I came back Paul had made that wonderful drawing (that's on the death announcement). What a kid.

Wednesday, March 15: The nurse finally came today to "assess the situation." She asked Lars about his insurance. He was able to answer some questions but not quickly. What he said was I understand your questions but it is hard for me to find the words to answer. She said she would request an all-day nursing assistant. She showed Ali how to hook up the liquid food (hyper-al) drip and the morphine pump. Lars could not swallow a pill and the dosage could be calibrated better. Ali was excellent at all this. I couldn't take it and left the room.

Now we were left with a really hooked-up sick person. Lots of tubes. One funny thing: While the nurse was there she and I changed Lars's bed. The wood of the wedding bed made a knocking sound as we clambered around to change the sheets. Lars kept saying "Come in." We said no one was there. It turned out that there WAS someone at the front door knocking -- the man with the medicine and supplies. Black humor everywhere.

That night Ali had to help him to the bathroom repeatedly. Once he even got out of bed and sat on the floor seeming to want to look at the TV (something he rarely did in his room anyway). It was so hard to figure out what he wanted -- if he really knew. In the evening I brought him a lemon ice, because it seemed easier to suck it than to drink from a glass. He gobbled that down so fast that I was afraid he'd choke. When he was done, he said, "Tissue, please." He could barely talk but he was very sweet. It was a hard night for Ali. I didn't sleep much either. I had bought a baby monitor so Ali could hear him from our bed. When he started to moan or call out, Ali would go help him.

Thursday, March 16: Another nurse came and I begged her to send a full-time nurse. By then I didn't care if insurance covered it or not. We'd figure out a way to pay somehow. She promised one would come by the afternoon. I had called Babs to come and sit with Lars from 12 to 3 p.m., because I had to go to the studio. And I wanted someone to help Ali. Babs came with Francis and brought freesias. They were one of Lars's favorite flowers. I hadn't gotten any flowers that week for Lars. I always kept some in his room, but that week I hadn't gotten any yet.

The very young nursing aide came at 3 p.m. She was wonderful. By this time it was clear that Lars was getting worse by the hour. He was starting to have lots of mucus come up and was breathing heavily. He was comatose or simply out of it. The nurse kept wiping the mucus away. I just burst into tears when I saw him and had to leave the room. A lot of help I was. By now we were beginning to realize that this was the end, or near to it. But being new at this process, it wasn't clear how near.

[Ali: The home care nurse came by after the nursing aide arrived. She took Lars's temperature, noted that his fever was rising. By then he was breathing with difficulty. She candidly told me, "I doubt he'll last the week-end, maybe not even the night." When the fever from the CMV gets into the brain and breathing center, there is virtually nothing one can do, short of life-support machines, which was exactly what Lars wanted not to have done.]

Ali hooked up his regular medicine for the nightly drip, but it all seemed so pointless. But Lars always followed the routine, so we did too. That evening we began calling Michael Katz because we didn't know what to do about the advancing symptoms. Lots of phone calls back and forth. We called Vrhel to ask if we should go to the hospital or get a suction machine. He said no, it's better to stay at home, and that's what Lars always wanted.

[Lars specified in his Living Will that he did not want to be kept alive by extraordinary life support, like intubation or breathing machines, after he had become incompetent, uncommunicative, or unconscious for more than 48 hours. By then we had gone almost that long without much rational exchanges with Lars.]

His breathing was very labored. Ali had gotten Tylenol suppositories to help control the fever but it made no real difference. All systems were in decline. Ali had hooked him up to a condom catheter earlier so his pee wouldn't just soak the bedding -- one more tube. As the night wore on I would go out to see him for a while and come back in to get ready for the next round.

Ali: For those last few hours, I felt that Lars was gone. He was not seeing, though his eyes were open. He looked as if he had stepped away from a non-working body. I hovered over his drips, checking things with the aide, and I couldn't really think beyond the immediate crisis. I just knew he wasn't going to last much longer. The second shift nursing aide came on at 11 p.m. I briefed her on all we had been doing. The pace was slower and yet more intense. His breathing was just a reflex action. I knew, without knowing exactly what was happening, that the end was very close. At 11:57 p.m. he drifted off and stopped breathing. He looked relieved. I felt relieved for him. We called Abo and Niels in Denmark. We arranged for the body to be picked up. They came within the hour. We were quite spacy and took hours to wind down and go to bed. My dreams were full of images of Lars smiling. That's how I remember him.]

It was hardly the perfectly peaceful ending we all envisioned. But I guess it was, ultimately. He was really OK the last month, in his head. He seemed to be at peace about Christian and about himself. Only on Monday and Tuesday did I realize how much he had done himself. He really took care of himself, by himself, throughout the years of his illness. We all just gave him some shelter from the cold.