John Hampton's Reviews > The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
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Nov 05, 07

bookshelves: always-read-over-and-over
Read in August, 1975

These nut-jobs actually came to Houston with their bus and parked it two doors down from my best friend in Houston. Around 1969, moon, Led Zeppelin touring, people taking LSD and sitting on the hill in Hermann Park staring at the sun. My older brother and sister would drag me along to look at the "hippies" ... then the next day in the paper would be another story of a young Houston man who had become blind forever by roasting his retinas with pupils wide open looking at the sun. Guess I should have given him my shades.

Ken Kesey and the "Merry Pranksters" are the subject of this real-life look into the lifestyle of California hippies , commune living, and all those weird things you kids have heard of happening in the sixties.
Well, The weekend they were in Houston, Ken Kesey (a benign Manson) went to the stadium where a day-long concert of the summer (Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service ... blah blah) was happening and again I was in tow by my older brother and sister, Kathy.
This guy Kesey was there to entertain between sets, a true to life Haight-Asbury scene. At one point, he asked everyone to jump in synchronicity , I thought to feel the stadium rumble for a few seconds, but looking back he may have been trying to cause the thing to collapse! Hell, HE was on the field, as was the stage. I was gonna be the one to die, not him.
Finally, he asked everyone to take a deep breath and let it out slowly as a loud hiss. Again take a breath and hiss. Again... again... over and over we were all seated and I was feeling light headed. Finally he says 'Take one more, deeper than any other, and as you breathe in, stand up and stretch as far as you can and as hard as you can. I remember I did this, and as I stood, I stretched and suddenly everything was going dark ... then wham! I hit the dirt, fainted. I had never fainted before. As I awoke, I noticed EVERYONE IN THIS 70+ THOUSAND SEAT STADIUM WAS ON THE GROUND ... having also fainted. He was indeed a prankster. Hippies.... if you want to know (why?) what it was REALLY like to be around hippies constantly ... read this.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jesse Hall Outstanding recollection. Love it.


Katrice This review makes my life so great.


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