A Harp Played with a Heavy Distortion Pedal

You’ve had the thought experiment in your head. What would happen if you run a harp through a heavy distortion pedal? Now you can see how it all plays out. Emily Hopkins has been playing the harp for over 20 years and has recently taken to experimenting with harp distortion. Above, you can watch her experiment with the Nepenthes by Electrofoods, the heaviest distortion pedal she could find. Other pedal distortion experiments can be found here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content: 

A Brief History of Guitar Distortion: From Early Experiments to Happy Accidents to Classic Effects Pedals

Two Guitar Effects That Revolutionized Rock: The Invention of the Wah-Wah & Fuzz Pedals

Visualizing Bach: Alexander Chen’s Impossible Harp

Pink Floyd Songs Played Splendidly on a Harp Guitar: “Comfortably Numb,” “Wish You Were Here” & More

Take a Trip to the LSD Museum, the Largest Collection of “Blotter Art” in the World

When Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters kicked off Haight-Ashbury’s counterculture in the 1960s, LSD was the key ingredient in their potent mix of drugs, the Hell’s Angels, the Beat poets, and their local band The Warlocks (soon to become The Grateful Dead). Kesey administered the drug in “Acid Tests” to find out who could handle it (and who couldn’t) after he stole the substance from Army doctors, who themselves administered it as part of the CIA’s MKUltra experiments. Not long afterward, Grateful Dead soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley synthesized “the purest form of LSD ever to hit the street,” writes Rolling Stone, and became the country’s biggest supplier, the “king of acid.”

Whatever uses it might have had in psychiatric settings — and there were many known at the time — LSD was made illegal in 1968 by the U.S. government, repressing what the government had itself helped bring into being. But it has since returned with newfound respectability. “Once dismissed as the dangerous dalliances of the counterculture,” writes Nature, psychedelic drugs are “gaining mainstream acceptance” in clinical treatment. Psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD “have been steadily making their way back into the lab,” notes Scientific American. “Scientists are rediscovering what many see as the substances’ astonishing therapeutic potential.”

None of this comes as news to San Francisco fixture Mark McCloud. “In the same moralistic manner many San Franciscans pontificate on the health benefits of marijuana,” writes Gregory Thomas at Mission Local, “McCloud and his friends tout the merits of acid.” Next to curing “anxiety, depression and ‘marital problems,’” it is also an important source  of folk art, says McCloud, the owner and sole proprietor of the informally-named “LSD Museum” housed in his three-story Victorian home in San Francisco.

His mission in creating and maintaining the museum formally called the Institute of Illegal Images, he says, is to “preserve a ‘skeletal’ remnant of San Francisco’s drug-induced 1960s legacy, ‘so maybe our children can better understand us.’”

Specifically, as Culture Trip explains, McCloud preserves the art on sheets of blotter acid. As is clear from the many pop cultural references on blotter art — like Beavis and Butthead and techno artist Plastikman (who named his debut album Sheet One) — the 60s blotter acid legacy extended far beyond its founders’ vision in underground scenes throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s, and oughts.

Also known as the Blotter Barn or the Institute of Illegal Images, McCloud’s house is located on 20th Street between Mission and Capp. The house preserves over 33,000 sheets of LSD blotter, treating them like tiny little works of art. Most of the sheets are framed and hanging on McCloud’s walls, decorating the home with vibrant colors and patterns, and the rest are kept safe in binders. The house also features a perforation board, allowing McCloud to turn any work of art sized 7.5 by 7.5 inches into 900 pieces, as is typical for LSD blotter sheets.

McCloud has faced intense scrutiny from the FBI, and on a couple of occasions — in 1992 and again in 2001 — arrest and trial by “not very sympathetic” juries, who nonetheless acquitted him both times. Despite the fact that he has a larger collection of blotter acid sheets than the DEA, he and his museum have withstood prosecution and attempts to shut them down, since all the sheets in his possession have either never been dipped in LSD or have become chemically inactive over time. (The museum’s website explains the origins of “blotter” paper as a means of preparing LSD doses after the drug was criminalized in California in 1966.)

“What fascinates me about blotter is what fascinates me about all art. It changes your mind,” says McCloud in the Wired video at the top of the post. None of his museum’s artwork will change your mind in quite the way it was intended, but the mere association with hallucinogenic experiences is enough to inspire the artists “to build the myriad of subject matter appearing on the blotters,” Atlas Obscura writes, “ranging from the spiritual (Hindu gods, lotus flowers) to whimsical (cartoon characters), as well as cultural commentary (Gorbachev) and the just plain demented (Ozzy Osbourne).”

The museum does not keep regular hours and was only open by appointment before COVID-19. These days, it’s probably best to make a virtual visit at blotterbarn.com, where you’ll find dozens of images of acid blotter paper like those above and learn much more about the history and culture of LSD during long years of prohibition — a condition that seems poised to finally end as governments give up the wasteful, punishing War on Drugs and allow scientists and psychonauts to study and explore altered states of consciousness again.

Related Content: 

Artist Draws 9 Portraits While on LSD: Inside the 1950s Experiments to Turn LSD into a “Creativity Pill”

When Michel Foucault Tripped on Acid in Death Valley and Called It “The Greatest Experience of My Life” (1975)

New LSD Research Provides the First Images of the Brain on Acid, and Hints at Its Potential to Promote Creativity

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

A Duck Gets a Prosthetic Leg & Waddles Along

Waddles the Duck was born with a mangled left leg. So what does his caretaker–Ben Weinman, the guitarist of Suicidal Tendencies–do? Gets him a 3D printed prosthetic, with the help of Derrick Campana, a Certified Pet Prostheticist at Bionic Pets, notes Laughing Squid. And, for a brief moment, the world’s ok.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Harrison Ford Gets Delightfully Dumbfounded by David Blaine’s Card Trick

Originally recorded back in 2014, this clip of David Blaine performing a card trick for Harrison Ford went viral this week. (Can we still use this expression in the age of COVID?) Hang with it until the end. It’s worth the 1:50 of your time.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

via Clarisse Loughrey

Related Content:

Willie Nelson Shows You a Delightful Card Trick

Monkey Sees A Magic Trick

Orson Welles Performs a Magic Trick

Parrot Sings AC/DCs “Whole Lotta Rosie”

Here’s the original from AC/DC. And here you can find more sing-alongs from Frank Maglio Tico & the Man. Enjoy.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

Science Shows That Snowball the Cockatoo Has 14 Different Dance Moves: The Vogue, Headbang & More

Hear the Sound Of Endangered Birds Get Turned Into Electronic Music

Cornell Launches Archive of 150,000 Bird Calls and Animal Sounds, with Recordings Going Back to 1929

A Spellbinding Drone Journey Through a Bowling Alley

A now for something that’s right up your alley…

Using an FPV drone, YouTuber “jaybyrdfilms” takes you on a somewhat dizzying tour of Bryant Lake Bowl, a vintage bowling alley in Minneapolis. As CNET puts it, “It’s an impressive bit of filmmaking as the … drone flies down bowling lanes, nuzzles close to the pins and then soars back toward the bowlers. Crisp, atmospheric audio — of people chatting, bowling balls rolling on wood, pins clanging, glasses clinking — adds to the immediacy.” Enjoy.

via Kottke

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

A Haunting Drone’s-Eye View of Chernobyl

A Drone’s Eye View of the Ancient Pyramids of Egypt, Sudan & Mexico

See the Expansive Ruins of Pompeii Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before: Through the Eyes of a Drone

Monkey Sees A Magic Trick

Happy Wednesday….

h/t Allie

Powell’s Books Unveils a New Perfume That Smells Like Old Books

Missing the scent of used book stores during quarantine? Powell’s Books has you covered with their new unisex fragrance: “Like the crimson rhododendrons in Rebecca, the heady fragrance of old paper creates an atmosphere ripe with mood and possibility. Invoking a labyrinth of books; secret libraries; ancient scrolls; and cognac swilled by philosopher-kings, Powell’s by Powell’s delivers the wearer to a place of wonder, discovery, and magic heretofore only known in literature.” You can pre-order it here

via Boing Boing

Related Content:

The Chemistry Behind the Smell of Old Books: Explained with a Free Infographic

Spike Jonze Presents a Stop Motion Film for Book Lovers

Wearable Books: In Medieval Times, They Took Old Manuscripts & Turned Them into Clothes

Old Book Illustrations: An Online Database Lets You Download Thousands of Illustrations from the 19th & 20th Centuries

More in this category... »
Quantcast
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.