My Favorite Anti-War Protest

The Illini Union was my home away from home during the 1960s. The original building had recently been renovated and greatly expanded, although my favorite hangout remained The Tavern, located in the basement of the original building. The Tavern had a bohemian coffeeshop feel and became a magnet for counterculture types like me. I spent most of my time in those days navigating between Turk’s Head, House of Chin, Union Tavern and Red Herring, all of which were within a block or two of each other.

Carl Ellis.

I loved hanging out at the Union bookstore because they let students sit in chairs and read any book without buying it! I’d spend hours reading paperback novels. One of my favorite moments came when I walked out and just happened to bump into Carl Ellis and Timothy Leary, who had just crossed paths for the first time and instantly recognized themselves as long-lost comrades-in-arms. I think it began with Carl making some Oriental display of respect and offering his hand, but it ended with both of them embraced in a bear-hug. Leary was in town to give a speech later that day in one of the Union ballrooms.

After the Vietnam draft heated up, several anti-war organizations sprouted on campus and draft card burnings became a regular event on the south deck of the Union. Eventually, this deck became officially known as the “free speech area,” and impromptu rallies began manifesting that alternated between folk songs and speeches against the war. At this time, however, most people in the community still supported the war and a local fraternity responded to these anti-war efforts by holding a blood drive for soldiers overseas.

My favorite anti-war event happened when a big muckity-muck of the draft came to one of the ballrooms to deliver a speech on how the new lottery system was going to work. But after he’d been speaking for only a few seconds, a cue was given and a couple dozen people, including me, put on black hoods with skull faces and stood up on our chairs. Meanwhile, the double doors flung open and a casket paraded into the room. As the casket wound around the room, the black skulls lined up behind it in a silent death march. We ended up marching out of the ballroom pretty quick and planned to exit the building in an orderly fashion and go to the Turk’s Head. But as we left the ballroom, we saw campus police rushing towards us, so we quickly veered into a nearby elevator and pushed the “up” button.

Knowing the cops could see which floor we were headed for, we exited the elevator asap and ran down a long hallway to a different set of elevators, got inside and pushed the “down” button, returning to our original floor. Meanwhile, cops were running all over the building, trying to locate the casket while we stayed one floor and one step ahead of them, laughing all the way. It was a scene right out of the Keystone Kops.

Finally, the cops did corner the casket, and a kid from Uni High who was a year younger than me jumped on top and began delivering a passionate anti-war speech. He was standing under a portrait of Red Grange, the galloping ghost himself, and I remember thinking, “I wonder what Red might think of us now?”

I never see any references to this protest online, although it was my favorite action of all the ones I participated in. Later, there’d be a brief riot in the Union after the school tried to do something about the fact that out of 30,000 students at the U of I in 1967, less than 300 of them were black. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., statistics like that were especially revealing of the institutionalized racism that afflicted the state. So the U of I hastily set up a program designed to bring 500 black students into the school for the fall semester in 1968. Unfortunately, many of them quickly decided they were being treated like second-class students and demanded to see Chancellor Jack Peltason immediately, not in his office, but in the Union Art Gallery, where hundreds of them had assembled for a sit-in. Peltason was told the situation was too unruly for such a meeting so he decided to close the building instead. That’s when a few of the students began slashing paintings. I wonder today who those slashers were and what the point of attacking that artwork might have been? Today, that sort of activity seems more like the work of an FBI dirty tricks informant.

We knew the FBI was sending dirty tricks specialists to infiltrate our anti-war scene, as they could often be quickly identified as the guy demanding some crazy violent action, like trampling the Morrow Plots, the country’s oldest continuous agricultural research center, as if the Morrow Plots had something to do with the War in Vietnam. Despite knowing the FBI was orchestrating the violence, we were helpless to stem the tide, as radical actions got increasingly violent, finally erupting in full-scale riots in 1970.

It was strange for me to see these people getting hostile with Jack Peltason. To me, Jack was just a nice guy, a good friend of my family and the father of my brother’s best friend. Many of us had grown up together in Stadium Terrace, a low-cost housing development built as barracks during the war on the west side of the football stadium and later transformed into cheap housing for married graduate students. In the early 1950s, polio swept through the community, and Bugsy’s dad was one of the unfortunates who contracted that terrible disease. Many of the families that went through Stadium Terrace remained close long after the barracks were torn down.

After I graduated with a degree in playwriting, I sent an application to Yale Drama Graduate school, including a copy of my play that had been performed at the National College Theater Festival. Jack Peltason wrote a letter of recommendation for me. I remember going to his office for the first time to ask him for the letter. He was really shocked to hear I was applying to Yale. “Isn’t that the very heart of the establishment?” he asked me with a wink, well aware of my radical activities. As could have been predicted, however, Yale didn’t want me, so I took a year off to travel in Europe and then applied to get a Masters in Science in Journalism from the U of I.

My Career as a Concert Promoter Begins

It wasn’t long after I created my underground newspaper The Tin Whistle in 1968, that I decided to become a rock concert promoter to raise money and publicity for the paper, which had become an instant success by selling out at four high schools in Central Illinois, even though it was banned at all of them, except Uni High, our local prep school for the best and brightest.

For my first concert, I asked Blues Weed to perform and they agreed.

Donny Perino (center, seated), the leader and keyboard player, had been my predecessor on bass guitar in the Knight Riders. I couldn’t understand why the Knight Riders wanted to get rid of Donny since he was the best musician in the group, however it didn’t take him long to start a new band using a couple of the best high school age blues musicians in town. Unfortunately, a few days before the concert, Blues Weed pulled out, leaving me scrambling to find a substitute band. Naturally, I wanted a Friday or Saturday night at a major venue on campus, but that turned out to be difficult and expensive. I discovered a hall I could rent on Sunday afternoon for cheap, although I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get people to a concert on a Sunday afternoon. At the last minute I got my former band, the Knight Riders, to agree to perform for around $100. The total budget on the event was probably around $200 and admission was $5, so I only needed 40 paid attendees to break even, and the hall easily held over 300. I set up 40 folding chairs in front of the stage and left the back of the hall open for dancing.

For some reason, I decided to drop acid shortly after the doors opened. This was not a good idea because as soon as I started coming off, some of my friends started playing mind games and decided to haul me down to the front of the stage and feed me to the speakers while the band was playing. I suddenly got real nervous about the cash in the money box, and inexplicably decided to leave the concert with the money in order to put it in a safe place. About four of my friends came with me, and we stopped by Chug Wyatt’s house so I could drop something off. My friends pretended to drive off without me as soon as I got out of the car. I could see them waving money from the cash box out the car windows as they drove off laughing and celebrating. Fortunately, they just circled the block and then picked me up and took me to my parent’s house, where I dropped off the cash box with my mom.

When we got back to the concert, the show was just ending, and the band wanted to get paid asap. They said they needed cash now because they’d borrowed the amps for the show from another band and needed to put $10 on each amp when they returned them. And they got one of the toughest black kids in town to intimidate me and make sure they got paid right then.

I was tripping pretty heavy while this beefy black dude was threatening to beat the shit out of me unless I produced the money for the band instantly. I ended up calling the foreign student who had bankrolled the first issue of the The Tin Whistle. He gave the band some money, which allowed me to leave with my face intact. But the incident really burned whatever bridges I had with my former band, and I never really spoke to any of those guys again.

Meanwhile Donny Perino turned into a hermit, possibly due to his addiction to marijuana at an early age. Far as I know, he still lives in Urbana, but no one has seen him in decades. I hope he’s ok.

Portraits from the Artist as a Young Teen

Actually, I was supposed to an artist. That was decided when I was in the third grade in Oxford, England, when I briefly attended St. Philips & St. James, my first and only foray into the Catholic side of life.

I’d painted a dramatic portrait of a Zulu warrior that filled a large piece of construction paper. Unfortunately, the portrait fell to pieces a few years back, but I do retain most of my output from my formative high school years. After a huge confrontation (and a few runaway sessions), I negotiated a move down into my parent’s basement, where I swiftly built an art studio/recording studio/psychedelic playpen where I produced a huge amount of art and performance. The best audio session from this period is lost, sadly, but it was an improv “freak-out” with loads of free association, including a chorus that went something like, “My father is crazy, my mother is too.” I played that tape over and over. It drove my parents crazy. My mom called the basement a “den of Iniquity,” so I wrote that on the doorway and made a logo in the current poster style.

Ink and watercolor on fragments of construction paper became my dominant medium. After I met the novelist Paul Tyner, I invited him over to Carole’s, where I’d taken up camp in a spare bedroom while her mother was away. I showed him this watercolor and he offered me a lot of money to buy it on the spot, but I refused to sell. At the time, the thought of parting with any of my creations was just not even considered.

The walls in the basement were all painted with psychedelic faces in battleship grey, a gallon of which I discovered down there. When I look at some of watercolors today, though, they have an almost Jean-Michel color scheme, although I don’t mean to suggest I’ve got anything approaching his style or iconography. When I went to college, I signed up for Painting 101, where it was swiftly discovered I was color blind. The class consisted solely of still-lifes and I was miserable at it. Thus I abandoned my career in art and began concentrating my efforts on theater and journalism.

But one of my next major projects will be to update all my eBooks on Smashwords with color photos and illustrations and whatever else I can raid from my archives. Right now all the books have black and white covers, mostly photos of me around the time I wrote the material. As I update the books, I’ll be making new covers and also exploiting some of my own art work from the period.

The Andy Warhol influence is evident in this marker drawing. It should be noted that I never drank Pepsi, and would rather go dry than drink any cola but the old, original sugar Coke in a glass bottle.

Let me know if you see any images you really like, or if you want to see more of these. Some are quite brutal, others have obvious spiritual implications, a bye-product of all the experiments with mind-altering substances, no doubt. Duality and dynamics seem to play a role in my of the work at the time, most of which just poured out with no planning whatsoever.

I was thinking maybe someone would be interested in hosting a show so people could appreciate this work in person. (Not that I would sell anything!, unless it was serious money, of course.)

Pagan Ceremonies & Paul Tyner

When I was growing up in the 1960s, the favorite place to go tripping was Allerton Park in Monticello, Illinois. Situated on 1,500 acres, this estate was built by an heir to Samuel Allerton’s Chicago stockyard fortune named Robert Allerton, who was an avid art collector and one of the leaders of the party scene in Chicago. Robert eventually adopted his young lover to live with him.

The estate was built in the middle of nowhere, nestled between a stream and reflection pond. The photo (above) is taken from the South, the stream lies to the right and one could see and hear it from the huge brick deck that juts out from the eastern wing of the mansion. Robert wanted total privacy for his infamous parties, which often lasted for days. He had a private train track built that connected to the Illinois Central line so that his guests could easily travel from Chicago straight to his mansion, which was surrounded by the most beautiful gardens in the state. The track ended a mile from the house, probably because Robert wanted to bring them the final way via open-air, horse-drawn carriages so they could fully appreciate the magnificent landscaping as they entered the estate grounds.

These gardens were filled with the most amazing sculptures, the largest of which was titled “The Sun Singer.” This bronze statue of Apollo was placed on a huge round pedestal and was the largest of the art works Allerton imported from Europe. The original had been placed in Stockholm harbor and when Robert saw it, he asked the sculptor, Carl Milles, to make a version for him.

Parties went on constantly at the mansion and the guests would usually be asked to change into a costume upon arrival depending on the theme of the week. Robert kept many costume options available for his guests, but some of the most elaborate were Chinese silk robes. I sometimes used to wonder if they had any black robes for some “darker” ceremonies. Apparently, the guests would gather round the Sun Singer in the pre-dawn darkness and then hold a Pythagorean sunrise ceremony. I used to suspect Robert may have been part of some Illuminati-type cult, but later learned he was probably just a gay party dude, who moved to Hawai’i permanently after his favorite gay bars were closed in Chicago. The end of the Roaring Twenties had brought a close to Robert’s revelry in Illinois. That plus the Depression, which made it far too expensive to maintain a 1,500 acre estate.

The garden closest to the mansion contained 22 beautiful Foo Dogs from China, most of which were vandalized, but have since been restored. Near the Foo Dog garden was a pagoda with a giant gold Buddha inside, probably the largest in the state if not the country. This was a wonderful place to trip because not only could you enjoy miles of hiking through wilderness trails, but you’d constantly be stumbling into these wonderful gardens filled with plants, flowers, ponds, and fantastic sculptures. To give you an idea, there was a Herb Garden, Walled Garden, Triangle Parterre Garden, Peony Garden, Chinese Maze Garden, Hidden Garden, Sunken Garden. There was also an amazing sculpture hidden in the forest titled “Death of the Last Centaur,” a tribute to the demise of paganism. Most of the gardens were designed to be ceremonial sites and one wonders about the nature of some of these gay ceremonies and whether any orgies were involved. One thing for sure, Robert put a wall with guard dogs around the property closest to the road. He was very serious about maintaining his privacy.

Paul Tyner, a math prodigy grad student at the University of Illinois, became a local celebrity upon publishing his first novel, Shoot It in 1968. The first time I became aware of Paul, he appeared at a huge acid party at Allerton driving a VW bug. The car was small enough to fit between the concrete blocks that had been erected to keep vehicles off the trails and out of the gardens. Paul was high on LSD, driving that bug full speed straight at the pagoda. I don’t remember if he crashed or not, probably he did since he was certainly out-of-control that day and drinking heavily.

The sky was the limit for Paul. His book had been praised in the press by the most respected critics, and a movie deal was struck. The book was brilliant, although it’s very hard to find a copy these days. It reminded me somewhat of A Separate Peace by John Knowles in that the protagonist commits a crime on impulse and then tries to blot it out of his memory by constructing a wall of denial. Both books are really about the power of the subconscious mind, but Knowles’ takes place in an exclusive Ivy League prep school, while Tyner’s is set amongst the Chicago working-class.

Unfortunately, Paul slid into alcoholism pretty quick and went from the most celebrated novelist in the state to working as a bus boy at the House of Chin just to get free beer. After a few years, he got his life back together and was living in San Francisco when he had a relapse, and committed suicide. If anyone has any more info on him, please share it in the comments.

Meanwhile, in 1974, the film adaptation was released under the title: “Shoot It Black, Shoot It Blue,” starring Michael Moriarty and Paul Sorvino. Although well-reviewed, this film is never shown anywhere it seems. Someday I hope Paul’s legacy can be restored.

The Chain Whipping Incident

Did you know the world’s only hippie memorial is located along the Illinois Central train tracks in Arcola, Illinois? The town I grew up in was actually a hotbed of radical activity in the 1960s. The fledgling Students for Democratic Society (SDS) picked Urbana, Illinois, in fact, as the site for their 1965 conference, and hundreds of members arrived from all around the country. Soon, we had the state’s best garage band, The Finchley Boys, as well as the country’s greatest experimental artist, John Cage, both performing in our little community 120 miles south of Chicago. We also had the first landmark performance of a masterpiece called “MacBird!” which theorized JFK had been murdered and President Johnson was an accomplice in the crime.

Jim “Chef Ra” Wilson was my high school senior class president, the first black elected to that position. He organized the first black appreciation celebration in the history of Urbana High. It was held late at night and included free soul food and a series of performances by notable black musicians who were also students at the school.

My best friend Larry Green, recently arrived from Baltimore, somehow became one of the star attractions of the evening by commanding a gaggle of black girls around him at all times, all constantly cracking up at his improv performances. The alpha chick among them was also the girlfriend of the star of the show, who played keyboards and sang, among many other talents. I remember him from the stage suddenly stopping the show to ask his girl what she was doing with her arm around Larry Green’s neck? Somehow, Larry turned that all around into a big belly laugh and the performance went on. I don’t know if any long-term inter-racial relationships were born that night, but it certainly was a wonderfully healing ceremony for all who attended and I hope we left many of our fellow black students with a sense of our appreciation for their culture, despite the institutionalized racism that had afflicted the school up until then and the fact few of us would actually try the chitlins.

Jim’s ceremonies would continue to evolve and mature as he grew up. One of his best was his annual appearance in the July 4th parade, which wound its way through much of the town before culminating at the football stadium, where the state’s largest fireworks display would be set off come darkness. Jim could often be found in some wild, colorful outfit, roller-skating through the entire parade route and doing circles and stunts the whole way. He was well over 6 foot tall, and had placed third in the state high jump his senior year so his athletic abilities were unparalleled.

In 1968, someone applied for a permit for anti-Vietnam war demonstrators to march in the annual parade and the permit was duly granted on grounds of free speech after a brief court battle even though members of the town councils wanted it denied as un-American and inappropriate. We happened to be driving past Green Street when the protestors were attacked by a gang of men wearing hard-hats, some of whom wielded clubs and chains. Jim Cole, leader of the Finchley Boys, was one of the protestors and would later describe grabbing a fist aimed at his face and then realizing it belonged to someone he knew quite well. I really felt I’d missed out on something exciting, but I wasn’t much of a street fighter anyway. My time, however, was soon coming.

Later that day, I was hitchhiking with Larry and Carole. Carole, at this point, had become Larry’s girl friend.  I’d already read “The Sun Also Rises” so the part of discarded ex-lover who hangs on for dear life had already been portrayed as a noble cause. Whenever I saw films like “Butch Cassady and the Sundance Kid,” I immediately recognized my role.

Anyway, a white car slowed to a stop. “We’ll take the girl, but we won’t take you,” said a dude in the backseat, whose mouth seemed full of marbles. He had a southern, redneck accent and was barely understandable. I looked inside the car and noticed some guys in uniform and thought I saw a hardhat on one of the seats.

“Would you like to ride with these guys?” I asked Carole, who, of course, said, “No.”

As I was explaining the situation, the dude in the shotgun seat reached down on the floor and produced a steel chain. He opened the car door and I began backing away from the car, while holding Larry and Carole behind me. But we couldn’t back up fast enough for the dude swung that four-foot chain and it whipped around my side while he began yelling about his contempt for long-haired hippies like me. At this point, my only thought was to get Carole out of there before the other three dudes got out of the car and tried to abduct her. She seemed to be the real center of interest in all situations, so I grabbed her arm and yelled, “Run!”

Meanwhile, Larry, stepped around me and confronted this dude. Larry had the supreme confidence he could talk his way out of any situation as well as being somewhat fearless. Larry probably began with some comment like: “Hey, now wait a minute, this doesn’t call for violence…” Meanwhile I was already halfway around the house wondering why Larry hadn’t taken off running with us when I yelled “Run!.” Although I couldn’t see what was happening, I soon surmised that Larry had been pushed into a large bush and beaten on his back a couple times with the chain.

Some guardian angel appeared out of no where, claiming to be a Vietnam War Vet. The dude beating on Larry was talking about the war while he was beating on him. And this Vet wanted him to know that all Vets didn’t feel like him and that he should leave Larry alone and let him go. Carole, meanwhile, refused to stay hidden on the other side of the house with me since she was delirious with concern over Larry.

Eventually the three of us re-united and the car drove off. Back at her house, Carole scolded me pretty harshly for running away from the scene and abandoning Larry like that after he tried to stick up for me. But we got over it pretty quick and headed back to Campus-town, where everyone was hanging out in front of Turk’s Head. Larry showed off his chain marks for all to see while we recounted the story of our adventures. Much later than night, while I was alone in the bathroom, I would finally notice the chain welts across my own back.

Hypnosis and Child Abuse

The mysterious Mr. Gehr (right).

My 8th Grade P.E. teacher was quite a character. One day Mr. Gehr had to fill in supervising one of my classes on short notice. I’m thinking it was because the teacher had a nervous breakdown and had to leave the school in an ambulance. Or maybe I’m just dreaming that detail up.

Anyway, this class was a very special class, composed of the most dubious characters in the school, a class I was designated into due to my behavior “problem” at Leal Elementary, a class that could have caused a nervous breakdown, so disruptive were some of the characters.

Kenny Shackleford.

Actually, the most dangerously violent among us tended to be the most quiet in class. Kenny Shakleford would soon have a violent death in a North End police shoot-out. I’d already had my last real fist-fight, and developed a new strategy of using fast feet to immediately escape any threatening situations.

No doubt our local King of the Greasers, Frank Sowers (who once tried to pick a fight with me, even though he outweighed me by around 50 pounds); he was in that class as well. There was a black gay male in the class, really the only flamboyantly gay person in the school, although the word “gay” wasn’t really in common usage at the time; we just thought of them as guys who acted like girls. His hormones had obviously kicked in long before ours and could talk a blue streak on almost any subject. He was very theatrical with his manners.

Frank Sowers.

In order to fill in the time until the end of his impromptu class, Mr. Gehr told us a story about how he’d driven a needle through the palm of his hand, a story filled with gory details and one that began with a lesson in self-hypnosis, since this was done without anesthetics. I don’t recall whether Mr. Gehr used his hypnosis skills on anyone other than himself, however, I do remember thinking how weird it was that Mr. Gehr wanted to drive a needle through the palm of his hand, unless it was some sort of strange homage to Jesus on the Cross. I’d just recently lost my Lutheran religion and felt like a sap for being taken in by such an obvious fairy-tale for so long, so stigmatas had no effect on me whatsoever.

A few days later, however, my P.E. class was about to take off on a 30-minute cross county run, when that gay kid came up to me. “Hey, Steve,” he said. “A few of us are going to give Mr. Gehr a rub-down, so we don’t have to go on the run. Why don’t you come hang out with us? It’s really fun.” While those might not have been his exact words, I got the general gist and quickly said, “No, thanks!” while jetting off to the front of the line as quickly as possible, using my superior speed to exit that situation post haste. I never heard another word about any “rub-down” sessions with Mr. Gehr.

Who knows? Maybe it was all non-sexual, but after that weird self-hypnosis speech, I had a different take on Mr. Gehr, and it wasn’t very trusting.

The Sandusky scandal at Penn State is really just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m sure there were probably trails in that case that could have led to more powerful people, but those have been likely scuttled behind the scenes. Sexual child abuse isn’t just a problem in the Mormon and Catholic hierarchies, it’s a huge problem inside the beltway.

This awful situation threatened to erupt when the Franklin Savings and Loan went down in Omaha, Nebraska, a scandal that should have exposed Warren Buffet and his Masonic cronies in the Union Pacific. Apparently the nearby Boy’s Town, the most famous Catholic orphanage in America, was feeding brainwashed children to powerful people in Washington, while the CIA was videotaping the abuse to maintain ultimate power over the abusers. Long ago, being a secret gay person was enough to destroy a man’s career and one compromising photo was enough to insure compliance. That’s the way J. Edgar Hoover was controlled as a photo of him giving a blow job to longtime assistant Tolsen was in the hands of the CIA and the mafia, although who had it first is unknown. Today, however, merely being a closeted gay is not nearly enough it seems, as intoxicated power brokers are offered up innocent orphans in expensive townhouses in Georgetown.

Many of the children involved described being forced to participate in orgies, some of which included a child being murdered during sex, usually by a bullet to the head while being sodomized. It’s a scene out of Bertolucci’s 1900, or a William Burrough’s novel. Despite the evidence, these victims were punished for telling the truth so the guilty could escape. This could not have happened in today’s post-Sandusky, post-Catholic Church settlements environment. Whether these murders were committed for sexual thrills, or to experiment with mind control technology involving trauma, or just a combination of the two remains unknown. The one person whose name surfaces most often in this case on the mind control side is Michael Aquino, who was forced out of the military after a child abuse scandal at the Presido in San Francisco while he was stationed there. Aquino has been a longtime participate in the blue blood bastion of occult ceremony, Bohemian Grove.

Born-Again Hippies

It takes more than a bag of weed to forge a hippie heart. In fact, most of the time, it takes a major ceremony. I spent a long time searching for answers throughout much of the sixties, but I didn’t get truly “zapped” until I attended the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in the summer of 1969.

I’d planned to meet up with Larry Green and Carole, but they were coming from New York City, while I was traveling south from Cape Cod. Once the highway was closed, I feared they’d been turned away.

As it turned out, however, meeting people at Woodstock was no problem. I ran into James “Chef Ra” Wilson almost immediately. I could tell Jim was already zapped. His life would never be the same. Davy Goldwasser, one of the brightest kids in town, stumbled into our camp in the middle of the sea of humanity. When the rain came, we hid under a tarp Davy had brought along. A photo of us appeared in a German magazine (left). Note the fence I constructed to keep people off my comfy bed. I remember Larry was really pissed at me for changing into my dry clothes right after the rain blew over. I think it was about the only negative second we experienced at the event, and Larry was afraid the straw we were sleeping on was getting muddied, although I suspect the real reason was Carole’s frequent whispering in my ear.

The zapping I got at Woodstock sure faded over the years, as I went back to college in California and then back to Illinois as I had to work my way through a couple of degrees. I’d lost most of that non-violent telepathic energy by the time I hit High Times in the late 1980s. When I’d first moved to New York at the beginning of the 1980s, my primary interest had been experimental theater, and Julian Beck’s Living Theater was one of my biggest influences. Imagine my surprise when I saw Julian standing on the corner outside my apartment on 98th Street shortly after moving in.

Many years later, however, I’d meet Julian’s son, Garrick Beck, one of elders of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. Soon after meeting Garrick, I attended my first National Rainbow Gathering, which is where I got re-zapped.

That’s when I also decided to inject some ceremonial elements into the Cannabis Cup and WHEE! festivals I’d created. I was hoping to pass this non-violent culture on down and let the future generations get zapped by our peace-love vibrations. We really need a return of this culture in order to heal some of the trauma of the last few years, especially all the shootings. By showing respect for non-violence, you can help turn the children away from the allure of violence. But when you disrespect the cultures of non-violence, you actually urge children toward prejudice and bigotry.

Sad to say, many people walked through these ceremonies over the years and never got zapped by anything. Nothing even close. If anything, they developed a further hatred for hippies, vegetarians and the Rainbow Family. However, there were plenty of born-again hippies created as well. I know because many of them came up to me and told me so, while thanking me effusively for putting them back on the path of non-violence.

Surfing the Mind Control Matrix

Ever wonder why the media has fallen into the ownership of only a handful of corporations? That’s because the media is the key programming tool used to manage our collective archetypes, having replaced religion in that role since the arrival of television.

There’s a good reason why most Americans distrust hippies, and that’s because the archetype created in the media was intentionally negative. This campaign started even before the hippies arrived, when their immediate predecessors, beatniks, came into public consciousness. The entire beatnik phenomenon was orchestrated in large part by Allen Ginsberg and the Village Voice, in response to the Jack Kerouac/Neal Cassady adoration societies that emerged after the publication of On the Road. That book introduced concepts of Eastern religion while encouraging the ritual use of cannabis and alcohol to achieve enlightenment.

Because of its revolutionary message and popularity, On the Road needed to be co-opted but quick. In television, the beatnik archetype first appeared as the bumbling Maynard G. Krebs, but eventually, Kerouac’s buddy bromace morphed into the politically and spiritually empty Route 66, a show more designed around selling Corvettes than preaching enlightenment.

In analyzing the real seats of international power, one cannot overestimate the role of secret societies to create and forge new archetypes, as well as manage their depictions in the media.

In this regard, J. Edgar Hoover certainly played a key gatekeeper role throughout most of his professional career. When he was 26 years old, Hoover joined the Washington Lodge of the Scottish-Rite Freemasons and his early career was marked by his clever exploitation of a string of terrorist attacks. Without those terror attacks, Hoover would not have been able to armchair himself into control of that American gestapo known as the FBI.

Clint Eastwood’s film on Hoover has just appeared on HBO and I watched the film with great interest. Unfortunately, it is based mostly on Hoover’s own self-serving accounts of his rise to power and fame, and only hints at the deeper corruption.

Although it may seem strange, aside from Freemasonry, Hoover’s other network of influence appeared to be the Catholic Church, which rewarded Hoover for a lifetime of devoted service, even though he was a German protestant by birth. Freemasons were supposed to be opposed to the Catholic Church, but over history some lodges actually wondered if they’d fallen prey to secret Jesuit control. (In today’s world, that role is played by Opus Dei, currently the most powerful secret society inside the Vatican.) And Hoover was not the only key person inside the national security apparatus who enjoyed a close relationship with the Vatican. James Jesus Angleton, head of CIA’s counter-intelligence operations certainly comes to mind in this regard.

Archetypes are often employed to help move populations toward war, which is the primary means of achieving quick profits as well as keeping people following orders. The traumas inflicted by war and terror are key to advancing the mind control matrix, which runs mostly on shock and awe.

Our current war is obviously constructed around a Christian/Jewish versus Muslim confrontation. However, since the Muslim resources are so small in comparison to the Christian/Jewish empires, this necessitates a new form of war based around terror instead of standing armies. It’s all very similar, in fact, to the sort of terror that cleared Hoover’s path to power. At some point in time, people are going to have to consider the possibility that much of the so-called “left-wing” terror that has been perpetrated over the years has actually been false-flag attacks designed to advance right-wing agendas.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Illustration & Samo tag

While perusing my photo files, I came across a gem: an illustration by Jean Michel Basquiat published in the SoHo Weekly News on October 5th, 1978. This may, in fact, be Jean Michel’s first published artwork.

The illo was signed by the young master himself using his graffiti tag “Samo,” short for “same old shit.” In this context, the tag seems to be a reference to our nation’s love of money.

This illo appeared two months before the famous Village Voice article that really introduced Jean Michel to most of the downtown scene. Both the illo with tag and the original Samo story were displayed as part of Boom Basquiat. Afterwards, I returned both items to Al Diaz, who had given them to me before anyone realized how valuable they would become.

The Truth About Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was murdered. She did not take an “overdose of sleeping pills” as her stomach was virtually empty. She did have multiple bruises that were erased from the autopsy report, and her body showed evidence of having been given an enema, which may be how the barbiturates that killed her were administered, although some believe the final coup d’etat may have been delivered via syringe by her analyst Dr. Ralph Greenson, who was having an affair with her, a serious breach of professional ethics. Greenson is the man who discovered and reported her dead.

Perhaps the key detail in understanding this case is that her death occurred within days of her friend Dorothy Kilgallen leaking veiled info about Monroe’s brief affair with JFK in her widely-circulated gossip column. Although neighbors reported hearing quite a row that night, all this would be swept under the rug, along with an emergency visit from Robert Kennedy. There’s also a report of a possible intervention with Sam Giancana shortly before her death, both incidents of which might have indicated last-ditch efforts to save her life.

It all happened 54 years ago, so it’s about time the real facts come out, but don’t hold your breath. In the world of archetypes, icons just don’t get any bigger than Marilyn. She remains the sexiest woman alive and her personality seemed charmingly devoid of evil intent, so why would anyone want to kill Marilyn Monore?

Most of what I know about this case I picked up from Jim Hougan, one of my favorite conspiracy writers, who always maintains a great sense of humor, unlike many people in this field. Many years ago, Hougan published a brilliant book, Spooks, that went into detail on characters like Robert Vesco, Mitch WerBell, Robert Maheu, the sort of guys who dance between raindrops. But Hougan also connected some dots on the Kennedy-Teamster confrontation, a war Marilyn seems to have gotten caught in the middle of, which may be why she ended up dead.

The story starts in 1955. Senator John McClellan’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations nails its number-one target, Teamster boss Dave Beck, thanks to Beck’s assistant Jimmy Hoffa, secretly assisting Robert Kennedy with the incriminating evidence of Beck’s pension diversion schemes. JFK sat on the committee and RFK was the committee’s lawyer. Hoffa became the new leader of the country’s most powerful union. Soon, however, Robert Kennedy starts building a case against Hoffa and this becomes the most intense vendetta of his life. Papa Kennedy had earlier maneuvered his son onto the staff of Communist witch-hunter Joe McCarthy, a man RFK seems to have (strangely enough) held a lot of respect for. It was while working closely with McCarthy and Roy Cohn that RFK cut his political teeth and mastered the art of dirty tricks.

Many people make the mistake of thinking Kennedy “went after the mob.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Robert Kennedy went after Jimmy Hoffa, while others in the administration maintained friendly contact with Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, even to the point of requesting their services in the elimination of Fidel Castro.

RFK’s assault wasn’t nicknamed the “Get Hoffa Squad” for no reason. At one time, Kennedy had 40 grand juries all investigating different aspects of Hoffa’s life. Eventually Hoffa was brought down simply through defensive measures he initiated to fight against dirty tricks RFK was playing on him, which included planting government informants all around him and turning Hoffa’s own secret agents into well-greased doubles under RKF control.

Spindel & Hoffa in court, 1957

Bernard Spindel is the key character in the Monroe mystery, a surveillance expert who worked for Hoffa, a person RFK attempted to double early on, telling him to set any price. “Now, Bernie, you know my brother is going to be the next President. You don’t have to worry about anything,” RFK is reported to have said. Bernie worked for anyone who paid him and, in his own words,”never asked for a pedigree,” but he refused to work for any government agency and he refused to break any laws. He pioneered all sorts of strategies for circumventing the laws against wiretapping, even to the point of using lip readers to decipher films he shot, rather than use the available audio track.

Spindel didn’t double, however. He took the 5th Amendment when called to testify. So the Spindel home in upstate New York was raided by the police and Spindel led away in handcuffs. Meanwhile, his extensive library of recordings disappeared into government hands, never to be seen again. Spindel would become so famous that he once appeared on “What’s My Line?” He was murdered eventually, although I can’t find much information on his death.

Spindel’s widow, Barbara, believes the seized tapes included conversations between Marilyn and the Kennedy brothers that contained proof of Monroe’s secret affair with JFK. These tapes could have destroyed his political future. Who ordered the tapes, who knew about them and who had copies?

Shortly before he disappeared, Jimmy Hoffa indicated he had evidence that could have been used to destroy the Kennedys but he chose not to use it against them due to its “unseemly” nature. Obviously, he was talking about sexual exploits, but was he talking about the Marilyn tapes?

The Hoffa/Kennedy War got as nasty as it gets, and Marilyn seems to have been caught in the middle. Did she consent to allow her conversations to be taped (which would have made the wiretapes legal), something that would have infuriated the Kennedy brothers? Or did Spindel’s surveillance include RFK’s midnight intervention? Was Marilyn really threatening to reveal her affair with JFK to the press? I find this last speculation, although popular on the internet, hard to swallow. I’m sure Marilyn had more than one extramarital affair in her life. But when you read Arthur Miller’s accounts with his wife, you begin to understand Marilyn was probably bipolar, which meant she was subject to manic mood swings and had great difficulty sleeping. No one could depend on her keeping quiet and she apparently wasn’t.

Most online theories point to a mafia-related hit, although that always seemed somewhat dubious since the Sicilian Men of Honor do not typically kill civilians or women, although they seek vengeance when they feel it’s justified. But the biggest mafiosos in the country were very close friends with Marilyn and she was an important member of their Hollywood Union, supervised by Roselli. According to “Double Cross” by Chuck Giancana, the hit was actually put out by the CIA and accepted by Mooney Giancana, who wanted to implicate Robert Kennedy, so they killed Marilyn immediately after a visit from RFK and Greenson, who only gave her a mild sedative. After she was asleep, they broke into the house and administered a fatal enema. Needles Gianola was in charge of the hit squad. The reason for the hit? Marilyn was talking too much about the mob/CIA relationship and threatening to “tell all to the press.” I’m not sure I buy that version, and there’s a competing theory that Greenson was being blackmailed by someone in the Kennedy circle.

In 2009, an FBI document appeared, a report from some unnamed agent and none of this could ever be authenticated, but it stated RFK made a call to Peter Lawford asking, “Is she dead yet?” The report went on to state Monroe was murdered in retaliation to threats she had just made to reveal her JFK affair to the press. Someday, those Monroe/Kennedy tapes just might surface, in which case we might clear some of the mud from these waters and learn more of the true subtext behind the murder of one of the greatest movie stars in history. Marilyn’s inside knowledge of government and mafia affairs was considerable and eventually she may have become targeted as a threat to National Security, undoubtedly the same crime JFK died for a few years later.

Dr. Romeo Samuel Greenschpoon, aka Ralph Romeo Greenson may be Marilyn Monroe’s real killer, claims an explosive book, which also claims he did it on Bobby Kennedy’s orders. The first thing about this book that makes me suspicious is the title includes the words “Cased Closed.” That meme was first employed by notorious disinfo artist Gerald Posner and didn’t get him any traction.

Here’s the crucial backstory: not only was Marilyn allegedly having an affair with Bobby Kennedy (something that supposedly started after Bobby was dispatched by JFK to tell Marilyn to stop calling him), but Marilyn was also having an affair with her analyst, the jet-setting and very well-connected “Romeo” Greenson.

According to the book, Marilyn had been keeping a little red diary, something that could compromise a number of Hollywood celebrities, Sicilian men-of-honor, and politicians. For some, having an affair with Marilyn revealed might have been an upgrade to their reputations, but for others, like Greenson and the Kennedy’s, it spelled potential professional disgrace. Supposedly, Marilyn was threatening to call a press conference and release the little red book, something that just doesn’t ring true for me, as calling press conferences was never really her style, or dishing on her past lovers.

As the greatest goddess of her time, I’d imagine Marilyn held some sway on the astral plane, so the taking of her life is a significant crime against the forces of the universe, and in such cases karmic blow-back is virtually guaranteed.

The real question is: upon whom do we fix the blame? According to these authors, both of whom have written previous books on Marilyn, two LA policemen gave Marilyn what was supposed to be a fatal enema, but the next day she still clung to life, so Romeo was dispatched to administer the coup de grace.

JFK would be dead within a year, and Bobby not long after. If true, it’s got to be one of the greatest tragedies ever told.