High Times Live, a night of games, comedy, music and more, played to a packed house at the Wythe Hotel Cinema on Thursday night. The HT variety show centered around all things marijuana: Empire State NORML was on hand to sign people up, the Wythe Hotel created a special cocktail called Sour Diesel in honor of our favorite east coast strain, and there were great giveaways, including a High Times 40th anniversary issue signed by the editorial staff.
New York Times editorial board member Jesse Wegman was on hand to discuss the Grey Lady’s landmark op-ed series on repealing marijuana prohibition with HT editor Danny Danko. Danko led a “pot panel” with Wegman, comedian Rob Cantrell, and HT lifestyle editor Mary Jane Gibson. They discussed the process by which the NYT editorial board made its long-awaited policy shift, the impact of marijuana arrests on the criminal justice system, and how the High Times style guide differs from that of the Times (turns out, bongwater is two words at the NYT; it’s one at HT). Mary Jane also emceed the event, with beatboxer Shockwave and the incomparable Laura Brenneman providing live accompaniment; the duo performed a whimsical cover of George Michael’s “Freedom” to celebrate the marijuana cause.
Cantrell (of the Marijuana-Logues) did a delightful stand-up set, riffing on finding joy in life from watching his three-year-old daughter dance, and freestyling with Shockwave after screening his “Coffee and Weed” vid.
The audience loved HT’s Mike G hosting a photo-gallery game show called “Name That Strain,” waving their hands in the air to be called on to play. Sultry burlesque performer Sapphire Jones assisted Mike with a sack full of goodies for those who guessed strains correctly.
Downtown rock star Walter Schriefels and his band the Dead Heavens played a short, powerful set that had people buzzing.
Special guests in the house to see Schriefels and take in some of High Times Live were rock legend Sir Bob Geldof, and renowned rock publicist/performer BP Fallon. Bobby Black, who gave the crowd a glimpse of his 20 years at HT with his “smokin’ word” performance, got a pic with the duo:
Comic Dan Soder (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) got the second half of the evening off to a rolling start when he marveled that he didn’t have to censor himself. “Usually, I have to make sure I don’t do any material about weed. Here, it can be all about weed!” Soder, who grew up in Denver, had plenty of hilarious pot-related things to muse about.
A trippy film from master animator Felix Colgrave (culled from our Five Best Videos to Watch When Baked series) bent minds, with audible ooohs and aahs coming from the crowd. And the grand finale of the night was an incredible number from burlesque artist Sapphire, who ensured that we will never hear Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For a Hero” the same way again.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening with like-minded folks celebrating the ganja movement. Producer Trish Nelson pulled in a fabulous crowd, and a good time was had by all! Thanks to the Wythe Hotel Cinema for hosting a super fun night with High Times Live.