"CHIEF!" I cried, "In the name of the Zippies, I hereby kidnap you for transport to the National Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming, for the first-ever rave at a Gathering.... surely a prank worthy of your pronoia! Will you come along peacefully?"
Kesey squinched-up his forehead at me, adjusted his hat, and squinted into the light of the video cameras.
"I've bitten the ankle of the beast," he replied. "Don't ask me to bite where you want to bite."
"What about inspiring the next generation?" I asked.
"Son," Kesey said, "I've done that movie... now it's your turn!" And roared off in his Cadillac.
Following a year filled with successes, failures, general chaos, and a mysterious split with the Pronoia Tour's spokesman Fraser Clark, the 14 members of last year's tour have been scattered to the corners of the globe. O what a magnificent soap opera, full of sound and fury...
and I have a few things I want to say:
Of course, many people in the world were ALREADY zippies, and we were not saying anything new to them. But we didn't come on tour, we didn't sacrifice material, emotional and physical well-being to be redundent. We did it in order to help counter the forces of domination that are trying so desperately to keep this planet in darkness. Looking back, I honestly believe we made strides on behalf of the global rave community-- by helping debunk false myths about "drug-crazed freaks" and "drop-out hedonism"... hopefully planting the idea in the minds of permit issuers and cops on the beat that-- hey-- ravers are good kids trying to have some honest fun. Did we sell out? Well, more than once we refused monetary assistance because we did not feel it was good karma to accept. We lost money at most of our events because we refused to charge, or when we did, to charge more than $5 or $10. More than a few of us are still in deep debt from participating in the tour. You tell me if we sold out...
Upon reaching San Francisco, Fraser suddenly began referring to the Tour's efforts as the product of evolution^, Fraser's own company name, instead of the Pronoia Tour, a name which represented the people actually doing the day-to-day sacrificing and work involved with throwing successful parties. We felt used, and we discovered that as a leader, Fraser was more ready to accept the spotlight and respect of a tribal elder than the responsibility that goes along with such leadership. To support this, I point to the disgruntled employees of Megatripolis UK, who had the exact same complaint about Fraser.
There was a pattern within Fraser ~beginning in London~ of selfish egoism that tarnished the brilliant, charming wit and light that is Fraser Clark... a willingness to say anything to get what was wanted at the moment, heedless of human cost. There were more than a few examples of taking credit for others' work, and for cynically leaving those who were no longer useful by the wayside, despite the hypocrisies involved, for the "sake of the movement". The 11 zippies who left Fraser felt this went against what pronoia was all about.
I am not even close to being the first to charge this. If I sound like an unappreciative punk, or overly judgemental and/or righteous, please understand that when the crew who built the original Megatripolis UK warned me of these things before the Tour left for the States, I vowed to judge the man for myself. That's all I ask of anyone reading this. He, of course, has his own version of what happened. I invite you to browse the page I devoted to his ideas, and from there, link to his own web site if you wish.
If you ask Fraser Clark why the Pronoia Tour zippies split with him, he would emphatically tell you it was because "they did not appreciate the legend" he had spent years building, and the "young idiots" wrongly assumed the magic of the Tour was due to their own efforts and not Fraser's networking and personal charisma. Fraser would say the Pronoia Tour zippies let "fame go to thier heads" and they forgot how it was they got to where they were. Fraser would place the blame on losing financial backing to the fact that the young Pronoia Tour "alpha males" who assumed leadership in times of crisis were paranoid, and lacked the experience and contacts that he himself had.
It is my sincere hope that Fraser has learned and grown from last year's trials-- I know I sure have.
From the beginning of the Tour in June, we were assured by the organizers of the World Unity Festival that space, permits, sanitation, food and water, heathcare, ecological and security matters were taken care of. About halfway through, when we found out that the World Unity Festival organizers were operating on a "if you build it they will come" basis, and were bluffing their way through the whole thing in hopes of it all magically coming together... we had some hard decisions to make. We found these things out after our split with Fraser, and proceeded to network to find an alternative site. We went so far as to send a contingent to Sedona, Arizona, to meet with local officals to try and book the Verde Valley Ampitheatre. It was DAMN CLOSE. But, we could not in good faith go ahead with the hype when real people with real lives were involved.
If you read the articles in Outside Magazine or High Times Magazine, you'll find that Fraser tried to go ahead with the Grand Canyon Mega-Rave, and had hastily gathered a new posse in San Francisco, mainly by demonizing the original Tour members, I've been told. The result was a pseudo-Rainbow Gathering type of festival, which was not really "zippy", but was mainly "hippie". (Except Rainbows never would have treated the ecosystem the way it was treated.) The High Times article contained an illuminating passage:
"Clark decided to pull the plug on the Zippies' Canyon party and and re-direct his energy towards opening a Megatripolis-style club in San Francisco... Then he caught wind of the European press, which was hyping the mega-rave as the Woodstock of the 90's... hype had overtaken reality; the show had to go on."
That says it all, in my humble opinion.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU from me to all the thousands of participants in cyberspace that made my summer an unforgettable experience (especially the WELL participants and the dood who sent that Philip K. Dick quote, whoever you are!)
"...all in all, rave is the greatest antidote yet for urban anonymity.peaceout sisters and brothers-- see ya in hyperspace!
when you open your heart, and trust the whole group you dance with;
when you feel love with everyone, and they return it, a higher
vibration can be reached. dance is the supreme gesture of abandon,
the embrace of the moment, the abeyance of work and the annihilation
of guilt, neurosis, and the burden of the past. no one can write a
*rave manifesto* . . . there is no unified voice to rave culture,
and there are no rules. ranting is the opposite of raving. remember,
the scene is still growing. just keep it going, don't give up hope.
you might think to yourself sometimes, man, the scene is fucked, it's
dying, it's changing, it's shit. just hang in there and change with
the times. don't get caught up in the good old days. they were good
but keep the scene happening all around the world. to rave is to affirm."