Tag Archives: Ken Kesey

Almanac – April 05

1906 – Lord Buckley born. American stage performer, recording artist, monologist, and hip poet/comic. Buckley’s unique stage persona never found more than a cult audience during his life, but anticipated aspects of the Beat Generation sensibility, and influenced figures as various as Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, George Harrison, Tom Waits, Dizzy Gillespie and Jimmy Buffett.

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 1926 – Roger Corman born. American film producer, director and actor. Working mainly  on low-budget B movies, some of Corman’s work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe,and in 2009 he won an Honorary Academy Award for his body of work.

In 1966, Corman made the first biker movie with The Wild Angels, starring Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, and in  1967, The Trip, written by Jack Nicholson and starring Peter Fonda, began the psychedelic film craze of the late 1960s.

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1929 – Joe Meek born. Pioneering English record producer and songwriter. Despite not being able to play a musical instrument or write notation, Meek displayed a remarkable facility for writing and producing successful commercial recordings.

In writing songs he was reliant on musicians such as Dave Adams, Geoff Goddard or Charles Blackwell to transcribe melodies from his vocal “demos”. He worked on 245 singles, of which 45 were major hits (top fifty).

He pioneered studio tools such as multiple over-dubbing on one- and two-track machines, close miking, direct input of bass guitars, the compressor, and effects like echo and reverb, as well as sampling.

Unlike other producers, his search was for the ‘right‘ sound rather than for a catchy musical tune, and throughout his brief career he single-mindedly followed his quest to create a unique “sonic signature” for every record he produced.

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1997 – Allen Ginsberg died.  American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s.

He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression, and is best known for his epic poem “Howl“, in which he celebrated his fellow “angel-headed hipsters” and harshly denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix…

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Almanac – November 10

1697 – William Hogarth born. English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”. Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as “Hogarthian.”

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1871 – Henry Morton Stanley located missing explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, famously greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

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1891 – Arthur Rimbaud died.  French poet who produced his works while still in his late teens and gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 20. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music, and arts, and prefigured surrealism.

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1928 – Ennio Morricone born. Italian composer and conductor, who has written music for more than 500 motion pictures and television series, in a career lasting over 50 years.His scores have been included in over 20 award-winning films as well as several symphonic and choral pieces.

He is most famous for his work in the Spaghetti Westerns directed by his friend Sergio Leone, including A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), but his career includes a wide range of composition genres making him one of the world’s most versatile, prolific and influential artists.

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1940 – Screaming Lord Sutch born. English musician, pirate radio pioneer and  founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, which he served as  leader from 1983 to 1999. He stood for parliament numerous times since the early 1960s, but the real loonies always beat him.

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1960 – D.H. Lawrence‘s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was first published in its entirety in the UK – its initial run of 200,000 copies had sold out by the end of the day.

It had been first published, in Florence, in 1928 but banned in the UK because of its sexual content [and the idea of one of the hoi polloi having it away with one of the nobs, no doubt]. A heavily edited version had been passed by the censors in 1932.

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1960 – Neil Gaiman born. English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.

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2001 – Ken Kesey died.  American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie,” Kesey said in a 1999 interview.

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Almanac – September 17

1179 – Hildegard of Bingen died. German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play.

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1716 – Jean Thurel enlisted in the Touraine Regiment of the French army at the age of 17, the first day of an extraordinarily long career that spanned over 90 years of service . Having been born during the reign of Louis XIV and died during that of Napoleon I, Thurel lived in three different centuries and served three different monarchs. In 1787, when his regiment was ordered to march to the coast to embark on ships, he was given the opportunity to travel in a carriage due to his advanced age. The 88-year-old Thurel refused the offer and marched the entire distance on foot, stating that he had never before traveled by carriage and had no intention of doing so at that time.

On 26 October 1804, at the age of 105, Thurel became one of the first recipients of the newly established l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honor), the highest decoration in France. Napoleon I also rewarded him with a pension of 1,200 francs.He died in Tours on 10 March 1807, at the age of 107, after a brief illness.

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1923 – Hank Williams born. American singer-songwriter and musician regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time.

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1935 – Ken Kesey born.  American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962),and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s –  “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie” – cue LSD and the Merry Pranksters.

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1948 – Zionist terrorists The Lehi (also known as the Stern gang) assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte,  appointed by the UN to mediate between the Arab nations and Israel.
Ironically Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat,  was noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt.

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Almanac – August 7

1560 – Elizabeth Báthory born.  A countess of the  Báthory family of Hungarian nobility. Although the number of murders is debated, she has been labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the “Blood Countess.”

After her husband Ferenc Nádasdy’s death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80. Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, now in Slovakia and known as Čachtice, where she remained bricked up  in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

Later writings about the case have led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins  in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad  the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.

1876 – Mata Hari born as Margaretha Geertruida  Zelle , better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and accused spy  who was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.

1930 – The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States occurred –  in Marion, Indiana. Two men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were killed. They had been arrested the night before, charged with robbing and murdering a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and raping his white girlfriend, Mary Ball. A large crowd broke into the jail with sledgehammers, beat the two men, and hanged them. When Abram Smith tried to free himself from the noose as his body was hauled up by the rope, he was lowered and then his arms broken to prevent him from trying to free himself again. Police officers in the crowd cooperated in the lynching.

1947 – Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America.

1965 – The infamous first Reyes party between Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and motorcycle gang the Hells Angels took place at Kesey’s estate in La Honda, California introducing psychedelics to the gang world and forever linking the hippie movement to the Hell’s Angels.

1984 – Esther Phillips died.  American singer,  known for her R&B vocals, but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul.

 

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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