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Heads Together. Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965–1973 Book Launch, Talk, Screening, and showcase of Grower’s Guides.
Heads Together. Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965–1973 Book Launch, Talk, Screening, and showcase of Grower’s Guides.

Heads Together. Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965–1973 Book Launch, Talk, Screening, and showcase of Grower’s Guides.

Screening MOCA Store Lecture

MOCA Store is pleased to announce the launch of Heads Together: Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965-1973 (Edition Patrick Frey, 2023).

Join us for an evening of documentary clips from the Underground Press, introduced by the book’s author, David Jacob Kramer. Also on display will be original grower’s guides from the era and Underground Press publications.

The youth uprising of the 1960s, was fed by one of the greatest booms in publishing history. The Underground Press Syndicate (UPS) began as a loose confederation of five papers in 1966, and within a few years swelled to over 500 across the world, reaching millions of readers. They “spread like weed,” said Tom Forcade, the UPS director, weed-dealer, and eventual founder of High Times. The metaphor was apt: the UPS spurred the legalization movement, and weed became its totem.

Weed was so pervasive it became a helpful means for government agencies to crack down on the UPS. Weed came to emblematize activist groups, and permeated UPS pages, with gaps in text crammed with pot-inspired “spot illustrations.”

Heads Together collects these drawings, shining a light on lesser-known names in the stoner-art canon, and many who weren’t names at all, as no signature was attached. It also compiles guides for growing weed from the period that were treated like contraband by the CIA. Activist-oriented, psychedelic rolling papers are showcased too.

The art in this book speaks 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 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.