Monday, August 8, 2011


In 1964, Ken Kesey, the author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and his pals, "The Merry Band of Pranksters," embarked on a drug-fueled odyssey in a psychedelic bus (the first, dubbed "Further") to cross the country a la Jack Kerouac (with Kerouac's pal, Dean Moriarty, at the wheel) to see America and visit the New York World's Fair. These Day-glo pirates planned to make a film about their odyssey and shot hours of footage, but the film was never finished. Perhaps the drugs of choice provided too many fascinating tangents, tendrils, and tributaries, or maybe Kesey and crew got lost in a rabbit hole like Alice. Maybe they simply got stoned and forgot. In any case, Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney and his co-director, Alison Ellwood, came to the rescue. They poured over more than 100 hours of raw footage and whittled it down to a bite-size documentary, "Magic Trip."

Set the Waytback Machine. Against all odds these acid Argonauts will appear at an air-conditioned Megaplex near you, sandwiched somewhere between The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens, right where they belong.

Maybe. This tiny indie film (as well as the blissful naivety of these proto-hippies) may seem hopelessly out of fashion these days, and since it won't have money-making appeal of a blockbuster it won't be widely released. "Magic Trip" will appear only briefly, visible to none but a discerning few. Sorry. Maybe it's the subject matter. Maybe we've been warned too many in these drug-scorched times to fancy even the remote possibility that one might gain anything of value through the ingestion of a drug. Not to mention peace & love, and all that jazz. Where have all the flowers gone, indeed.

Anyway, we can always pretend.

Though slated for release August 5th, "Magic Trip" probably hasn't hit your burg yet. Chec your listings. We did. The movie opens 8/12 in Portland at the Hollywood, and 8/26 in Seattle at the Varsity. For other towns, check the listing here. To visit the official website of the documentary, visit MAGIC TRIP.

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