Plus Ann Coulter - Deadhead.
In reprinting John Perry Barlow's Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace recently, I received several emails from people wanting to know what the old Grateful Dead songsmith is doing now. The short answer is partying. I mean really partying. Here is an invitation to a little get together Barlow had in San Francisco on Saturday that I got by way of Valleywag. No I did not attend. Thank God I did not attend.
Even I have my limits.
SAN FRANCISCO BARLOWFRENZY TONIGHT (SATURDAY, SEPT. 22) FOR SEX! & CULTURE!
For some of you, there has been such a prolonged silence from this little outpost on the electronic frontier that you might have thought I'd died, or taken vows, or taken it on the lam, or gone completely over to the hard stuff.
Moreover, there are likely some of you who had no idea until just now that you'd been placed on some guy's spam list and are wondering where the hell you might have met the below-signed. (Hint: Drugs, on your part, could have been involved; possibly you were on the Island of Manhattan; most likely, the sun wasn't shining. Or something. Maybe I just liked your smile. I'm pretty arbitrary.)
Or! Possibly! You are more closely engaged with me and my general condition and know that somewhere between Jerusalem and Burning Man, the spondylolisthesis that long has threatened to unmoor my spine from its appointed seat atop my sacrum finally broke the last little vertebral latches and slid forward enough to make it so that I can only walk as though I were drunk even when I'm sober.
I can, and probably will tell you many more dire tales around such matters but screw that. And I do mean literally.
BECAUSE! TONIGHT! SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, ON THE OCCASION OF THE VERNAL EQUINOX AND BECAUSE I BLOODY WELL FEEL LIKE IT, ESPECIALLY NOW THAT I TEMPORARILY CAN'T DANCE:
I will throw a BENEFIT in San Francisco on behalf of
THE CENTER FOR SEX AND CULTURE
What better time to encourage a free-ranging carnal nature in all my fellow incarnate beings that at a moment when my own potential ability in this regard seems slightly up for grabs? I mean, seriously folks...
I've always been pro-choice in practically every single extent (with, of course, due consideration for the Buddha/Christ/Vishnu/Prophet/Zoroaster/Etc. regard for compassion to all sentient beings, etc.), but scarcely has wild option meant so much to me as it does just now when I might find myself in somewhat sketchier communication than usual with zones south of my heart.
I Present You An Opportunity
To Throw It Down For
THE CENTER FOR SEX AND CULTURE
So That Even If The Worse Should Happen
Following Two Impending Spinal Fusions
OLD BARLOW NEVER GETS ANY AGAIN,
*YOU* STILL WILL!!!
IN ANY WAY YOU LIKE IT!!!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
AT TOAD HALL
210 CLAYTON STREET (TOWARD FELL FROM HAYES, JUST NORTH OF THE PANHANDLE)
FROM 8:00 UNTIL THE COPS COME AND STAY
I WILL SPONSOR A BARLOWFRENZY THAT WILL FEATURE:
*LAP DANCES WITH DOCTORAL CANDIDATES
*LAP DANCES WITH BEAMING ILLITERATES
*SPIKE-HEEL SPRINTS WITH PARIMUTUEL BETTING
*MYSTERY BOX AUCTIONS
*BLINDFOLD ADVENTURE TOURS
*FAMOUS PORN STARS
*INFAMOUS PORN STARS
*LARGE SEQUESTERED SPACES, INDOORS AND OUT
*MANY HAPPY AND SURPRISING OPPORTUNITIES TO BE GLADLY RELIEVED OF YOUR CASH
ALL FOR GOOD FUN AND A WORTHY CAUSE!
(MOREOVER, no animals will be harmed without their explicit consent.)
In case you think this is all just fun and games, we are deadly earnest as befits us here in the Bayarean Smugbelt. The Center for Sex & Culture is no fucking joke.
It is, in fact, the winner of two Best of the Bay awards. They know how to throw a sex party (not that claim this will be one), teach how to have multiple orgasm in one easy lesson, broker peace and freedom between dykes, leather daddies, pie-fighting ballerinas, and cultists of whatever hue.
If you're in favor of sex or in favor of culture, or better, both, as I am, then I hope you'll favor the Center with a donation whether the door or tucked into the lingerie of one of our winsome cultural attachés.
OK? All ist klar? Of course it is. Just as Nursie likes it.
The usual BarlowFrenzy principles apply -- BYO everything. Consume it all or take what's left with you lest my surrogate parents spend blank days wandering among your ruins. Leave no trace and take no memories.
If you're not in San Francisco, which you probably aren't, and you know someone here that you think I'll like and won't be too freaked out by the possibility of Tourette's Karioke, pass this on to them. I do ask for two somewhat embarrassing exceptions to this principle:
First, please be merciful about inflicting truly excruciating pervs on us just to test our limits -- I know, I see the paradox -- but some shit just ain't right, if you know what I mean...
Second, try to limit the number of odd-smelling persons about my own age who really must tell me about that cool time they were backstage with Jerry. The aromatic combination of unself-aware conservatism, over-delayed dentistry, cheap weed - and hell, how can I say this? - changing schedules for one's own diapers that were as slack as they'd been for the kids back in in the commune.... Well, it kinda made me wonder the other night in Mill Valley if closing the Sweetwater Saloon wasn't ok after all. Please don't send us too many of these. I'll be grateful when they are.
Other useless advice: Carpoodle. Parking will be as it often is in San Francisco. Nevertheless, I have magical parking karma that I can brag about it without screwing it up. I really do. Some of it might rub off on you. Try your luck along the Panhandle. Tell the Parking God that Barlow sent ya.
Or you could just take a bus, Gus. The 21 Hayes , 33 Stanyan, 43 Masonic, and 71 Haight buses will get you close. You could be one of The People for a change.
I know. I know. Sounds like a heap of trouble. But just remember that for a modest donation to the Center for Sex and Culture, you could find yourself later tonight murmuring such words as these:
"I am blind, I am deaf, I am crippled, I have no sense of smell nor taste. All I have left to me is touch, and, BABY, I LIKE THE WAY THIS FEELS!!!
Whatever. I think it's probably worth going out of your way to attend. But that's me. Come. Bring lots of unmarked bills, carry no ID, wear dark clothing, and be prepared to be gone for at least three days. Trust me on this one. You will be glad you did. Come.
While we're on the subject of Grateful Dead people, did you know that right-wing goddess Ann Coulter is a deadhead. I'm not surprised, the Dead were always flagwavers and much more in tune with individualism than the collectivism of the Left. As Ann points out in this interview, the political right is filled with Deadheads, or to quote her directly, "Deadheads Are What Liberals Claim to Be But Aren't."
What exactly do you love about the Grateful Dead?
AC: The tie-dye of course. Truth be told I hated tie-dye, though I finally broke down and would wear tie-dyed Dead shirts to concerts solely as a tribute to my fellow Deadheads.
Oddly enough, I like the music. No one believes that I never took drugs at Dead shows (except for the massive clouds of passive marijuana smoke) but I went because I really liked the music. There are various groups I get enthusiastic about for awhile, but of all the music I've listened to over the years, the Grateful Dead is the one band I never grow tired of.
Moreover, I really like Deadheads and the whole Dead concert scene: the tailgating, the tie-dye uniforms, the camaraderie – it was like NASCAR for potheads. You always felt like you were with family at a Dead show – a rather odd, psychedelic family that sometimes lived in a VW bus and sold frightening looking “veggie burritos.” But whatever their myriad interests, clothing choices, and interest in illicit drugs, true Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren't: unique, free-thinking, open, kind, and interested in different ideas. Also, excellent dancers! Watching a Deadhead dance is truly something to behold.
Somewhat contrary to the image of Deadheads as hippies, the Dead were huge in my hometown of New Canaan, CT, which is a pretty preppie town. We toyed with the idea of making "Truckin'" our prom song with a "Long Strange Trip" theme, but we ended up with some dorky rainbow theme instead. I tend to associate the Dead with lacrosse players and my favorite fraternities, Fiji and Theta Delt.
The one time I missed not being able to go to Dead shows more than any other since Jerry died was during the Clinton impeachment. There was so much viciousness - killed cats, punctured tires, threats, investigations and slander against those of us favoring impeachment. (Anthony Pellicano, you'll recall – the Hollywood private investigator now accused of criminal conspiracy, attempted murder, and making criminal threats – was working for the Clintons during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.) I don't really care what people say about me – I'm a Christian so there's nothing anyone can ever do to me – but I kept thinking: “Boy, would I like to go to a Dead show and dance with happy, friendly deadheads for just one night!”
Did the Grateful Dead give you and Al Franken something to talk about
during your debates?
AC: Apart from Al Gore, Al Franken is the most un-Deadhead like person I know of who purports to be a Deadhead.
It's time to name names. Who are the other Deadheads who have infiltrated the conservative movement?
AC: As a Deadhead and a freedom-lover, I am wounded to the bone that you think the two do not naturally go hand in hand. The Deadheads I just met casually and not through conservative politics were almost always right-thinking, whatever they called themselves. Deadheads believe in freedom – not a government telling people how much water they can have in their toilets or where they can smoke or whether they should be allowed to own a gun. (Remember the photos of Jerry testifying before some Congressional committee while chain smoking? Yeah, he'd really bond with Henry Waxman.)
One of my Dead friends I met at Vail made candles for Grateful Dead merchandizing. His daily routine consisted of waking up, smoking a bowl, and turning on the Rush Limbaugh radio show while he made his candles. (It's true. He's so far out there he practices this weird, freaky ritual known as “commerce.” Don't try telling me pot is harmless!)
Also there was a big Deadhead Christian group that handed out terrific pamphlets at Dead shows. Admittedly, many of them found God staring into a puddle while high on LSD, but whatever the path, they were very serious Christians – they made Jerry Falwell sound like a secularist.
Either Bobby (Weir) or Jerry (Garcia) was asked by a Rolling Stone interviewer to denounce all the Young Reaganites attending their concerts in the 80's, and whichever one it was not only refused to attack the young Republicans, but said he liked some of those “rightist” ideas. Consider that when the Dead decided to do something to save the Rain Forest, they didn't harangue poverty-stricken Third Worlders to give up washing machines and electricity. They did it the free market way: buying up parts of the Rain Forest, parcel by parcel.
And they provided the Lithuanian basketball team – recently liberated from the Soviet yoke – with totally cool uniforms so they could play in the 1992 Olympics.
After Jerry died, U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) gave an incredibly touching tribute to Jerry Garcia and the good work the Dead's Rex Foundation had done promoting the arts privately – in contradistinction to millionaire actresses standing up in $50,000 gowns at the Oscars and demanding that hardworking waitresses and truck drivers be forced to support the arts through government taxation. You can look it up in the Congressional Record.
But to answer your question, I personally have loads and loads of friends who are right-wingers and Deadheads. I couldn't possibly name them all. For starters, obviously, there's Angela Lansbury. She gave me my first psychedelic tie-dyed tube top at a Dead show just outside Tucson. Just kidding. There are: Peter Flaherty, President, National Legal And Policy Center; John Harrison, top official in the Justice Department under Reagan and Bush and now a law professor at UVA; Jim Moody, MIT grad and libertarian attorney (and Linda Tripp's lawyer); Gary Lawson, former Scalia clerk and currently a law professor at Boston University Law School; Andrew McBride, partner at a DC law firm; DeRoy Murdoch, conservative columnist; Ben Hart, right-wing author of “Poisoned Ivy” out of Dartmouth. Oh, and the conservative talk radio host Gary Stone in Palm Springs is a Deadhead and kindly plays the Dead as my intro music. When I worked at the Justice Department during law school, I'd be leaving with a whole slew of Reagan or Bush political appointees to see the Dead at RFK. Finally, I believe the great New York subway vigilante Bernie Goetz was a Deadhead.
To read the whole interview, click here: