Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

KLF Kare has arrived, or has it?

The KLF is a 23-minute performance in 1997. Creative Commons photo, source. 

The KLF -- the pop group inspired by the Illuminatus! trilogy -- has announced "KLF Kare," a move into the nursing home business that apparently may or may not be a serious announcement. 

"The KLF care home: happy housing for old ravers – or just another prank?" is the headline in the Guardian's article, which quotes this statement, “KLF Kare is a multinational franchise that provides branding solutions for independently owned care homes.”

What little is known about this is apparently in the Guardian's article, which in music news reports that the duo have just released a new track, a remix of Harry Nilsson’s 1969 hit 'Everybody’s Talkin’."

Jimmy Cauty is 66 and Bill Drummond is 70, the article says. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

More on 'Maybe Night'

Bobby Campbell, who has organized the big Maybe Day celebration held every July 23, revealed in my recent interview with him that he was putting together a "a small spin off event that I'm developing for the end of the year, MAYBE NIGHT, on December 21st.

"(Joseph Campbell claimed that the dream that comprises James Joyce's Finnegans Wake takes place on December 21st, and that also coincides with Terence McKenna's proposed Novelty Wave singularity, that may or may not have occured on 12/21/2012, making the winter solstice very fertile ground for maybe logical workings!)."

Bobby has now posted a link with more information and produced artwork, above, to celebrate Maybe Night. 

Bobby invites people "to make things and send me links," see his contact info in that section of the interview, where I say, "You kind of slipped in a scoop." 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Brief pause

I have to pause blogging for a day, we've had a death in the family. Will resume soon. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Timothy Leary's 'The Game of Life'

Seeking some fun reading that would be apart from the my current "homework" reading (I'm busy reading a stack of books as part of my duties as a Prometheus Award judge), I read Timothy Leary's The Game of Life. The book includes contributions from Robert Anton Wilson, although the third edition from New Falcon for Kindle makes it hard to pick out the RAW bits. 

And it was a lot of fun, with a great deal about the Eight Circuit Model, and how Leary thinks it relates to Tarot cards and to DNA. Not science, really, but visionary and interesting. 

 Here are some of the passages I highlighted in the book:

This neural stage assures that by saying the right word, by performing the rote ritual -- survival will be attained. Thus the reliance on rules and accustomed ways of doing things. Most modern human beings never progress beyond this passive stage of symbol manipulation. The True Believer, the docile repeater of religious, political or racial slogans.

The Book of Ezekial is the classical biblical description of the descent of extra-terrestrial beings to Earth. The astounding technical detail and UFO specificity of the Ezekiel vision has led many to believe in the visitation of Earth by galactic astronauts.

Religion has always been the neuro-technology of pessimistic losers -- fabricating a reality in which stupidity, docility and ugliness is rewarded. Beauty, individualism, change, originality is heresy.

Every living creature, from a bacterium to an astronaut, is a robot -- designed, constructed, and programmed by DNA to perform specific functions in the evolving web of life.

The text also a book recommendation, for a Robert Heinlein book I haven't yet read, that Leary sees as pointing to the SMI2LE formula:

Robert Heinlein in the classic book Methusaleh's Children introduces us to Lazarus Long, patriarch of an elite kinship of humans who have been bred for longevity. Since they live longer the elites become increasingly more intelligent. Because their superiority infuriates "mortal" humans they face persecution and genocide. Until they figure out the obvious solution. They high-jack an enormous Star Ship and escape from the womb planet. In this profound novel Heinlein accurately (if naively) writes the scenario for the inevitable next stages of evolution off this planet. 

One thing that puzzled me was wondering if anyone is really "minding the store" for the Timothy Leary estate. I had purchased the New Falcon ebook, which I perceived to be the authorized edition (and which has the witty Bobby Campbell cover, above.) Yet when you search on Amazon, the first title that comes up is a 99 cent version from another publisher. The New Falcon ebook is still there, but it's harder to find. I also noted that copies of the book can be downloaded for free from the Internet Archive. I wrote to two people with connections to Leary and got no reply. I also pointed out the various copies of the ebook to New Falcon, and got a one-sentence reply, "Thank you for alerting us we will send a takedown notice."

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Amazon Kindle Cyber Monday sale

I like ebooks as a cheap way to expand my library without adding to the clutter in my house, and when I shopped the Cyber Monday sale for Amazon Kindle books I noticed a bunch of books to interest me and maybe some RAW fans. (Note: I don't get any money for linking to Amazon sites. I just like ebooks and like to write about them sometimes, and I make a point of supporting other bookstores besides Amazon.)

Anyway, these ebooks caught my eye, with prices rounded off a penny for simplicity: Cities in Flight, James Blish, $3 (I just finished reading Timothy Leary's The Game of Life and was surprised to see Blish quoted in the text); The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, $3Enochian Vision Magick: A Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley by Lon Milo Duquette, $3, (Listen to the Hilaritas podcast with the author)Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, George Lakoff, $3 (might interest some of you who read the new Brian Dean book.)  There were other interesting bargains, too, and I enjoyed going through the whole list. 


Saturday, November 25, 2023

New John Higgs book announced

Photo of John Higgs by Isaac Higgs, from official website. 

A new book by John Higgs is always good news, so I'm pleased to report that he's announced a new book about Dr. Who.

"John Higgs’ 'playful and profound' exploration of the Doctor Who character, Exterminate/ Regenerate, has been signed by Orion," says a report in The Bookseller. It will come out in spring 2025.

"Higgs said: 'The question of how something as joyous, absurd and mythic as Doctor Who came to exist is an endlessly fascinating one. Real life is stranger than fiction, but the real-life events that came together to create this fiction are the strangest of all. Doctor Who is the unholy marriage of extraordinary people seduced by wild imagination, and it’s a great pleasure to celebrate its ever evolving story'.” 

More here. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

New Hilaritas podcast: Wayne Saalman

 Yesterday was the 23rd, so another Hilaritas podcast dropped, Wayne Saalman:

"n this episode, Mike Gathers chats with novelist, poet, painter and song writer, Wayne Saalman, @waynensaalman, about aliens, UFOs, and more in his latest book, The Journey Across Forever."

RAW's introduction to Saalman's The Dream Illuminati is reprinted in Email to the Universe. Here are useful links and show notes. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for this blog and the friends I have made by starting it years ago.

I also realized a few weeks ago that I feel rich, because I have access to a huge supply of free music, via the public library streaming services. I can remember when just wanting to listen to a single album cost time and money.

One of the reasons I got interested in Epicureanism a few years ago was that the philosophy emphasizes the power of gratitude. Here is a New York Times article on  the power of gratitude.  And here is another Times article of tips for practicing gratitude.  Also, Tyler Cowen reveals what he is grateful for. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Robert Shea quotes on Illuminatus!

Bob Shea with the manuscript of Shike

I sometimes think it's remarkable that anybody at all read ILLUMINATUS! When it first came out in 1975 the publisher decided to label it "Science Fiction," which meant that it would be put in an obscure corner of the bookstore where, as we all know, only a handful of weird people ever venture. On the other hand, the editors of all the science fiction magazines then extant refused to review ILLUMINATUS! on the grounds that it was not science fiction — by whatever definition they were using that year. So we were banished from the mainstream but also rejected by the ghetto. A novel without a home. The fact that ILLUMINATUS! survived this inauspicious start is proof that the weird people are even weirder than anybody gave them credit for.


[On Ken Campbell's Illuminatus! play]  I think it’s superb. I was thunderstruck at what a magnificent job they did in capturing the exact tone, the exact mixture of fantasy and reality in the book. It really does keep you guessing, which is what we intended. I’ve come round to the conclusion that this isn’t literature. It’s too late in the day for literature. This is magick!

Bob Wilson and I once had a bit of a run-in with Roger Ebert at a press party at the Biograph Theater promoting a book called Dillinger, Dead or Alive, which asserted that Dillinger had not been killed at the Biograph in 1934 but is, in fact, still living. Since this idea had also occurred to the authors of a Certain Trilogy, we showed up to express our support of the proposition that Dillinger lives. Ebert got the notion that we were making fun of his friend’s book. A contretemps ensued. Hail Eris! [Dillinger: Dead or Alive? By Jay Robert Nash and Ron Offen was published in 1970]. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Best nonfiction of the year?

Tyler Cowen has published his list of the best nonfiction of the year, while noting that he's still busy reading and will likely have a few more books to recommend before 2023 ends. Lots of books here I want to read, and it's a fun exercise to look at the list and guess what RAW might have been interested in reading. I'm going to suggest three books RAW might have read: Reviel Netz, A New History of Greek Mathematics; Norman Lebrecht, Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces, and Richard Cockett, Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World.  It is amazing how Tyler finds time to read do many serious books.

You can see what I've read so far this year by looking at my Goodreads page.  Probably my favorite nonfiction books so far are Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball by Epplin, Luke; Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life by Emily Austin, and The Scythian Empire: Central Eurasia and the Birth of the Classical Age from Persia to China by Christopher Beckwith. I've linked to my reviews and articles. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

'Enigma' by Noah23

While we wait for the Illuminatus! TV series, it seems to me that the hip-hop soundtrack already has been recorded by Noah23. This is his "Enigma," from the Clout album, available on Bandcamp. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Two 'Lovecraftian' movies

I noticed recommendations for two  movies recommended as "Lovecraftian." 

On Twitter, horror writer C.F. Page writes about 2020's The Empty Man, "Every so often I feel obligated to boost this movie. The studio made the trailers for this film look comparable to Truth or Dare, or the Bye-Bye Man, when in fact this is a well-written, well-acted, thought-provoking film that’s so secretly Lovecraftian that it doesn’t even tell the audience it’s Lovecraftian. In other words, it treats the audience like intelligent human beings. It is very bleak (you might have to follow it up with a lighthearted comedy). 

It’s based on a graphic novel, but I prefer the film."

Ong's Hat (e.g., Joseph Matheny) seconds, "Found this completely by accident and was pleasantly surprised when I watched it." 

Here's the Wikipedia article.  Just Watch says it's available on various streaming services.

Meanwhile, Gamerant reviews the movie Suitable Flesh, and says it is inspired by Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep." Reviewer Arianne Gift writes, "Directed by the visionary Joe Lynch and penned by the talented Dennis Paoli, this film brings Lovecraftian horror to life, weaving a narrative that explores the thin veil between sanity and ancient, malevolent forces. With a stellar cast including Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Davison, and Johnathon, this new horror flick ventures into the depths of psychological terror."

Just Watch says it's in some theaters and on some streaming platforms.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

A visit to the Bob Dylan Center

Bob Dylan holding the placards in the video for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'

I have often been on board with Robert Anton Wilson's artistic judgments, but his condemnation of Bob Dylan in this interview amuses me. ("Dylan seems to me a totally pernicious influence -- the nasal whine of death and masochism. Certainly, this would be a more cheerful world if there were no Dylan records in it. But Dylan and his audience mirror each other, and deserve each other; as Marx said, a morbid society creates its own morbid grave-diggers.") Nobody ever played "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" or "Blowin' in the Wind" for Wilson and suggested he listen to the lyrics?

In any event, as every serous music nerd I know likes Dylan, I thought I would mention my visit to the Bob Dylan Center, a new museum in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, which opened only last year and which houses his archives. 

It's not in a huge space, but I would describe it as information dense, with many documents on display to read, films to watch, songs to listen to, audio narratives to ingest. I spent quite a bit of time there and I feel I would be able to learn more when I get back. 

A Dylan fan from Colorado gave me permission to photograph her as she looked at the exhibits. 

A letter to Bob Dylan from George Harrison. 

Some of my favorite Dylan albums are Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks and Before the Flood. My favorite of his live performances is probably at the Concert for Bangla Desh, available on the Internet Archive.  And I really liked the Traveling Wilburys. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

'THE SECOND OSWALD: United States of Conspiracies -- From the JFK Assassination to QAnon'


Jesse Walker explains on X, "Video of my conversation with @acodrescu [Andrei Codrescu] about Kerry Thornley, recorded earlier this week at the Bowery Poetry Club after a performance of Andrei's play The Second Oswald." They also talk about Jesse's book, The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory.  Codrescu tells Walker, "I first heard about Thornley from your book." Jesse is in good form, telling stories about Robert Anton Wilson and Paul Krassner, discussing Illuminatus! and Cosmic Trigger, and telling one questioner exactly how many Discordians there were (readers of this blog will get the joke.) 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

PQ on being in the Guardian

Peter Quadrino (photo from X)

I had missed it when I wrote yesterday's blog post, but Peter Quadrino has weighed in about being featured in the Guardian's article about the Gerry Fialka reading group for Finnegans Wake. Excerpt: 

"I am honored to be a part of this celebration of Wake reading groups around the world. The author, Lois Beckett, did a great job covering the oddity of one-page-a-meeting reading groups dedicated to Joyce's bizarre night-book. To look at a global newspaper and see the front page with all the wars and turmoil and then have this article appear next to all of it feels like a celebration of the eternal forces of creativity and imagination. Poetry, the realm of the mind, the joy of art, language and humanity, remains undefeated."

More here. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Finnegans Wake reading group finishes first pass after 28 years

Gerry Fialka. (Creative Commons photo by David Healey, source.

Two familiar names pop up in the  Guardian's article about a Finnegans Wake study group in Venice, California, that has completed its first survey of the book after 28 years.

Peter Quadrino, 38, joined Fialka’s group around 2008 or 2009. He would drive up three hours from San Diego, where he lived, to attend the meeting. “If you’re really interested in Finnegans Wake, it’s kind of hard to find people who will talk about it with you.”

Because Joyce spent 17 years of his life working on the book and then died not long after it was published, “He didn’t really get to explain it,” Quadrino said. “It’s up to us to figure it out, and figure out why he was so devoted to it.”

When Quadrino moved to Austin, Texas, in 2011, he did not want to stop reading, so he put up fliers around town, put some ads in the newspaper, and started his own Texas-based group. Twelve years in, Quadrino’s group is now about halfway through Finnegans Wake, putting them on track to complete the whole thing in about 24 years.

Joyce scholar (and RAW scholar) Eric Wagner has said one of his favorite maxims is "slowness is beauty." I looked closely at the photo accompanying the article but I didn't see Eric. 

Gerry Fialka, the guy who organized the group, did a long interview with Bobby Campbell that I wrote about a couple of years ago.   Fialka worked for Frank Zappa for years and has done other interesting things, see this Wikipedia bio. 

Just to be clear, Gerry's group hasn't finished but has begun again on studying the Wake. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

RAW biography now to come out in August 2024

Douglas Rushkoff (Creative Commons photo By FRONT from Belfast, Northern Ireland)

On Facebook, Toby Philpott spots some news: The new Gabriel Kennedy/Prop Anon biography of Robert Anton Wilson is now listed as having a publication date of August 6, 2024.

This is the second time the book has been delayed by Strange Attractor Press; originally, the book was supposed to come out this fall, and then it was delayed until February 2024. I know Prop worked really hard on the book and I really want to read it; I guess we just have to be patient. Perhaps it is a positive sign that Strange Attractor wants to make sure the book is done right. 

On Facebook, Prop replied to Toby that he believes this will be "the last push back." 

The publisher's announcement lists the book as having 304 pages and introductions by Douglas Rushkoff and Grant Morrison. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

RIP Antero Alli

Antero Alli

Filmmaker, author and Eight Circuit authority Antero Alli has died. Sad news, but not unexpected. Here is the notice posted on Facebook:

"I have lived by a code of 'amor fati' for many years - in love with What Is; whatever fate comes my way, I accept.  This is no passive acquiescence or subordination to death but a revolution of Spirit to the deep mystery pulsing at the very heart of existence itself."  Antero Alli, March, 2023

Antero came to redefine death as "Genesis" - a new beginning, a portal into the next chapter of his journey.  Our beloved Antero transcended into Genesis yesterday around 12:45pm at home in Portland, Oregon.   In his words, "Honestly, I'm not one to mourn over but to celebrate..."

Arto Antero Alexander Alli

11/11/1952 - 11/9/2023

The Hilaritas Press podcast interview remains available.  You can read the Wikipedia bio. As he wrote in a recent Facebook message, he worked very hard in his last months to get more work out.  If you click the "Antero Alli" tag on this post, you'll see a lot more information from this blog.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Lovecraft series podcast


Image from Ong's Hat account on X (i.e. Joseph Matheny). 

I spent the days before Halloween listening to the first season of The Lovecraft Investigations, the BBC drama podcast. ; it is a somewhat free  adaptation of "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." I enjoyed it and I plan to listen to the other episodes.

Sitting Now has posted a podcast interview with Julian Sampson, the show's creator. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Latest Joseph Matheny news

 In his latest newsletter, Joseph Matheny reports that Ong's Hat Compleat, the definitive version of perhaps his best-known work, will be out next  year. He also asks for reviews and offers other news, so check it out. (One of the email addresses for sending him reviews had a typo, so see this.

Please note that a spoken word RAW album Matheny produced, The Lost Studio Session, remains available as a free download at the Internet Archive.  I bought it when it came out and enjoyed it. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

'Golden Apple' shop in San Francisco

The owners of Golden Apple Metaphysical in San Francisco. 

I was recently amused to discover that there's a magick shop in San Francisco called Golden Apple Metaphysical. Much of what it offers is online.

The two owners are Diana Rajchel, who "co-organizes the Emperor Norton Pagan Social, a  San Francisco based, non trad specific meetup welcoming magickal people of all paths, even those that might conflict with one another," and Nikki Jobin, also a coorganizer of the Emperor Norton Pagan Social. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Marijuana legalization passes in Ohio

Photo by Ryan Lange on Unsplash

Issue Two, the marijuana legalization state question, passed in Ohio. Abortion rights (which got much more attention) also passed. Ohio, where I live, is now the 24th state to have approved legal marijuana for all adults. (Oklahoma, where I used to live, technically has only medical marijuana, but it's a very liberal version of medical marijuana that amounts to full legalization). 

There is an important difference  between the two state questions in Ohio. The abortion issue amended the state constitution, making passage difficult for politicians to overturn, but the marijuana question amends state law. So it's possible that the Republican-dominated state legislature could change provisions of the new legalization law or even repeal it. The spokesman for the "vote yes" campaign on the marijuana issue told me he expects lawmakers to respect the results; I guess we'll see.  

As I wrote in one of my other newspaper articles about the ballot issue, if legalization is allowed to go forward in Ohio, it will shift huge amounts of money (and tax revenues) from Michigan to Ohio; prices in Michigan marijuana stores have dropped sharply, and much of the industry's sales comes from Ohio consumers. (As I wrote in that article, the small town of Morenci, Michigan, right on the Ohio border, has no grocery stores but five marijuana stores).

Ohio is hardly a left wing state -- it has been trending Republican in recent  years -- but the legalization measure passed with a solid 57% voting yes. 

Jacob Sullum at Reason magazine is reliably excellent in his "war on some drugs" coverage; here is his article on Ohio's marijuana state question. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

I really enjoyed the Oberon Zell-Ravenheart podcast


Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (photo from official website). 

I really enjoyed the Hilaritas Press podcast with Oberson Zell-Ravenheart. He is the pagan author and leader who founded The Church of All Worlds, a religion based on Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Topics included "sharing water" with RAW (a reference you will get if you've read Heinlein's novel), Green Egg magazine, his correspondence with Heinlein,  how paganism relates to the changing of the seasons, raising unicorns and more. He is an interesting and intelligent person. He didn't know Robert Shea well, but was good friends with Shea's widow, Patricia Monaghan. See the podcast website for useful show notes and additional information. Oberon hopes you'll consider picking up his latest book, GaeaGenesis: Conception and Birth of the Living Earth, which he considers his most important. He maintains a busy schedule of appearances; see the calendar on the official website. 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Movie in the works about Illuminatus! play and Ken Campbell

 Grant McPhee, the Scottish film director, cinematographer and writer

A Scottish movie director named Grant McPhee is making a movie about the Illuminatus! play and the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun. He has posted a teaser clip on X that includes Peter O'Halligan, Ken Campbell, Jim Broadbent, Chris Langham, Robert Anton Wilson, Bill Drummond and Chris Bernard. I particularly liked the brief clip of Robert Shea talking. 

As the clip is not on YouTube, I can't embed the video here. When I asked McPhee on X about embedding the video and for details of the movie, he replied, "Only on Twitter for a few days Tom. Details of the full film release will be here, sooner than later. Thanks!"

McPhee has directed some movies I want to try  and has written a book about Scottish postpunk rock music, he seems quite interesting, see the Wikipedia bio  and also his official page.  I am  now following him on Twitter/X and will provide more information about the upcoming movie as it becomes available, so stay tuned. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

New podcast features Jesse Walker

 Jesse Walker, clutching a gourd (I think). Facebook photo. 

Jesse Walker recently appeared on the Fountainhead Forum podcast, discussing pro-liberty films and how "piracy" preserves many TV shows and movies that otherwise would be lost (see my recent blog post.)  I could not find the podcast on my usual podcasting app, but see this link. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

RAW on the poetry of old horror movies



A nice, short video from Joseph Barney, which I found out about from a RAW Semantics post on X. 

On YouTube, Barney explains, "A short (3 min.) experimental video I made with Apple’s iMovie from an audio excerpt from the CD interview collection "Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything (or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance)", Part 1 - "The Life And Times Of RAW", wherein he reminisces about the effect these films had on him in his youth, and gives his take on "the poetry of fantasy", and the power of myth."

Friday, November 3, 2023

My big new Bobby Campbell interview


Bobby Campbell on his porch at his  home in Audubon, New Jersey, in a photo taken in October . 

Bobby Campbell is an artist, schoolteacher and comic book producer (both words and images). He is also a prominent figure in the continuing efforts by Robert Anton Wilson's fans to promote Wilson's work. For several years, he has organized online Maybe Day celebrations on July 23; he operates a Twitter account promoting Robert Anton Wilson; he has done covers for books such as the second edition of Eric Wagner's An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson.   He did the interior illustrations for the Hilaritas Press editions of the Historical Illuminatus! trilogy. Some of that artwork hangs on my wall at home.

Bobby has been reliably helpful and supportive for all efforts to promote RAW's work.  When I did an online reading group in 2014 for Illuminatus!, he created an artwork for it. More recently, he did the artwork for this blog you see at the top right of this page. 

After an attempted interview with Bobby by a third party didn't come to pass, I decided to do an interview myself. I think this interview is on the whole better than my 2014 interview with Bobby, but you may want to look at that, too, particularly Bobby describing how he met RAW.

RAWIllumination: Can you tell my readers who don't know you a little bit about yourself?

Bobby Campbell: Absolutely! For the most part I am a very boring, mild-mannered, 42 year old suburban dad :))) I hang out with my family, teach high school, coach youth soccer, putz around the house, and enjoy Philly sports. (Go Phils!)

By night, in my spare time, I'm also an artist. I make comix, art, zines, memes, graphic designs, covers, spot illos, etc, et al.

I've been at it for over 20 years now!

Folks around here might know me by my work with Hilaritas Press, Maybe Logic Academy, Team Human, Liverpool Arts Lab, Disinfo, or even New Falcon Publications.

Fun fact: I once drew an interior illustration of Iron Mike Tyson in an Antero Alli book! 

I have a small business called MLJC Media LLC, through which I manage my various freelance and royalty income streams. It ain't much, but it helps fund my weirdo Discordian art projects, such like: & Can you talk about your new career as a teacher, and whether you are enjoying it? I have friends who are teachers and it sounds like a challenging job these days.

Bobby Campbell: I would be delighted! I'm in my sixth full year of teaching, and of all the careers I've had, and I've had a few, it's by far my favorite. It's work that I find meaningful and I get Summers off to goof around with my artsy-fartsy mumbo jumbo, fair deal! I'll admit it can be difficult at times, but overall the experience has been much more illuminating than draining.

I teach a Computers & Technology class to 500+ 7th-12th graders that I see twice a week. I teach double classes with 45+ students at a time. I definitely have to sing for my supper, but we make it work!

I'm lucky that for whatever reason the kids seem to like me. I let them get away with a little in exchange for them not taking a lot! We're never quite as quiet as admin/security wants us to be, but the vibe in the room is generally very chill, with all students seated, focused, and productive. I just finished an Ed Psych class at Wilson College where they called this classroom culture "flow state." Some days are better than others, for sure, but overall THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT!

Here's a student art zine we produced:!_2023.pdf

In fact, I'd just kind of decided that I wanted to teach this class for as long as possible, esp since I teach the same students year after year, as they rise from 7th grade through to graduation, and how could I leave them? Well, this October, the CAO of my Charter School announced that the school would be closing at the end of the year, coinciding with her retirement.

The students have been staging walk outs to protest the sudden closing of our school. Things have been much more chaotic than usual in the building, but basically business as usual in my room. They ain't mad at me! 

The whole situation has been getting a lot of local media play, with some hint of genuine scandal, but we don't really know what's what yet.

Here's a piece from the Inquirer, showcasing a few of my very many brilliant students:

I assume I'll probably find a new place to teach next year, but I guess we'll see where the wind takes me! This may be a little silly, but how is it that you are "Bobby" to the "RAW crowd," and "Bob" to everyone else?

Bobby Campbell: I abandoned the usage of screen names on the internet pretty early on, and so usually would just go by "Bob" online. Old school users of, for instance, might remember me as Bob. However, when I joined RAW's Maybe Logic Academy classes/forum I thought it would be rude to take the name Bob, because Mr. Wilson might want it for himself, or it could create confusion where people would mistake me for him. "Bobby" seemed like a good compromise. (Bob Wilson ended up going by "RAW" in the MLA forums.)

Around about the same time all my art scene friends were on a huge Ramones kick, and everyone started going by their "y" names: Danny, Billy, Timmy, etc. And so I took the hint and started signing all my work as "Bobby Campbell."

Bobby was the name that my Mom intended to give me anyway. She tricked my dad into agreeing to name me Robert, supposedly after his grandfather, but really she was naming me after Bobby Kennedy.

I went by Bobby up until around sixth grade.

It's funny, if someone calls me Bobby it's either because they don't know me very well, or because they know me extremely well! Didn't you have a tough childhood? Did RAW's writings help you deal with that?

Bobby Campbell: I certainly had a chaotic childhood!

A couple years before I was born I had an older sister who died suddenly of meningitis at the age of two, which I think had a lot to do with the subsequent struggles my parents had. They divorced when I was four.

My dad was a high ranking member of the Pagans MC, a 1%er motorcycle gang. After my parents split up he went even further into the club, and every other weekend I was fully immersed in Pagan gang culture. Shit was wild.

My mom was a chill ex-flower child hippy chick who slowly but surely succumbed to depression, alcoholism, and eventually schizophrenia. When I was little she really liked Carl Sagan and read Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" to me as a bedtime story. Initially, she didn't put any religion on me, allowing me to create my own cosmology. I think after my sister died she was done with God and Catholicism, but as the years went on her makeshift atheism became a burden to her, because if there was no god or heaven she had no chance of being reunited with her daughter.

By the time I was nine she was drinking a gallon of wine a day and switched from Carl Sagan to the Holy Bible. After she read the Book of Revelations she was basically a completely different person. She was now espousing this nightmare version of Christianity, convinced that the end of the world was imminent, with frequent and increasingly intense delusional episodes.

To her credit, she held out long enough that by the time she lost it I was mature enough to recognize crazy talk when I heard it.

Around this same time my dad was arrested for murder during a Pagan event at a bar in Philadelphia. He claimed that the police only grabbed him because he had a patch on his colors (jacket) that indicated he was part of the Pagans' "Mother Club," or leadership group, and that the police had a policy to charge the highest ranking member they could find. My first contact with conspiracy theory!

The next few years were a wild ride between my dad's adventures with the justice system, in and out of custody, and two murder trials. (The first ended in a hung jury) Meanwhile, my mom was in and out of mental hospitals, with brief periods of clarity, punctuated by a series of suicidal and apocalyptic outbursts.

When I was 12 my dad was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, for a crime I truly don't know if he committed, and my mom died in an accident, that may or may not have actually been suicide.

(Oh interesting, I never thought about it before, but this would have been around the same time I switched from Bobby to Bob.)

I then went to live with my 21 year old brother and life significantly mellowed out.

I spent my teen years as something of a curiosity to people, because I appeared to be a clean cut, well-adjusted, cheerful kid, and folks wanted to know why I wasn't all fucked up. 

(It feels presumptuous for me to answer, but my guess is that it's partially because I was never physically or sexually abused, which seems maybe more deeply traumatizing than what I experienced.)

When I was in college, smoking weed, and exploring all those psych/philosophy 101 conundrums, like nature vs. nurture, for example, several alarm bells started ringing. Including my much discussed "Dark Night of the Soul" experience. I eventually realized that I had mistaken denial for acceptance in many cases, and that I was more destabilized by the loss of my parents than I'd previously presumed.

It was then, perhaps just in the nick of time, that I discovered RAW, and, following his lead, embarked on my own process of deliberately induced brain change, which looking back after 20 years, seems to have worked out okay :))) Why did you decide to organize the annual Maybe Day celebrations? Are  you happy with how that has turned out so far? 

Bobby Campbell: If I remember the timeline correctly, you were in the process of setting up an arrangement where Hilaritas Press was going to sponsor a RAW themed table at the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) in Cleveland, Ohio during the Summer of 2020, which Gregory Arnott and I were going to help you run. (A kind of continuation of when the three of us put together a small RAW event at the ConFluence Science Fiction Convention in Pittsburgh, PA in 2018.) Then when covid hit, and it looked like the convention was going to be cancelled, the possibility of a virtual event was proposed, which everyone agreed was a good idea, and I was encouraged to take the ball and run with it. [Blogger's Note: It was actually going to be in Columbus. The  NASFiC, the "North American Science Fiction Convention," a really big convention that is held in North America when the worldcon is overseas. We got good support from Hilaritas Press, which as Bobby says was going to sponsor a table in the dealer's room, but COVID-19 wiped out our efforts].

Originally called RAWCON 2020, when it was envisioned as a replacement for the NASFiC event, and then changed to RAW DAY when it occurred to me there had been a long, but loose, tradition of RAW events on July 23rd, in accordance with Robert Anton Wilson Day, as proclaimed by the mayor of Santa Cruz in 2003. I've long enjoyed Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses, and saw the potential for Robert Anton Wilson to have something similar. One of my first recruitment emails went out to the fantastic Eric Wagner, who has this quirk of responding to emails with the subject line changed to a clever title, stylized like a pop single, and he replied to my email with the subject line "Maybe Day." Which in a flash I knew was the correct name. It turns out that was what Bob Wilson preferred to call July 23rd as well.

I have been absolutely delighted with how everything has turned out over the last four years of Maybe Day events! The level of participation and response to our group creations has been very encouraging and rewarding. I really enjoyed putting together the New Trajectories zines in 2020 & 2021, but quickly recognized that the time commitment needed to produce a central publication by a growing cast of Discordian visionaries was not sustainable, and so in 2022 I switched towards a more distributed model, where contributors produce their creations independently, (with assistance where needed) and the Maybe Day site became more of a curated index and signal boosting platform. The main advantage of this approach being that there's no real reason why Maybe Day can't continue indefinitely :)))

I've even got a small spin off event that I'm developing for the end of the year, MAYBE NIGHT, on December 21st.

(Joseph Campbell claimed that the dream that comprises James Joyce's Finnegans Wake takes place on December 21st, and that also coincides with Terence McKenna's proposed Novelty Wave singularity, that may or may not have occured on 12/21/2012, making the winter solstice very fertile ground for maybe logical workings!) Bobby, your fall 2022 newsletter announced "a 2023 release of my first full graphic novel: OKEY-DOKEY - The Dream@wake Sutra. Which weaves together the Agnosis! & Buddhafart comix into a 244 page Tale of the Tribe." But I can't find anything about this "full graphic novel" in the last two newsletters. Is it still on the runway, waiting for takeoff? 

Bobby Campbell: Very much so! The last year or so has been about my finishing BUDDHAFART #2, which comprises a large and difficult chunk of the OKEY-DOKEY graphic novel. I'm currently on the last 4 pages of BUDDHAFART #2. That comic will be released on the aforementioned MAYBE NIGHT. After which I can focus on finishing Agnosis! #3, which is the brief, but explosive, capstone to the Dream@wake Sutra :)))

Once all five of the individual comix that comprise the graphic novel are complete I figure I'll do a final edit and, at very long last, publish the complete OKEY-DOKEY grimoire!

There's probably only about three months of work left on the whole thing, but when I'll be able to find that time remains a bit up in the air, (another project has caught my attention) most likely the final book will push to 2024.

I'm in no particular rush to finish, as I've been working on this comic since 2004! What's another few months to get it right? By the end there will be 20 years worth of work compressed down into something that can be read in just about an hour. I tend to dodge questions regarding what the comic is about, because I don't want it to be about something, so much as I want it to do something. 

What is that something? Well...

The first 211 pages are available to read here: You kind of slipped in a scoop for me, about Maybe Night. Is it far enough along that  you know what we should all be doing to take part/support you?

Bobby Campbell: I'm not exactly sure what it's going to look like yet, but if people want to make things and send me links I will most certainly include them amongst whatever else comes together!

( - Let's say by December 15) I know for sure I want to convene a panel of RAW/Joyce/McKenna folks for a MAYBELOGUES discussion and I'm going to put together a piece making the case for the significance of 12/21 as a Discordian holy day. I don't know how much there needs to be another call to action, or additional pressure to be productive, but if people are making things anyway, we might as well share them :)))

For example! The very fine folks that produce The Lost Doctor radio plays are putting together a Christmas Annual, with many of our favourite British Discordians, a heavy mix of both RAW & Joyce influences, and featuring a brand new short comic by me, very appropriately titled "HARBINGER," which is perfectly timed to coincide with MAYBE NIGHT.

Maybe check out their kickstarter: Looking back at my previous interview with you, in 2014 I asked about your favorite RAW books, and you mentioned Quantum Psychology, Prometheus Rising, The Widow's Son and Masks of the Illuminati. Have you added any favorites since then? What did you think of Illuminatus!?

Bobby Campbell: I'm really enjoying Lion of Light currently! All of the Hilaritas Press audio books get heavy play in the background while I'm working, and deliver such a fresh experience of the text, in large part due to Oliver Senton's brilliant reading performance, that those are probably my current favs. I don't know how many times I've read Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, et al, but when I listen to them I somehow pull out something new that I never noticed before.

I'd guess I probably left off Illuminatus! from my list of favorites only because I thought it went without saying. Safe to say that Illuminatus! was the most intense reading experience of my life. I read all 800+ pages over the course of a 3 day weekend. Just absolutely glued to that luminous fucking tome! As it has done to so many other people, it flipped a switch in my head, and supercharged my creative impulse. I think maybe the reason why Illuminatus! has this effect on creatives is that it's a fully functioning proof of concept of the transformative power of art. If a piece of literature can do THIS to me, then that means it's not impossible that I could create a piece of art that makes people feel like THAT. 

I assume he designed it this way, but I also tend to think of everything RAW ever wrote as an extension of Illuminatus! All the novels are either direct or indirect sequels and all the non-fiction books serve as exegesis and/or world building. A great deal of the fun with RAW is in all the expanded universe interconnections, obscure references, and reprisals of themes. Have you read any of Robert Shea's novels?

Bobby Campbell: I know it's a crime, but I have not. I think maybe because Shea was less aggressive about luring readers of Illuminatus! to his subsequent books. I love the way Mike Shea has gone about preserving his dad's books, and I'm very intrigued by the project you're putting together, so it seems inevitable I will eventually find myself in that world! What's the best way for people to keep up with what you are doing? And, among your various comics, is there one you want to suggest as a "gateway drug" for people who haven't followed your work?

Bobby Campbell: Probably the best way to stay tuned to my weirding ways and means is through my email newsletter, which you can check out here:

It comes out pretty infrequently, just a few times a year, but it includes a pretty exhaustive list of my comings and goings.

I've kinda faded away from social media, not really intentionally, but more so out of boredom.

Though I'll still occasionally pop into Instagram & Twitter to drop links to whatever new stuff I have going on: & 

Weird Comix #2 is currently the best introduction to my work, mostly just because it's the latest and I also wrote and drew everything myself.

Don't be scared off by the #2, it's an anthology series, you can jump in anywhere :)))

(Don't mind the amazon link, if you click around long enough on you can find it for free!)

Also! And if everyone will indulge some more shameless self promotion for a minute, I'd like to try to sell everyone on another comic:


Comic Trailer:

This is an old comic that I made with my brilliant & hilarious childhood best friend Timmy "Main Man" Toner as co-artist, and I absolutely adore it.

How it used to be was that I was part of two scenes. The local punk rock scene in Delaware and the online Maybe Logic Academy/Discordian scene.

The local folks wouldn't read anything I made for the online people and the online people wouldn't read anything I made for the local folks.

It was uncanny! So I tried to get sneaky and make something that was simultaneously for both sides of the coin, and guess what, NOBODY READ IT!

This thing fell through the cracks so bad that I honestly don't think the Main Man even read it, and he fucking drew half of it!

Here's the amazon link:

(but also click around a bit and you'll find it)

[Blogger's note: Each of those two comics are just 99 cents for the Kindle on Amazon, read in color on your phone or tablet using the Kindle app. Just buy the things already.]

Thursday, November 2, 2023

'Second Oswald' podcast series on Kerry Thornley [UPDATED]

 "The limited series sheds light on a little known aspect of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Could the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, been set up to be the patsy? The series focuses on writer Kerry Thornley who served with Lee Harvey Oswald in the US Marines and wrote a novel about him a year before he killed JFK. Thornley would later implicate himself in the conspiracy and became a major influence on Q-Anon and other fringe underground groups through his writings. This is not just another conspiracy theory. Written by former National Public Radio (NPR) commentator and Peabody award winner Andrei Codrescu."

Episodes and  more information here. 

Jesse Walker and Adam Gorightly appear in the podcast. The podcast also obviously is based on work by Adam. [This is an updated paragraph; I didn't know at first if it features Adam. See the comment to this post.]

Here is my previous post on the "Second Oswald" play, Nov. 13 in New York. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

John Higgs to announce new book soon

John Higgs has released his latest newsletter,  and there is lots of news, including the fact that he'll announce his latest book project on Nov. 23. No more information about it other than the date, but perhaps it's connected to the fact that the first episode of Dr. Who aired that day in 1963? We'll find out soon.

Also, we find out that Higgs ghostwrote a book for British musician Ian Broudie, we learn how to order autographed Higgs books for Christmas and we get other news. so check the link and consider signing up to get the newsletter yourself.