Saturday, April 30, 2016

John Sinclair and Cary Loren at the Horse Hospital, London

I was fortunate to fly down London to see John and Cary at the Horse Hospital, for their combined 'Detroit Artists Workshop' exhibition. I snapped a few pics, below, but if you have the chance, get down and experience the work for yourself.

The work box, assembled by Cary Loren features flyers, posters, poems and photos, many of which make up the display. I Had fun, thanks guys, steve fly.



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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  • Detroit Artists Workshop at The Horse Hospital, London.

    30 APR - 28 MAY 2016






    The short-lived Red Door Gallery (1963) and Detroit Artists Workshop Society were the first serious alternative, DIY, avant garde, co-op galleries to exist in the city of Detroit. The Artists Workshop Society was an artist run collective founded on November 1st, 1964, by John Sinclair, Magdalene Arndt (Leni Sinclair), Charles Moore, Robin Eichele, George Tysh, and ten others, who rented a house as a gallery and performance space on the campus of Wayne State University. They also produced their own books, journals and workshops. Through their various DIY ventures they introduced visiting avant-garde poets and musicians to Detroit, many for the first time.
    This small independent and interracial group of poets, artists, and musicians were the seeds that would inspire a cultural revolution in Detroit, whose branches extended beyond its borders. This influence would find its way into jazz, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, noise and other experimental music, as well as poetry and the growth of Detroit’s new alternative presses.
    The Detroit Artists Workshop exhibition features art, books, photos, films, flyers and Detroit Artists Workshop Press materials and reveals cultural roots and celebrates artistic sources, that can be followed to the art of Detroit and beyond today.
    This exhibition is curated by Cary Loren.
    Available during the exhibition: The Work Box: A Commemorative Collection from the Detroit Artists Workshop. It contains a collection of book reprints, interviews, postcards and artifacts from the Detroit Artists Workshop. WORK BOX is available in a limited numbered edition of 125 copies and was made in conjunction with the exhibition; Roots & Branches: The 50th Anniversary of the Detroit Artists Workshop at Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead.
    JOHN SINCLAIR is a countercultural giant, poet, music critic, manager, promoter, and activist John Sinclair was born in Flint and raised in Davison, Michigan. He co-founded the Detroit Artists Workshop, the Artists’ Workshop Press, and the countercultural live/work commune Trans-Love Energies Unlimited, which served as a cooperative booking agency for revolutionary bands, including MC5. In 1968, with his wife, Leni, and Lawrence “Pun” Plamondon, he founded the White Panther Party in support of civil rights.
    CARY LOREN an artist, musician and writer. In 1973 he apprenticed with New York City performance artist and filmmaker Jack Smith, and was a founding member of the Destroy All Monsters collective. His work has been shown at the Whitney Biennial of American Art in 2002; Printed Matter and Performa in New York City, 2009; the American Academy in Rome, 2010, and in What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art 1960 to the Present at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island in 2014.

    This exhibition is part of our 2016 programme:


    Free The Weed 61 - A Column by John Sinclair


    A Column by John Sinclair

    Highest greetings from Chicago, on my way by train from New Orleans to Grand Rapids for the 11th Michigan Medical Marijuana Conference, and then on to Detroit for a special occasion next week when the Kresge Foundation honors my ex-wife and mother of my children, the great photographer Leni Sinclair, as Detroit’s Eminent Artist of 2016. 

    This is quite an honor as she joins other old friends of mine, the poet and playwright Bill Harris and the late trumpet great Marcus Belgrave, in this select pantheon of eminent creative artists of Detroit. Leni’s photographic contributions to the cultural history of Detroit date back more than 50 years to the creation of the Detroit Artists Workshop, where we collaborated with Bill Harris and other poets like Robin Eichele, George Tysh, and James Semark, musicians Charles Moore, Ron English and Danny Spencer, painters Ellen Phelan, Howard Weingarden, and Larry Weiner, and a host of creative individuals to establish our own place in the heart of the city and develop an audience for our work in art.

    Leni Sinclair was a committed artist from the beginning, a cultural and political activist, the backbone of the Artists Workshop Press and a pioneer in the marijuana legalization movement from the founding of Detroit LEMAR early in 1965. She and my dearly departed brother David Sinclair spearheaded the long effort to free me from prison on my 9-1/2-to-10-year sentence for feloniously possessing two joints of weed in December 1966. She also served on the Central Committee of the White Panther Party and the Rainbow Peoples Party in Ann Arbor and was an organizer of the first Hash Bash in 1972.

    Leni and I were married in 1965 and gave life to our daughter Sunny in 1967 and Celia in 1970 before we separated as a couple in 1977. We continued to do work together and collaborated on raising our children and, since 2001, our granddaughter Beyonce. Leni’s photography is recognized all over the world and was recently featured in exhibits at the College for Creative Studies, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the Scarab Club, as well as exhibitions in London, Rotterdam, and Lille, France.

    Now I’m writing again from Detroit on the day after Leni’s award ceremony—and, oh yeah, after she received the $50,000 stipend in the form of a check from the Kresge Foundation. That was a beautiful thing!
    Before that came a weekend in Grand Rapids with Ben Horner and the cast of characters from this magazine, who combined to produce a fun-filled and very successful conference at the Orbit Room filled with people from Grand Rapids and all over western Michigan.

    But this week I’m looking forward to the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, where this magazine will be passed out for the sixth consecutive year and I’ll be celebrating with the hordes of tokers at the formal ceremonies on the Diag and following at the Monroe Street Fair. This is our 61st issue, beginning the 6th year of publication for Michigan Medical Marijuana Report, and as for the Cannabis Cup, this will be number 45!

    I’m also scrutinizing the minions of law and order in the City of Detroit as they attempt to corral and close down scores of marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up in an entirely unregulated atmosphere since Detroit legalized medical marijuana in 2005 and further legalized marijuana use of all kinds in 2012. Both measures were passed by citizens’ initiative with mire than 60% approval by the voters, making crystal clear the position of Detroit residents on marijuana: we want some!

    A responsible city council would have responded at once to the wishes of the people back in 2006 and drafted regulatory measures after the law was passed so that proper marijuana dispensaries could be opened and operated under a sensible licensing scheme. When the city legalized marijuana by initiative four years ago, the need for a rational regulatory system became even more pronounced.

    But the city council turned its back on the citizen smokers and ignored the situation until police pressure and frenzied agitation by special interest groups, many religion-based, spurred them to take action against the dispensaries, which the city now estimated at 211. Each of these new city-based businesses was opened in an unrestrained atmosphere devoid of rules and regulations governing such establishments, and one would suppose that they have thrived in this environment because more and more facilities continue to open their doors to the smoking public.

    In the first place, one would assume that a financially bankrupt and physically ruined city like Detroit would be happy to have over 200 new businesses of whatever sort. But above and beyond the potential tax and licensing revenues generated by this activity, give a moment’s thought to the idea of the city actually growing, harvesting and distributing tons of marijuana to the dispensaries and whatever other outlets may evolve.

    The City of Detroit owns thousands of acres of empty land suitable for growing crops like marijuana, augmented by hundreds of vacant buildings equally suitable to growing massive amounts of weed—abandoned schools, fire stations, police installations and the like. Say the City were to embrace marijuana production and sales to its citizen smokers as a possible source of enormous municipal revenues.

    This is not a pipe dream but something that could actually happen with a little civic foresight and a basic commitment to common-sense solutions to societal problems. But if this eventuality were ever to be realized, the kind of idiotic, non-scientific, superstition-laden system of beliefs which underpins our marijuana laws would have to be thrown out in its entirety and a completely new approach to marijuana use and availability would have to be adapted without reservation.

    I hate to sound like a broken record, to use a popular metaphor from the glorious days of 78 rpm singles and vinyl albums, but what’s wrong with this whole insane system is that there’s nothing wrong with marijuana! It’s good for us. It deals with many of our medical problems in a very pleasant and effective way, and to top it off, weed gets us as high as we need to be to deal with the sick social order we inhabit.

    At times like this it feels like I’m preaching to the choir, but it’s time for all the believers to unite behind this simple truth and keep pushing until we remove the police and courts and religious orders from our lives as marijuana smokers and FREE THE WEED once and for all.

    One last note: I was a little more than optimistic when I reported last month on the proposed changes in the municipal marijuana laws in New Orleans. The idea was to remove the smoker from the arrest and/or ticketing procedure so popular in law enforcement circles. But in the end the police prevailed and will retain the right to arrest and prosecute marijuana smokers at will. 

    Remember, it’s not the size of the fine nor the extent of the punishment but the fact that the police can stop us and harass us and search us and seize our stash and run us in and subject us to criminal charges and ruin our lives from that point on. 

    Have a happy Hash Bash and let’s put legalization on the ballot and pass a new law this year! FREE THE WEED!

    —Chicago > Grand Rapids > Detroit
    March 17-24, 2016
    © 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.



    Saturday, March 12, 2016

    John Sinclair Radio Show: Dream On.

    John Sinclair Radio Show: Dream On
    Episode 643 is beaming out from the Man Cave at the Frenchy Compound centered at 8314 Oak Street in uptown New Orleans and we’re playing records by Benny Turner, James Andrews, Kermit Ruffins, Guitar Slim, Jr., Johnny Adams, Aaron Neville, Ironing Board Sam, Glen David Andrews & the Lazy Six, Irma Thomas, Tom Worrell, Allen Toussaint, the Forgotten Souls Brass Band, John Boutté, and and 2016 Grammy award-winner Jon Cleary. Since it’s Leap Day today, this e[isodeis dedicated again to my daughter Chonita, born this Leap Day in 1972.

    The John Sinclair Foundation Presents



    Man Cave @ Frenchy Compound, New Orleans, February 29, 2016 [20-1610]

    [01] Opening Theme: Yusef Lateef: Happyology
    [02] John Sinclair ID, Intro & Opening Comments
    [03] Benny Turner: Let The Good Times Roll
    [04] James Andrews: James 12
    [05] Kermit Ruffins: Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
    [06] Smiley Lewis: Growing Old
    [07] Guitar Slim, Jr:.Turn Back the Hands of Time
    [08] John Sinclair Comments
    [09] Johnny Adams: Lost Mind
    [10] Aaron Neville: Ting A Ling
    [11] Ironing Board Sam: Non-Support
    [12] Glen David Andrews & the Lazy Six Over In The Gloryland
    [13] Irma Thomas: Walk Around Heaven All Day
    [14] Tom Worrell: Willie Fugal’s Blues
    [15] John Sinclair Comments
    [16] Allen Toussaint: Am I Expecting Too Much
    [17] Forgotten Souls Brass Band: Dream On
    [18] John Boutté: Just A Little While To Stay Here
    [19] Jon Cleary: Been and Gone
    [20] John Sinclair ID, Closing Comments & Outro
    [21] Closing Theme: Charlie Parker: They Can’t Take That Away From Me

    Hosted by John Sinclair for Radio Free Amsterdam
    Produced, edited, assembled & annotated by John Sinclair
    Executive Producer: Sidney Daniels
    Special thanks to Celia Sinclair, Frenchy & Tina & Leo
    Sponsored by Hempshopper & Ceres Seeds, Amsterdam
    - See more at:


    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Free The Weed 59 - A Column by John Sinclair

    Written by John Sinclair.
    Monday, 01 February 2016 09:13
    February 2016


    A Column by John Sinclair

    Highest greetings from Amsterdam, former marijuana capitol of the world, although I intend to be in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras by the time you’re reading this column. Sad to say, Louisiana is one of the most backward sectors of the USA in terms of its marijuana laws, and I’ll go back to a life of full-time criminality as a toker during my up-coming six weeks in the Crescent City.

    Here in Amsterdam the attack on the cannabis culture by the Dutch authorities continues to rage, with another round of forced coffeeshop closings completed in the busy Warmoestraat on January 1, including the mammoth Grasshopper shop and the popular Baba.

    Across the Damrak—the main drag—the 420 Café (my own headquarters in Amsterdam since the turn of the century) was slated to be closed on New Year’s day along with the Kroon across the street, but the local government granted a 6-month extension which may or may not be extended even further. Who knows? All of these restrictive moves are totally without sense and represent a radical restructuring of a local social construct which has worked very effectively for more than 40 years.

    If it weren’t so sickening and stupid it would be funny: Now that 52% of Americans clearly favor legalized marijuana in the United States, the Dutch government—after nearly half a century of permitted public smoking and copping although never actually legalizing marijuana—now wants to try to shrink the cannabis culture and drive it back out of the public eye in order more fully to commercialize and commodify the Dutch tourist industry.

    The poll cited above, as reported in NORML News, concludes that “a majority of Americans, including two-thirds of Democrats, believe that marijuana should be legal [and] only 34 percent of respondents opposed the idea.” NORML News adds that “66% of respondents agreed that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth…while 62% said that the government should no longer enforce federal law in states that have legalized and regulated the plant's use.”

    The story concludes: “53% of those surveyed, including 68% of respondents between the ages of 45 and 64, acknowledged having tried cannabis.” Wow! It would seem that experiential knowledge in Americans is finally outweighing the horseshit propaganda and outright lies of the authorities. Try it! You’ll like it!

    And speaking of exploding bullshit myths about marijuana use propagated by the unholy alliance of whiskey drinkers and religious nuts in power, Christopher Ingraham recently pointed out in Wonkblog that, duh, smoking weed does not make you stupid after all.It turns out that a popular study released by Duke University in 2012 which found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ failed to account for a number of confounding factors that could also affect cognitive development, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status.

    Ingraham reports that two new studies this month examine the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: one looks at 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.

    Despite vastly different methods, Ingraham says, the studies reach the same conclusion: They found no evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence; in fact, they found that those who used marijuana didn't experience consistently greater cognitive deficits than the others.

    The twin data "fails to support the implication by the authors of the Duke study that marijuana exposure in adolescence causes neurocognitive decline," the study concludes. “On the contrary, children who are predisposed to intellectual stagnation in middle school are on a trajectory for future marijuana use." In other words, Ingraham summarizes, “rather than marijuana making kids less intelligent, it may be that kids who are not as smart or who perform poorly in school are more inclined to try marijuana at some point in their lives.”

    This is really quite a provocative story, and the author makes some very interesting speculations. “If marijuana use were responsible for cognitive decline,” Ingraham wonders, “you might expect to find that the more marijuana a person smokes, the less intelligent they become. But this paper found that heavier marijuana use was not associated with greater decreases in IQ.

    “Marijuana is a drug,” Ingraham reasons, “and just like any other drug—alcohol, nicotine, caffeine—there are risks and benefits associated with use. But exaggerating the extent of those risks and benefits won't help create smarter policies. For proof of this,” he adds, “simply review the history of the drug war.”

    Well, yeah. Let me call on my own experiential knowledge gained from smoking marijuana virtually daily since early in 1962: Weed can make you smarter, more aware of what’s happening around you, more sensitive to your environment and your fellow humans, more receptive to visual arts, music, poetry, arts activity of all kinds. It can help you open your mind to new experiences, new companions, new cultures, new perceptions of reality.

    These are things I know from my own experience and from observing others who are daily tokers like myself. With the current drive by the burgeoning marijuana industry to sell their products to squares and as many people as possible, someone should warn the potential smokers that they are in for a whole new ride and about to enter a significantly different mental universe than the one to which they’re accustomed.

    Don’t get me wrong—this is a good thing, something I’ve looked forward to for more than 50 years of turning on my friends and colleagues, and my belief is that people should be able to get as much of the finest weed available as often as they may want to have it, and as conveniently as possible. And this leads me exactly to where I wanted to end up this column: spending my final 200 words on expressing my disgust for the recent “Medical Pot Shop Law” introduced by the Detroit City Council.

    As Christine Ferretti has pointed out in The Detroit News, medical marijuana dispensaries do not exist under current state laws, but the experiential reality is that something like 150 such dispensaries have opened up within the Detroit city limits since the City legalized marijuana use in 2012. (Detroit legalized medical marijuana in 2005.) As Ms. Ferretti put it, “Some have opened and have been operating with strict standards to monitor products and treat patients; others are not.”

    The demand for licensing of these outlets by the city—despite their lack of legal existence—has been spearheaded by the Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition, a group of community, block club and faith-based groups who have come together to combat medical pot shops.

    “Right now what we have going on makes absolutely no sense,” city councilman James Tate remarked. “We have no regulations whatsoever.” So he proposes to set strict licensing requirements for dispensary operators and specify where marijuana access facilities can legally locate within the city, establish required distances between each of the potential dispensaries and specify a distance between the shops and other controlled uses, including party stores and adult cabarets as well as the city’s parks, schools and churches.

    I’ve got an instant solution for them: Let the merchants sell the weed to the people who want it. If you don’t want any, don’t buy any! Don’t smoke it! Relax! You don’t have to do this. Let it go! Free The Weed!

    —Amsterdam. January 20-23, 2016

    © 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.