Psychedelic Light and Power Company



Scott Bartlett (Dec'd)
Paul Hawkin
Tom DeWitt (now Ditto)

"The theater had three large screens with 11 projectors to run short films.

Three separate slide projectors to be used for color water that moves around in trays that were projected on the screens. There were also strobe light and fans to give the dancers a slow motion effect."

The artists were Scott Bartlett and Paul Hawkin with additional film provided by Tom DeWitt who remained in San Francisco finishing up his degree at San Francisco State College.

We did SF State, the Fillmore West (there was no East back then), Avalon, and something called The Firehouse.

There was a bar southside. I don't remember its name. Paul Hawken probably does. Scott died in 1990.

The moniker Psychedelic Light and Power Co was strictly applied to the Ambassador theater in DC. It ran after we left under that name with a stash of film loops and slides left behind for local operators.

I used my own name at the Straight Theater gig. Ownership and attribution was tangled. Scott took possession of OffOn after it became an off the charts success. I responded with The Leap. You can read about it in Expanded Cinema.

Today I have this sidebar activity of a memoir under the rubric of "Remembering My Future." I'm 33 chapters in with probably another 30 to go. These daze the lightshow years reappear whenever when I flip slides for NASA, in 2007 in Atlanta and 2016 in Mountainview at SETI.

The former was two screens and the latter was triple screen. SETI failed to make a decent video of it, but you can visit their YouTube for a one screen version (under the Ditto name).

Nice to know that someone cares.

A single strip film built from the short film loops was collated by Bartlett under the name OffOn and can be found here:

OffOn sold into hundreds of museums and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2004.

Some consider it the quintessential psychedelic film, and it does transmit a good impression of the Light Show.

There was extensive documentation from the SF Straight Theater in November 1967. I might be able to put my hands on those slides. I have a copy of the entry I made for Film Magazine. It is unfortunately in black and white, but the light show was largely in b&w film from my own darkroom, so that may suffice.

My name at the time was DeWitt. When I married Beverly Botto in 1994 I became Tom Ditto. The setup you have on-line was at the Ambassador Theater in Washington, DC summer of 1967.

Hang tight. I have a bit of work due and pending at the moment, but your archeology is appreciated by this olde dinosaur.

Tom Ditto - October 30th 2020

Psychedelic Light and Power Company

The Ambassador Theater in Washington, DC summer of 1967