Gary Ewing was the co-creator of the Traveling Tranquility Circus, a festival of positive hippy energy, roughly 1968, here in Portland. The Circus was music, dance, costumes, some theatre, all enclosed in a gigantic polyurethane balloon the size of a small building, inflated with huge industrial fans. The Circus traveled the NW and performed at college campuses and human-friendly festivals.

Gary’s special treat was to blow your mind with his light show, projected onto the surface of the balloon where he mixed small blobs of brightly colored oil on the surface of a high octane overhead projector in rhythm to the pulsating music. The result was a loose interpretation of the acid trip you could have been on if you scored instead of got burned.

In later years Gary drew fame for his concert posters, his entrepreneurial optimism about the counter-culture, and for saving the Crystal Ballroom, which he protected from wrecking balls and water leaks for a decade.

I’ve been a fan since he bought me a halavah bar in front of the Psychedelic Supermarket in 1967 and later shared with me his collection of Captain Marvel comic books.

Joe Rose at the Oregonian has an obit online already with more details.

EXTRA – Gary Ewing’s web site.

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