Wednesday, June 29, 2016


My erstwhile roommate, Andy
Bonamo, that first August, had
somehow gotten involved with
the procedural planning and
set-up of what was being billed
as 'The First Annual Psychedelic
Festival', in Forest Hills, NY.
I stayed out of it, but it was
being billed and planned for
as what now would amount to
a forerunner of the Woodstock
Music and Arts Festival, of
'Woodstock' fame, a few years
later. Except that part of the
actual, advertised, allure for
this  -  in addition to rock music
acts  -  was psychedelia and
drugs. Make no bones about
that  -  a good portion of the
idea was to push product.
Andy's and his suppliers'
products. The music list was
secondary, although it was
pretty good too, for what it
was, and it would draw people.
I knew little of any more of it.
They'd had tickets printed up,
(I got one for free; it's around
somewhere, saved and unused.
Though I don't know what it's
called when you save something
so well that you can't quickly
find it. Supersaver?) - flyers
made, a couple of goofball
kids hired to hand out flyers
everywhere they could, and
all the requisite planning and
set-up done. I remember Andy's
big job was to arranging the
power-light show, kliegs,
strobes, and the rest  -  all
sorts of things to be dancing
in the sky. Kind of like a new
version off drug-hippie
fireworks. Anyway, it was
fairly tedious and seemed to
go on for a long time. I can't
remember exactly, but I think
maybe it was for Labor Day's
newly-extended weekend (those
3-day holidays things weren't
around back in the 60's. That
was all arranged a little later).
Anyway, whatever came of this
'festival' I never found out. I'd
'split', as it used to be put, from
that apartment by then, even
though it was still in my name
and all that weird criminal stuff
going on there could still have
ostensibly be called mine, or
traced back to me if authorities
were really digging. By the
dead Winter of that year, as I
related way earlier, the place
had been raided, cleaned out,
police-taped, and everyone was
gone. I never stuck around to
find out what had occurred.
Psychedelic Festival, for sure.
I only mention this stuff because
it's part of the strange and new
experience that I'd stepped
myself into, all by getting on
the Carteret bus to NYC that
first day, with my five dollars
in hand given to me by Bill
Yorke. Had I only known. But
then again had Columbus only
known, we wouldn't have
Getting to New York by bus is
different even than getting their
by train  -  yeah, they're both
cattle-calls, granted, but the
bus depot routine is bizarre.
You enter from that strange
Weehawkin helix that brings
you down to the Lincoln Tunnel
past all that grand skyline
waterfront 'New York staring
you in the face' stuff, like it's
some wonderland. The
slowness of traffic just extends
it all and presents it to you
as some sort of unreal, imagined
still-life stretched out before
you but separated too by a
half mile or so of water. It's
visceral, and real; but you
can't touch it. You can tell,
just even from the Jersey side,
that it's thick and dense, noisy
and packed, even though you
don't know any of that from
 there. It's all sensation. It's
all thought. The buses slide
through the tunnel with their
unique bus gait and bus manners.
Traffic, honking, buzz-flash
noises and views. The buses
queue up and make their way,
each, to their intended spots,
from which you get off and
enter a warren. A maze, of
shifting people, luggage
carts, heat, noise, porters,
carriers, those confused
and those concerned.
Looking at subway maps,
trying to discern where
they are and who to ask.
Cops used to be scarce  -
now they're everywhere,
with machine guns and
dogs, staring down
anything that moves.
Seeing how it was all
a daze to me, I can't
remember how I made my
way down to the Greenwich
Village area. Subway?
Walking? My second-sense
here tells me, initially,
back-then it would have been
subway. Ten-cent token, or
whatever it was.  Nowadays I
never use the subway, and find
it, and its people, despicable.
I've grown quite comfortable
walking anywhere I need to be
going  -  within the city, I
mean. Ninety blocks, one
way or the other, and back;
all good. Back then, however,
from all my previous visits, 
and from the standard NY 
romantic lore, the subway 
was all part of the experience.
All I know is that I got myself,
by first nightfall, into my own 
new world  -  an entire 'something
other' than what I'd ever known 
before. Oh yeah, it's hard to
put, and I'd be hard-put to put it.
I made some friends quickly.
Some I've mentioned, others I've 
not. There were some quite a few 
characters, to be sure. I used to think 
about all that I'd learned, or tried to 
learn or had jammed down my throat, 
in high school, about civics and the 
American system. Too much of it
was high-minded bullshit, and still is,
with no bearing in truth at all. Like
that leather-sandals guy would say, 
'If  you can't make a dollar one way,
just find another way.' I think they
could take all their civics and history
textbooks, and just chuck them  -  
because that almost haiku or zen-like
saying better sums up 'America' for me.
Make a buck, entrepreneur stuff, the
unfettered, Adam Smith work of
free enterprise, deals and money.
That's all you need, and that's what
it's about  -  make no mind about
who gets hurt, what lands and waters
get ruined and spoiled, how many 
die or get diseased or injured over 
your quest for a self-satisfaction  
that seems only measurable in the 
whore-like measure of money.
Despoliation. Grunge. Dirt. Fire. 
Filth. and Death, Yes, always and
ultimately, Death. Look at China. 
Look at Russia. Hell, look at us. 
Look at Andy Bonamo : the true
American entrepreneurial spirit, 
setting' up a fee-enterprise festival,
gleaning some profit, tickets, etc.,
all in the name of the grand American
capitalistic spirit of selling drugs and 
poison to kids and being applauded
for his courageous, business spirit.
Ruination everywhere. 

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