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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Magic Mushrooms, Messiaen and the Marsh Chapel Miracle

Scholar, performer and composer Peter Bannister
Peter Bannister has the first installment of what is already a fascinating examination of the connection between psychedelic drugs and religious response. Happily, he leads with reminiscences of two Apparition of the Eternal Church screenings, one at Boston University's Marsh Chapel, where decades earlier Harvard researchers dosed churchgoers with psilocybin.

The Apparition pull-quotes:
Extremely extraordinary exercise in musical phenomenology... The film’s genius lies in its portrayal of the capacity of Messiaen’s music, and by extension any music, to affect human consciousness at an extremely deep level... Undeniably gripping, at times hilariously funny, at others highly disturbing...ranks as one of the most penetrating studies of the nature of musical phenomena that I have ever seen.
Two months into my road trip for the new film (working title: Tie It To My Hand), I've encountered a fairly demoralizing concentration of bumps in the road (though the last week's interview/lessons with Jennifer Balderama MacDonald, Laura Miller and Eisa Davis have gone a long way toward remoralizing me), and kudos five years into a film's life is a rare event. Peter's commentary was nice to wake up to.

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