Interlude Docs

Doc 035: Tom Recchion

Interlude Docs
Photographer, musician, Fredrik Nilsen, and my best friend since high school, had moved to San Francisco and I went to go visit him to see the Running Fence by Christo. Fredrik happened to be growing mushrooms in his loft, which was owned by Chet Helms, the founder and manager of Big Brother and the Holding Company, who had also recruited Janis Joplin as its singer.
As founder of the Family Dog, Chet was the producer, helping to organize free concerts and other cultural events at Golden Gate Park, the backdrop of San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967, as well as at other venues including the Avalon Ballroom. He was also the first producer of psychedelic light-show concerts at the Fillmore and the Avalon and was instrumental in helping to develop bands that had the distinctive San Francisco Sound.
I could feel Joplin’s spirit in the room as we knew she had lived there for awhile with Chet. He had these giant Gustave Doré paintings in the loft that came to life during our trip. God was throwing lightning bolts down to Hell, and to Satan and us while we were huddled on the couch trying to calm each other down. On the other side of the room, all the chairs were dancing. 
We took 6 caps each, the hallucinations were intense, vivid and strong and lasted for a day. In an effort to calm down, we drove up into the Napa Valley to visit our high school friend and “Earth Mother” Jean Oaks. We knew she would know how to bring us down and provide some psychological safety. She wasn’t home so I suggested seeing Christo’s Running Fence  which seemed so incredibly symbolic and meaningful. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Tom Recchion has been a sound and visual artist, composer, art director, and graphic designer in California since the 1970s. He is the co-creator of the legendary Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS).


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