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Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search For A Kool Place (2011)

January 22nd, 2011 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · 2010's, Oregon film, Oregon film new definition, Oregonians as inspiration

A last minute addition to an already Oregon heavy Sundance this year:

Sundance Program Description:

Ever wonder what it’s like to drop acid? Look no further. In 1964, Ken Kesey, celebrated author of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, took a mythic excursion across America from the West to the East Coast. Fueled by massive doses of LSD, Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters embarked on the ultimate road trip. Their destination: Tomorrowland at the New York World’s Fair. Steered by Jack Kerouac’s infamous companion, Neal Cassady, Kesey and company rigged their psychedelic bus with cameras and a sound system and set out to chronicle a journey that took them through space, time, and the boundless landscape of the imagination.

Forty-plus years later, Academy Award–winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE) and codirector Alison Ellwood unearthed Kesey’s footage, audio recordings, and photographs and created a fully immersive cinematic experience. This MAGIC TRIP is guaranteed to blow your mind.

Alex Gibney describes Magic Trip as “archival cinema verite”. I have seen Kesey’s home movies – he screened some of them at the 1999 Oregon Book Awards – so I know what Gibney had to work with resembled nothing so much as just plain old non-psychedelic home movies. I am very curious to see Magic Trip.

I hereby claim Magic Trip as an Oregon film on the basis of the subject, and the provenance of the raw footage – home movies taken by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters during their trip across country to deliver Paula Sundstren to her scheduled synchronized swimming team performances at the 1964 World’s Fair.

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