Tag Archives: Glenn Brooks

Drugs, Revolution and Rock & Roll: How I Lost My Political Virginity at the Morrison Hotel

A few weeks ago artist Glenn Brooks asked an interesting question about Amerikan Krazy on my author page at Goodreads.com.  I thought I’d share the answer with everyone here as well.


Glenn Brooks asked Henry James Korn:
“You use several song lyrics throughout your book, some more subtly than others. On page 60 you use the term “Dusky Jewel” and on page 88 “Roman wilderness of pain” my question is: Are you a Doors fan? were you fortunate enough to see them live? and, if so, do you think this experience (coupled with the 60’s “tune in, turn on and drop out” mentality in some camps) influenced/affected your writing?”


Thank you for noting that Amerikan Krazy contains references to consciousness-changing music by The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and more.

Doors November 67Like many in my generation, folk and rock music strongly influenced my socialization and political development. As I think back on those years, my prototypical Woodstock-like communal experience occurred at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964 where Robert Allen Zimmerman premiered a searing acoustic version of Mr. Tambourine Man. But to respond to your question more directly, I first saw The Doors live in the futuristic International Ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel in the fateful year of 1967 when I was expelled from my university for publishing an article criticizing President Lyndon B. Johnson in the pages of the campus newspaper.

My guest at the Doors bash that night was a poet and Vietnam bound draft resister who was AWOL from the U.S. Army at the time. As college friends, he and I had “chased our pleasures here and dug our treasures there” and witnessed “weird scenes inside the gold mine.” And if you must know we experienced our first Doors performance under the influence of Aldous Huxley and were thoroughly familiar with the British author’s promise of ecstatic redemption via chemistry espoused in The Doors of Perception–a book title that inspired the naming of the band. Jim Morrison’s socially surrealistic and ferocious performance at the Washington Hilton that November night reinforced our intoxication with the revolutionary potential of art. After playing the Doors songs that comprised their debut album, Light My Fire over and over on my dilapidated stereo, my friend and I were more eager than ever to Break on Through. Our heart’s desire in those days was to arrive at an ideological tipping point exemplified by Berthold Brecht and Vermont’s Bread and Puppet Theater that the Doors termed “the other side.”

But according to Morrison’s dark prophecy, William Blake’s road of excess apparently did not lead to the Palace of Wisdom but rather to The End– a haunting neo Freudian epic about incest and patricide that describes a psychotic killer on Jack Kerouac’s freeway to purgatory. In the course of what later became the Apocalypse Now theme song, an assassin informs his father that he intends to bash in his skull–a direct political action at the familial level that my friend and I mistakenly believed was a prerequisite to overthrowing state power. Even today, Robby Krieger’s wicked take off on My Country ‘Tis of Thee (God Save the Queen) that kicks some versions of LA Woman into gear remains a insolent challenge to ruling class values that still sets its listeners on an anarchic trip arguably inspired by Journey to the End of Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline and City of Night by John Rechy. But in Morrison’s version of paradise lost, the Hollywood Hills are filled with fires, flea bag motels and topless bars are burning to the ground, and murder rules the streets–perhaps a reference to the Watts riots in 1965 that dramatically revealed what overthrowing state authority might look like.

Many years later, the news that our country’s titular sugar daddy, President Ronald Reagan had been shot by a pistol toting young fantasist named John Hinckley Jr. at the Washington Hilton hit me hard–perhaps because I knew in my gut that I could have grown up to become Morrison’s road killer or Bob Dylan’s orphan with a gun instead of a sweet talking, bow tie and blazer wearing museum executive. But in my new role as a teller of humorous tall tales from a radical perspective, I try to do what Bob Dylan recommended in It’s All Over Now Baby Blue and take what I have gathered from coincidence. If only my former Brooklyn Heights neighbor, Norman Mailer, was still alive and helping me puzzle through the ramifications of a national nightmare that came true at the very location where the Doors advocated for madness, murder and revolution fourteen years earlier.

Nevertheless, I hope this extended response helps you understand why numerous Amerikan Krazy protagonists, PTSD victims all, are depicted battling both patriarchic rulers and knee-jerk patriotism that are represented in my novel by a dystopian theme park that I intentionally named Founding Father Land.


Other Questions?

If you’ve got your own question about me, my books, or my writing, feel free to ask it yourself at Goodreads.

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BC Space Gallery presents “Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance”

Friends and Fans of Amerikan Krazy, I wanted to share the recent post from Mark Chamberlain and the BC Space Gallery in Laguna Beach with all of you.  Everyone is invited, and I’d love to see all your bright shining faces there.

Dear Friends of BC Space

…Here we go again, as go we must.

BC Space Gallery is proud to present Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance featuring the work of over twenty notable southland artists.

There will be an opening reception on Sunday, March 20, MMXVI, from 1-5 PM in celebration of the Vernal Equinox when our planet once again achieves balance between light and dark.

At the opening, from 2-4 PM, Henry James Korn will launch his new book Amerikan Krazy after which this show was named and thematically assembled. Henry’s comic masterpiece picks up where George Orwell, Jules Verne, and Edward Abbey left off, and turns political writing into art. See: (www.boffosockobooks.com)

Henry Korn is the former director of the Art, Culture, and Heritage program at the Orange County Great Park. At the conclusion of his reading, there will be a discussion period on how the original grand dream for the transformation of the former Marine Corps air base has changed from a public serving project into a corporate theme park, sports complex, and housing development that mirrors the “Founding Father Land” depicted in Korn’s relentless satirical novel.

Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance includes work by: Jorg Dubin, Joella March, Stephen Anderson, Jeff Gillette, F. Scott Hess, Tom Lamb, Douglas McCulloh, Haley Blatte, Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Ricardo Duffy, Jared Milar, Max Papeschi, Jessica DeStephano, Lynn Kubasek, Glenn Brooks, Ron English, Dustin Shuler, Clayton Spada, Jacques Garnier, Pat Spakuhl, and Dan Van Clapp.

This exhibition will be on display until May 20, 2016. Gallery hours are by arrangement. The opening reception is free to the public, but seating for the book launch is limited so reservations are encouraged.

For additional information please contact the gallery or Mark Chamberlain.

Source: BC Space

The gallery can be contacted at the details below:

BC Space Gallery
235 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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