Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Tom O’Neill with Dan Piepenbring
in conversation with Alex Cohen
Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$55 Reserved Section + book
$45 General Admission + Book
$20 General Admission
A journalist’s twenty-year fascination with the Manson murders leads to shocking new revelations about the FBI’s involvement in this riveting reassessment of an infamous case in American history.
Tom O’Neill is an award-winning investigative journalist and entertainment reporter whose work has appeared in national publications such as Us, Premiere, New York, The Village Voice and Details.He graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently resides in Venice, CA.
Dan Piepenbring collaborated with Tom O’Neill to write Chaos: The Secret History of the 1960s, a book about the Manson murders. Timed to the notorious events’ 50th anniversary, Chaoscontradicts the popular narrative as we know it. Currently a writer for the New Yorker, Piepenbring was the editor of The Paris Review Daily, the literary magazine’s arts and culture website. Previously, he worked as a staff writer for Bon Appetit’s website, a creative executive for Scott Rudin Productions, and an assistant editor at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Alex Cohen is a morning anchor at Spectrum News One and host of the program “Inside the Issues with Alex Cohen.” Prior to that, she has served as a public radio host, reporter and producer at NPR, Marketplace and KPCC FM.
“Whatever you think you know about the Manson murders is wrong. Just flat out wrong. Tom O’Neill’s twenty years of meticulous research has unearthed revelations about the murders, the murderers, the prosecutors who tried them and a rogues gallery of cops, drug dealers, bent doctors, famous celebrities, grotesque government research, secret agents and shadowy figures in a conspiracy/cover up so sweeping and bizarre, you’ll be as astounded as you are terrified. If your friends call you paranoid, maybe they’re just ignorant.”
—Joe Ide, author of IQ and Wrecked
Over two grim nights in Los Angeles, the young followers of Charles Manson murdered seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate, then eight months pregnant. With no mercy and seemingly no motive, the Manson Family followed their leader’s every order-their crimes lit a flame of paranoia across the nation, spelling the end of the sixties. Manson became one of history’s most infamous criminals, his name forever attached to an era when charlatans mixed with prodigies, free love was as possible as brainwashing, and utopia-or dystopia-was just an acid trip away.
Twenty years ago, when journalist Tom O’Neill was reporting a magazine piece about the murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Then he unearthed shocking evidence of a cover-up behind the “official” story, including police carelessness, legal misconduct, and potential surveillance by intelligence agents. When a tense interview with Vincent Bugliosi-prosecutor of the Manson Family, and author of Helter Skelter-turned a friendly source into a nemesis, O’Neill knew he was onto something. But every discovery brought more questions:
- Who were Manson’s real friends in Hollywood, and how far would they go to hide their ties?
- Why didn’t law enforcement, including Manson’s own parole officer, act on their many chances to stop him?
- And how did Manson-an illiterate ex-con-turn a group of peaceful hippies into remorseless killers?
O’Neill’s quest for the truth led him from reclusive celebrities to seasoned spies, from San Francisco’s summer of love to the shadowy sites of the CIA’s mind-control experiments, on a trail rife with shady cover-ups and suspicious coincidences. The product of two decades of reporting, hundreds of new interviews, and dozens of never-before-seen documents from the LAPD, the FBI, and the CIA, CHAOS mounts an argument that could be, according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven Kay, strong enough to overturn the verdicts on the Manson murders. This is a book that overturns our understanding of a pivotal time in American history.