1979 Timothy Leary and Sensory Saturation

Timothy Leary and Sensory Saturation
“You seem like you would be a friend of Bill Burroughs..” Tim Leary said conversationally across the large Chinese dinner table at Oriental Gardens; the exclusive restaurant located just below the Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Strip. Suzie Sartre and her current beau, director Luigi Marmenton were situated next to Tim and his smiling wife. Luigi and Suzie had just wrapped Cutie Baby and were looking for properties to develop and on the table tonight was a script that would be a surefire followup to her cult hit, Rockie Mountain Oysters.. At the other end of the lavish spread was the erstwhile producer who was intent on getting us all together on his movie project that I had penned; a futuristic punk rock extravaganza that none of them realized was actually going to come true. I had that curse when it came to writing in the future. It had happened before. Sitting next to the producer was Anna Gropillie, staunch associate producer with Dino De Laurentiis who was the only one, other than the producer, who had actually read my script. She knew it was a great movie. She also knew that Tim was baiting me. I wanted to ignore Tim’s casual smarmy remark. William Burroughs was a notorious chicken hawk and I did not want to be included in his stable. Although I had certainly heard him hold forth at art gallery readings in the downtown LA art ghetto. I was an artist, but I wasn’t desperate for fame or glory. It seemed to always come with a price tag that had a greasy, high mark up on it. I decided to take the offensive.
“I’ve never met Bill.” I said flatly. “But I actually did a lot of dolphin communication research based on Doctor Lilly’s work. You know….Like with his sensory isolation tank.” That sidelined him and shut him down for a moment. He recovered quickly, eyes twinkling from so much LSD, he regained the high ground immediately, lifting a white wine glass.
“I propose a toast!” Dr. Timothy Leary intoned, “..to Sensory….” He paused for effect, “… Saturation!” He was quite pleased with his turn around of phrase and counter thrust. Everyone obediently raised their stemware and clinked accordingly. I swilled then reposted.
“Let’s drink to genetic mutation.” I stared directly at Tim Leary with the challenge of a young buck intent on putting a dent in the old sedan’s fender. Tim showed fear in his eyes. He saw that I really meant it. Everyone muttered inconclusively. The producer, who had been a trial lawyer knew a verbal assault when he heard it and laughed out loud to defuse the confrontation. I eyed Tim until he answered my toast. After that he left me alone.
excerpt: “History of the Groove” Russell Buddy Helm all rights reserved ©2014

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