Monday, November 29, 2010

Garcia: Somebody Has To Do It; Pathetic That It Has To Be Us

At 4:20 PM this Wednesday (December 1), acclaimed Grateful Dead filmmaker and Everything Must Go director Len Dell’Amico will be releasing a rare clip of Jerry Garcia in 1988 concerning the future state of our environment.

Dell-Amico was nice enough to let Reality Catcher readers have an advance peek at the clip (see above).

"I became friends with Garcia in 1980 and 1981 during the production and especially the editing of Dead Ahead, the classic concert film shot at Radio City in New York," Dell'Amico said.

"He sent me a board tape in the summer of '84, and this is when I first heard the Weir-Barlow tune 'Throwing Stones.' What a great and original song, and how amazing was it that a big popular band like the Dead would take on such a serious subject as the destruction of the environment.

"A live version of the song was included in the next full-length video I produced for the Dead, which came out in 1987 and was called So Far. A little-known factoid: Garcia actually co-directed So Far with me," Dell'Amico said.

"So Far went on to become the best-selling concert video of 1988 and it won the American Film Institute's award for best full-length music film of that year.

"Also in 1988, Grateful Dead decided to give a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in NYC to help save the rainforest. They asked me to create visuals that would directly address rainforest destruction, to show on the live reinforcement screens hanging above the stage while they played Drums/Space/Throwing Stones," Dell'Amico said.

"While prepping for that, I met Randy Hayes of Rainforest Action Network and other eggheads and activists who would be the beneficiaries of the concert, and this is how I first learned about climate change in a serious way," Dell'Amico said.

"It blew my mind.

"Members of the Dead gave a press conference at the U.N. to announce the benefit and to talk about the trouble ahead and raise awareness of ecological issues.

"Ever since then, I have been very focused on the issue of climate change, and I've been able to stay involved through my work with a private family foundation that was started by my father-in-law in the 1990," Dell'Amico said.

"Meanwhile, I had been dreaming about making my own 'story' film since I can remember -- I went to NYU film school -- and when I finally had the time and the means to do it, it was clear to me that my film should be about climate change," Dell'Amico said. "But far from being serious, the movie is darkly comic and the story is entertaining because I felt that would be the best way to get the message across.

"The film is called Everything Must Go," Dell'Amico said.

"Garcia's insightful statement at the U.N. press conference never left my mind over all those years -- he was a very smart guy, on top of all his other accomplishments. Of all the problems we face, climate change is such a huge and unknowable threat that it must be seen as a priority. If the earth becomes unlivable for us humans, we certainly can't work on any of our other problems.

I hope you enjoy the film, and I'd love to hear your comments," Dell'Amico said.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Outlaws We Remain: The Guitar Army Fights On

Years and years ago when I was a young man, my sister gave me a 1972 book called Guitar Army by a political activist named John Sinclair, a Detroit dude I idolized who got sentenced to 10 years in prison for two joints.

Sinclair, who managed the seminal rock band the MC5, also founded the far-left, anti-racist White Panther Party, which sought to change the world by uniting rock and roll music -- which John called a weapon of cultural revolution -- with politics.

John Lennon gave a Concert To Free John Sinclair and he ended up getting out after a couple years.

Well, anyway -- things are coming full circle.

My boyhood idol, John Sinclair, has now quoted me in an article he wrote Nov. 10 for the Detroit Metro Times. I just found it this morning, and I was thrilled.

Here's the quote:

The White House also is spending about $239 million this year to fund local drug-trafficking task forces, Steve Elliott adds at, "which in the real world, usually means local cops dressing up like Rambo and tramping through the woods in a wasteful, quixotic and doomed attempt to stop the burgeoning marijuana industry."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hey, Kitsap: Here's How You Can Help Get Marijuana Legalized

Attention, Kitsap County, Washington residents: If you're tired of your tax money being wasted on a failed and senseless war on marijuana, you can do something about it.

Marijuana legalization supporters Sensible Washington are organizing in the county, and they tell me that they've divided Kitsap up into 8 districts.

"We still need organizers and volunteers for North Kitsap and Silverdale/Central Kitsap," Sensible Washington's Mary Clare Kersten, who is coordinating efforts in Kitsap County, told Reality Catcher.

"We're organizing volunteers who will help us get signatures on petitions, raise money (we have a great plan to host house parties that have come to be known as the 'Roll Your Own Burrito Parties') and get endorsements from local politicians, sheriffs, etc.," Mary Clare said.

"We have a dynamic team of organizers, and if there's anyone out there who wants to either volunteer or function on the 'organizer' level with us, please ask them to call me at 206-962-0230," Kersten said.

Volunteer training meetings will be happening around the county, according to Kersten.

"We're also looking for businesses to host our petitions and our volunteer/supporter sign-up sheets," she said.

You can volunteer at

"Even if you don't want to volunteer, please sign up anyway so that we continue to build our base," Mary Clare said. "The sheet number of names is extremely important as we continue to pressure Olympia for its support of legalization."