The Fugs and Ed Sanders Exorcise Demons from the Pentagon

The Fugs and Ed Sanders Exorcise Demons from the Pentagon

When the Yippies, Fugs and other coconspirators arrived at that antiwar rally in the nation’s capital, the New York underground stood center stage in American politics and popular culture. Peace Eye proprietor Ed Sanders and the rest of the Fugs flew there in time to perform a show the night before the big protest, and Shirley Clarke was at the airport to document their arrival. She also filmed the exorcism ritual Sanders performed at the Pentagon with musical accompaniment from the Fugs. “In the name of the Amulets of Touching, Seeing, Groping, Hearing, and Loving, we call upon the powers of the Cosmos to protect our ceremonies,” Sanders said, reciting his tongue-in-cheek incantations. “For the first time in the history of the Pentagon, there will be a grope-in within a hundred feet of this place.” It was the largest antiwar protest in the nation’s history, and a major turning point in the shifting opinion against the Vietnam War. The East Village Other described it as a “mystic revolution” led by protesters who “cast mighty words of white light against the demon-controlled structure”—that is, until the riot police descended on them in full force later that night.

From Chapter 15 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


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