New York Historical Society party

Last night’s benefit fundraiser for the upcoming exhibit of Grateful Dead Archive material at the New York Historical Society was a big success. Loads of people attended and lots of music happened. Read more and see some early photos of the event at:

Mouse full circle

Currently showing at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art is: The Evolution of Stanley Mouse: Full Circle.
Mouse is of course, responsible for many of the most iconic imagery affiliated with the Grateful Dead and his album covers and posters for other bands such as the Beatles are legendary. To see more of his fine art, rock art, and monster art go to his web site at make sure to see his exhibit at MarinMOCA; it’s up through November 1st and is free to the public.

Tie Dye Sky

Tie dye will soar more than a quarter mile into the atmosphere above the heart of Manhattan as New York celebrates the Grateful Dead. The Empire State Building is being colorfully lit in honor of band member’s appearances this coming week in the Big Apple. Bob Weir & RatDog will be at the Grand Ballroom on the 19th and 20th and at the Beacon Theatre from the 22nd to the 24th.
Both Bob Weir and Phil Lesh are making guest appearances at the New York Historical Society’s benefit for the exhibition: The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New York Historical Society. This exhibit will premier material from UCSC’s Grateful Dead Archive in Spring 2010. See more about this exhibition in the “News” section of our web page:

Most popular music in the land

It seems like there are an awful lot of “forty year old” events to commemorate this year — events that reflected social conflict and contention and often put a spotlight on the difference between generations. Forty years ago Apollo 11 landed on the moon and the Stonewall riots took place in New York; there was Woodstock and then Altamont; the My Lai massacre and the march on Washington against the Vietnam War. The last public performance of the Beatles took place on the roof of Apple Records in 1969, and John & Yoko got married that year and the bed-ins for peace happened.
Now in 2009 Paul Taylor and Richard Morin at the Pew Research Center in a Social & Demographic Trends Report have released the results of a study, which documents that there are still big differences between younger and older adults in their values, use of technology, work ethic, and respect and tolerance for others. (79% of Americans say there is a major difference in the point of view of younger and older adults.) There is, however, one area where the generation gap does not seem to be apparent: music. And surprise, two thirds of respondents to the Pew survey say they most often listen to rock music, placing it ahead of six other genres. For every age group below 65 rock is at the top of the charts. Taylor and Morin compare these results to a 1966 national survey where rock and roll was by far the most unpopular music in the county, and 44% of adults said they disliked it.
The entire report is released at the Pew Research Center’s site, and it is quite revealing to see which performers sustain popularity. (The Grateful Dead really hold their own.) See:

Toni Brown

Relix: The Book – Music for the Mind has just been released in paperback from Backbeat. Compiled by Toni Brown with Lee Abraham, it’s a compilation and commentary on the first 27 years of Relix Magazine. It’s got a foreword by Jorma Kaukonen and an afterword by Dennis McNally. The publisher is saying the book is “much more than an anthology, it is an event.” Find more about it at

Relix founder Toni Brown gives a great interview on She talks about the history of the magazine, interviewing band members, and coming to write the Relix story.

Grateful Dead Scrapbook

Ben Fong-Torres speaks tonight at 7:30 pm about the Grateful Dead Scrapbook at one of our favorite places:
Booksmith (
1644 Haight St.
San Francisco

Here’s the info:
Grateful Dead fans are legendary for their Dead-ication to the band and its enduring legacy of freewheeling musical exploration. Grateful Dead Scrapbook collects rare removable memorabilia and evocative images culled from the Grateful Dead Archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz, including never-before-published photos, flyers, fan letters, and other ephemera. To accompany the eye-popping visuals, renowned journalist Ben Fong-Torres draws on his personal knowledge of the San Francisco music scene in a rich text that conveys the Grateful Dead’s story in a fresh way, centering each chapter on a pivotal song that encapsulates a certain era of the group’s songwriting, performance, and community. An attractive slipcase and an audio CD round out the book’s beautiful design, delivering a richly illustrated volume as colorful as the band itself.

Ben Fong-Torres is the author of Becoming Almost Famous: My Back Pages in Music, Writing, and Life, The Doors, Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to Twenty Years of Rock and Roll, and Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Graham Parsons, among other books. He began writing for Rolling Stone with its 8th issue in 1968, and his writing has been published in numerous other magazines. He contributed the main biography of Jerry Garcia for People Magazine‘s tribute issue on the occasion of the singer’s death in 1995. Ben lives in San Francisco.

So Grateful

Culture wars? Yes, they are still going on. Just examine the criticism being directed at our receipt of a federal grant given to support the Grateful Dead Archive. It’s not surprising that those at FutureOfCapitalism and Club for Growth can’t understand the value of anything beyond “their canon.” But editors blogging in the Chronicle of Higher Education? Come on.

Past, present and future, the Grateful Dead continues to be a dynamic presence and a lightning rod for significant shifts in culture. We’re excited by (and so grateful for) opportunities the IMLS grant gives us to create and blaze the trail for popular archives that provide virtual accessibility and incorporate the power of the Internet and social networking tools.

And don’t forget, the 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics said: “It won’t all happen immediately. But in the long run, we are all the Grateful Dead.”