Bardo Matrix – John Chick

John Chick (1944-2013) was one of the members of the original Bardo Matrix crew, who started out as a psychedelic lightshow or ‘experimental cine’ group in Boulder, Colorado. After moving to San Francisco in 1967, Chick helped set up light shows at the Avalon Ballroom with The Family Dog, with whom he was staying that summer. Doing so, Chick found himself at the heart of San Francisco’s Summer of Love. Once that summer had been spent he moved back to Colorado where he helped The Family Dog set up The Denver Dog – the Avalon Ballroom’s Colorado branch – and helped distribute The Avalon’s psychedelic posters in Denver. At The Denver Dog Chick worked with Blue Cheer, Jim Morrison, Chuck Berry, Janis Joplin and many other musicians and bands. The next year, in 1969, Chick decided to follow the hippie trail to Kathmandu, where he opened the Spirit Catcher bookstore with Angus MacLise and continued the Bardo Matrix imprint. The bookstore became a meeting place for expat poets and musicians and it was under the Bardo Matrix imprint that Ira Cohen and Angus MacLise published their famous Starstreams poetry series on local rice paper. Chick witnessed the arrival of the first Magic Bus in Kathmandu (which had Wavy Gravy and Dr. Larry Brilliant aboard) and many buses to follow. In 1972 he opened the legendary Rose Mushroom Nightclub on ‘Freak Street’ to accommodate the steadily growing flux of hippies.


Online Resources:

Kathmandu Post – How a used bookstore in Kathmandu’s Jhochhen captured the spirit of the hippie movement