*UPDATED* SEE some photos from the event RIGHT HERE.
So we are going to have this big fuckin’ party, celebrating one of the greatest Oregon novels ever…
In 1960 or so, Ken Kesey was volunteering to take hallucinogenic, psycho-active drugs while working the night shift at Menlo Park Veterans Hospital. He would talk to the mentally ill, and drop acid, and write. Kesey began to play with themes of sanity and insanity, society and the fringes, The Combine and non-conformity. He set his novel in the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, and the narrator was a Native American from Celilo, who’s life was irreversibly changed with the damming of the Columbia River at The Dalles.
Fifty years ago this novel was published. Oregon is an inseparable component of this selection. So on the eve of what would have been Ken Kesey’s 77th Birthday, we are going to have one big fuckin’ party!
The party, co-hosted by Kick Ass Oregon History and Matt Love’s Nestucca Spit Press will be at Mississippi Studios on Sunday, September 16th at 7:30pm (doors at 7:00). The ticket price is $8.00, but you can purchase advance tickets for only $6.00 here. We will have readings from the book, Matt Love and our own Ribald Resident Historian, Doug Kenck-Crispin will speak about the novel and the hospital where the tale is set, and we will have live music from 1939 Ensemble, who has prepared a special set specifically for the festivities. There is going to be a trivia contest, with some fab prizes, including the Grand Daddy Prize of Them All, a free night in the new Kesey room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel. AND to finish off the evening, after everyone has had a share of adult beverages, Matt Love will lead us in a classroom debate worthy of your senior year American Lit class!
Sure – you’ve seen the movie. The 1976 “Big Five” Academy Award winning feature. And in no way are we attempting to disparage the production. But when’s the last time you read the fuckin’ book? It’s fantastic! Truly a literary masterpiece, AND the film leaves SO MUCH of the “Oregon-ness” found in the novel on the cutting room floor! If you’ve read it – it’s time to re-visit. And if you HAVEN’T read it, go get a copy (and we are going to be handing a shit-ton of the books away at the event – for free!).
There is no disputing the fact that the publication of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” helped to highlight the sad state of affairs that patients lived with, day after day, in state mental institutions across the United States. But even more important to us at orhistory.com is the fact that the novel was placed in Oregon, and it’s tales helped attract much needed attention to our own tragic and sad institutions. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” can be seen as a lighting rod for the care of Oregon’s mentally ill.
In order to get you ready to go for the show, Kick Ass Oregon History will feature TWO podcasts on occurrences at the Oregon State Hospital. The first is actually the second podcast we ever broadcast, the Case of the Poisoned Eggs!!!. The second will appear right after the Labor Day Holiday, and it will talk about two other horrific events that have come to be icons for the sad state of affairs at the Oregon State Hospital. You will find that mellow-harshing podcast here.
So get a copy of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Read it. And if you have a copy of the book, bring it with you to the show! Listen to our podcasts. Buy a ticket. And come on down and help us celebrate perhaps the greatest novel of Oregon’s tragic past. And let’s do a celebratory Kesey Birthday toast too!!! This is THE EVENT to attend on September 16th. We truly hope you will join us!
Media inquires – 503-704-838FOUR