Tea’s Weird Week: Get in the (Talias)Van: New Book Tells Story of a “New Age Grifter”
Hello, a short column just to tell you about what’s going on in the latest Tea’s Weird Week podcast. When my book American Madness came out last year, one of the podcasts I appeared on was Failed State Update, hosted by author Joseph L. Flatley. He told me he was working on finishing a book about a cult for Feral House, publisher of American Madness.
That book, New Age Grifter: The True Story of Gabriel of Urantia and his Cosmic Family is out later this month. I was able to read a copy and it’s great. It’s a breezy read, but I mean that in a good way. Flatley tells the story in intriguing but concise chapters. The book is a dive into the cult surrounding Tony Delevin (Flatley discovered that he and Delevin share Pittsburgh roots) who is better known to his followers as Gabriel of Urantia. The cult’s name sounds like an phone service provider, Global Community Communications Alliance. They have a trippy hippy New Age look straight out of the 1960s/70s and live in a compound in Arizona.
One important part of the GCCA is their music. Gabriel leads the cult jam band, TaliasVan & The Bright & Morning Star Band, who plays in a genre he calls “CosmoPop.” This how the door opened for Flatley– he was at a party with some friends, and someone busted out a video of TaliasVan & The Bright & Morning Star Band rockin’ away with their song “Energy Master.” It is…hmmm…well, check it out for yourself.
Ok, so what, there’s a New Age jam band somewhere in Arizona– what’s the big deal? Well, GCCA also checks all the boxes on the lists of signs of a destructive cult. Members are told to turn over financial assets when they join, they toil away at GCCA’s various business endeavors without being paid, cut off ties to friends and family, have their communications restricted, and seem to serve the purpose of fulfilling Gabriel of Urantia’s ego.
I had a chance to talk to Flatley about all this as well as his interviews with those who escaped the cult and his visit to the GCCA compound for the latest Tea’s Weird Week. And be sure to get a copy of his book, it’s a great read, especially if you have an interest in cults and insight into how they operate.
Find out more about the book and links to buy it: Joseph L. Flatley (lennyflatley.net)
Please Clap Dept.: I’m thrilled to say that initial work on adapting my book American Madness into a documentary has begun. I always knew it would translate well to a doc and talented producers Eric & Kim Hayden are passionate and working hard on the project, and I’m so happy that it’s happening. I’ll be giving regular updates along the way, but the first step took place a week ago with a long interview session with me, which we filmed at the the beautiful Lion’s Tooth bookstore here in Milwaukee.
Tea’s Weird Week, S2 ep12, Get in the (TaliasVan)
I interview Joseph L. Flatley, author of the new book New Age Grifter: The True Story of Gabriel of Urantia and His Cosmic Family. Me and Heidi share the week’s weird news, trivia from Miss Information, and we close with a new track from Chris Tishler off his new album Reach For The Sun titled “Wave To Me From The Shore.” An epic episode from start to finish!
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S2 ep12: Get in the (Talias)Van (podbean.com)
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Check out my latest books:
Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers (2019, Chicago Review Press)
Wisconsin Legends & Lore (2020, History Press)