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David Jacob Kramer

Heads Together – Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965–73


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Heads Together – Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965–73 – A vast graphic herbarium of marijuana ads from the great underground magazines of the 1960s and 1970s.
The youth uprising, now simply called the ’60s, was fueled by one of the biggest booms in publishing history. The Underground Press Syndicate (UPS) began as a confederation of five newspapers in 1966, and within a few years it had federated more than 500 titles worldwide, reaching millions of readers. They “spread like weeds,” said Tom Forcade, UPS director, weed merchant and future founder of High Times. The metaphor was apt: the UPS drove the legalization movement, and weed became its totem.
Weed was so prevalent that it became a useful pretext for government agencies to crack down on the UPS. Weed became the emblem of activist groups, and added a touch of style to UPS headlines. It invaded the pages of the UPS, with holes in the text filled with occasional marijuana-inspired illustrations.
Heads Together collects these drawings, highlighting lesser-known names in the stoner art canon, and many who were not names at all, as no signatures were attached. It also compiles weed growing guides from the era, which were treated as contraband by the CIA. Psychedelic rolling papers with an activist bent are also featured. As the legalization of marijuana moves rapidly forward in the United States and elsewhere, its once-sulfurous status takes on a strange new prominence. The profiteers of today’s pot market do not reflect those who fought for legalization, nor the black and Latino populations who were strategically criminalized for pot long before hippies were targeted, and long after.
The graphic production collected in this book bears witness to a time when pot was smoked with optimism, as something potentially good for society and people, capable of activating profound transformation in the face of corrupt and powerful forces.
David Jacob Kramer (born 1980 in Sydney, Australia) is a writer based in Los Angeles. He founded Family Bookstore (2007-2021), a space dedicated to artists’ books, zines, performances and readings. His writing has appeared in various magazines and artist monographs.
  • design : Grupo 438
  • date of publication : April 2023
  • language : EN
  • pages : 566 p.
  • format : 25 x 19 x 3.5
  • binding : paperback, softcover
  • ISBN : 9783907236543
  • publishers : Edition Patrick Frey
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