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7th Avenue Project: Rick Doblin & MAPS: Psychedelics and Psychotherapy

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The criminalization of psychedelic drugs in the 60s did little to halt their recreational use, but succeeded in making it nearly impossible to do legitimate research on their safety, effects and medicinal potential. Rick Doblin has spent most of his life trying to change that, and over the last 30 years, he and the organization he founded, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), have been making steady headway. After a series of successful government-authorized pilot studies on the therapeutic use of drugs like LSD, MDMA and psilocybin for a variety of psychological disorders, large-scale trials and FDA approval may soon follow. MDMA, for example, may be greenlighted for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder as early as 2021.

On today’s show, I spoke to Rick about the long road from proscription to prescription; where the previous generation of psychedelic advocates went wrong and what’s going right this time; how psychedelics might work to assist psychotherapy for PTSD, severe anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, and other conditions; and how that model differs from conventional psychopharmaceutical approaches. Also Rick talks about his own psychedelic experiences and why mind-altering drugs can be so life-altering.

Click the play arrow above to hear the interview, or the download icon on the upper right to get your own mp3.

Check out these audio extras:

Rick Doblin on psychedelics and placebos: in a placebo-controlled drug study test subjects aren’t supposed to know whether they’ve gotten the real thing or a dummy dose. That’s the whole point. But how do you pull the old switcheroo in psychedelic research, where the difference between a sugar pill and a hallucinogen is, er, noticeable? Rick discussed some novel solutions he and his colleagues have come up with.

Anthropologist, ethnobotanist and explorer Wade Davis from a recent conversation we had, on his own cross-cultural psychedelic investigations and those of his mentor, ethnobotanical trailblazer Richard Evans Schultes.

Writer Don Lattin on his book The Harvard Psychedelic Club, from our 2010 interview. I also spoke to Paul Lee, one of psilocybin-takers in the original 1962 Good Friday Experiment at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel.

Don Lattin on an earlier wave of consciousness explorers, including Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard.

What Ira Glass Won’t Say


The Days and Nights Festival comes to Carmel and Big Sur, September 26-28, 2014.

Photo: Christopher Duggan

Photo: Christopher Duggan


Photo: David Bazemore

Ahead of his appearance in the 2014 Days and Nights Festival Ira Glass was on Robert Pollie’s 7th Avenue Project interview show. Ira’s piece in the festival “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host” is a spoken word and dance performance. So one of the things that happens in the interview is Robert encountering Ira’s policy about discussing whether he dances.

In the audio excerpt above you get just a taste of what happens when two masters of the radio interview enter into conversation.

7th Avenue Project: Yael Kohen: The Rise of Women in Comedy

It’s taken decades, but women are finally catching up to men in the comedy business, with A-list stars like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman and Kristen Wiig. Have women comics achieved true equality? And if so, why’d it take so friggin’ long? We talk to Yael Kohen about her oral history, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy. (Originally aired in 2012)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Moby

This clip is from the episode of Bullseye, broadcast June 22, 2014.

Moby is one of the most successful electronic musicians in the world. But he didn’t start fiddling with synthesizers and drum machines as a kid — he was studying classical guitar. Then, his world changed with just one song.


7th Avenue Project: Photographer Camille Seaman


From the 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie – Broadcast June 1, 2014 -


Artist Camille Seaman. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Maybe it’s not so surprising that someone named after a hurricane and whose Shinnecock Indian grandfather taught her that “it’s your sweat up there in the clouds” would have a special feeling for meteorological phenomena and the cycles of nature. But there were miles to go and a lot of serendipity before Camille Seaman found her calling as an acclaimed photographer of ice and storms. She was an at-risk teen when a teacher gave her her first camera. And then there was and impetuous trip to the arctic years later, and the emotional jolt of 9/11, and some mentoring from a National Geographic photographer…


On the One Hand Stark Reality, On the Other Hand Fantasy


Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez greets fans and reporters outside his home in Mexico City on March 6. Photo: Mario Guzman/EPA/Landov

Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez died Thursday at the age of 87. His work, including the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude earned him a Nobel Prize and sparked an entire genre of literature.

NPR’s Mandalit Del Barco reports his magical realistic style of narrative had its roots in two grandparents with two different perspectives.

Garcia Marquez was born in 1927 in the Colombian coast town of Aracataca, which experienced a boom after a U.S. fruit company arrived. In a 1984 interview with NPR, he said his writing was forever shaped by the grandparents who raised him as a young child:

“There was a real dichotomy in me because, on one hand … there was the world of my grandfather; a world of stark reality, of civil wars he told me about, since he had been a colonel in the last civil war. And then, on the other hand, there was the world of my grandmother, which was full of fantasy, completely outside of reality.”


New Name, New Business Model for Shakespeare Festival

From past 2010 performance of 'The Lion in Winter' with Kandis Chappell, Mairin Lee and Marco Barricelli. Barricelli will continue as the Artistic Director of the new company, joined by Mike Ryan. Photo: Courtesy of http://shakespearesantacruz.org

From past 2010 performance of ‘The Lion in Winter’ with Kandis Chappell, Mairin Lee and Marco Barricelli. Barricelli will continue as the Artistic Director of the new company, joined by Mike Ryan. Photo: Courtesy of http://shakespearesantacruz.org

By J.D. Hillard | KUSP News

Supporters of Santa Cruz’s annual Shakespeare festival snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the last days of January when they brought a campaign to independently fund the next festival season to a successful completion.

It’s uncertain whether there will ever be a ‘Shakespeare Santa Cruz’ again. The successor company aiming to carry on the festival doesn’t own the name. Instead it seems Shakespeare plays will return to Santa Cruz performed by a company calling itself ‘Santa Cruz Shakespeare’.


David Sedaris – How His Book Tours Influenced his Latest Collection



David Sedaris talks with Rick Kleffel about how his book tours influenced his latest collection of essays and short stories – Let Explore Diabetes with Owls.

About the interview, Rick Kleffel wrote:

It will come as no surprise that David Sedaris is easy to talk to. When we sat down to discuss ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls,’ we were both quickly to our comfort zones; being crabby old men complaining about stuff and gawky kids talking about weird things.

Reviving Radio Theatre

Shakespeare Santa Cruz aims to immerse it's audience in a theater form that is rarely performed anymore. Photo courtesy Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Shakespeare Santa Cruz aims to immerse it’s audience in a theater form that is rarely performed anymore. Photo courtesy Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Despite UCSC’s announcement last summer of its closure, Shakespeare Santa Cruz still has at least one more show. It’s A Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play recreates a form of theatre rarely heard anymore. J.D. Hillard has this report.

Master Series II at the R. Blitzer Gallery – Howard Ikemoto & Ron Milhoan

'Reservoir' by Howard Ikemoto. Courtesy of the artist.

‘Reservoir’ by Howard Ikemoto. Courtesy of the artist.

'winter Poplars' by Ron Milhoan. Courtesy of the artist.

‘Winter Poplars’ by Ron Milhoan. Courtesy of the artist.

(Text provided by the R. Blitzer Gallery)

Two of the area’s most revered artists and educators are together at an exclusive exhibit at the R. Blitzer Gallery. Both artists, now retired, have inspired thousands of students as art instructors at Cabrillo College.

Howard Ikemoto taught at Cabrillo College for 34 years before retiring in 2000. Though he bristles, at the notion that he enjoyed legendary status at Cabrillo College, he nonetheless, was an extraordinary teacher and mentor. Foremost was his deep respect towards his students. He engaged his students to think past the obvious and mundane. His recent works examine landscapes through the process of painting. They are often abstract and sometimes non-objective. Howard’s work has been exhibited throughout California in museums and galleries. Today, Ikemoto at 74, continues his visual explorations and invite us all, the viewer, to welcome risk.

Ron Milhoan’s current oil paintings, “The Dusty Trail Series” are inspired by the landscape and a tribute to his home of 20 years in Corralitos,. His interest in the patterns of light through trees transforms the landscape as if illuminated from within. Ron was an influential painting and drawing teacher at Cabrillo College for 29 years and six years prior at 3 other universities in the United States. Milhoan exhibited his work at The Monterey Museum of Art, The Triton Museum of Art and The Museum of Art and History. Milhoan was awarded two NEA Painting Grants and the Distinguished Artist Award in Santa Cruz and continues to exhibited nationally.

Exhibit runs through December 28th. First Friday reception December 6, 5 – 9 pm. rblitzergallery.com