I was born too late to witness Leary’s transition from scientist to counterculture celebrity, and I hoped the archives might offer a little hint of what it was like to be there. So I got myself invited to the opening in hopes of being enlightened.
By Leary standards the party was pretty tame — people sipped wine, a man handed out peacock feathers, a flatscreen in the corner looped strange video games Leary helped develop late in life (he died in 1996). But hints of a wilder past could be found in a glass case that displayed a few artifacts, including a 1960 letter from the beat poet Allen Ginsberg asking Leary if he could score some mescaline for the great abstract expressionist painters Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline.
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