A Kenneth Anger story (1927-2023)

Back in 1965 the author Ken Kesey invited the underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger (most well known for the film “Lucifer Rising” and the book “Hollywood Babylon”) and some of his friends to visit him for a party at his place in LA Honda where he lived with various Merry Pranksters. So one evening, Anger and the Pranksters are all hanging out in the woods at Kesey’s place, partying. Kesey had rigged the woods around his house to blow people’s minds when they were tripping on acid, and there were amplifiers and microphones hidden behind the trees to provide weird psychedelic sound effects, as well as light projectors, and trees painted day-glow colors. So anyways they’re all sitting around in this little amphitheater in the woods when suddenly this bright and blinding spotlight gets turned on. And the light shines directly at this little golden cage that’s dangling from a tree branch above. And there’s a live chicken inside the cage. The cage is then slowly lowered to the ground by a pulley, where it rests alongside this tree stump — that’s painted golden — with a golden axe stuck into the tree stump. Keep in mind everything else is pitch black aside from the glowing golden axe in the center of the spotlight. So you can imagine how jarring and bewildering this all suddenly is, especially if your mind has been altered by certain chemicals. Then, one of the Merry Pranksters proceeded to pull the golden axe out of the stump, grabbed the chicken out of the cage and placed it face-down on the tree stump. And then chopped it’s head off with one mighty blow. Then he threw the headless chicken — spurting blood from its neck and flapping it’s wings wildly — at Kenneth Anger and his friends.

Kenneth Anger and his friends immediately jumped up and rushed out of there in anger and disgust, greatly shocked and offended by the whole spectacle. They got in there cars and left, and never returned.

Ken Kesey later quipped: “I guess we out-eviled them.” Ha ha.


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