In 1964, famed writer Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters set off across America on a “Transcontinental Bus Tour,” headed for the New York World’s Fair. Kesey’s journey, in the company of his Merry Pranksters, lies at the heart of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,
an as-if-first-hand account of the group’s antics and ethos by Tom Wolfe
, wunderkind of the New Journalism movement.
This Art Edition presents Wolfe’s era-defining text in letterpress
, along with facsimile reproductions of his manuscript pages, ephemera of the period, and photographs of the acid scene by Lawrence Schiller and Ted Streshinsky. The accompanying print, Me and My Shadow, by Lawrence Schiller, was photographed at the Hollywood Acid Test on February 25, 1966
As the first photojournalist to capture the acid scene from the inside
, Schiller began with a single contact in Berkeley, California, and built a large network of young, receptive subjects who allowed him to document their experiences with LSD starting in late 1965. At first, he was a fly on the wall as groups of friends tripped in the privacy of their homes. By early 1966 he had met the Merry Pranksters and was invited to the Acid Test in Hollywood.
During the Test, Kool-Aid laced with a heavy dose of LSD was served up from an industrial-sized pot. Participants turned on the Grateful Dead’s music and tuned in to the burgeoning psychedelic scene. Schiller’s image of a tripster “freaking freely”
with his own shadow—long believed to be Neal Cassady—appeared in Life magazine in March 1966 in a photo essay which served to introduce the nation to the sweeping new LSD epidemic
. For Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne (who selected this photo for the cover of The Soft Bulletin
) “the photo represents a person going into the unknown—the unknown within themselves.”Marking the year of original publication, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is limited to 1,968 signed copies.
This Art Edition is signed by Tom Wolfe and limited to 100 copies (No. 1–100), each with the print Me and My Shadow (1966), signed by Lawrence Schiller.
Also available as a second Art Edition (No. 101–200) with an alternative signed print, and as a signed Collector’s Edition (No. 201–1,968).