Blazing through the Big Industry Show by Jason “Lightning Yoda” Gerry

Jerome Baker and Jason Gerry

Jerome Baker and Jason Gerry

Denver, Colorado, April 15, 2015
Jack and I hopped into the yellow school bus and we rolled on down the road to the Big Industry Show in Denver. On our way we stopped by the dab tower in LoDo to get properly motivated for the cannabis industry trade show. Well shit!, there was over two hundred vendors selling everything from fine art, dab and flower rigs and bongs of shapes and sizes yet to be imagined by anyone but the most high of the high. There were rolling papers the the size of bed sheets all the way to perfectly pre-rolled empty cones with filter for your filling pleasure. Enails, Electric e-pens, ceramic nails, glass nails, titanium nails, 747 nails, even this uber slick vacuum gas pump soda straw style dab apparatus attachment. There was gardening supplies, fertilizers, super double your yield shit, bat shit , chicken shit, worm shit and yes horse shit but that’s some good shit, apparel, accessories, vaporizers and this random section entitled miscellaneous with things that you wouldn’t believe.

That being said I needed to get focused. I could get artistically high, but not couch-lock high. We had a plan. We had vendors that we needed to meet, and deals we needed to close. We were here for a reason. I’m always on the sleuth for Abakus, however this pressing matter involved “The Smoke Shop,” a glass, gifts, souvenirs and art gallery/emporium about to open in Alma Colorado at the elevation of 10,582 feet with a zip code of 80420.

Most important, we wanted to find Jerome Baker Glass Designs, Nectar Collectors, Glow Industries, 420 supply, and best value vac, and a few other details, before we got distracted by the copious amount of cannaproducts that will soon be on the shelves of your local headshop. After seven dings of the elevator we reached the Penthouse Suite. I’m not sure what was hotter, the view of Denver’s sky line or the e-nail. A little Colorado kush shatter for lasting comfort, a poke and a few tokes of some Silver Haze x Diesel to liven up the step and a little Grape Ape bubblehash through a Mobius water bubbler. Oh, I almost forgot the 20 megs of Incredibles white chocolate. As I turned towards the door, the host Ryan finished brewing his hand-ground slow-drip island coffee and poured me a cup for the ride. Did you you want some coconut sugar with that?

Next thing I know it’s like fucking frogger, crossing market street, driving I-25. Thank god I’m in the passenger seat and the bus is safety yellow. Denver is full of people all going somewhere. Just where some are going, we’ll never know. The bus lurches to a stop at the sprawling Denver Mart and we eject with our preregistered, printed tickets in hand. I get a free wrist waxing as the lady attaches the wrist bands glue to my arm. We are in!

And shit, like a squirrel, butterfly, or scared hare we are suddenly all over the place. “Check this out…did you see that…whoohoo….check this. Stop! Follow the plan! Find JBG! Center isle, three rows down on the left and follow the tunnel! JBG was at the end.

It’s just the beginning for us. Our first glass order. And JB is there to take it. The man! One of the hardest working glass artists out there for many many years and counting and he is working the booth. Let me say this, JB not only knows how to flow with glass, that man can close a sale. We talked for a few and he went back on the rhyme moving his glass divine. The thing about tunnels is they lead you to the other side, so in we went… Damn! I love vape pens, convenient and effective. And bam! The glow at the end of the tunnel was Glow Industries. They are a one-stop shop for your headshop. We snagged a catalog titled Book of Revelations and talked with the Glow team. Later we moved along the vast rows of glass, lava stone and vape pens galore in booths lined through out the convention center. Occasionally I’d need to put on my sunglasses as we walked by cannabis plants growing under every type of light imaginable. You could feel the positive energy being emitted from the growing cannabis. People congregated by them enjoying their beauty. We turn the row and Nectar Collector is right in front of us. Stellar works of functional glass artistry with the infusion of Raven’s fine metal working delicately wrapping copper laden with fine crystals and stones perched on custom stands made with re-purposed gears from the inside of huge engines. Wow. Three thousand dollar bongs. Shit, the Green Goddess Nectar Collector collaboration piece in Ed Rosenthal’s book Beyond Buds is Louve quality, last I heard it was about $10,000. NC has branched out to offering vape pens and cool necklace nectar collectors with a nice leather tip protector so you don’t get branded…. I grabbed a sticker that says “just the tip please.”

There was a hallway leading to the hortiCulture grow expo area and a double glass door leading outside to the food vendor area. When the smell of food wafted through, it beat out the bright warm glow of the tunnel leading to the gazillions of lumens room. As we stood in line a dude in a black Adidas jogging suit says come over to the RV. Then fist pumps and yells TEXAS! As we approach the huge rear engine Prevost bus it hits us! Ganja and grills! They had some cool pipes for sale, kava kava, urine cleaner and yes chicken burgers and cold water. Refueled and refreshed ready to enter the tunnel once more, an amazingly sweet lady from Oregon offers up a joint of her Oregonian sunshine weed. After a few tokes I can say that Oregon represents strongly. I raise my freshly waxed left hand as I enter the security gate gaining access to hippy heaven once again calling out to Jack, left? right? center? He replies center then exits stage right! Wwwhhhhaaaattt!!! We gotta get Munze’ at the airport he’s back from Florida just in time for the Cup. We walk towards the daylight through the tunnel for “the showcase of the world’s top glass artists” and meander around gorgeous intricate cannabis delivery devices. We bust out into the cool Colorado air and hop into Da Bus with a feeling of success. I pull out the big industry guide book, reach into my shirt pocket and grab the “pure hemp” papers the rep gave me inside, pulled out some nugs and spin up a fat one. He’s been in Florida a long time. A Colorado welcome fatty. There’s just something special about that simple delivery device we call a J….

Report from Spain by Mojamba

DabADooWax (800x450)Before I can start to report on Barcelona you should know I´m a guy from Germany, a country trapped in medieval times when it comes to drug policy. Needless to say, cannabis is illegal in Germany, and there are no comparable events like the Spannabis, which happens every year in Barcelona. It was my first cannabis trade show and amazing to see how big the European industry has grown despite of the restrictions, although because of the new, so-called “grow shop law” which took place in the Netherlands on March the 1st, the Dutch industry is starting to suffer.

It was not my first trip to Spain, but my very first visit in Barcelona. After reading a lot about the Cannabis Social Clubs in this City, I was curious to see what´s going on there.
But after short relaxing in the hotel, we first went to visit the famous Dab-A-Doo and meet our friends from Nor Cal Genetics and Delta 9 Labs. It was a huge smoke-in with friendly people and a good spirit. Pretty impressing for a guy from Germany to see people dab that much concentrates, it felt a little bit like the German Oktoberfest for Cannabis enthusiasts.

DabADoo1 (800x450)The location was nice and the atmosphere was familiar, people were dabbing all the time and testing the different entries, before the winners were announced and the after show party begun. After a nice talk to Marc Emery and a delicious dab from my buddy Jon Das, I was too stoned to take more pictures and unable to stay much longer. I deeply regret I didn’t had the chance to thank Mila from Pollinator Crew for the invitation to this legendary event.

On Friday we moved over to the Spannabis. After a long sleep and several joints and dabs with Markus, that wicked guy from Austria who was in the same hotel, we drove to the fair in Cornellá by Car. Many people were waiting at the counter to get their tickets and the crowd was getting bigger and bigger. Luckily the counter for press accreditation was empty so we got inside without any waiting time.

Jorge Cervantes

Jorge Cervantes

When walking through the main entrance, the first thing to see was a fast food heaven with a tasty smell of barbecue all around. A DJ on a stage turned the scene into a party with smoking stoners everywhere. The fair was held in one hall and two big tents, where about 200 companies had a booth to present many interesting products. Everybody was smoking weed and the security didn’t gave a shit about it, even though smoking inside was prohibited. I guess this trade show-sheriffs were kind of confused to separate the smoke of flowers from the smoke of the extracts, which obviously were allowed to smoke at the stands inside. For me, the most impressing experience was to take a hit from the Sublimator with its smooth and gentle taste.

Also I was happy to see my friend Nol van Schaik. The Dutch coffeeshop entrepreneur did a nice video reporting about the fair and the Hemp Museum for John Dope TV from the UK. You can find the videos on their you tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDPB4og82XMf5V2whawD-2Q

Thanks to my friend Edu, who is an executive of the HQ Association we knew where to go after the fair and so we went to the city center to become members of a Cannabis Social Club. We had to pay a yearly fee of € 30,- to enter the Club and buy some flowers. The club is a really nice place and more similar to a bar or a nightclub than to the coffeeshops of Amsterdam.

On Saturday evening we went to the the Secret Cup, a 3 day concentrate contest which took place in Barcelona for the first time. The Cup was located in a private villa in the suburbans and hosted by Jeremy and MJ. We were very happy to hang around and dab with Giddy Up and many other lovely people from the United States, Canada, Poland and several other countries. Because of a misunderstanding we unfortunately missed day two of the event on Sunday and stayed at HQ again this evening.

Because we had to fly back home on Monday morning we couldn’t be part of the final show of the Secret Cup, which took place in the Hemp Museum of Barcelona. But we enjoyed our time in Barcelona very much anyway and we will definitely come back soon. To see how relaxed and liberal Catalonia handles Cannabis, was a refreshing experience for a true child of German prohibition like I am.

John Sinclair releases “Mohawk” by Alec Pearce

mohawk coverIt was a typical grey cloudy, rainy morning in Amsterdam. John Sinclair and I have finished our “ritual” morning poffergies eaten, New York Times collected and are on the tram traveling to the Noord, soon arriving at EI studios, a breaking edge-recording studio. The EI studio is the brainchild of Tim Edmond who greets us at the door. We are ushered among movable sound walls with miles of cable, neatly arranged to a modern recording studio, complete with all the immunities.

Steve “The Fly” Pratt talented musician, writer and arranger of the album, arrives shortly afterward to a cloud of thick smoke, as Sinclair gets his head right while smoking “White Widow.” Amsterdam’s world famous 420 Café has sponsored our head for the day.

It all becomes a little foggy, as Sinclair is led to a sound stage, a colorful soundproof booth, as cameras are set up, helping to record the moment, mic levels checked. I feel something magic is about to happen.

john 2As if in a trance, John slips on his headphones and for the next few hours, something happens deeply channeled from years of history, surging and pouring from the tattered spiral manuscripts. Writings of poems, songs, deep memories of love, lost women, all spoken and re-spoken take followed by take. While all the time free styling to riffs of Charlie” Bird” Parker, John” Dizzie” Gillespie and Monk play into the headphones as John rhymes to the beat. John sometimes  gets emotional reviewing writings from twenty years prior, dragging up a flood of memories. Sinclair lets it flow, flow it does. An epic session was taking place. A few breaks in the session, to adjust the head and rest the creative juices flowing from everyone present, the elevated and energetic mood was wafting through the room as the odor of burning ganja. After all, we are with a counterculture icon, and enjoy the moment as Steve Fly has been in the control room mixing to the headphones all the while. As the smoke clears with session over, we all pose for one final photo, have one last joint and walk into history.

White Panther/John Sinclair Seeds

White Panther/John Sinclair Seeds

Iron Man Records soon to be released album Mohawk has something fresh, and un-heard, with skillfully mixed and remixed tracks written and laid down by The Fly

While having not heard the final product, I did listen to a few out takes of the time and I think everyone is in for a treat from a couple Mokums A.K.A. Amsterdamers in the Mohawk album.

Maybe light up a “J” check it out the artwork by CHU and listen to a legend named Mr. John Sinclair. As John often laments “It’s all good.”
I was there.

Beat Street Tribute Rocks B.B. King’s

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.09.44 AMI didn’t know what to expect when The Aquariusboyz announced a Beat Street Tribute for B.B. King’s.

But it was a chance for me to reconnect with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in 30 years, so I knew I was showing up.

But when the world’s greatest turntablist GranWizzard Theodore took the stage, and hip hop queen Sha-Rock got on the mic, and a circle formed on the dance floor (60-year-old b-boys went to the floor battling kids less than a third their age), I knew we’d reached epic status.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.11.56 AMI brought 20 copies of my just-released 300-page book Hip Hop: The Complete Archives to give away and Sha Rock never let go of her copy (that’s the back cover in her hand). She shouted out my name repeatedly over the course of the night, and at one point took my hand and did a little hip hop dance with me. It was quite an honor to be so recognized by such a great goddess.

Things were getting so hyped I wondered if some aging b boy or b girl might injure themselves while bringing back 30-year-old moves.

The magic this crew gathers whenever they congregate is palpable. They were the kids who reinvented everything as they were entering high school. And even though they were told by the media they lived in the worst ghetto in America, they proved cultural skills and improvisational energy have nothing to do with bling. This was the generation that created art for its own sake, as a proof of their worth to the universe. And they still haven’t cashed in. And most people just don’t seem to understand what hip hop was before it went off the rails. If you want to find that true hip hop spirit, these are the people that manifest it best.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.11.13 AMAs far as the wheels of steel go, nobody compares  with Theodore, the inventor of the scratch. When you want to have a true South Bronx old school party, he is always the first deejay of choice.

Which is not to put down the trinity, Kool Herc, the Godfather, Afrika Bambaataa, the prophet who realized “peace, unity and having fun” was the mission, and graffiti, breaking and rapping the vehicles, and Grandmaster Flash, originator of the quick-cut endless peak that took deejaying to new levels. Sadly, none of the trinity made it to the show, or at least I didn’t see them, but the house was packed, so I’m sure I missed a few in the chaos that emerged after the b boys and b girls started going off.

Busy Bee opens my new book Hip Hop with a performance at Bronx River Projects in the early 1980s, and he’s considered the greatest lead-off batter when it comes to old school.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.10.36 AMAnd Bee did not disappoint as he delivered a classic that transported everyone back to 1980, or at least the ones in the audience like me old enough to have been there when Bee took emcee crown at Harlem World three years in a row, a reign that lasted until Kool Mo Dee elevated rap to a new level.

The club was packed with video cameras so you’ll probably be seeing the evidence on YouTube any day now.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.09.05 AMEmcee G.L.O.B.E. and Debbie Dee were the first two I ran into, so they were the first two to score a free copy of the new book.

G.L.O.B.E. and I once worked on a project with Whiz Kid for a record that was supposed to come out with my original hip hop book. Tommy Boy records was working on that project, but it got hopelessly bogged down in legal issues as I was trying to use the real hip hop anthems in a mix-up that would recreate the sound of the original parties. He asked me, “When’s the last time you saw Tom Silverman?” “Probably around seven years ago at a Deepak Chopra event in SoHo,” I answered. And suddenly there was Tom Silverman standing at our table and waving hello.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.10.12 AMThere were only a few writers passing around piece books, but the work was epic as well.

I find creativity is telepathic and when you have an orgy of creative energy, it can be amplified and shared around the room. And the first generation of hip hop remain the world’s greatest masters at manifesting improvisational energy, and it’s an awesome feeling when that energy starts going off in all directions and all forms of artistic expression. Sadly, this generation never really made anything off their inventions, and someday I hope the world discovers they are the fountain of the real hip hop magic as well as the road home.

Return of the master of psychological horror

McNaughtonI first met John McNaughton in 1967, when he was dressed like a Carnaby-street mod and sported a rock’n’roll shag haircut while playing organ during the neighborhood jam sessions with his high school buddy Robert Brandel, who also performed professionally as the guitarist for an otherwise black soul band called the Gaypoppers back in the mid-1960s in Illinois.

After getting a degree in communications with a minor in art, he ended up studying television and photography before landing a entry position with an advertising agency in Chicago, where he was instantly known as the best-dressed dude in the agency, despite being lowest on the totem pole. Right before he moved to Chicago, he’d been driving a Jaguar and dating the hottest rock’n’roll diva in town, and it seemed like the sky was the limit.

But John didn’t appreciate life inside an ad agency and he ended up hitting the road with a carnival for a year while taking thousands of photos. He eventually landed in New Orleans, where his immense rolls of film were placed into a refrigerator as he could not afford to develop them. There was a whole group of counterculture refugees in New Orleans who were training to become deep sea divers. This was a wild bunch known for tearing up the town in between long stints sitting in decompression chambers somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. John was paying the rent designing jewelry at the time. I remember coveting a silver lightning-bolt pin he designed and I wonder if any of this amazing jewelry has survived.

When I landed a Hollywood film deal with Beat Street, John was working with a somewhat sleazy video distributor on a plan to turn the story of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas into a low budget slasher film. John called and asked me if I wanted to co-write the script, but I had to admit violence wasn’t my forte. John ended up finding the perfect writer in Chicago, because the film they came up with became one of the greatest horror films of all time, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which was made for less than $100,000 and contained some of the best acting of the decade.

I did mange to make my mark on the film, however, because I strongly suggested John consider putting the song Psycho by the Sonics into the film. At this time, the Sonics were mostly forgotten (although they just relaunched with a new album), but I knew they played a big and as yet undiscovered role in the punk movement that came out of CBGB’s. But it was John’s genius that used the song as the soundtrack for a snuff film made by the demented and sadistic killers, a video they watch over and over. It is the creepiest moment of a very creepy film.

After Henry, John was fast-tracking up the ladder to the tippy-top of Hollywood and soon had a production deal with Martin Scorcese, and was hanging out with Robert De Niro, Bill Murray and Uma Thurman. But to succeed in that game takes a lot of finesse, and much luck, and although John made a string of notable films, including Wild Things, when the industry crashed economically, like most directors he found himself suddenly wanting for projects as nothing was getting funded for many years.

John went back to Chicago to take care of his ailing parents and dove into that mission for a decade before reemerging last year with a new film called The Harvest. This is a truly disturbing film that is guaranteed to take you on a wild psychological voyage to places you didn’t expect to discover. It’s really a modern re-make of the Hansel and Gretel myth, with an unexpected twist on the witch role.

The film opened simultaneously yesterday in theaters and on IFC in-demand, and instantly zoomed to number two on the list. I predict this film will soon be elevated to cult status, so you might want to check it out.

Assassins first gigThere’s another facet to John that almost nobody knows about: he was the original organist for the Soul Assassins and performed at their first public concert, a High Times Christmas party in New York City (that’s him on the far left with the band just before we took the stage). Someday the band will hold an epic reunion, we just don’t know when.

Remembering Judith Malina

440px-Piscator-PortraitErwin Piscator and Bertold Brecht reinvented theater during the great unsung Weimar Republic in Germany. Creative energy and enlightenment were manifesting so fast at the time the Central Bankers were forced to collapse the currency in order to restore fascism to the throne of Europe’s most powerful economy.

But there was that glorious decade when Piscator ran the People’s Theater in Berlin and was integrating multimedia into theater while deconstructing it from an entertainment vehicle to a path to enlightenment. Before the Nazis came to power, Piscator immigrated to New York City and began teaching a Dramatic Workshop at The New School attended by Marlon Brandon among others.

One of his students was a young girl named Judith Malina, who would soon reinvent theater along with painter/poet Julian Beck when they created The Living Theater and began holding performances on the second floor of an ancient wooden building on the Upper West Side, around the corner from where Malina’s parent’s lived. Beck was a Yale student when they first met, and Judith was 17-years-old.

JudithMalinaThere were some synergistic elements that contributed to the evolution of experimental theater, and The Living Theater represented the height of that evolution. The troupe began doing yoga and living together communally, while also experimenting with psychedelic substances and improvisation. Their greatest work, Paradise Now, was so transformational that at the end of the performance, the audience sometimes took to the streets to make a protest for world peace.

When I moved to New York City in 1979, Malina and Beck had just returned from decades of exile in Europe. They had been hounded out of the country as subversives during the 1960s. I remember when I first saw Julian standing on the corner outside my Upper West Side apartment. He was unmistakable, very tall and very bald on top with long hair down to his shoulders. I was awestruck to find him just hanging out in my neighborhood and it would take years before I made it into their nearby family apartment, and by that time, Julian had passed.

Judith became a huge stoner late in life and once got taken to the local police station when she was caught walking down 98th street casually smoking a joint. They let her go with a $100 fine. Pot was like daily bread to Judith and she paid little attention to the fact it was illegal. When I wrote a screenplay about growing up in Central Illinois in the 1960s, I offered her a role and we soon held a reading at The Living Theater that was well-received. Judith was not happy with her role, however, but only because she felt it didn’t have enough lines and I should add some more. She also worried that my ending was very dark and pessimistic, as if sending the message that the 1960s revolution had been a failure and not a success. “But isn’t that what happened?” I asked. “Didn’t they successfully co-opt everything and depoliticize the population?” Perhaps, said Judith, but (and I am paraphrasing here) it was our job to inspire the change.

Judith kept inspiring and fighting the revolution for enlightenment and world peace until she took her last breath at age 88 on April 10th 2015.

Her spirit is a good place to be.

1920px-Living_Theatre_05

My letter to Bill Levin

billlevinDear Bill:

Now you probably know how I felt after creating the Freedom Fighters and Cannabis Cup. Marijuana carries immense vibrations, and what begins as a lark sometimes turns into something epic.

I don’t prescribe ceremonies and prefer everyone to make up their own, but I’d like to share a brief sketch of my 45-year-long history organizing counterculture ceremonies, something that began in 1967 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, when I published the largest underground newspaper in Central Illinois, The Tin Whistle. One of my primary inspirations from the period was the late James Wilson, later to become known as Chef Ra, who organized the Freedom Fighter Campground Free Kitchen (Rasta Pasta Pesto), and was everyone’s favorite speaker at the Hash Bash, until his heart exploded in his sleep on Christmas Eve a few years ago (RIP Ra). Some of the other ceremonial masters I studied under include John Cage, Jasper Grootveld, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Ken Kesey, Mountain Girl, Ken Babbs, Paul Krassner, Wavy Gravy. I could keep going…there were so many influences and inspirations because I brought a different team to every Cannabis Cup for 20 years while I organized that event and I always put them in charge of all ceremonies.

It requires a harmonized team to manifest great ceremonies, and I began by assembling the greatest artists, performers, vocalists, musicians, drummers and making them my core. This team became known as the Temple Dragon Crew after a speech made by Stephen Gaskin at a Cup 420 ceremony. We employ seven candles in our ceremonies, and a different person lights each one and says something. That’s how the ceremony starts. Everything is improvisational and the candles provide a sort of group sermon, and the person who lights a candle, selects the next person and so on, so you never know how the energy is going to pass around the room, but it’s all good no matter what happens. At some point in the service we form a circle, respect a moment of silence and then do an OM. I believe the OM has been passed down from the original cannabis religions from over 5,000 years ago in India and Persia. It is very effective way to harmonize people in preparation for group improvisation.

JAIN CENTER, ENGLANDThen the jam begins and everyone participates, and hemp paper and hemp oil sticks can be distributed for those who don’t sing, dance or play drums. The idea is to manifest a telepathic field of pure creativity, which is a palpable telepathic force that can be passed around and amplified with practice. Cannabis is an aid to amplifying creative power, especially when used in ceremonies.

The reason we invite a different person to be High Priestess and High Priest at every ceremony is to prevent corruption and personality cults. Any elements that stick, like the seven candles (representing the seven lights of cannabis as realized by Alex Grey at the Cup), are things that keep appearing at every ceremony.

The mission to topple the hoodwink manipulating religion to manifest war for profit is important, and from a small ripple, great changes can emerge. We can only reform religion by working from within the paradigm, not by trying to banish it off the face of the earth, a jihad under another name.

If you ever want our Temple Dragon Crew to perform at your church, just let us know. The crew involves Grandmaster Caz (vocals), Fantuzzi (congas), Me (guitar), Dino (theremin), Jet (guitar), Larry (violin) and members of the Cannabis Cup Band, who are considered among the greatest reggae session players in New York City. However, most of us would require travel expenses, and I can’t guarantee everyone would show, but I do promise to leave behind a set of seven candles for your church to enjoy.

much love,

Steve