I have these friends down at Yale who this weekend are conducting the First Annual Hunter S. Thompson Recreational Pharmacology Festival. The $200 registration fee buys you a room in one of the pleasant residential Yale colleges, a consignment of psychoactive substances equivalent to the consciousness-altering contents of Thompson's kit bag as described in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (enough to remove the convolutions from all the mammalian grey matter in Wyoming), two commemorative stamps, the services of a lawyer who knows federal and Connecticut narcotics regulations like the back of his hand, and much, much more. In short, if you've got the cash, you can't afford not to go.
But if you blew all your pocket change on cocoa butter, jai-lai, and trans-Florida pizza runs, you'll have to settle for Cheap Trills, a violin, guitar, mandolin and bass quartet, hits the Winthrop JCR Saturday at 8:30 p.m. For $1.50 you can find out if Winthrop hits back.
Originally a bluegrass band, Trills "got too good at it," Dave Sidman, chairman of the sponsoring Winthrop House Folk and Jazz Society, said yesterday, so they started playing be-bop, jazz, 40s music, old time country and Irish fiddle tunes. (Trills has no vocalist). Prepare for "incredible solos at supersonic speed," Sidman says "they're probably the fastest musicians around."
Chris Goertzen sings and plays folk guitar tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. in the Cabot living room at South House, No admission charge. Goertzen plays real good for free, I am told.
Oak Publications--publishers of sundry back-to-the-idiocy-of-rural-life music instruction books presents American Oak, a festival of bluegrass, country, folk and blues, this Saturday at 7 p.m. A dazzling array of musicians, too numerous to mention here, will play at the Berklee Performance Center (266-1400, ext. 1400). Tickets are $5.
If it's a road trip you want (and why didn't you say so sooner?), gas up and tool out to Springvale, Maine. There the Second Annual Mousam Valley Folk and Bluegrass Festival sponsored by the Nasson College Student Association begins Saturday at 2 p.m. at Nasson College, $4.50 gets you a 12-count-em-12 hours of performances from the likes of Orrin Starr and Garry Mehalic, Bango Dan and the Midnite Plowboys, and Lunch at the Dump. Plus "country dancing" with two professional callers. Could be worth the drive, but check the weather report first.
Sunday at 4 p.m. Norman Janis, tenor, and Jane Meyers, piano, give a recital of Yiddish songs in the Adams JCR. The recital, part of the Holocaust Memorial Week, is sponsored jointly by Adams House and Hillel.
Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. the Yale Russian Chorus, just back from a tour of the USSR, performs in Sanders Theater. Tickets available at Holyoke Center and the door, are $1 for students, $2 for anyone else. Recommended reading-Das Kapital, Volume II.
Feminist songwriter, pianist and singer Margie Adam appears Friday and Sunday at 8 p.m. in Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St. in Boston. Tickets are $3, $4.50 and $6 at the New Words Bookstore in Cambridge or the Jordan Hall box office. Both concerts are fundraisers for Sojourner, a feminist newspaper.
Those of you not on speaking terms with reality may want to catch Space Mass, "a multidimensional evocation of the soul's rites of passage" this weekend at Okido Dojo, 373 Commonwealth Ave. A publicity flyer for Space Mass, which bills two people as "spirit guides," describes it as "a synthesis of dance, drama, projected light images and music," Performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 p.m., admission is $3.50. Reservations are advised, call 2621525 for details. Cosmic, man.
Now the hard stuff. At Back Room at the Idler (495-1551), Reeve Little (Sunday) and Paul Rishell (Tuesday) are laid-back folkies; Jon McAuliffe (tonight), Papa John Kolstad (Friday) and Chris Rhodes and Koko Dee (Monday) are bluesy; and Derek Huntington (Saturday) is pot luck. Music starts every night around 9 p.m.
Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. Jim Flowers and John Lehmann-Haupt play eclectic acoustic guitar (presumably not the same one) at Common Grounds (661-1640). The feminist string band New Harmony String Band plays Common Grounds Sunday at 3 p.m.
Reannon Moor appears alone Saturday night at Sword-in-the-Stone (523-9168) at 9 p.m.;don't miss her. See the listings page for other Sword performers.
Also on Saturday, The Lilly Brothers and The Calliope County String Band perform at the Joy of Movement Center (492-4680) at 8 p.m. The Lilly Brothers play bluegrass with "delicate, close harmonies," Calliope Country does lively fiddle tunes, traditional song and ballads. Tickets are $2.50.
Tonight through Sunday at Passim (492-7679) you got Larry Croce and William Nininger. Nininger plays contemporary folk; Croce plays mumorous countryish folk, and is best known for "Junk Food Junkie," a song he wrote and recorded about a health food devotee who sneaks high-calorie, low-protein snacks. Shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 8:30 p.m. only on Thursday and Sunday. Admission is $3.50. Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti reads his poetry next Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at Passim, admission is $3.
Finally, some not-to-be-missed concerts at Symphony Hall. Monday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., Janis Ian ("Society's Child," "Between the Lines") appears with Tom Chapin (who?). Four days later, on Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m., Leo Kottke (a God among guitarists) and Leon Redbone (of Saturday Night Live fame) perform. If you skip both of these, you're beyond help.