Article on the Merry Prankster Bus
"http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10792061/" from Heather/Georgia
From the article: " Zane Kesey picks at clumps of moss and swirls of brightly colored paint and patches of rust covering the school bus that his father, the late author Ken Kesey, rode cross-country with a refrigerator stocked with LSD-laced drinks in pursuit of a new art form…For some 15 years, the 1939 International bus dubbed “Further” has rusted away in a swamp on the Kesey family’s Willamette Valley farm, out of sight if not out of mind, more memory than monument. That is where Ken Kesey — author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and hero of a generation that vowed to drop out and tune in with the help of LSD — intended it to stay after firing up a new bus in 1990. But four years after his death, a Hollywood restaurateur has persuaded the family to resurrect the old bus so it can help tell the story of Kesey, the Merry Pranksters and the psychedelic 1960s…Houston hopes to raise the $100,000 he figures it will cost to get the bus running and looking good. The Kesey family will maintain control of the bus, though, taking it to special events…“I consider the bus to be one of the most important icons of the ’60s Counter Culture,” says Santelli. “Inside that bus occurred many of the things the counter culture was all about, from a revolutionary perspective. That is mobility, freedom to be on the move, and to react to situations and create situations to react to, drug use and experimenting with drugs, and the importance of music in a cultural revolution.”…At La Honda, Kesey’s home in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco, they installed a sound system, a generator on the back and went wild with the paint. Artist Roy Sebern painted the word “Furthur” on the destination placard as a kind of one-word poem and inspiration to keep going whenever the bus broke down. It wasn’t until much later that he found out he had misspelled it. Just as the bus was constantly being repainted, somewhere along the line the Further sign was corrected.
The day they were ready to go, Ken Kesey recruited Cassady from a bookstore where he was working, Babbs recalls. The bus pulled out of the driveway with Ray Charles singing “Hit the Road Jack,” and ran out of gas. That was quickly remedied, and down the road they went, Cassady spewing the speed-talking rap-babble that inspired Kerouac’s writing style….The wildly painted bus got stopped by the police, but with their short haircuts and preppy clothes, the Pranksters were never arrested. They carried orange juice laced with LSD, which was legal at the time. Kesey had been a guinea pig in government-sponsored LSD tests and was trying to turn the entire country on to it through events known as the Acid Tests…The film and tape rolled constantly, but when they got back to La Honda, they could never get the two to synchronize. Author Tom Wolfe used the material for his book, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” but the movie lay dormant until 2000, when a digital editing machine made it possible and Kesey issued, “Intrepid Traveler and His Merry Band of Pranksters Look for A Kool Place.”…After one last trip, to Woodstock, N.Y., in 1969, Kesey put the bus out to pasture, where it served as a dugout for softball games. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., expressed some interest in restoring the bus, but Kesey would never let it go. …Kesey’s widow, Faye, had reservations about restoring the old bus, but did not try to stop it.“I kind of liked it in the swamp covered with moss and becoming part of the swamp,” she said. “But I talked to everybody who had been on it. To a man they all wanted to see it restored. “If not, it can always go back to the swamp. Nature does a pretty good paint job, too.
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