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About the Author: Steven Hager

Steven Hager briefly visited Haight-Ashbury in 1968, and the following year he attended the first Woodstock festival. He obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater (Playwriting), and a Masters of Science in Journalism, both from the University of Illinois.

After graduation, Hager moved to New York City, worked for a number of magazines before becoming a reporter for the New York Daily News. During this time, he began researching the hip hop movement of the South Bronx. His first article on the subculture was published on the cover of the Village Voice and was the first time the words "hip hop" appeared in print.[1] Hager based his article on interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, founder of the Zulu Nation, and one of the three original hip hop DJs (the others being Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash). Hager sold his original story Beat Street to Harry Belafonte, and the film with the same name was distributed by Orion Pictures. In 1984, St. Martins' Press released his book, Hip Hop, the first history of rap music, break dancing and graffiti art.[2] He followed that book with "Art After Midnight," an examination of the New York club scene and its influence on artists, primarily Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf.[3] (The entire text of Art After Midnight (including the much-quoted Basquiat interview) was reprinted in The Octopus Conspiracy and Other Vignettes of the Counterculture: From Hippies to High Times to Hip-Hop and Beyond as well as Adventures in the Counterculture[4].)

Career with High Times

In 1988, Hager was hired as editor of High Times magazine. He is most famous for removing hard drugs (e.g., cocaine and heroin) from the magazine, and concentrating on advocating personal cultivation of cannabis. Hager also created the Cannabis Cup, a cannabis awards ceremony held every Thanksgiving in Amsterdam, and The Freedom Fighters, the first hemp legalization group. The High Times Freedom Fighters were famous for dressing up in Colonial outifts and organizing hemp rallies across America. One rally, The Boston Freedom Rally, quickly became the largest political event in the country, drawing an audience of over 100,000 to the Boston Common. Hager created a garage-rock revival band called the Soul Assassins. The band played many of the rallies. Their biggest show was opening for the Butthole Surfers in front of 50,000 people in Washington, DC. During this time, Hager asked his friend from high school, Jim Wilson, to become a columnist for the magazine. Wilson became known as Chef Ra and contributed a cooking-with-pot article in every magazine for 15 years. Chef Ra was also a member of the High Times Freedom Fighters and became the featured speaker at many of the rallies.

In the 1990s, Hager turned the membership list of the Freedom Fighters over to NORML, and began concentrating on creating events that advocated the environmental benefits of hemp while also demonstrating the spiritual uses of cannabis. The World Hemp Expo Extravaganja, or Whee! Festivals, were held in Oregon, Washington, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. Unfortunately, most of the promoters who held Whee! festivals found themselves subject to intense law enforcement efforts to shut down their venues. The primary focus of Whee! was a silent, Sunday, sunset meditation for peace in the drug war.

In 1996, Hager learned to shoot and edit video. He started documenting all research on videotape. Over the past 15 years he has produced several feature documentaries and assembled one of the world's largest archives of cannabis-related video. Documentaries Hager has produced include: "Let Freedom Ring," "Secrets of the Dutch Grow Masters," "The Cannabis Cup," "Saint Stephen," and "The 20th Cannabis Cup." In 2002 he directed the video shoot that was later released as Live in Amsterdam (Fishbone album). In 2004, he wrote most of the narration for a/k/a Tommy Chong and also appears in the film.

In 1997, Hager created the Counterculture Hall of Fame as part of th

Other books by Steven Hager

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Paperback, Published in Nov 2014 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN10: 1503286851 | ISBN13: 9781503286856

Page count: 222

Leela is the ancient spirit running through all things that birthed the universe according to Krishna. The word translates as "play, without profit or motive other than fun," and it's this vibration that all sacred clowns in history devoutly follow. "The idea is not to make war on religion, but to help it evolve, so we can put an end to war for religion, because right now, religion is the problem and not the solution. Religion and magic are the same thing, and a sense of enchantment has always been an essential part of ceremony and ritual." --Steven Hager

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