In Summer 2015, the “core four” of legendary rock ‘n’ roll band “The Grateful Dead” did a series of five concerts (two in Santa Clara, California, three in Chicago, Illinois) to close the book on their storied career. With brother Dan, we fantastically scored tickets and made the journey to all five shows, travelling by road in various vehicles and staying a various hotels, campgrounds, crash pads.
And, I had a notion to roll like it was still 1990 and that I kept a massive scrapbook of ephemera and eschewed technology (aside from a few logistical purposes) and took a little cork “sardine can” Lomo camera with expired film to capture a few hazy images.
The results are very pleasing because well, they are not crisp and clear in any sense, rather fuzzy and weird like me at the time… I was coming out of the long hard stretch, well I didn’t realize how far I still had to go but that’s neither here they are there. #rough
This assortment contains selected snaps of people in-and-around the shows and on the road trip. Worth noting that with our gaggle of pals, we also stopped at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on the way back from Neil Young and “The Promise of the Real” at this legendary venue in some cold bewildering rain. Again, neither here nor there.
Note: there’s another collection of an “prairie time lapse” meaning a photo snapped every 15 minutes for driving across the US prairies capturing the redundancy and consistency of the landscape.
Another collection may follow with shots almost psychedelic in glorious hazy sloppiness from inside the concert venues – eventually, maybe.
Summary: Woke up to the news, quit my job, went to a candlelight vigil, passed one around, talked to some geeks from Pacific Daily News newspaper, learned about the Internet, signed up for class the next day, started making websites about hemp in Japan, got a new job, quit, went to Palau and Yap, went to Olympia, met some Internet hippies… somehow its today.
In 1989 (iirc), my beloved VW bus criss-crossed states at a frenetic pace with long drives to Kansas City for Drum Corps, California for punk concerts, over the Rockies to Denver for The Who, a Vancouver trip or two in there, couple of Moab and then was wrangled into the epic trip starting in Utah to the US Northeast and swinging back down through the Midsouth stopping by universities and colleges of all times so a fellow named Kaimi could pitch his idea of selling flag T-shirts to various bookstores.
The deal was: he would pay the bills, do much of the driving and other logistics and I was just along for the ride and providing the wheels.
Resulted in many harrowing nights in places like New Haven, Cambridge, New York City (where we weren’t allowed through Lincoln tunnel because of onboard propane and required a complicated turn around in the midst of traffic), a break down in Connecticut – replacing fuel pump with a random mechanic in his driveway. I remember driving on a graceful parkway then seeing a horrific accident unfold in the pouring rain storm. Sneaking into all sorts of university dorms for clandestine hi-jink, being mysterious “aliens” from the west marauding in this renegade van. Seeing a wonderful girl I knew from Utah working as a nanny in Connecticut (rip Janel H.), making friends with the father of the house (he let us sleep in the basement because I was reading Jack Kerouac), buying beer with fake IDs and never a second glance, (racks of it drinking back while crossing midwest and through Penn), stops at Wrigley Field in Chicago (no game :(!), Sun Studios in Memphis (met a fine lady there), watching Kaimi spin spin spin with endless energy. Oh, staying with his family around Washington DC and going like a “show and tell” item to his younger brother’s high school class (to much acclaim :)). The van getting broken into and ransacked while parked in Washington DC to see the Smithsonian. Must’ve been a couple of other significant roadside attractions along the way.
Pal Jerrod aka Spanky was also on board (as kinda Kaimi’s svengali) and brought his guitar so, along with my bongos, we did some busking here and there ++ saw Fugazi play at All Soul’s Church, DC and REM play at Merriweather Post, Maryland, just missed secret Rolling Stones at a frog-something-named-bar by Yale. Rambled campuses and saw how the system of private patronage in the East works – they ain’t no smarter, just better connected / mostly. Skullz and Bonez.
I had no schedule nor expectations except to just go go go and so we did. And, behold I have evidence.
Note: this transcription was performed by Jimmy M. in Kenya with best efforts. Any feedback + errors or omissions are welcome. Also, i do not work for Hootsuite as of Sept 2017 and views are not the company’s etc.
Welcome to conversations with Community Managers, a podcast series with actual Community Managers from a variety of Industries. On this podcast, we peel back the hype and get into ‘how to’ discussions that uncover community and social media management best practices. Conversations with Community Managers is a co-production of Voce Communications and the Community Roundtable.
Doug Haslam: This is Doug Haslam from Voce Communications.
Jim Storer: And Jim Storer from the Community Roundtable.
Doug: And with us is Dave Olson, the Marketing Director for Hootsuite joining us from Vancouver…North Vancouver I guess, right?
Dave: Well the office is in right here in downtown Vancouver but I live up in the hills of North Vancouver right on the side of the mountain so I get to sort of descend from the upper reaches into the city each day.
Doug: About your title, so Marketing Director which is pretty traditional and old school but you say you like to call yourself Community Wrangler. Can you explain what that means?
Dave: Oh really underneath what I do at marketing and it really includes everything from the messaging and the PR and the public relations, media relations as well as support, all those things tie back into telling our story and building a community culture around all that. So I prefer Community Wrangler just because it sounds a little less corporate but really things like support is the new marketing and community building is the new marketing. So a lot of the things that traditionally would be done by a marketing director, I do them clearly differently, to say the least. Continue reading Sharing Social Marketing Stories for Communities – Community Roundtable, 2010 – Transcription→
Many of you likely noticed the campaign to help the venerable San Francisco institution City Lights bookstore “keep the lights on” and hooray, they rocketed past the $300,000 goal thanks to many small donations from around the world. Now, there’s a few other neighbours in the North Beach area to shine a light on, specifically “the Beat Museum” – an eclectic grassroots archive of artifacts from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and well… dozens of other luminaries who have influenced counter-culture, literature and music.
To pitch in, you can buy a membership – especially handy if you live in the San Francisco area as it offers unlimited admission – those of us *anywhere else* can dig discounts on purchases (including mail order), exclusive content/interviews/events, and a membership card – I’m a sucker for membership cards!
Did you see a big North Beach neighbourhood round-up diary post I shared recently? Included a photo essay of many items on display including Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter (along with many other typewriters), Jack Kerouac’s jacket, Gary Snyder’s bits and pieces from Japan and so much more.
+ Their bookstore has a variety of rare additions, one-offs, special treats (I picked up a first edition of Allen Ginsberg’s Indian Journal on my visit).
So to recap, do one or several of the following:
* Go check out their website to see their mission and the big hearted folks running the show
* Purchase a membership (various levels/prices)
* Maybe buy yourself a little something nice, or a gift for someone else
* Kick them down some extra cash
* Sign up for their newsletter for campaigns & updates
* Spread the word to keep the goodness rolling
You got any questions or thoughts? Let me know.
And of course if you’re seeking unique Beat literature related content, I have dozens of podcasts, various essays, scrapbooks, maps, and so on for you to peruse.
PS shared respectfully knowing lots of folks are in tough financial situations and there’s lots of requests rolling around for various dire situations – in spirit of solidarity, safety, and abundance.
Along the wanders, I found myself in San Francisco, really mostly in Pacifica, one of my favourite hideaways and just south of the city… but anyway, ventured into SF proper to (finally) get some time at the Beat Museum and wow, what a great job these folks are doing. As such, a few notes and artifacts from the museum and history dripping neighbourhood for your amusement and my memory.
Now I could go on and on about the importance of *the Beats* connecting literary traditions, sparking countercultures leading to the revolutionary “pranksters“ to the *hippies* (for lack of a better term), ￼punks (no I’m not talking mohawks here), indie-making artists of all medium, everything… while also looking back to Whitman, cummings (sic), WCW, Wolfe, Twain, Thoreau, Dostoevsky… you get the general gist. Or what I’m trying to see is wide-thinking, free-roaming, do it yourself souls sharing empathy for others, breaking conventions to find out who you really are and then manifesting the distilled results t into one’s own life which infuses your own soul, then effectuates inspiration in others – also (critically) this ain’t always pretty, rarely is. That’s not the point.
Work in progress…
Anyhow, the Beat Museum￼ was (maybe is) undergoing some construction as the building needs an earthquake-resistant upgrade, – I’ve shared some various fundraising campaigns and podcast riffs about their history over the years in this archive maybe you’ve come across and supported their noble efforts… but anyway, the building was surrounded by scaffolding in a bit of commotion and for a guy like me has easily sensory overload it, it could easily be intense but I stepped in and disappeared for an afternoon amongst the curated exhibits.
This is not some fancy-pants museum, this is a grassroots effort with everything done by intention and￼ in an attentive spirit. I took some crappy snapshots along the way just to remember for my own memory as i wander far and wide and sometimes the twist and turns get a little too quick for me to process real time in my noggin.
Artifacts and abstractions…
note: There is a little mini-theatre room looping a film (was it “Pull My Daisy? It’s all a bit hazy now a few countries later), which pleased me for the visual abstraction of Beat life as well as regrouping in a small / dark / cozy room.
Notable artifacts include:
“referee shirt” Neal Cassady famously wore while driving Furthur, the Merry Prankster bus
a plaid wool jacket Kerouac wore (I’ve had one just like it)
A: We were in Canada on that train trip [the Festival Express, 1970] and one morning the train stopped and Jerry was sitting out on the tracks not too far off, in the sunrise, setting “Ripple” to music. That’s a good memory. That was one of the happy times, going on that train trip.
Janis [Joplin] was the queen of that trip. One of my greatest memories is having breakfast with her on the train. She was having Southern Comfort and scotch, and she asked me if I heard that song by Kristofferson, “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” and she sang it in my ear. Can you imagine?
Back in the days of rambling around to Grateful Dead shows with pals in various (usually Volkswagen) vehicles, cameras weren’t really part of the kit. Usually, ticket(s) if possible, contraband if practical, maybe extra clothes to accommodate climates, hopefully a few bucks.
However, as part of my documentary instincts, i hauled along a tripod and a 35mm Alpa camera for taking “family photos” in which i would cajole (with much whingeing usually) the assembled renegades to pose, i’d hit the timer and run back (as such usually right in front) and take 1 and only 1 shot. Years later these would usually get developed.
Many are lost to the fog, however, some are gathered here for posterity and memorial.
Regarding recently deceased Robert Hunter, so much goodness and inspiration and an unreachable level.
I also feel if one passes without much pain, with most faculties intact, with family/pals at hand and over 72ish, that’s a solid exit. Hunter made 78. Even better with a legacy which will last centuries. My erstwhile doppelgänger member of GD collective as he was the one playing the role i play in my head.
Here’s the Warlocks of Tokyo singing Robert Hunter’s (and others’) songs. Some translated into Japanese. Ole Hunter didn’t like to change a syllable yet feel he’d dig hearing his loquacious poetry crossing language dogma.
Hunter was born Robert Burns and had a peripatetic childhood, including some time in a foster home. He took the surname of a stepfather. He had a flirtation, in the sixties, with Scientology and a problem, for a while, with speed. He was a seeker, a restless soul, an outsider. A friend of mine, on hearing of Hunter’s passing, told me that, in some ways, by his reckoning, Hunter had been dead all along. The man seemed to know something about death. After Garcia awoke from his coma, in 1986, Hunter had a new song for him, called “Black Muddy River.” Hunter, who rarely explained where his songs came from, told the writer Steve Silberman, in 1992, that the inspiration for it was his recurring dream of a “black, lusterless, slow-flowing Stygian river. . . . It’s vast and it’s hopeless. It’s death, with the absence of the soul. It’s my horror vision, and when I come out of that dream I do anything I can to counter it.” The lone Grateful Dead hit to come out of the post-coma period was a deceptively jaunty number, composed a half-decade earlier, called “Touch of Grey,” which Hunter worked up while suffering a wicked cocaine hangover. Hunter knew that cocaine was diabolical, and identified its arrival on the scene (around the time he wrote “Black Peter”) as the forbidden fruit to their Eden, but he didn’t always abstain. It may be that some of the wistful we-had-something-special-but-now-it’s-gone undertones of Hunter’s post-sixties songs—the golden-era stuff of “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty,” along with a slew of beloved songs the Dead never recorded in a studio, such as “Tennessee Jed,” “Brown-Eyed Women,” “Wharf Rat,” and “Ramble On Rose”—owe something to the regret that gnawed at Hunter over the effects of cocaine on the whole enterprise.
Rain Man The visionary wordsmith Robert Hunter takes to the stage. By John Donohue, The New Yorker, July 14, 2014
“One sunny afternoon in London, in 1970, Hunter wrote the words to three magical Grateful Dead songs, “To Lay Me Down,” “Ripple,” and “Brokedown Palace.” He is a lyricist with few equals, and, together with Jerry Garcia, he conjured up the majority of the Dead’s original songs.”
Seeking literary hero to admire? Meet Robert Hunter, primary lyricist for the Grateful Dead, ergo:
Robert Hunter joined the Grateful Dead in the fall of 1967, when he arrived at a rehearsal just in time to write the first verse of the band’s classic “Dark Star.” Though he’d never play onstage, he became not only a genuine band member but its secret Ace in the hole. Though Bob Weir’s words for “The Other One” would endure, most of the band’s early verbal efforts would not; it was Hunter’s work that would elevate their songs from ditties to rich, complete stories set to song. Hunter had fallen into the Dead’s general scene in 1961 when he’d met Garcia in Palo Alto, and he’d played in several of Garcia’s early bluegrass bands. But he’d always thought of himself as a writer — probably a novelist — and it was only in 1967 that he fulfilled his personal destiny, and enriched the Dead’s. He’s gone on to write several books of poetry, and is currently at work on a novel.