Grateful Dead Film: “Long Strange Trip” Indeed

Amir Bar-Lev’s 4-hour documentary on The Grateful Dead has its moments: Al Franken explaining the subtleties of Althea, Robert Hunter stating that his lyrics “are clear”, as well as archival footage of an army platoon on LSD. And of course there is the music – Uncle John’s Band, Sugar Magnolia, Dark Star and Playin’ in the Band and on – along with reams of concert footage. However, as melancholically sweet as these moments might be, the narrative is skewed, emphasizing the mania and addiction, a tough go for anyone not a Deadhead. The story of Jerry Garcia as the unwilling guru/god throughout his life is ironically reinforced throughout the film, focusing almost exclusively on his reclusive genius while tip-toeing around the personal wreckage an addict leaves behind, which leaves the viewer wondering how the others might have coped the past 22 years since his death.Which is the biggest gap of all in the film, ignoring the fact that Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart have all been consistently touring, chasing a sound as rapturous as ever.

Jerry & Bobby & Everything of That

I’m trying to figure out this moment, like a glimpse from the ridge, the sun just right, the river and valley streaming out, where the getting to where is gotten to and there might be nothing more. It’s the end of the first set opener – Sugar Magnolia for The Closing of Winterland on New Year’s Eve 1978. Bobby is raring to go, strumming and, well, bobbing, while Jerry watches, amused by these simple chords that we are all ready to jump and die for.And they go on, Bobby strumming and bobbing, Jerry beatific, Donna unwittingly caught in the whirligig of this remarkable everything thing.And because it’s recorded, I watch it again and again and come to the realization that a simple thing is not that at all.

100 Dead Shows in 35 Years (& 2 Months)

Hampton Coliseum, Virginia, March 9, 1983.

  1. 04/09/83 (Sat) Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, VA
  2. 10/17/83 Mon) Olympic Center – Lake Placid, NY
  3. 04/16/84 (Mon) Community War Memorial – Rochester, NY
  4. 04/17/84 (Tue) Niagara Falls Convention Center – Niagara Falls, NY
  5. 06/21/84 (Thu) Kingswood Music Theatre – Maple, Ontario
  6. 06/30/84 (Sat) Indianapolis Sports and Music Center – Indianapolis, IN
  7. 07/01/84 (Sun) Pine Knob Music Theater – Clarkston, MI
  8. 08/10/84 (Fri) Rocky Glen Amusement Park – Moosic, PA (JGB)
  9. 08/11/84 (Sat) Caldwell College – Caldwell, NJ (JGB)
  10. 10/20/84 (Sat) Carrier Dome – Syracuse, NY
  11. 03/31/85 (Sun) Cumberland County Civic Center – Portland, ME
  12. 04/01/85 (Mon) Cumberland County Civic Center – Portland, ME
  13. 06/21/85 (Fri) Alpine Valley Music Theatre – East Troy, WI
  14. 06/22/85 (Sat) Alpine Valley Music Theatre – East Troy, WI
  15. 06/28/85 (Fri) Hershey Park Stadium – Hershey, PA
  16. 09/02/85 (Mon) Zoo Amphitheater – Oklahoma City, OK
  17. 09/03/85 (Tue) Starlight Theater – Kansas City, MO
  18. 09/05/85 (Thu) Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
  19. 09/06/85 (Fri) Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
  20. 10/31/85 (Thu) University of SC – Carolina Coliseum – Columbia, SC
  21. 11/01/85 (Fri) Richmond Coliseum – Richmond, VA
  22. 11/02/85 (Sat) Richmond Coliseum – Richmond, VA
  23. 11/07/85 (Thu) Community War Memorial – Rochester, NY
  24. 02/08/86 (Sat) Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center – Oakland, CA
  25. 02/09/86 (Sun) Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center – Oakland, CA
  26. 02/11/86 (Tue) Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center – Oakland, CA
  27. 03/30/86 (Sun) Providence Civic Center – Providence, RI
  28. 03/31/86 (Mon) Providence Civic Center – Providence, RI
  29. 04/01/86 (Tue) Providence Civic Center – Providence, RI
  30. 09/21/86 The Stone – San Francisco, CA 1986 (Kingfish w/Bob Weir)
  31. 10/31/86 (Fri) Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center – Oakland, CA (Bob Weir)
  32. 11/22/86 Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CA (Garcia, Weir& Kreutzman)
  33. 12/15/86 (Mon) Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – Oakland, CA
  34. 12/16/86 (Tue) Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – Oakland, CA
  35. 12/17/86 (Wed) Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – Oakland, CA
  36. 07/19/87 (Sun) Autzen Stadium – Eugene, OR (with Bob Dylan)
  37. 10/03/87 (Sat) Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA
  38. 06/25/88 (Sat) Buckeye Lake Music Center – Hebron, OH
  39. 09/22/88 (Thu) Madison Square Gardens – Manhattan, NY
  40. 09/23/88 (Thu) Madison Square Gardens – Manhattan, NY
  41. 10/25/89 (Wed) Miami Arena – Miami , FL
  42. 10/26/89 (Thu) Miami Arena – Miami , FL
  43. 03/21/90 (Wed) Copps Coliseum – Hamilton, Ontario
  44. 03/22/90 (Thu) Copps Coliseum – Hamilton, Ontario
  45. 07/21/90 (Sat) World Music Theatre – Tinley Park, IL
  46. 07/22/90 (Sun) World Music Theatre – Tinley Park, IL
  47. 06/09/91 (Sun) Buckeye Lake Music Center – Hebron, OH
  48. 11/16/91 (Sat) Knickerbocker Arena – Albany, NY (JGB)
  49. 03/20/92 (Fri) Copps Coliseum – Hamilton, Ontario
  50. 03/21/92 (Sat) Copps Coliseum – Hamilton, Ontario
  51. 06/09/92 (Tue) Richfield Coliseum – Richfield, OH
  52. 52. 07/20/92 Molson Amphitheater, Toronto, Ontario (Weir & Wasserman)
  53. 06/08/93 (Tue) Palace of Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, MI

  1. 06/11/93 (Fri) Buckeye Lake Music Center – Hebron, OH
  2. 06/13/93 (Sun) Rich Stadium – Buffalo, NY
  3. 04/17/99 (Sat) Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CA (Phil Lesh)
  4. 09/02/01 (Sun) Bumbershoot Festival – Seattle, WA (Ratdog)
  5. 07/06/03 (Sun) Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO ((The Dead)
  6. 09/21/03 (Sun) Gorge Amphitheatre – George, WA (The Dead)
  7. 08/06/04 (Fri) Darien Lakes Performing Arts – Darien, NY (The Dead)
  8. 08/17/04 (Tue) Alltel Pavilion @ Walnut Creek – Raleigh, NC (The Dead)
  9. 08/18/04 (Wed) Verizon Amphitheatre – Charlotte, NC (The Dead)
  10. 08/19/04 (Thu) Hi Fi Buys Amphitheatre – Atlanta, GA (The Dead)
  11. 09/01/05 (Thu) Central Park – Summer Stage – NY, NY (Ratdog)
  12. 02/15/06 (Wed) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Phil Lesh & Friends)
  13. 04/06/06 (Thu) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Ratdog)
  14. 04/08/06 (Sat) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Ratdog)
  15. 07/15/06 (Sat) Tweeter Center – Mansfield, MA (Ratdog)
  16. 03/08/07 (Sat) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Ratdog)
  17. 07/09/07 Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY (Ratdog)
  18. 08/12/07 (Sun) Boarding House Park – Lowell, MA (Ratdog)
  19. 11/06/07 (Tue) Nokia Theatre – New York City, NY (Phil Lesh & Friends)
  20. 04/05/08 (Sat) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Ratdog)
  21. 11/01/08 (Sat) Nokia Theatre – New York City, NY (Phil Lesh & Friends)
  22. 04/25/09 (Sat) Madison Square Garden – Manhattan, NY (The Dead)
  23. 05/02/09 (Sat) Wachovia Spectrum – Philadelphia, PA (The Dead)
  24. 10/19/09 (Mon) The Grand – New York City, NY (Ratdog)
  25. 07/10/10 (Sat) Mann Music Center – Philadelphia, PA (Furthur)
  26. 07/29/10 (Thu) Nokia Theatre – Manhattan, NY (Furthur)
  27. 03/29/11 (Tue) Broome County Arena – Binghamton, New York (The Dead)
  28. 07/22/11 (Fri) Gathering of Vibes @ Seaside Park – Bridgeport (The Dead)
  29. 011/10/11 (Thu) Madison Square Garden – Manhattan, NY (Grateful Dead)
  30. 04/09/12 (Mon) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Furthur)
  31. 04/18/12 (Wed) Beacon Theatre – New York City, NY (Furthur)
  32. 07/07/12 (Sat) Mann Music Center – Philadelphia, PA (Furthur)
  33. 07/13/12 (Fri) MCU Park – Coney Island, NY (Furthur)
  34. 10/04/12 (Thur)  Hard Rock Cafe – Las Vegas, NV (Furthur)
  35. 10/02/13 (Wed) The Palms – Las Vegas, NV (Furthur)
  36. 02/21/14 (Fri) Theatre at Westbury – Westbury, NY (Ratdog)
  37. 09/21/14 Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, NY (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  38. 10/18/14 Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  39. 03/18/15 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  40. 07/04/15 Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois (The Dead with Trey Anastasio)
  41. 09/16/15 – Central Park Summer Stage (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  42. 5/29/16 – Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  43. 06/25/16 – Citi Field, Queens, NY (Dead and Company)
  44. 09/14/16 – Coney Island Boardwalk (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  45. 10/14/16 – Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY (Bob Weir Camp Fire)
  46. 03/15/17 Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY (Phil Lesh and Friends)
  47. 05/21/17 Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY (Phil Lesh and Friends)Capitol Theater, Port Chester, May 26, 2017

 

Ice Friday: Italo Calvino’s “Enchanted Garden”

The pale boy was wandering about his shady room furtively, touching with his white fingers the edges of the scales studded with butterflies; then he stopped to listen. The pounding of Giovannino and Serenella’s hearts, which had died down, now got harder than ever. Perhaps it was the fear of a spell that hung over the villa and garden and over all these lovely, comfortable things, the residue of some injustice committed long ago. Very quietly, Giovannino and Serenella crept away. They went back along the same paths they had come, stepping fast but never at a run. 

Confessing What The Dog Says

I got a try-out for a swimming part in a film and found myself alone in the pool, playing basketball, making every shot. A woman appeared, slim and beautiful, and fouled me, keeping her hand on mine, and then I was trying to get the ball, and her suit was undone. More people arrived and I began to forget my lines, and was told as much in the long debrief, that I had started well and then lost momentum, and that there might be a next time once the group went on tour in Australia and New Zealand. I found my father, long dead, having a cigarette on the back patio and couldn’t understand what he was doing there. “I stay up to 11:00 every once in a while.” The dog was there too, and I confessed that it could speak, saying the same thing again and again: “Smoking again?” I felt bad about him being dead, stealing his wife, because she was so beautiful and now all mine.

Movie Day: “The Bear” to “Catch-22”

Watching films is an addiction, consumed one by one, regardless of story or value, but for how they are shot – the lights, shots and edits, watching as as alien, trying to understand the language of this world through Annaud’s The Bear, Zemekis’ Castaway and Luketic’s Paranoia. Finding the moments, beautifully or ridiculously rendered: Redford’s Ordinary People, Hiller’s Silver Streak, NIchols’ Catch-22 (Mike Nichols, 1970). And then the day is gone, lost in the confusion of make belief, and you are an alien no longer, just tired.

Ice Friday: David Mamet’s “Oleanna”

Ah. (Pause) When I was young somebody told me, are you ready? The rich copulate less often than the poor. But when they do, they take more of their clothes off. Years. Years, mind you, I would compare experiences of my own to this dictum, saying, aha, this fits the norm, or ah, this is a variation from it. What did it mean? Nothing.