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Update

Becoming Dead has moved and morphed into www.MoveMeBrightly.com, a catalog of unfiltered inspirations that move me ever so brightly.

Dearest Deadheads,

06/02/2011

If you have yet to notice, I’ve decided to move Becoming Dead over to www.movemebrightly.com. I started Move Me Brightly (MMB) last summer to share all my other stories and inspirations and since then it has come to feel like my little nook in the world. When I found myself in Europe blogging on MMB about my new journey through the words of Ripple, I knew that I wanted to join these two worlds into one blog. Because while for some people the Grateful Dead is a separate compartment of their life, it is intertwined in mine. So, it only seems natural that the blogs come together.

Of course, I want to know what you think, too. I realize some of you could care less about my life and work and only wish to tune into the Grateful Dead portion of my brain. If that’s the case, I encourage you to share your opinions with me. Before you do, please check out the new site and see what it’s all about. You can find all the latest Grateful Dead posts under the Becoming Dead menu tab. Over the next couple weeks I will be tweaking and polishing to make the site most user-friendly.

If you do like what you read on MMB, please subscribe and start following @movemebright for the latest posts, updates, and never ending stream of consciousness. I promise the trip will still be long and strange and even more abundant.

Thank you all for your support and love. You certainly do move me.

<3

“So many roads I tell you
New York to San Francisco
So many roads I know
All I want is one to take me home
From the high road to the low
So many roads I know
So many roads so many roads”

So Many Roads

My Steps Alone

03/24/2011

This morning a lyric popped into my head, relentless in being heard. I don’t know why it happened when it did and I can’t recall anything in particular that inspired it, but it was this:

“There is a road, no simple highway between the dawn and the dark of night.”

At age 17, it had taken me a little longer than most to get my driver’s license. I was hesitant at the thought of driving and comfortable in the roster of rides I had acquired since everyone else had turned sixteen. When I did get my license, I only took the roads. Main roads, back roads, narrow roads, country roads. But definitely not any highways, simple or otherwise.

It’s funny how your actions mirror who you are. I never have taken the easy path to get anywhere and I don’t think I’ll ever want to. What’s so great about simple? Who has ever been happy with easy?

“And if you go, no one may follow. That path is for your steps alone.”

Growing up, Ripple was the song that comforted me. It somehow reassured me that I wasn’t alone. So when I first really heard these lyrics as an adult, I was a bit confused. There’s no comfort in being alone! What about my empty cup that you said would be full again?

But now, here I am very much on my own path. Sure enough, nobody followed. In many ways, I am alone. Somewhere in the past 5 weeks, that became okay. Alone has become comforting and even freeing. This path is mine and mine alone and that makes everything much, much sweeter.

“You who choose to lead must follow, but if you fall, you fall alone.”

I’m okay with falling. Before I left for this trip I asked my mom, “what if I completely fail?” She very wisely told me, “Honey, there is no failing in this.” Or maybe there is, but the point is, it’s okay if I do. I’m at a time in my life where I’m not afraid of failure. In fact, I welcome it. When I found myself crying in an empty apartment in the middle of Germany, I wasn’t freaked out. I know that as long as I hang on, I’m going to get one hell of an experience out of this. So, I’ll embrace the beautiful times and grit my teeth through the hard times knowing that I’ll come out on the other side.

“If you should stand, then who’s to guide you? If I knew the way, I would take you home.”

It’s okay, I’m not ready to go home.

Truckin': Europe ’11

03/13/2011

In front of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, France

It’s been a few months, but I assure you, Becoming Dead is alive and well. Here’s what’s been going on…

In late 2010, I discovered an opportunity and decided pretty quickly that I was going to pounce on it. And I did. I quit my job, left New York City, said goodbye to loved ones, and moved to Europe. Indefinitely. And you better believe, it only took me a couple of days to rock the Europe ’72 shirt.

Since February 15th, I’ve lived in Sindelfingen, Germany where my brother is stationed. We live off base in a stellar apartment where I find myself reading and writing more than ever. So far, I’ve visited Barcelona, Spain; Strasbourg, France; Tübingen, Germany; and Ludwigsburg, Germany. This weekend I’ll be visiting Mannheim and Heidelberg, Germany. You can (and should!) follow my journeys at www.movemebrightly.wordpress.com.

So where does all of this leave the Grateful Dead in my life? As always, at an arms reach. It isn’t rare to

In a Barcelona hostel wearing the Europe '72 shirt my dad handed down to me

hear Sunshine Daydream playing in my German home or to see me strutting down the street in one of my Dead shirts. And now I’d like to open the Grateful Dead doors a little more. Because when you’re far away from home, the people that you love, and the language you rely on; those familiar comforts become all the more special.

One Google search for “grateful dead germany” and I’m already super excited. No surprise here, there are whole Grateful Dead communities throughout Europe and I cannot wait to explore them all. My wish is to share with you the unique experience of an American Deadhead in Europe and how the Dead is constantly intertwined with my journey.

This is Europe ’11. I hope you come along for the ride.

Psychedelic Readings for the Psychedelic Curious

11/28/2010

A few days ago I finished reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. I’ve seen the movie by the same name countless times, but never without smoking a bowl or ten prior. In later [pot free] years I would on several occasions start to put on the DVD – and in one instance a VHS – but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I remembered it as a disjointed, incoherent, unsettling freak show that my sober mind wouldn’t be able to handle. See, at that age I had no other knowledge of Thompson or the history and culture he made up and therefore couldn’t appreciate his story for what it is; an incredible look into a time of experimentation and dissent that resulted in one of the most profound and controversial journalist in history who opened eyes and minds across the globe. And also, a lot of fucking mescaline. If you haven’t read the book, be sure to. Then, watch the movie – high or not – and get back to me. I’ll be watching sans high… wish me luck.

The only negative thing I can say about Thompson’s classic is that it managed to steal me away from White Hand Society, the new novel by Peter Conners, author of Growing up Dead. But alas, I dived into Conners’ telling of the 1960’s psychedelic revolution as helmed by Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary. Sixty pages in and I’m absolutely fascinated. Since I began my journey with Becoming Dead I’ve been most interested in where the ideas of the hippie generation came from. Who and what inspired a whole cultural phenomenon? In reading about the Grateful Dead I often come across name and texts that were influential on the band and the music. The Doors of Perception (Aldous Huxley), On the Road (Jack Kerouac), Howl and Other Poems (Allen Ginsberg), The Egyptian Book of the Dead, etc. The images of the hippie generation are all very appealing. Dancing in the streets, protests for peace, free love. But for me, it’s nothing without the intellect that stands behind it. I look forward to discovering more of that with White Hand Society.

“Escaping through the lily fields, I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, that’s when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land”

The Other One

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Photos from:

City Lights (Publisher of White Hand Society)

Generation Film (a WordPress site)

From Blue Bugs to Purple Haze

11/01/2010

A few photos I’ve been meaning to share. Enjoy!

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Raising the Dead

09/27/2010

Someone in your family dies. Arrangements are made, tears are shed, and eventually you begin to mourn. As months go by you will remember your loved ones passed and cherish whatever gifts they left behind until one day, they don’t even cross your mind. This is not a disservice or a crime, it is natural. We’re born, we live, we die. For those of us left behind, we move on.

Unless, the person passing happens to be a cultural icon. In that case, too much is at stake for anyone to move on too quickly. Too much money up for grabs, too many memories hanging in the balance, too many claims to fame to be had. So, court battles ensue, family and friends tear apart, and someone finds a way to keep profiting from the deceased’s legacy. Merchandise, re-releases, memorials, and, if they were really famous (or just obscure enough), movies.

Earlier this summer it was announced that Robert Greenfield’s Dark Star: An Oral Biography on Jerry Garcia will be adapted into a biopic featuring the early years of Jerry Garcia. The untitled project is to be directed by Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) and scripted by Topper Lilien (Dungeons and Dragons). Read the full Rolling Stone announcement by clicking here.

Two things that I have to say. First, a few minutes ago while researching Bar-Lev’s filmography, I realized that I met the man a few days ago and didn’t have a clue who he was or that he was attached to a Garcia biopic. A cool and cruel coincidence, I would say. I can only hope we cross paths again. Second, how could anyone look a Deadhead in the eye and tell them that the writer behind a video game-inspired action flick will be penning their hero’s life for the big screen?

Skeptical, I am.

But, believe it or not, that’s not even my biggest concern. Here is a statement from Grateful Dead Productions and the Jerry Garcia Family LLC:

“We want to make clear that neither Grateful Dead Productions nor the Jerry Garcia Family LLC are in any way working with — or are in any other way affiliated with — the supposed upcoming Amir Bar-Lev-directed biopic about Jerry Garcia. Furthermore, we will not be licensing any recordings from Grateful Dead or Jerry Garcia’s music library for this production nor will we provide the producer/director with access to any Garcia family members.” (click here for the full Relix article)

I’m worried that without the support or supervision of GDP and the JG Family certain corners will be cut that aren’t meant for cutting. For example, how do you get around music rights when telling the story of one of America’s greatest musicians? Seems a little like baking an apple pie… without the apples.

Then again, maybe being cut loose from GDP and the JG Family will allow the filmmakers a kind of freedom they wouldn’t have if they were constantly answering to others. We just have to hope that they have a genuine passion in telling Jerry Garcia’s story and that they strive to do his legacy justice. As an avid watcher of movies and storyteller myself, I know it’s a hard line to walk when considering your audience. So while I hope Bar-Lev and his crew do right by us Deadheads, I also respect their artistic rights.

How would you like to see Garcia depicted? What do you think Jerry would have to say about all of this? Do you think it’s right for the filmmakers to move forward without the support of the GDP and the JG family?

Good to be back on the road, I’ve missed you all :)

“I went to my house, my front door was locked
Went round to the window, found my window was locked
Jumped right back, I shook my head
Big old rounder in my folding bed
Shot through the window, broke the glass
Never seen that little rounder run so fast”

On the Road Again

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “Sign me up!” button to the right. And as always, feel free to comment below or contact me at becomingdead1@gmail.com




Bob Weir on Economics and the End of Time

08/11/2010

A few months ago I wrote about the business of the Grateful Dead as inspired by my visit to the NY Historical Society’s Dead exhibit. Today I stumbled upon two interviews with Bob Weir from different economic resources that discuss everything from his personal finances and business decisions to the 2012 prophecy of the end of the world and dreamlike “realities”. These of course were my day’s delight as they soothed my curiosity about the Grateful Dead and fed into my dream vs. reality Inception-obsession.

After reading the interview at bankrate.com (click here) it became clearer to me that Weir is someone who follows his instincts and simply does what he thinks is right. He invested in water that he thought was good water. He wrote children books and never thought to look at the profits they made. I think what really gets me is that he’s just so damned modest about it all. We see public figures being real stand-up characters all the time, but, in some cases, when they talk about all the great things they do there’s a hint of arrogance and pride in their words. Or, they turn around and do something totally contradictory to the rubbish they spewed the week before. It’s hard to find anyone, public figure or not, who is humbly consistent in their views and actions. It appears to me that in his 45 year career, Weir is one of these rare people.

A CNBC interview with economic reporter Steve Liesman is full of Weir’s modesty and of course, a few… unorthodox views of reality. Click here to watch.

In my recent journeys, I’ve learned a lot about the Dead’s dedication to their fans and how they’ve catered to them so, lowering ticket prices to a reasonable $40 wasn’t all too surprising. What was news to me is the fact that they don’t spend any money in advertising nor do they rely on sponsors. I don’t think this is a stand against big corporation as much as it is the nature of the community the Dead has built over the past 45 years. Like Weir says, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why spend millions of dollars in advertising when you have the strongest example of viral marketing and community in the history of music? The Dead doesn’t need modern day marketing, they pioneered modern day marketing!

In regards to the Dead’s effect on the baby boom generation, I think Weir means to say that the 1960’s were a dreamlike state that tapped into the unconscious collective. This same state is what other cultures, like the Inuit, believe to be the “true reality”. Jump ahead to 2012 and what we may have is not the end of the world, but the beginning of said “true reality” where time does not exist. Strangely enough, I think I get it. One (of about one million) ideas that the movie Inception brought to my attention was that reality is a dream and dream is a reality and they are one in the same and does it really matter anyway? I don’t have the answer to that, but the idea is there for you to chew on.

If you’re new to the world of the Dead, I hope these interviews show you just how expansive their influence was and still is. The “still is” part is what really amazes me.

Hope everyone’s still enjoyin’ the ride…

“You imagine sipping champagne from your boot
For a taste of your elegant pride
I may be going to hell in a bucket
But at least I’m enjoying the ride
At least I’m enjoying the ride
Yeah at least I’m enjoying the ride”

Hell in a Bucket

Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “Sign me up!” button to the right. And as always, feel free to comment below or contact me at becomingdead1@gmail.com

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