Friday, October 23, 2009

Louis Abolafia

Louis Abolafia was well known to New Yorkers in the late 1960s, an integral part of the New York and San Francisco hippie anti-war movements and general troublemaker.

He was a participant in the International Psychedelic Exposition, held in 1967. The catalog describes the exhibition as follows:
The purposes of the First International Psychedelic Exposition are manifold. On one level we hope to give the general public a glimpse of the psychedelic world and the beautiful creations it has inspired. On another level we hope that open and forthright exposition of psychedelic phenomena by the people it has inspired will facilitate communication between those who are somewhat fearful of the mind expansion experience and those who have had the experience and found a method to present what they found most worthwhile, be it through music, art, visual techniques, or group events."
The catalog also promoted "a common drug available to anyone with $5.00 to spare - lysergic acid diethylamide". Yes, LSD was then legal.

Louis Abolafia was the founder and father of the Exotic Erotic Ball. From its web site:
"Known as the King of Hippies and the man who coined the phrase "Make Love Not War," he felt nudity and love were better expressions than war and oppression. This couldn't be truer today, and so we continue to celebrate his dream with music, feasting, fun, nudity (or close to it) and love for all.

In the beginning there was Louis Abolafia and his good friend Perry Mann. They made their dwellings in the Land by the Bay. One day, Louis approached Perry and said: "I want to run for President. I will be the candidate from the Nudist Party. Will you help me do this?" Perry responded: "Please tell me, Louis, why is it that you wish to run for President under the Nudist Party?" Louis responded: "It is because I have absolutely nothing to hide." Perry smiled and said: "Then I will help you."

To help finance Louis' candidacy, Perry created an event that celebrated freedom, the right to choose, and the right to be as one chooses to be. This is widely known as freedom of expression. People came to the event Perry created in the land by the Bay to experience this freedom of expression, and they rejoiced. And the Exotic Erotic Ball was born."
The ball celebrates its 30th anniversary tomorrow, and I just wanted to remember Louis and his wonderful spirit.