In 1967, a little-known underground newspaper called The Berkeley Barb decided it would be funny to trick the anti-drug authorities of the era into banning the most innocent of fruits the banana for its alleged ability to get people high. The Barb ran a satire piece claiming that dried bananas contained a psychotropic substance, aptly named "bananadine." The mainstream press got wind of it, and, for a while, everyone was fooled. Some people still are.
The Barb is just one of many original underground publications on display at "Radical Living Papers: Alternative Underground Publications and Art (1960-1975)." The exhibit, curated by Eva Prinz, Dan Donahue and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, aims to celebrate the powerful, controversial and sometimes playful contributions made by small publications during this pivotal time period. Rare editions of the Black Panther Papers, Digger Papers, Door, East Village Other, International Times, Los Angeles Free Press, Rat, The Realist, Rolling Stone and Ann Arbor Sun will also be on display. Hallucinogenic bananas, unfortunately, will not.
Runs through March 20, free, Gavin Brown's Enterprise at Passerby, 438 W. 15th St., New York, N.Y., 212-627-5258, www.radicallivingpapers.com/freepress