"Media theorist Marshall McLuhan suggested that 'the games people play reveal a great deal about them,' yet the bullets have to start flying at Columbine before the public takes note of the multibillion-dollar video-game industry. The importance of game culture is underrated.
I’m in a crowd of hardy partiers at the Vibe, a club on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas, for the High Times blowout at the South by Southwest film and music festival. It’s 4:20 and I’m called on to introduce Jack Herer, one of the icons of the marijuana movement, author of the classic treatise on marijuana and hemp, The Emperor Wears No Clothes.
What strikes me most about your issue on race [High Times March/April ’04] is all our need to approach race through humor, and I say “all” because it terrifies all of us. So if, in the words of Nietzsche, “A joke is an epigram on the death of a feeling,” and if there is “rough and gentle” humor, in the words of Hemingway, then someone is always the brunt of a joke—and when it comes to racial humor, it is especially sensitive.
MY WIFE JUST GAVE LONG BLOODY BIRTH TO A baby boy. He was born on Valentine’s Day. The experience would have gone down in my personal history as your basic grueling gore-splattered nightmare except for the fact that my son showed up at the end and turned it into a miracle.
Downhill Battle takes aim at the corporate music oligarchy and has a laugh along the way.
HT REVIEWS THE GREY ALBUM
“THE INTERNET IS A VERY DEMOCRATIC MEDIUM. What people like gets spread,” explains Downhill Battle (downhillbattle.org) co-founder Holmes Wilson. “One way to tap into that is with humor, because when people see something that’s preachy or academic, it’s not as engaging.”
SOME MONTHS AGO, I RECEIVED A MASS E-MAIL from Lindsay entitled “nekked boyz.” “Check this out... it’s a new porn mag for women! Sweet Action... and it’s got, like, naked hipster guys in it drinking beer!” I furiously clicked on the link to sweet-actionmag.com and started giggling with school-girl excitement.
The classic video gaming scene goes back to basics, supported by its homebrew heroes.
ROUGHLY 30 YEARS AGO, VIDEO GAME systems like the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari VCS (2600), Colecovision and Intellivision first started coupling with our TV sets. Prior to those seminal systems, at-home gamers had to make due with dedicated table tennis simulators, which most parents put the kibosh on once the images permanently burned onto their TV screen.
RESIDENT EVIL OUTBREAK I PlayStation 2 Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Available: May 2004 Resident Evil Outbreak sounds like something you don't want running around the house. Actually, this is the first game from the excellent "survival horror" series to hit the streets—the info-superhighway streets, that is.
SMOKING HAS TAKEN A TERRIBLE BEATING in this country. Here in New York City, the most urbane of urban centers, you see only the tragic remains of the smokers’ culture, with small grouplets of the disenfranchised forced to huddle outside of office buildings like cheesy off-track betting addicts, sneaking in quick drags on the frustrating low-tar, low-nicotine jobs to which the guilty have been forced to resort to assuage their shame.
DORIS SPUTTERED TO HER HUSBAND, COUGHING OUT A HUGE BLUISH CLOUD OF HAWAIIAN X Super Skunk #1 spiked with a touch of Master Kush, which drifted toward what they thought was their locked bedroom door and swirled about the head of their “I can’t sleep” six-year-old.
The High Times West Coast Bureau is open for business. Planting itself in Los Angeles’ bustling Miracle Mile media district, the magazine’s first frontier outpost in its 30-year history promises to expand editorial focus, discover fresh talent and create new advertising potential (while providing HT New York editors with a warm place to go in the winter).
JILTED NARCS UNITE TO COUNTER QUEBEC COP CORRUPTION
These days, Jim Boivin isn’t sure who scares him more—the PCP traffickers he helped put in jail, or the cops he once served as an informant. Boivin, 42, started dealing drugs at age 13, and spent his 20s as a wealthy coke dealer, travelling by limo and helicopter, and never leaving home without a gun.
IOWA NATIONAL GUARD ENFORCES DRUG-TEST RESULTS AFTER SOLDIERS RETURN FROM IRAQ
The Iowa National Guard deployed 21 soldiers to Iraq last April, despite positive drug tests that normally would have kept them home. The Iowa troops in Iraq are assigned to supply convoys and medical treatment units that have been frequent targets of attack by Iraqi insurgents.
“Can you tell me how you are going to save the [poppy seed] bagel?” That damning question, directed at Drug Enforcement Administration attorney Daniel Dormont, brilliantly skewered the federal government’s ridiculous efforts to ban hemp food and body-care products.
In what could become a disturbing trend, not to mention a new front in the Drug War, two of the nation’s leading drug-policy reform groups have been denied space to run paid political advertisements. In December 2003, the Marijuana Policy Project was denied airtime by Comcast, America’s largest cable-television provider, which refused to run a political ad in New Hampshire highlighting the views of four Democratic presidential contenders regarding medical marijuana.
DEA APPROVES FIRST STUDY OF ECSTASY-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
On February 24, 2004, the DEA issued a Schedule I license to treat 12 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)—commonly known as Ecstasy. Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist who practices in Charleston, South Carolina, will conduct the first US-approved study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy since the drug was outlawed by the feds in 1985 and listed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
Despite declaring victory in December 2003, Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra relaunched his nation’s bloody War on Drugs in late February, returning to a campaign that left over 2,000 of his countrymen dead the previous year.
The Dutch government has quietly quit prosecuting people it catches smuggling cocaine into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the Times of London has reported. Last year, Dutch customs officers arrested 2,176 smugglers flying into Amsterdam on “cocaine flights” from the Caribbean, an average of more than five per day.
He likes to be called a moderate Republican, like his dad (Secretary of State Colin Powell), but Michael K. Powell’s pathetic sucking-up to the right-wing business elite makes him America’s Chief Censor, bent on erasing not only cuss words and bared breasts from today’s media—but working overtime to erase them from the past as well!
The Grey Album opens a whole new can of worms regarding technology, property and music. The idea is simple and brilliant: marrying the a cappella vocal tracks from Jay-Z's pre-retirement valedictory The Black Album to new tracks composed entirely of samples from the Beatles’ White Album from 1968.
DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES: MIRAMAX, SUNDANCE, AND THE RISE OF INDEPENDENT FILM (Simon & Schuster)
Ask most casual moviegoers who produced such-and-such a movie and you’re likely to be met with a bemused shrug of the shoulders. Herein lies the problem with Down and Dirty Pictures, Peter Biskind’s take on the rise of US independent film during the ’90s.
The Marijuana-Logues is the first play to devote an hour and a half to pot. Between them, the three stars—Arj Barker, Doug Benson and Tony Camin-claim to have 43 years of pot-smoking experience. It shows. “The world’s a fucked-up place, so why shouldn’t we be?"—one of the show’s funnier lines—sums up The Marijuana-Logues.
Toots Hibbert’s place among the greatest and most influential Jamaican vocalists ever is unassailable. His status as one of the rock fraternity’s favorite reggae artists is also unquestionable. These days he tours more often than he records, but True Love positions itself as an event by following the Santana Supernatural formula of guest stars on each track.
Electronic-music duo the Crystal Method feel the effects of the drug war.
The Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003 is a complicated weapon in America’s drug war. Initially known as the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy (or RAVE) Act, it mainly serves as an amendment to the so-called “Crack House Law,” a piece of legislation passed in the ’80s that allows prosecutors to go after the owners of property where illegal drugs are used or sold.
THAT’S THE RHETORICAL QUESTION STEVE EARLE ASKED FREELANCE journalist Mitch Myers, who was assigned by High Times to write a piece on him. Earle had been a junkie for nearly a quarter-century, half of his life. Booze, coke, heroin, methadone, methamphetamine, crack, cough syrup—you name it, he drank, smoked, snorted or mainlined it.
It was the sweltering summer of 1978 in the playerlistic city of Harlem, and the street was closed for our annual block party. Wiping sweat from my forehead, I stood on the crimson-painted stoop and watched with fascination as a light-skinned dude who answered to the name DJ Hollywood (along with his crew) dragged turntables, speakers, wires and crates of records to the middle of the street.
He sings like a cosmic sharecropper with some kind of horny Chet Baker butch chanteuse mixed in.
A FEW YEARS AGO, I WANTED TO GIVE Chris Whitley a wrench. I found it in an old abandoned brick factory. It must have been used to loosen and tighten something on a massive, greasy-ass engine. It was a few feet long, rusty, and it looked like it took a big man to make it work.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT WE WERE INURED TO ALL ART AS ANY FORM OF OUTRAGE, THERE’S JOE COLEMAN.
Coleman’s been arrested in Boston under an arcane law against building “an infernal machine” (for his self-mutilating pyrotechnics), had his books seized at customs as pornography, been incarcerated numerous times for shows in his own town of New York, and drawn the legal wrath of animal-rights activists for his geek-show decapitations of live mice, whose headless corpses he would hurl into the audience.
THERE'S A WONDERFUL WORLD OF GUNS out there, and the time is now for more people to get off their lazy asses and become a part of it. As Americans, we need guns. Owning a gun is a blessed constitutional right, up there with the Patriot Act. In 1984, an unemployed security guard named James Huberty entered a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, armed with three guns and opened fire, killing 20 people and wounding 16 others, including children.
Local Efforts Make Getting High a Low Priority (for the Police)
VALERIE VANDE PANNE
Don't these guys have something better to do? Aren't there any real crimes to worry about in this town? The answer to both questions, of course, is yes, but it's not really a topic you should bring up at the time of your arrest. Most cops are loath to discuss police procedure with someone they are currently handcuffing.
How to pass a deprioritization initiative in your hometown
CHECK LOCAL ELECTION LAWS
FORM A COALITION
HIRE A POLITICAL CONSULTANT
POLL THE ELECTORATE
DRAFT YOUR MEASURE
ORGANIZE A CAMPAIGN
PLAN YOUR DATE WITH THE DRUG CZAR
PLAN AN ELECTION-NIGHT PARTY
First, make sure a deprioritization initiative is a legal option in your town. Next, research the interplay between local, state and federal jurisdictions. Don’t get scared by the paperwork: once things get rolling, you’ll hire an expert to help navigate the court system and the police departments.
My friend and I have a debate. One night (and I know this sounds like cruel and unusual punishment), he blew several bongloads in his cat’s face in an effort to get the thing stoned. I say animals don’t have THC-receptor sites like humans do and therefore can’t get stoned.
Sydney: Shiva Shani: “Small, tight nugs that are dark green to black in color, well trimmed, overall a pretty decent smoke”: $80—$100 1/4-oz; $200—$225 oz. Shishkaberry: “Still the talk of the town, great looking and smelling herb”: $80 1/4-oz; $250—$300 oz.
Is this ancient Ethiopian plant the key to a higher consciousness, or just 'Third World crack'?
For the evening, the living room had been turned into a kind of opium den with African undertones. I entered and sat on a cushion on the floor, excited and nervous, as with all new experiences. After we finished a light dinner of omelets and tea, one of my hosts brought out the reason for our gathering—a fresh shipment of khat, unrolled from a day-old newspaper.