Tom Wolfe wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test about Ken Kesey, a promising young writer, during Kesey's experimentations with LSD from about 1961 to 1964.
Kesey bought property in La Honda and moved his wife and children and assorted Merry Pranksters to the mountains outside of San Francisco. There they began throwing parties Kesey called Acid Tests, where revelers would ingest LSD, sometimes without their knowledge, and attempt to survive the often harrowing night. Kesey believed that one's personal fears should be confronted under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.
Musical performances by the Grateful Dead were commonplace, along with black lights, strobe lights, and day-glo paint. Kesey constantly pushed the limits with his own experimentations and eventually moved the Acid Tests into public places such as the Longshoreman's Hall, Muir Beach, or musical events at Bill Graham's Fillmore West. The Acid Tests are notable for their influence on the LSD-based counterculture of the San Francisco area and subsequent transition from the beat generation to the hippie movement.
A film adaptation of the book is in development for a 2011 release. It will be directed by Gus Van Sant. So far, no casting decisions have been announced, but both Woody Harrelson and Jack Black are being considered to star as Kesey.
"His hair has the long jesuschrist look. He is wearing the costume clothes. But most of all, he now has a very tolerant and therefore withering attitude toward all those who are still struggling in the old activist political ways . . . while he, with the help of psychedelic chemicals, is exploring the infinite regions of human consciousness. "
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)
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