In honor of the Furthur Bus’ Fiftieth Anniversary “Golden Road Tour” the Golden Road Gallery will be touring, presenting a special Ken Kesey exhibit titled “50 Years Furthur”.
In 1964 the celebrated young novelist Ken Kesey, feeling he was part of an emerging art movement called The Neon Renaissance, purchased a converted school bus and got his Stanford classmates to pitch in on painting a sort of madhouse rolling Jackson Pollack, wired for sound with speakers on the inside and out. He and his friends then took their new creation on a cross-country road trip to New York for the publication party for Kesey’s second novel, which coincided with the New York World’s Fair. In the interest of art, Kesey brought along camera equipment and filmed the adventure, hoping to create the world’s first “cinema novel.”
The “cinema novel” (a movie they dubbed “Intrepid Traveler and His Merry Band of Pranksters Search For A Kool Place”) never made a Hollywood debut and only found its home in VHS and DVD format thirty years after it was recorded. But the influence of the bus trip endured far beyond the life of the recording, largely as a result of Tom Wolfe’s successful “New Journalism” bestseller, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
The Golden Road Gallery, a traveling rock and roll art show that has been featured at many festivals in the United States from 1999 to the present, has a special collection of Ken Kesey artifacts amassed largely as a result on an ongoing working relationship with Ken Kesey’s son, Zane Kesey.
The collection covers the expanse of Ken Kesey’s career, starting with designs culled from Kesey’s mental institution sketches created for One For Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, includes rare promotional flyers for Kesey’s literary journal “Spit In The Ocean”, and carries all the way through to his final novel, “Last Go Round”…
When Kesey took his 1964 bus trip there was no archetype for the ’60s psychedelic school bus. Kesey created the Magic Bus explosion that led The Who to record the song “Magic Bus” and The Beatles to create their “Magical Mystery Tour” movie. Kesey was “too young to be a beatnik and too old to be a hippie” but his life and work spread considerable influence on art and culture, largely as a result of his celebrated writing career.
The 50 Years Furthur Exhibit hopes to educate and entertain in equal parts, celebrating the talents of this seminal author as both writer and cultural avatar.
Then we’ll move on to The Gathering of the Vibes, the venue where The Golden Road Gallery got its start fifteen years ago.