Update: The view from the Relix/jambands.com offices when the Empire State building was lit in honor of the Grateful Dead.
Sirius/XM Grateful Dead Channel host Gary Lambert has put together a discussion on the Grateful Dead timed with the band’s exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. Tales of the Grateful Dead and New York will take place at New York’s Society for Ethical Culture from 6:30- 8 PM on Thursday, May 27. Lambert will moderate the panel, which will also feature radio personality Pete Fornatale (who was at WNEW at the time the Dead were really starting to build an audience), author Carol Brightman (who wrote Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead’s American Adventure) and writer/Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye (wrote the lead Rolling Stone review of Live Dead).
“The folks who put together the exhibition at the Historical Society asked me if I wanted to moderate a public program, which they put on frequently in conjunction with their exhibitions (as well as their freestanding events that are not connected to their exhibitions), on relevant matters to the Society’s mission of presenting New York history,” Lambert said in a statement. “So, I thought it would be really great to do something specific to the Dead and New York because their relationship to the city was so enduring and so important to them in terms of establishing a beachhead in the Northeast. Very early on there was a conscious strategy, which [former GD road manager] Sam Cutler mentioned in his recent book You Can’t Always get What You Want, of playing New York a lot as an anchor for all other dates they could do in the region, and the band developed a great mutual affection for the town and the fan base there.”
“And it also occurred to me that although the Grateful Dead was uniquely a product of a certain time and place—the Bay Area in the ’60s—so much of what they did was informed by cultural forces that either originated or found their fullest expression in New York: a lot of the jazz and other avant-garde music that they chose to emulate, for example; and of course the Beat movement started in New York and migrated out west and that had a crucial impact on what those guys became,” he continues. “So I thought it would be great to get a bunch of smart people together and talk about that specific aspect of the Dead’s history and how and why the city took to them as it did.”