The Selected Quirks of Madjag

The Madjag Chronicles were compiled as memoirs and mental snapshots of my experiences during the 1978-1982 guerrilla growing years in Madjag Canyon and beyond. Importing weed from Mexico, lining up connections with the Colombians, and living for months in Jamaica to set up a 1/2 ton Ganja flight were some of my subsequent adventures. In recent years I have been a medical marijuana grower, a pollen chucker, and an Admin/Moderator for several online cannabis forums.

Sacred Seeds Skunk #1 – Smoke Report 1981

Kind thanks to Sam Skunkman and Robert Connell Clarke for facilitating a worldwide, mind-altering shift in cannabis breeding so great that no one could have guessed how far reaching its consequences would become.

I call it crowdsourcing the smoke report…..

The HiLiter topless bar oddly was located in a quiet family neighborhood on north 12th Street in Phoenix just south of Camelback. Now, in 2020, it’s still there invisible as it always has been to most people driving by or living in the quiet neighborhood. Its location wasn’t the typical seedy neighborhood in which most topless bars were found and it wasn’t even on a busy street that would generate walk-in traffic. A small, non-neon sign on a medium-sized building was all you’d see if you drove by the place. Because the parking was in the back well behind the building you could easily slide right up 12th Street and never even know that such a cosmic place existed. It was a unique, high-quality topless bar that did not attract an aggressive, stupid crowd.

The HiLiter opened, difficult to believe, way, way back in 1962. That makes it one of the earliest topless dance clubs anywhere. It was the first topless dance club that I had ever visited that had a DJ in a booth spinning the tunes for the dancers. His mastery of disco and soul music meant truly fine rhythms and beats for the ladies to groove on. During its heyday from 1974 to 1985 I enjoyed its unique atmosphere and talented lady dancers on an irregular basis, usually when I had some of the Madjag crew to entertain. Other clubs might have had more space, more dancers, and louder music, but no club had Tina or any other of the 5 or 6 exotic dancers I had the pleasure to watch and converse with over those years. Their dancing was several steps above the other clubs’ girls. They liked to smoke herb as well….


Why was it such a special dance club? The HiLiter’s dance stage was in the center of the darkened room with the small, round tables and wall-backed booths creating a U-shape around it. This dance stage was a peninsula about 20 feet long and 8 feet wide jutting out from the dark back wall that lead to the dancers’ prep room. A small bar, just wide enough for a glass or bottle on a napkin, circled this tight dance stage and facilitated those who liked to sit close. If you sat at the bar you’d be right at the dancer’s feet. Pole dancing was not a part of the scene yet, thankfully, so if a lady got on this stage she had to dance, not just swirl around and act sexy. Similarly there were no table dances to distract the crowd. You came to watch great dancers do some dynamite, erotic dance moves. And they sure did.

Phoenix New Times magazine, a fabulous independent Arizona news source, did a nice history piece on the HiLiter back in 2007 when it won 1st place for Best Strip Club in Phoenix. Here’s a bit of it:

“The Hi-Liter’s been in business in one form or another since 1962; it was a piano bar before it went go-go in the ’70s. And, oddly, it had a hand in the creation of what eventually became Hustler magazine. According to Larry Flynt, who explains it all in his autobiography, An Unseemly Man, it was while scouting strip clubs in Phoenix back in the day that he spotted a copy of the still-extant freebie adult newspaper Bachelor’s Beat. Flynt’s Dayton, Ohio franchise of this PHX publication  eventually morphed into Hustler magazine, which now has its offices in a big, black building in Beverly Hills. Class dismissed. So Hi-Liter has another claim to fame other than being an awesome chichi bar, and one of the many places Mike Tyson’s flipped out at while living in Sand Land.”

Tina was a legendary dancer and everyone’s favorite. I humbly admit that I learned to Disco dance by watching her moves and practicing them at home. Yes, way! Obviously not all of her moves translated into a man’s dance style, however she had so many moves down solid that at least 50% applied to both men and women. She could have easily moved to Vegas or New York and struck it big, however she loved Arizona and the desert heat made her life perfect. Dancing til midnight and then walking outside in Phoenix nighttime summer heat, say 105 degrees, has a charm all of its own. It feeds the body in a special way, especially a body that knows how to move.

One fine autumn evening in 1981 my fellow Madjag Canyon Wizard, Don Wand,  and I stopped by the HiLiter on a special mission. We wanted to see what the new harvest of Sacred Seeds Skunk #1 could do to an ordinary person who might think of themself as an experienced cannabis smoker. It wasn’t meant to be cruel by any means, just a giant, fun lab test in the field that would serve to entertain us as well. Our friend Dennis had the inside line with the dancers so we decided to test it on a few of them. We knew that they would be devastated and I have to admit we had a secret agenda as well. If we could impress the dancers, we might get a date. Yes daddy.

Dennis met us inside and we sat at a far table that was right next to the dancer’s entrance into the bar. A few beers later and Dennis’ current squeeze came striding in. She recognized him and sat down on his lap laughing and smiling. It was the beginning of her shift and she gladly entertained his suggestion to have a few tokes to get her ready. She signaled another dancer and Dennis and I slipped to the back of the building and into the men’s bathroom with the ladies. Like many old-time, down-to-earth clubs, the bathroom door’s lock was broken so I wedged my feet against the door just in case some drunk came bumbling in. I pulled out a fairly thin needle joint, not very impressive compared to the current fatties most guys were wielding, and lit it up. The dancers each got 2 good tokes, the kind you have to struggle to suck out of such a pinner, before the knock on the door came and Tina’s voice was heard outside. They moved me and let her in. Tina was working behind the bar for this shift and in charge of the whole scene concerning the dancers. She was very pissed off that we were smoking one in the john, mumbling angrily and telling Dennis and I to get out.

We moved out of the bathroom and into our usual booth against the wall just off center stage. The booths were raised off the floor about 10 inches and allowed us to see above the heads of any patrons seated in front of us or at the bar. It put us about 20 feet from the tip of the peninsula-shaped stage where we had a perfect view of the current dancer as well as the entire crowd. 5 minutes later Dennis’ girlfriend came marching out of the back with a big grin pasted across her face. The other dancer followed about 10 feet behind her as they sauntered between the tables and around the stage toward the steps that lead up to the dance floor. As Jeannie, Dennis’ girl, turned the corner of the stage and continued on, she walked straight into a customer’s small, two-person round table, knocked it over, spilled numerous drinks and bottles, as she tumbled over it herself in one smooth motion. I could hardly believe my eyes. The commotion that ensued involved semi-drunk patrons yelling, Tina jumping in to rescue the girls, and Don Wand and I flying out the back door to the parking lot for a quick getaway. Suffice it to say that we didn’t want to get on the wrong side of Tina. I think she let the whole situation rest because when she saw us the next time she didn’t bat an eye. Either she had a few puffs herself after she kicked us out of the men’s room or just understood that Jeannie was a lightweight. Our field test had passed with flying colors to the same degree that Jeannie had failed. Or was it failure? She learned something that day, didn’t she? Beware of Wizards bearing gifts…..

A similar test was enacted a few weeks later in another public place where we carefully left a pin joint in a spot that a hipster would most likely see it. Sure enough, one of the first guys to pass by found it and fired it up. Numerous false starts with this method are common because it leaves open the opportunity for the test subject to pocket the gift and smoke it later. The proper combination of locale and local color is necessary to ensure, fairly quickly, a solid test. In this case the fellow had a few hits and continued on without a worthy reaction. Oh well. My Colombo friend Gerardo used this method with great success countless times in Manhattan as a source of perverse amusement. He knew the power of his rare herb and didn’t need a smoke report. Come to think of it, neither did we. I guess that means we really are Deviatos, doesn’t it.

So the smoke report reads like this:

Sacred Seeds Skunk #1

•Smooth mouth, easy on the palate
•Expands in the lung, though not cough producing unless over-toked
•Not a sleeper weed. You get what you paid for immediately:
devastatingly potent, disorienting, but without paranoia because…..
•The strong Indica body effect within the first minute or two causes loss of
motor control and focuses energy toward the physical, away from
the cerebral
•Surreal psychoactivity from the sativa Haze roots follows quickly
leaving the unprepared to fend for themselves. Do not operate
motorized equipment or attempt to fly an airplane while under the influence of Skunk #1.

My personal experience with SK #1 was very satisfying. I had smoked amazing herb over the years preceding our first Sacred Seeds harvest including Oaxacan, Puebloan, Guerreran, Sinaloan, Santa Marta Gold, Santa Marta Red, Jamaican, true Thai stick, and of course my friend Gerardo’s black Colombian wacky weed nicknamed “Candybar”. I was, and am, a lightweight in the sense that I never sought out the ceiling of a weed. Reefer for me was like a ride, a journey. I didn’t care how fast or long the journey was, just that it was excellent in its total composition. Thus I tailored my intake to the situation. Nowadays, because of a few characters that I hang out with who are just the opposite and smoke as much of the best herb they can find, I have explored the ceiling for a number of weeds and can honestly say that I enjoy doing so under the right set and setting. It just took a few more years for me to get there.

In the early 1970’s I remember walking down the street in my small northern Arizona town, past several cowboy bars, and gazing into them incredulously. What a loud and crazy Western scene. I said to my Colombo friend Gerardo, while looking into the open front door of Rusty’s Purple Sage bar and lounge, “Can you imagine going in there and having a drink at the bar?” Instantly he’d be walking in past me and I would follow, mostly out of friendship and partly out of unconscious dare. I had hair well below my butt and he had an Afro as big as any soul brother you’ve ever seen, except that Gerardo had deep brown-skin and was genetically ½ French and ½ Colombian. Being high at moments like that made me nervous and I know Peter was just pushing me past my limits like a good weed brother should. When he sampled the Skunk #1 harvest a few years later he said, “Not bad, not bad” and proceeded to chain smoke an ounce in a week or less. I guess that was the final seal of approval for me. Johnnie loved his herb….