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music

Glenn McKay

GLENN MCKAY PIONEERED the ’60s psychedelic light show, a somehow instantly tacky “art form” responsible for everything from Tom Wolfe having images “projected . . . on the back of [his] eyelids” while researching The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test to the Pink Floyd–scored Laserock freakouts I attended at the Hayden Planetarium as a seventh-grader. Like a creaky wave machine dusted off and set Into motion again, McKay’s work has been resurrected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art under the rubric “Altered States” (until June 1). McKay, who founded his company Head Lights (get it, man?) In 1967, took noir cinematographer John Alton’s notion of “painting with light” literally after witnessing the multimedia experiments at Ken Kesey’s acid tests, and set about formulating a visual correlative to the free-form music of the era, using hand-painted slides, biological stains, aniline dyes,

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