Monthly Archives: January 2018

“The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America” by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois


Butler, Isaac and Dan Kois. “The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America”, Bloomsbury, 2018.

An Oral History of a Great Play

Amos Lassen

Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” is a moving account of the AIDS era, essential queer history, and an exuberant backstage tale. Those who have either seen it or been part of it, or both have been changed by the experience as we see here in the oral history of great American drama.

“Angels in America” opened on Broadway in 1993 and won the Pulitzer Prize, swept the Tonys, launched a score of major careers, and changed the way gay lives were represented in popular culture. Mike Nichols’s 2003 HBO adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, and Mary-Louise Parker was itself a tour de force, winning Golden Globes and eleven Emmys, and introducing the play to an even wider public. Now some 25 years later, this generation-defining classic continues to shock, move, and inspire viewers worldwide.

Isaac Butler and Dan Kois give us the definitive account of the play through oral history. We are taken into the conversations and debate of actors (including Streep, Parker, Nathan Lane, and Jeffrey Wright), directors, producers, crew, and Kushner himself. They share the on- and offstage excitement of the play’s birth. We now learn that it was beset by artistic roadblocks, technical disasters, and disputes both legal and creative. We hear from historians and critics who help to situate the play in the arc of American culture, from the activism of the AIDS crisis through civil rights triumphs to today and the dark echo of the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. If you love theater, you will love this book as it tells about

one of the great works of American art of the past century that began with a gritty San Francisco premiere and is now a highly anticipated Broadway revival in 2018.

Like a dramatic script, the book is divided into acts with chapters more like titled scenes and a cast of characters listed at the end. The interviews are presented so that they become an ongoing chat about the history, the themes and the continuous dialogue about the drama. The cast is made up of Kushner, the actors, directors, producers, and production teams, as well as the scholars, historians, critics, and fellow playwrights that did not just help to shape the work but who also provide context for its influence. We see all the twists and turns of fate that went into the drama’s creation and we get a sense of suspense and drama. Like the play, Butler and Kois let the complexity of the story come to us via conversations, discussions, and critiques from those involved. We become immediately aware of the sweeping scope of the production and the amount of deliberation and interpretation that went into it.

The entire creative process is here beginning with Kushner finding a title for his masterwork to the dedicated early directors and actors that supplied his inspiration and helped realize his vision.

The brilliant 2017 London production of the show is soon to open in New York and on Broadway this spring. Now, twenty-five years later, it’s Kushner’s vision of the Right that looks so true. We see that the America of Donald Trump is the same America of Roy Cohn. This America is deeply divided between “winners and losers, hatred of the powerless used as a cynical tool to enrich the privileged…” The real emphasis of “The World Only Spins Forward” is the emphasis on the drama as a “work of queer cultural history–both milestone and touchstone–where it ultimately succeeds.” The play grew out of the calamity and death with the AIDS crisis, an indifferent president Ronald Reagan, and a religious fanaticism that pretended not to see the horrors of AIDS while preaching intolerance and hatred.

We go back to the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco in 1991 and to the Royal National Theatre, London in 1992, to the Mark Taper Forum in LA the same year, to Broadway from 1993–1994. We see the Culture Wars of the nineties. We learn that an early overture to Robert Altman to direct a film version of the play. We also get a behind-the-scenes look at the events which led to the 2003 HBO film and we read about the 2004 Peter Eötvös opera based on the play. We are reminded of the need to follow one’s truth in the face of oppression and intolerance

“BORN IN FLAMES”— A Fantasy of Female Rebellion


A Fantasy of Female Rebellion

Amos Lassen

Director Lizzie Borden’s 1983 film, “Born in Flames” rocked the foundations of the early Indie film world with its provocative story fantasy of a female rebellion set in America ten years after a social democratic cultural revolution. When Adelaide Norris, the black radical founder of the Woman’s Army, is mysteriously killed, a diverse coalition of women from all races, classes, and sexual preferences comes together to blow the existing system apart. The film is newly restored in high definition for its 35th anniversary and we see that it is even more relevant in today’s political climate.

Early on in the film two men, both of whom remain off screen and unnamed, flip through photographs of Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), attempting to construct her profile as founder of the Women’s Army that “seems to be dominated by blacks and lesbians.” The exchange abruptly cuts to Norris sitting around a kitchen table and talking about employment legislation as the men’s dialogue bleeds in and overlaps for a few seconds, before being dropped entirely. We see here Borden’s directorial strengths and political cognizance by implicitly placing competing dialogues within the same cinematic space even though the two parties aren’t in the same physical place. Immediately, and without actual violent conflict, the tensions of making one’s intentions heard and understood are presented.

“Born in Flames” brings together documentary and dramatic sequences into a free-form narrative that exists “somewhere between essay film, political manifesto, and exploitation.” Scripted scenes of ongoing conversations about organized protests and recent instances of sexism across the U.S. are broken apart by news broadcasts and the didactic pleas of two pirate-radio DJs named Isabel (Adele Bertei) and Honey (Honey). These occur in an alternative America where a socialist revolution took place ten years earlier, but did little to alter the gender gap or bring about comprehensive social progress. The film refuses to adhere to traditional channels of communication. Much of Borden’s aesthetic entails numerous speakers or messages being sent, but little indication of how those messages are being decoded. This repetition causes a fractured rapidity, which could be mistaken for incoherence or a lack of ability on Borden’s part. A certain level of incoherence is part of the film’s coherent understanding of the many channels of communication brought about by competing political rhetoric.

The consistent binary opposition for the Women’s Army as “Terrorists or Revolutionaries?” does not suggest a functional diagnosis for group actions within a consistently reshaping socio-political milieu. The film uses the conflicting terms to suggest that media outlets only highlight oppositional actions to sell ambivalence and fear to consumers. The film addressing ongoing human rights concerns through zeitgeist-infused pop, even though Borden omits explicit references to actual events. The rhetoric is philosophical and it clouds the atmosphere.

Borden’s strengths as an generate intensive responses to injustice. The film still challenges, confronts and captures the imagination. Because the film was made before we had digital paraphernalia, it must be admired if just for the amount of work that went into it. “Born in Flames” answers the question of what if  the United States went socialist after a nonviolent revolution and people were still disenfranchised?

Borden made the film over a period of five years with no script and very little money, and it fits the definition of “underground film”. It was well ahead of its time, trading fluently in political savvy and It is still a thoughtful, controversial, decidedly unique sci-fi cautionary tale. Borden radically shows that not even a socialist revolution would eradicate gender inequalities; in her imagined future, it would still fall upon women (rather than the government) to protect one another and fight for equal rights. As a narrative, there is much to be desired. However, the imagery makes up for that lack. We see several strong, black, lesbian protagonists; butch females on the subway moving in immediately to protect a woman as she’s openly harassed by a man; a group of women riding up on bicycles to scare away a rapist and women taking collective action to fight for the right to keep their jobs. “Born in Flames” makes one think differently about life itself, and it is a powerful reminder of independent film’s potential to “subvert the dominant paradigm”.

“Never a ‘Craft’ Moment: A Memoir cum Abattoir” by Robin Anderson— A Memoir

Anderson, Robin. “Never a ‘Craft’ Moment: A Memoir cum Abattoir”, CreateSpace, 2018.

A Memoir

Amos Lassen

Robin Anderson is the most prolific author I know and his tongue-in-cheek writings have kept me entertained during the 12 years I have been reviewing. Because he is such a versatile writer, it is hard to classify when he writes. It is satirical, erotic, shocking, sometimes blasphemous, adventurous and always funny; Anderson’s sense of humor is constant. I believe that he has as much fun writing them as I do reading his stories. What I really love about Robin Anderson is his the way he builds his characters. Both his plots and his characters border on the near obscene and I mean that positively. It is one think to write erotica in trash English and it is something else completely to write literary smut. Robin Anderson writes literary smut and he can do so because his use of language who is so excellent. I believe the only way to describe what he writes is outrageous.

Now in his memoir, it is difficult to know what is memory and what is imagination. Actually it makes no difference since this is a fun read. I really have no idea how to summarize the plot and even if I tried I would not do it justice. While it is not written in the stream of consciousness, it is written to take you to places you have never been before and probably never even heard of. Robin Anderson himself describes this book as a “sumptuous feast of savoury and unsavoury [the British spelling] delights” and a phrase like that shows why he is a writer and I am not. The characters that you will meet here are unlike any you have ever met and they are part of a read unlike any you have ever read before. Do as I do—float in, turn on and enjoy. More than that you do not need to do but if you feel you do want to delve deeper, that is also a possibility.

“Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel” by Meg Gardiner— A Serial Killer

Gardiner, Meg. “Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel, Dutton, 2018.

A Serial Killer

Amos Lassen

Women in southern Texas have been disappearing on Saturday nights. Some of you might think that this is a strange way to begin a review but it is actually a summary statement about the plot. There is nothing in common as to how they disappear and

Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, is afraid that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin. Caitlin and her crime unit discover the first victim’s body in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown in the woods. A second victim wears a white night gown and is found deeper in the woods. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos of a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style.

Caitlin knows that to find the UNSUB, she must get inside his mind and find out how he is selecting these women. She and a legendary FBI profiler search for the elusive point where character and action come together. “She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy.” Caitlin’s profile focuses on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. However, there is only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders and so the police allow him to escape. As another Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI are in game of cat and mouse, rushing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

Some of you might recognize that the plot is based on serial killer Ted Bundy. The plot moves quickly and we also learn about profiling.

“Look for Me” by Lisa Gardner— Families and Facts

Garner, Lisa. “Look for Me”, Dutton, 2018.

Families and Fates

Amos Lassen

Four members of one Boston family were savagely murdered and a fifth member of the family, sixteen year old Roxanna Baez is missing. No one knows if she was unable to escape or was kidnapped or even if she is responsible for the murders. Detective D. Warren is on the case as is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane, a “self-proclaimed victim-turned-vigilante”. The two seek different types of justice and they both must make sense of the clues left behind. Even though their alliance is strained, they know that they must work together.

If you enjoy reading suspense than this is the book for you. From the very first page, this is a thriller. Gardner shines a heartbreaking light on foster care and the twists and turns keep you reading and turning pages. We also get two unforgettable characters in the two strong women working on the case. Because this is a thriller, it is difficult to review without giving something away. Writer Garner deals with difficult issues here that include alcoholism, addiction and abuse. Roxanna is a character who is damaged by the system and wants to find the perfect family and she is very, very angry.

“Closer Than You Know” by Brad Parks— Disaster

Parks, Brad. “Closer Than You Know: A Novel,” Dutton, 2018


Amos Lassen

Melanie Barrick grew up foster care. She now has a loving husband, a steady job, and a beautiful baby boy named Alex. One Tuesday evening when she went to pick Alex up from childcare, she learned that he’d been removed by Social Services. No one would tell her why and Melanie is terrified because she knows “the system.” Things get even worse when she goes home to discover that her house was raided by sheriff’s deputies who found enough cocaine to put Melanie in prison for years. The evidence against her is overwhelming, and if Melanie can’t prove her innocence, she’ll lose Alex forever.

The attorney assigned to the case, Amy Kaye, is dealing with her own problems. She is working on a cold case that no one wants her to pursue about a serial rapist who has avoided detection by wearing a mask and whispering his commands and has victimized dozens of women over several years. One of those women was Melanie and the rapist just might be the key to being saved or ruined totally.

This is an emotional roller coaster that is filled with suspense and tension already on the first page. You should be prepared for a very strong plot filled with twists and turns and unforgettable characters. The ending will shock you and keep you thinking for days.

What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home” by Mark Mazower— A Family

Mazower, Mark. “What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home”, Other Press, 2018.

A Family

Amos Lassen

Mark Mazower shares the sacrifices and silences that marked a generation and their descendants. Here is a family that fate drove into the siege of Stalingrad, the Vilna ghetto, occupied Paris, and even into the ranks of the Wehrmacht. Markower’s British father was the lucky one, the son of Russian-Jewish emigrants who settled in London after escaping the Bolsheviks, civil war, and revolution. Max, his grandfather had been a socialist and manned the barricades against Tsarist troops, never speaking a word about it afterwards. His wife Frouma came from a family that had been “ravaged by the Terror yet making their way in Soviet society despite it all.” 

Here is the history of a socialism that has since been erased from memory and this is also “an exploration of the unexpected happiness that may await history’s losers, of the power of friendship and the love of place that made his father at home in an England that no longer exists.”

Mark Mazower’ writes about his grandfather’s secret life. It was secret only in that he didn’t share it with anyone in the family. Max lived through revolutions and world wars, survived due to his resourcefulness, timing, good luck, and connections. It’s an interesting, but hardly notable story, because it’s one that was shared by so many other refugees. To his grandson, this is a thrilling tale of discovery about a man who died before he was even born. This is a family history that also gives an overview of the political unrest that influenced both people and politics during the first half of the last century. The book covers the history of Eastern European Jews in Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, beginning in the 1880s and traveling through the better part of the next century and beyond. The story is told from the point of view of the author’s father, Bill and his grandfather, Max.

After his father Yowl died, Max Mazower’s mother moved him and his two brothers to Vilna which was then an economic and intellectual center in Europe and known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Max changed his name, first to Marcus and then to Max. He and his two brothers quickly found work. The young men all joined the Bund and its influence grew with the Tsarist pogroms.

By 1902 the Bund had already attracted Tsarist spies and its members had suffered numerous arrests; Max was arrested and sentenced to three years in Siberia from where he escaped in July 1902, and then worked only under cover wherever the Bund wanted to organize.

In early 1907, Max was again sent to Siberia, this time to live with a peasant family near Tomsk. He befriended a local policeman and with regular chess games convinced the officer to let him register not daily, as required, but alternative days and then, once weekly. After one chess game, Max rode a train to Tomsk and kept on through Moscow to Vilna; nearly apprehended a third time, he moved to London. Max ended his political activism but he maintained contacts with the Bundists, Mencheviks and other socialists. Through one old friend, he met his wife Frouma in about 1922, while selling for a steel company and married her in December 1923.

Author Mazower reconstructed facts from once-sealed Soviet archives, family letters, diaries, interviews with remaining friends and neighbors, and gives us a wonderful read. He pieces together the complex and fascinating story of his father’s apparent half-brother Andre Mazower Krylenko, including all the ugly factors that by 1965 had morphed him into a rabid anti-Semite. He never concludes exactly what happened to Andre, or when, since few details are available.

There were Bundists who were “critics of Israel” and there were many who became ardent Zionists. These included David Ben Gurion who was a socialist at the outset. Like Ben Gurion, many former Bundist Zionists cherished Israel—and the need for a homeland for the Jewish people—due not only to events in Europe but also to the massive but barely recalled historic evils suffered by Jews in Muslim lands.

This is a book filled with memory and secrets. At the center of it is scholarly reconstruction of a family’s life and relations, friends, acquaintances, places, houses and adventures that were part of it it. Not only is this a biographical narrative; it is also a look at leftwing European Jewry throughout the 20th century. We see what historical research can yield, if there is determination, skill and boundless curiosity to pursue it. Here is also a family whose members Mazower got to know, love and respect. This is also “an inquiry into the importance of roots and the psychic contentment that comes with belonging.” 

 After discovering his grandfather’s work as an agent for the Jewish socialist Bund, Mazower, explores the efforts people later took to hide their involvement in the revolution. While this is the story of his grandfather, Mazower reconstructs the history of this largely forgotten Jewish socialist group that “was instrumental to the revolution’s success.”

“Hitler, Stalin and I: An Oral History” by Heda Margolius Kovaly— A Historical Memoir

Kovaly, Heda Margolius. “Hitler, Stalin and I: An Oral History”,DoppelHouse Press, 2018.

A Historical Memoir

Amos Lassen

 Heda Margolius Kovály (1919-2010) was a famed Czech writer and translator. Her bestselling memoir, Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague, 1941-1968 has been translated into more than a dozen languages and the crime novel she wrote “Innocence; or, Murder on Steep Street’ is based on her own experiences living under the oppressed regime of Stalin and was named an NPR Best Book in 2015.

“Hitler, Stalin and I” is based on interviews between Kovály and award-winning filmmaker Helena Treštíková. We read about Kovály’s family history in Czechoslovakia, the deprivations of Lodz Ghetto and how she miraculously left Auschwitz, fleeing from a death march. She was unable to find sanctuary amongst former friends in Prague as a concentration camp escapee, and participated in the liberation of Prague. Later under Communist rule, she was isolated socially and considered a pariah after her first husband Rudolf Margolius was unjustly accused of and executed for treason. After the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, she was exiled to America but still had love for her country and continued to believe in its people. She returned to Prague in 1996.

Kovaly expressed herself beautifully and maintained composure, even after she had such extremely difficult experiences. Nazism and Communism greatly affected her life but she always remained optimistic.

January 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the uprising that ended Soviet Union power post-WWII in Czechoslovakia and became known as the Prague Spring. November 2017 marked the 65 years after the infamous Stalin-influenced Slánský Trial that was intended to antagonize and execute Jewish leaders of the Communist Party in what was then Czechoslovakia. Kovaly was witness to both of these events. Her new oral history looks at persecutions that were rooted in strong political rhetoric of exclusion. Her husband Rudolf Margolius was unjustly accused of partaking in a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the ruling Communist Party in the infamous Slánský Trial and executed. Though Margolius and the other defendants who were executed in the trial were posthumously exonerated, subsequent democratically elected governments have never released a formal apology or official declaration of innocence for the men, demonstrating a common reluctance to see the misuse of power.

Despite being isolated socially for her husband’s harrowing fate and exiled in the United States after the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, Kovály remained an optimist. I know there is a bit of reluctance to read stories like this since we have been so filled with them but this is unique in that it is written by a woman and is a different slant on the Holocaust.

There is a wealth of information here about the Holocaust and crimes committed by Czechoslovakia’s communist regime and we also get a look at Czechoslovakia’s First Republic.

Kovaly’s story is engrossing, immediate and real. Kovaly speaks from within, from her soul and pulls us into her life. I actually read the book in one sitting because I did not feel I could or wanted to stop. Prepare yourselves for an emotional read.

“All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row” by James Patterson, Alex Abramovich and Mark Harvkey— Hernandez in Life and Death

Patterson, James with Alex Abramovich and Mike Harvkey. “All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row”, Little, Brown and Company, 2018.

Hernandez in Life and Death

Amos Lassen

James Patterson is known as the author of the Alex Cross series and other thrillers novels has now written a book about Aaron Hernandez, the NFL-star-turned-convicted-killer who committed suicide in his jail cell last year and sparked bisexual rumors for allegedly leaving a note for his gay jailhouse lover.

Patterson has co-written “All American Murder” with Alex Abramovich and Mike Harvkey. Patterson says he felt “compelled” to write about Hernanadez because of his “fascinating, complicated, and troubling” story. He saw Hernandez as a gifted man, “His good looks, the smile, the beautiful fiancée, the baby girl, the $40 million NFL contract.”

Patterson is skeptical about Hernandez having had a gay jailhouse lover yet he’s not 100% sure. “We never talked to anybody who said there was something to that,” he said. “He was in his cell 22½ hours a day. He had virtually no contact with any prisoners. What could he do?” He does state that Hernandez experienced a jailhouse conversion and wrote “John 3:16” in blood on his jail cell wall. “He was clinging to this notion, real or imagined, that if he believed in Jesus he could be saved. But he was over the top with everything. His thinking was scrambled big-time.”

After his death, Hernandez was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that results from frequent blows to the head and can cause depression and violent mood swings. Patterson maintains that this could have had something to do with he murders.

“Football coaches, players, and fans called Aaron Hernandez unstoppable. His four-year-old daughter called him Daddy. The law called him inmate #174594.” Hernandez was a college All-American who became the youngest player in the NFL and later a Super Bowl veteran. He was a star tight end on the league-dominant New England Patriots with a contract for $40 million. His every move as a professional athlete played out in the headlines, yet he led a secret life-one that ended in a maximum-security prison. Something drove him to go so wrong.

He was the son of a University of Connecticut football hero known as “the King” and brother to a Huskies quarterback. Hernandez was the best athlete Connecticut’s Bristol Central High had ever produced. He chose to play football at the University of Florida, but by the time he arrived in Gainesville, he was already dealing with trouble.

Already between the summers of 2012 and 2013, not long after Hernandez made his first Pro Bowl, he was linked to a series of violent incidents culminating in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who dated the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins.

This is the first book to investigate Aaron Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction and the mystery of his own untimely and shocking death. It draws on original and in-depth reporting and is an explosive true story of a life cut short.

“THE SUNSHINE MAKERS”— Nicholas and Tim

“The Sunshine Makers”

Nicolas and Tim

Amos Lassen

“The Sunshine Makers” is the untold story of two men who were at the heart of 1960s American drug counterculture. They were on a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD and manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, Orange Sunshine, all while staying one step ahead of federal agents. The two men, Tim Scully and Nick Sand were LSD enthusiasts who became such big fans of the drug during the Sixties that they eventually made and distributed the infamous “Orange Sunshine” pill. They have said that they weren’t out to money, and live the glamorous life but were instead on a mission to enlighten the world and stop all war, violence, and bad vibes. Director Cosmo Feilding Mellen spends a lot of time with Scully and Sand who today are aging hippies who practically live regular and sedate lives. The film looks at the rise and fall of these men and their LSD empire in detail, and it also looks at the memories of this psychedelic odd couple as they visit lost loves and recall a time when they wanted everyone to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Their place in history paved the way for what we have today with the legalization of psychedelic drugs such as the Amazonian mushroom and other types of legal drugs that help to benefit the world, both psychologically and physically. In fact, consumers today are even able to indulge in shroom edibles amongst the many other varieties of magic mushrooms that have proven to be very popular.

In the late 1960s, they were giants who ruled the world and who took their first acid trips on opposite ends of the United States; Scully in San Francisco and Sand in New York. They came to a similar conclusion— if everyone took acid, it might just save the world.

They were both true believers, more interested in what they saw as the beneficial effects of psychedelic drugs than in the profit potential. When they met up and decided to start manufacturing their own LSD tablets in 1966 while Tim was ready to give the tablets away. Nick insisted on making a healthy profit, though that remained a secondary concern for him.

Getting the drugs into the hands of as many open-minded young people as possible was of paramount importance. The two men hooked up with Mike Randall, the leader of the Brotherhood of Love, a group that became their distributor.

A true believer in the benefits of acid, Randall and his group were more than happy to make the tablets that sparked the psychedelic revolution in San Francisco. Then Tim was arrested in 1969.

Law enforcement officials had been investigating Tim and Nick’s business since Blue Sunshine became a sensation, but were unable to start making arrests until after the laboratory had been moved to Denver, Colorado. The case was dismissed in 1971, but it was a harbinger of things to come. Tim decided it was time for him to move on. Nick, however, chose not to and this led to trouble for everyone.

“The Sunshine Makers” freely mixes new interviews with dramatized footage. Though interviews with two of the law enforcement officials who investigated Tom and Nick are included, the film’s primary objective is to give an affectionate portrait of the drug dealers as heroes of the psychedelic revolution. The film advocates for the charitable treatment of psychedelic drug dealers who all have only the best intentions for mankind in mind.

It has been said, “Tim Scully was not part of the psychedelic scene. He was the psychedelic scene.” He fine-tuned his acid-making skills with LSD pioneer Owsley Stanley, joining him for a spell building electronic equipment for the Grateful Dead.

After years of mystical trips and wild women, the 1960s ended and the ’70s were a bummer. Starting in 1977, Scully spent three years in prison after an epically bad trip. Once free, he worked in technology in Northern California and is now retired and researching a book on LSD.

Following a 1970s drug bust, Sand spent 23 years on the lam and was arrested in 1996 in British Columbia. Police uncovered his lab there, which had enough LSD to dose the whole of Canada two times over. He served six years in prison and is now living in Ecuador with his fifth wife.