Free tickets to premiere of Kesey documentary

EUGENE, Ore. – Free tickets to the premiere of a new documentary on Ken Kesey become available Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

Oregon Public Broadcasting will premiere “Ken Kesey” as part of their Oregon Experience television series on Thursday, January 16, in the McDonald Theatre.

Kesey’s famous school bus “Further” will be on display at the screening. The 1939 International Harvester bus purchased by Kesey in 1964 was prepped inside and out for his psychedelic excursion across the country.

You can request up to four tickets by filling out an online form that will be available on the McDonald Theatre web site.

Ticket requests will be decided on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to limited seating and high demand, there may be ticket requests that are unable to be fulfilled, organizers said.

The OPB documentary explores the qualities and achievements of one of Oregon’s best-known authors and one of the country’s most visible icons of the psychedelic sixties.

Kesey grew up in Springfield and graduated from the University of Oregon. Even as an older adult, he continued to follow and support his local school sports teams.

Kesey set his first two novels in Oregon, and the movie versions of each book were filmed in the state as well.

Declaring himself to be “the John Wayne of LSD,” Kesey was most commonly accorded the title “a founding father of the 1960s counterculture.” Author Tom Wolfe, who immortalized Kesey in his book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” thought him to be "one of the truly charismatic personalities.” He was also one of the most gifted writers to ever emerge from Oregon.

This new Oregon Experience documentary includes rare interviews with Kesey family members, including his son Zane, daughter Sunshine, granddaughter Kate Smith, widow Faye Kesey McMurtry and his 97-year-old mother Geneva Jolley.

Additionally, several authors weigh in on Kesey’s writing and antics, including Michael Strelow, professor of literature at Willamette University and author of “Kesey”; Robert Faggen, professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College and Kesey’s biographer; and Ken Babbs, a Kesey friend and writer.

In addition to the full-length documentary, both screenings will also feature a Q&A with the program’s producer, Eric Cain.