Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Another Open Letter To Amir Bar-Lev

Dear Amir Bar-Lev,

Hi. How are you? I am fine, except for my body, which hurts. Are you a fan of Harry Styles? That young man is just everywhere. Justin Timberlake, watch your back! Maybe your next film could be about his hair.

I write for several reasons, Amir Bar-Lev. I am happy that Long Strange Trip, the long-awaited documentary about the Dead, is coming out and even being shown in theaters across the country for one night. I can’t recall any other Amazon-produced features getting a theatrical release, and certainly no four-hour documentaries about semi-defunct choogly-type bands, so congratulations are in order. On a related note, I am glad you are no longer being driven slowly insane by the never-ending production of the film. Making movies about the Grateful Dead has been known to bring about madness and a permanent wobble, but you seem to have avoided this curse. Good job.

Sadly, I cannot be as sanguine when it comes to the press strategy you’ve chosen. Yes, I’ve seen reviews–uproariously positive ones, at that–in glossy magazines and websites with fancy layouts; impressive people with impressive Twitter bios have been impressed; David Lemieuxnovermiami has been dispatched to the CBC bearing Stealie-emblazoned toques. These are all smart moves.

And yet I have not been wooed.

Thoughts on the Dead is a thought-leader, Amir Bar-Lev. An influencer. And, I’ll add, a popular one: this is the #1 most-visited Grateful Dead-related site on the internet. (Honest. I could show you my stats page, but I’m under IRS audit. Just trust me on this: #1.) One word from me makes or breaks your movie, buddy. I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but HONK HONK, motherfucker.

Please don’t call Amir Bar-Lev a motherfucker.

How many times have I asked you not to interrupt the open letters?

Many. Stop being impolite.

Fine. I reiterate my position: my opinion is important and I’m entitled to special treatment. Also: Amir Bar-Lev, you cannot possibly conceive of the ball-lappingly effusive review I’ll give Long Strange Trip. On the website for the theatrical showing, you quote Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times. “Fascinating,” he writes. Dude, “fascinating” is going to be the least positive word in my review. Shit, I’ll invent words just to praise you:

Long Strange Trip shines like a nebulation of frangeant gold.”

Not good enough? Try this shit:

“And once the movie ended I sat there, just sat, and felt a pressure on my shoulder: a small female jay, not as plumed as the males, she leaned into my ear. ‘Remember that you are loved.’ She flew off, and I tried not to think of her words as a warning. Go see Long Strange Trip.”

See? I’m awesome at this.

Send me a screener, Amir Bar-Lev. All the theaters that the film’s playing at on the 25th are too far away from me. Send me a screener. Is there a computer person in the office? Tell the computer person to put the movie on a disc. Then tell the intern to mail it to me. On the way to the post office, have the intern buy some of those gummy bears with weed in them and put them in the package. This is not so much to ask. Send me a screener and drug candy. Don’t make me issue unenforceable, half-assed threats, because I will! Send me a screener and some drug candy and also maybe put some cash in the package as a bribe. I will absolutely take a bribe. Now that I think about it: if you’d like to write the review yourself, you could do that. Just slip it in the package with the screener and the drug candy and the cash.

Let’s sum up: Long Strange Trip is going to be in theaters for one night, and you’re going to send me a screener you’re going to send me a screener you’re going to send me a screener–

Stop trying to hypnotize Amir Bar-Lev.


Ah, blow me.

I look forward to your response, and also the drug candy.

Love and Other Indoor Sports,
Thoughts on the Dead


  1. Yes !!!!

  2. Drinkthewater

    May 10, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Dear Mr. Amir Bar-Lev: If you let TotD live-stream his screening for the TotD faithful, some of us might be willing to crowd source the drug candy (we’ll think about it at least). You can rest assured that many of us will still go to the theater even though we might have to drive multiple fucking hours to get there, and you know we’ll still watch it on Amazon and buy the DVDs and all the bullshit. We can’t stop ourselves from doing that.

  3. It is truly representative of mans inhumanity to man that you are not on the ‘list’ for ‘drug candy and prerelease copy’ . Reminds me of the time I tried to get a pre release copy of the Bob Dylan reggae tribute on RAS records for 75,000 drug fiends and was told ‘ I have to get off the phone -somebody important might be calling’ by some Bronx byaaaatch.

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