Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Mar 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Not Fade Away

ae_NGMpostersUCSC’s ‘Attics of Our Lives’ exhibit helps keep the spirit of the Dead alive

Nearly two decades after The Grateful Dead’s demise, the band continues to inspire near-religious devotion among its worldwide fan base. If you never caught a Dead show back in the day, you might well wonder what all the squawk is about. Nicholas Meriwether, director of the Grateful Dead Archive at UC Santa Cruz’s McHenry Library, offers an excellent explanation for the lasting impression that the band has made.

“When the moment was right, [a Grateful Dead concert] would seem to be this long meta-narrative about changes, circumstances or situations you were facing in your own life,” he notes. “At the end of the show, it left you personally and profoundly transformed; it left you with a sense that you’d seen what can happen when people onstage get together with no preconceived notions of how things should go, and simply communicate with each other and with the audience. Collectively, you could create something that never had existed before. There was something about that lesson that left those people walking out of those shows with an equal commitment to seeing if they could transform their own lives.”

Meriwether adds that the celebrated mythographer and comparative literature scholar Joseph Campbell viewed the band’s concerts as the modern incarnation of the Eleusinian mysteries. “[According to Campbell,] this was a Dionysian festival, pure and simple,” the director says. “And he didn’t mean that in a dismissive way; he meant that it’s tapping into a primal kind of human ritual, and at the core of those human rituals is the notion of personal transcendence and transformation.”

ae_gd1966The still-embryonic archive at UCSC is a shrine to the spirit of the Dead, boasting such artifacts as stage props, show programs, T-shirts, tickets and interview recordings. In the interest of encouraging potential donors to help finish the space, Meriwether and his associates are holding a one-night preview exhibit on Saturday, Nov. 5. Enlivened by food, wine and music, this “Attics of Our Lives” exhibit will focus on the poster art of the Grateful Dead, which Meriwether sees as a great way to tell the story of the band as well as of the archive itself.

“So many of the treasures that we have in the archive also have posters that dovetail or tie into [them],” he explains. As an example, the director mentions that the Dead sponsored the Lithuanian Olympic basketball team in 1992. On display at the exhibit will be a poster of the design for the team uniforms that the band helped provide, as well as one of the actual uniforms.

Other noteworthy items on display will be a bronze sculpture of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia’s hand (donated by the archive’s biggest contributor so far, Scott Brittingham) and handwritten lyric sheets. “You’ll see the way a lyric can go from a very early draft to its final, polished version, and the enormous changes that lyric might go through in the process,” Meriwether states. “There’s nothing quite like seeing Robert Hunter, Phil Lesh or Jerry Garcia scratching out a word and putting in another one, or writing down a chord change.”

The guest of honor at “The Attics of Our Lives” will be the revered poster artist Stanley Mouse. Each attendee will receive a signed copy of a limited edition poster that Mouse has designed to commemorate the event, as well as a 225-page limited edition hardbound book that documents the exhibit and goes into more detail about the 30-year trajectory of Grateful Dead poster art.

According to Meriwether, “The Attics of Our Lives” will be just a taste of greater things to come. “In many ways, it’s the archival equivalent of when the Dead would go into, say, an open field and turn it into a wonderful concert venue,” he offers.


“The Attics of Our Lives” takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 at Dead Central, McHenry Library, UCSC, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. For more information, call 502-7242 or visit events.ucsc.edu/attics/. Photos: UCSC Grateful Dead Archive.
Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by LM, November 04, 2011
Meriwether photo by Patrick Haywood.
...
written by katiemae, November 02, 2011
Email Lettie @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you think $250 is too much for the cheapest ticket. Wouldn't you like to go?

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

The Magic Touch

Stage magician vs. charlatans in engaging ‘An Honest Liar’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals