NEWS, ARTICLES & EVENTS

As an observer (and survivor) of extraordinary times (the Beat Generation, the Summer of Love and the era of Flower Power), Dion is a living historian. When asked for interviews or invited to discussions, he shares his writing, observations, experiences, photographs and ephemera with interested parties. 

 

Links to articles, videos and exhibitions that involve Dion's artwork, events, interviews and/or writing are excerpted below. The "Read More" link will take you directly to the referenced media.

Business Club Secures Festival Founder

July 14, 2016

by Laguna Beach Indy Staff

 

Sawdust Art Festival co-founder Dion Wright has much to celebrate in 2016 as the festival’s 50th season is underway and Wright will speak about its history at the Laguna Beach Business Club Thursday, July 21. Club meetings commence at 7:30 a.m. at Hotel Laguna, 425 S. Coast Highway. Non-members are welcome.

Laguna Beach Business Club will welcome Dion Wright

July 10, 2016

by Stu Staffer | Stu News Laguna

 

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sawdust Festival, Dion Wright is the founder of the festival and exhibitor of welded sculptures for all 50 years. Dion will share his story telling and history of the Sawdust Festival. Born the year the Golden Gate Bridge went up and the Hindenburg came down, come listen to Dion spin his tales.

Film "Orange Sunshine", Trippy LSD Love Story

April 8, 2016

by Rita Robinson | Laguna Beach Indy

 

After seven years of work completing a “fun drug-smuggling tale” about the LSD-deifying Brotherhood of Eternal Love from Laguna Beach, documentary filmmaker William Kirkley canned the whole thing. He had finally found the real story within the story, and started over, all of it at his own expense.

 

March 14, 2016

Billy Fried with Dion Wright | KX 93.5

 

Many thanks for the nice radio podcast interview with Billy Fried from March 3rd, which took place the evening before the Patriots Day parade.

 

According to Dion, "Billy turned out to be everything I could have hoped for. I think I managed to keep both feet out of my mouth. Tempus Fugitive, my 60s memoir, was there as a book between covers in time for us to talk about it."

Parade Marks Its 50th Edition

March 5, 2016

By Gore Brown | Laguna Beach Independent

 

The Patriots Day Parade sets out Saturday, March 5, led by grand marshal and native son Kelly Boyd and honored patriot of the year, local resident Marine Lt. Col. Carlos K. McAfee.

 

McAfee’s selfless direction of a medical evacuation during a 1966 firefight in Vietnam earned him the Naval Cross, the Navy’s second highest decoration for combat gallantry.

25 Movies We Can't Wait to See at SXSW 2016 | Orange Sunshine

March 3, 2016

By David Earlich, David Fear | Rolling Stone Magazine

 

Back in the 1960s, a collective of surfers, psychedelic explorers and straight-up hippy-dippy freaks dubbed themselves the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Their mission: expand the world's consciousness through LSD. The result: numerous bad trips, a few doors of perception kicked open, and a how-to blueprint for the modern drug trade. Filmmaker William A. Kirkley (Excavating Taylor Mead) spells it all out for you,maaaaan. 

Where Are The Truthtellers?

September 11, 2015

By Dion Wright | Laguna Beach Independent

 

Editor,

 

Dion Wright here, the person who ran the Art Gallery at Mystic Arts World.

 

Your article about Nick Schou’s talk is the best piece of journalism on the subject I’ve seen, and over the past several months, I’ve seen quite a few. I’m ambivalent about having missed Nick’s talk, as, A, I wanted to be there for moral support, since I had an inkling of the attack that was coming, and, B, I should have logged the event as the last item in a long sequence. 

Reunion Proves a Strange Trip

September 10, 2015

By Ann Christoph | Laguna Beach Independent

 

The projection screen was down. There was equipment and fussing around with it as author Nick Schou prepared to talk about his 2010 book, “Orange Sunshine, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World.”

Bolton Colburn and Nick Schou Discuss Orange Sunshine and The Mystics Arts Exhibition

August 31, 2015

Podcast Hosted by Mike Stice | College. Art. Radio. KX 93.5

 

The special guests for this week’s episode of “College. Art. Radio.” are Bolton Colburn and Nick Schou.

Bolton Colburn is the former longtime Director of Laguna Art Museum. While at Laguna Art Museum, Colburn was instrumental in organizing such landmark exhibitions as Sandow Birk: In Smog and Thunder, Kustom Kulture, Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing and Heart and Torch: Rick Griffin’s Transcendence.

Mystic Arts World: Laguna Beach's Original Psychedelic Gallery

August 15, 2015

By Evan Sean | KCET Artbound

 

In contemporary times, psychedelic art often has a stigma attached to it. Along with the association of illegal drug use -- and sometimes cliché patterns and color palettes -- psychedelic art is also ignored in today's commercial art world. However, in the 1960s counter culture era, the baby-boomer generation was tuned-in to psych art. Woodstock, the Vietnam War, and the rise of LSD were part of a litany of instigators that propelled the cultural change of the time, where many sought expanded consciousness and existential exploration. California was an epicenter for it all.

Exhibit Recalls a Time When Hippies Made Both Art and LSD in Laguna Beach

August 15, 2015

By Antonie Boessenkool | Orange County Register

 

Laguna Beach was a magnet for plein air painters in the early 1900s. Now it’s a well-marketed destination for summer art festivals and high-end galleries.

 

Less attention has been paid to a period in the middle, when the beach town was a hangout for artists and hippies interested in expanding their consciousness, sometimes with the help of LSD.

RVCA | Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Artists

July 31, 2015

Opening Night Photos by Delon Issacs for RVCA

 

This groundbreaking exhibition is the first to examine psychedelic art produced in Orange County by the Mystic Artists, a loosely organized group of artists interested in alternative culture, mystical experience and the transformation of society.  These artists congregated and exhibited their art at Mystic Arts World, a psychedelic emporium in Laguna Beach, which existed from 1967 to 1970. The shop was ground zero for hippie culture in Southern California during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and rich artistic and perceptual experimentation grew out of this burgeoning psychedelic culture.

Mystic Artists' Panel Discussion

July 28, 2015

By Cyndi Schwarztein | Cartwheel Art - Blog

 

A panel discussion moderated by the original Mystic Arts World Gallery Director, Dion Wright, featuring many of the people involved with The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Mystic Arts World, is happening at 6pm tonight. The discussion is part of the programming correlating with the exhibition “Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Artists” that opened on Saturday night and runs through August is located at the Coastline Community College Art Gallery.

Orange Sunshine and The Mystic Artists

Exhibit Runs July 25, 2015 through September 26, 206

By David Lee | Coastline Art Gallery - Blog

 

From July 27 to September 26, 2015, Coastline Art Gallery at Coastline Community College in Newport Beach presents Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Artists, 1967-1970.

 

This groundbreaking exhibition is the first to examine psychedelic art produced in Orange County by the Mystic Artists, a loosely organized group of artists interested in alternative culture, mystical experience, and the transformation of society. 

Old-timers' Stories are In Stock at the Sawdust

July 23, 2015

By David Hansen | Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot

 

In case you didn't know, artists don't like drywall. Specifically, Sawdust Festival old-timers believe that the current crop of artists should put more elbow grease into their booths. On a recent balmy night with fewer visitors than normal, Dion Wright and Bob Foster were reminiscing in Foster's booth. To call it a booth is a bit of an insult. 

A Slice of '60s Laguna Revisited

July 18, 2015

By Michael Miller | Daily Pilot

 

Would Mystic Arts World have endured over the years if not for the fire? Wright, who noted that it began around the same time as Sawdust, suspects that it would. As for the era that spawned the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, he's brusquely unsentimental about it.

Hippie Noir, Laguna Beach 1969: Orange Sunshine and the Mystic Arts World

June 18, 2015

By Gordy Grundy | Huffington Post Arts & Culture

 

There are times when an art movement quietly documents the heart and soul of the much louder story of history that surrounds it.

In 1966, LSD was legal. It was available to a large group of first adopters who found the drug to be 'very sensational.'

"Mystic Arts" Returns to Laguna Beach

January 21, 2014

By Nick Shou | OC Weekly - Blog

 

Anyone familiar with Orange County's 1960s folklore knows that Laguna Beach was the center of Southern California's underground hippie scene.

 

In fact, that center had a street address: 670 S. Coast Hwy., where, just after the 1967 Summer of Love, a head shop, art gallery, book store and exotic-goods retailer opened its doors. Mystic Arts World, as the place was known, was also essentially a front for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the legendary group of surfers and smugglers who for a time operated the nation's largest hashish and LSD network.

Get to Know Dion Wright: An Interview

2011 Interview

West End Gallery - Blog

 

Q: When did you start painting or drawing or doing whatever it is that makes up your work?

 

A: Before I could talk or walk. 

 

Q: What artist or artists do you consider as having the greatest influence on your work?

 

A: Neolithic cave painters, Howard Warshaw, Henry Moore, Carl Barks, Morris Graves, Leonardo da Vinci, Tibetan Tonka painters, Tchelichev, El Greco, Japanese prints, Bruce Connor, Rembrandt, Tom Blackwell, “Guernica”, Frank Frazetta, Salvador Dali, Jacob Epstein, N. C. Wyeth, etc., etc., etc.

The "Big One" Returns to Laguna Beach

August 8, 2013

By Nick Schou | OC Weekly - Arts

 

In the winter of 1978, a series of storms swept through Southern California, turning Laguna Canyon into a river. The soil at the base of the canyon along Roosevelt Lane, just next door to the Sawdust Festival and across the street from the Festival of the Arts, became a sponge. As the winds roared, several three-story eucaplytus trees lost their moorings and toppled, taking with it just about everything that artist Robert Young owned. Both his car and house (with him inside it) were demolished; for good measure, a careening branch broke Young's leg.

Orange Sunshine Documentary Preview

July 25, 2013

William Kirkley - Director/Filmmaker

 

The screen shot was the Kickstarter preview for William Kirkley's documentary in progress, Orange Sunshine. Content for this film gets richer as time goes on.

 

Update: Now that the film is previewing (as of March 2016) at SXSW with positive reviews, a new trailer is forthcoming and the original one has been removed. In the meantime, enjoy the initial review of the film, from Next Projection, at the Read More link.

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