For 30 years, Rick Synchef carried around Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. It was a first edition purchased from a dealer, but it never occurred to Synchef that value might be lost with wear or anachronistic additions. He considered it to be a perfect novel, and collecting the signatures of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters the ultimate homage.
“You have to understand, LSD was legal,” Synchef said. Lysergic acid diethylamide was the Prankster’s drug of choice, taken collectively at parties in hopes of achieving true intersubjectivity.
Synchef did not attend those parties, but longed to meet those who did. Every [...]
In the summer of 1959, Ernest Hemingway lit out for Spain on assignment. He was to write a long article about a series of bullfights between the country’s finest matadors, Antonio Ordóñez and Louis Miguel Dominguin.1 But on the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea, a single commission from Life swelled into a three-part series, during a long summer that would prove to be his last hurrah.
Hemingway formed his own cuadrilla in Málaga, and invited 19-year-old Valerie Danby-Smith to join.2 Val, as he called her, had been sent to interview him for the Irish Times. He rarely entertained requests from journalists at that point, but she had charmed him, [...]
Dear Bill Wasik: I am totally convinced! I have now spent $9.99 on your book for my iPhone Kindle app. Hey. Also the interview thingie with Simon Dumenco was excellent. I heartily endorse that others should buy And Then There's This as well. Yours, The Awl.