by Elliot Lincis
My name is Elliot, though most know me as EL. EL Zona (my stage name), EL Photographer, EL Beatnik, EL Musician, EL Poet, EL Raconteur…
Being raised in Scottsdale, Arizona in the late 50’s and 60’s, I witnessed – and partook – in some of the most important political and social changes in our country’s 200+ year history, all experienced through a filtered haze in sunshine safe suburbia.
And what a wonderful time to live, breathe and sing, the Swingin’ Sixties! The most prolific, political, inspiring and creative music heard since Amadeus, Miles, and Coltrane. Sunday night, February 9, 1964, ‘The Beatles’ plugged into the Ed Sullivan theater and the American psyche was forever rewired! Several years later they discretely screamed, “Smoke pot, smoke pot everybody smoke pot…” If you were not discretely (or not so discreetly) toking, you would be soon.
Everybody smoked pot, weed, grass, marijuana – even if you were foolish enough not to inhale – the opportunities were endless. The number of fellow inhalers grew like sprouts on a “chia pet!” Strains from all over the world seemed to appear! ‘Acapulco Gold’, ‘Panama Red’, ‘Thai Sticks’, ‘Hawaiian Purple’ – it was the beginning of the “Cannabis Renaissance.” What a wonderful time to live, sing and breathe in… The “Magic Bus” had left the station, “the Revolution” was in full drive!
Before herb became the “smoke” of choice on high school campuses, picking up a “dime bag” was not always easy. We had to leave our palm tree lined neighborhoods in our parents “hammy down” Cadillacs and Mercedes and drive a good 20-30 minutes to a land far away… Tempe, Arizona. Home of Arizona State University, coeds, and someones brother, who had a friend who knew a guy selling lids of ‘California Buds’ in-between Psych 101 and Anthropology!
Now the long ride home through crime free streets, evidence in the Benz under the seat, and “the man” traveling close behind! “They stone you when you’re driven’ in your car”, blasting from the 8-track, laughing all the way home. Whose got the “Zig-Zags?”
I first started to smoke cannabis when I was about 14, after first teaching myself the “art of inhalation.” A neighbor, who I used to play army and ‘Little League’ with, was toking up a storm everyday after high school in his ‘crib’ across the street. All the cool kids were there! Chemistry and History books in tow it was now time for “intellectual inspiration.”
My neighborhood friend, who I had known for ten years, was an “honor student,” mowed his parents yard every weekend, drove a beautiful turquoise Mustang convertible his grandparents gave him for senior graduation…. and smoked a lot of “grass” daily. Is that possible? Today he is a prominent Dean of Studies at a prestigious business college.
It took a few times at bat before I experienced the miraculous, omnipotent, all encompassing intellectual properties of THC. In that pure a priori, like knowledge on the edge of a razor blade, crystalline, deep, revelatory. I got it!!!! The doors of the 4th and 5th Dimension were as blown open as I was. Seeing, hearing, feeling, eating, breathing were all in a heightened state. ‘Reality’ had been elevated. I never looked back from that magical moment… Sitting in the bright rays of suburban sunshine, in a 1969 convertible Mustang, the world instantly changed…
This is where my adventure begins… “Goo goo g’joob!”
Read more from Elliot here.
Elliot Lincis is a local commercial photographer, who has worked in the Phoenix Valley since 1984. He has photographed celebrities, politicians, sport legends and fashion for just about every publication in the Southwest, and has been on countless photo assignments nationally. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, EL has studied, worked, and lived on both coasts and many parts in between. El lives in the Valley with his extended family and two dogs and has been a lifelong advocate of medical marijuana therapy.