Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: amir bar lev (page 1 of 3)

This One Gets Weird, I Can’t Lie

“Amir, don’t look behind you.”

“Campires?”

“What?”

“Camel vampires.”

“Oh. No. We’re iterating.”

“Shit. Y’know, this little prick’s got some nerve.”

“Don’t talk too loud. He’ll hear, and Elvis will show up or something.”

“He’s not paying attention. He just types.”

“I enjoy some of it.”

“Are you just being polite?”

“Yes.”

“Dave–”

“David.”

“–it’s not right. I just wanted to make a 19-hour movie about a semi-defunct choogly-type band. I didn’t ask to be semi-fictionalized, and iterate into mirror universes. Which mirror universe is that, by the way? Are those the evil versions of us?”

“No. Cannibal versions.”

“Who’s eating who?”

“We’re eating each other.”

“That’s kinda sweet.”

“Yeah.”

“Dave–”

“David.”

“–the guy’s on my tits.”

“All of ’em?”

“Every one! Keeps sending me ideas, and each one’s worse than the last.”

“Like?”

“Musical about the Minotaur called Daddy was a Bull; Mommy was Amazed.

“That’s a non-starter.”

“Action movie where the bag guys steal a fuel pump and the gas station kills everybody trying to get it back. Like John Wick, but if Keanu Reeves were a gas station.”

“How would that even work?”

“I have no idea, but he sent me 2,000 words on it.”

“How are our cannibal universe doppelgangers doing?”

“They’ve cannibalized each other.”

“Sure. Now, how would a cannibal universe even work? Wouldn’t we both have been eaten long before reaching our present ages?”

“It was really just a throwaway joke, man.”

“What?”

“What?”

“Why are you defending him?”

“You’re being mean. TotD is awesome and shit, and they should’ve let him write the Amazon show, and he’s very handsome and suck my balls, yo.”

“What the fuck is going on?”

CANADIAN SKIN SLOUGHING-OFF SOUND

Don’t scream.

“AAAAAAAAAH!”

What did I tell you? Don’t make me get Elvis.

“What the fuck, man!?”

I was inhabiting David Lemieux. You familiar with skinwalkers?

“I did not consent to any of this.”

You think David did? He struggled!

“Is he okay?”

He will be. But until then, do you want to play with his flesh-suit?

“No.”

You could wear him!

“No.”

Let’s go scare Bobby.

“I want to go home.”

There’s no exit.

“You’re such a hack.”

That, too.

The Team-Up No One Was Expecting, But Can’t Be Completely Surprised By

“How are the kids?”

“Gordie, Girl Gordie, Jean-Luc, Fleece, Northstar, and the twins, Billie and Mickie?”

“Yeah. Your kids.”

“Good. They’re good. Growing, man. You wouldn’t believe how many bags of milk we go through a week. How are yours?”

“Rivka, Shmuley, and Hummus?”

“Yeah. Your kids.”

“Also good.”

“Amir, lemme ask you one question.”

“Oh, not you, too.”

“Why’d you leave out the Radio City shows?”

“You were a producer of the film, David.”

“I know, yeah, but I never quite understood what a film producer does.”

“No one knows. Well, wait, not exactly. The Executive Producer procures the money. The Line Producer writes the checks. But the kind of producer you were? No one knows.”

“It was swell to be one, though.”

“You’re chipper.”

“I’m Canadian.”

“What’s the next Dave’s Pick?”

“Cornell.”

“You just released Cornell.”

“I know. Every release from now on is going to be Cornell. We’re going the same way that Disney is going with Star Wars.”

“Taking something enjoyable and jamming it everyone’s ass until they burst?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s working for them.”

“That was my argument. Plus, this is a lot less work.”

“I would imagine.”

“What’s next for Amir Bar-Lev?”

“Thinking about becoming a YouTuber.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Vlogging about my life. Maybe reacting to stuff.”

“Interesting.”

“What about you, David?”

“I’ve always wanted to be an exterior decorator.”

“Fascinating. Tell me about your posture.”

“Canadians all learn posture in the prairie schools we’re assigned to at whelping. From age five until fifteen, we were forced to play hockey while balancing Margaret Atwood books on her heads.”

“How much hockey did you play?”

“Normal amount. Nine or ten hours a day.”

“I’m learning a lot here.

Friendly Fire In Rando War

“Rando.”

Which one of you is speaking?

“Me.”

That doesn’t help.

“It’s, uh, me. You know: me.”

Oh. Hey, Bobby. Not a rando.

“No? Wait. Ah. He’s my manager?”

Are you basing that on his Semitic looks?

“Little bit.”

Not your manager. That’s Al Franken.

“From Trading Places?”

Yes.

“Huh. Guy’s a heck of an actor. I really believed he was a baggage handler.”

“Handle this, Bob. Rando War is won, bitch.”

Jesus.

“Look at these randos.”

Okay, first of all: not randos. Second: stop calling Bobby a bitch, Amir Bar-Lev.

“Man in this sweater can call anyone he wants a bitch.”

That’s not how it works.

“Bitch.”

Stop calling me a bitch. Those are not randos. The one on the left is Whatsherface, and the one on the right is Amy Adams’ mom or something.

“Sounds pretty rando to me.”

Dude, in this photo? You are the rando.

“Wow.”

Sorry to be so blunt.

“Hurtful.”

Well, I’ve never seen you on Law & Order, and both of these ladies have been on multiple iterations of the show.

“Don’t talk to me.”

Don’t be this way.

“You’re an asshole.”

Yeah?

“Yeah.”

Okay, sure.

“AAAAHHHHHHHH! WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?”

I thought you didn’t want to talk to me.

“You’re FUCKED, man!I’m a goddamned midget!”

Little person.

“No, I can say midget. It’s our word.”

You’ve been this way for 20 seconds.

“I’m adaptable.”

Sure.

“Change me back!”

Apologize!

“Never!”

Director’s Cut!

“Never!”

You’re just impossible.

“Y’know, when I made that movie about Penn State, I got death threats.”

Yeah?

“That was better than this.”

I’ve heard that from people.

The Faster Weir Goes, The Rander Weir Gets

“Look what I got.”

Randos?

“The randiest. Although, this guy to my left keeps telling me go home and get my shinebox.”

Yeah, don’t murder him. It comes back to bite you in the ass.

“I’ll try. But, you know, if he keeps disrespecting me my hand will be forced.”

Don’t do it.

“Forced.”

Hey, Bobby.

“Yup.”

Don’t make it obvious, but check out the piece on the guy to your far right.

“Oofah.”

Right?

“Garcia’s was better.”

What?

“Jer wear a toupee. From about 1972 onward. Went to the same guy as Gene Simmons.”

This is not a fact.

“Oh, yeah. Real human hair, too. Parish used to get it for him. Sometimes, there’d be chunks of scalp still attached.”

“We doing group randos now? You got nothing, Weir.”

Not randos, Phil. That’s your band.

“This can’t be my band. Where are my children? I made my band with my own balls.”

Ew. And it is definitely your band. That’s Melvin Seals.

“Which one?”

The one that looks like his name should be Melvin Seals.

“I still think I’m winning Rando War.”

These aren’t randos!

“Agree to disagree.”

“They aren’t, Phil. Now this is a rando.”

No, Amir Bar-Lev. That is Michael Moore.

“He smells.”

I would imagine.

“And he won’t stop talking about Bernie.”

I would also imagine. You should get away from him before he rubs off on you.

“His bad luck?”

No, he physically rubs off on people. On the other hand, you might want to stand next to this fucker forever.

“It’s a good contrast, right?’

Totally. Your face has, like, bones in it.

“He just asked if I had any candy.”

Okay. Abort, abort. Get away from Michael Moore. The man makes awful movies and his voice makes me envy the Deafheads.

“But I look so good.”

Find an ugly fucker who makes good movies.

“Hmmm. Wait, I got it.”

“BOOM.”

Dude, you killed it.

“I rocked this shit.”

Why wasn’t the ’81 European tour covered in Long Strange Trip?

“Al Franken made me cut it.”

Oh.

Deadheads Gonna Deadhead

Dear Amir so-called Bar-Lev:

I take time out from yelling at David Lemieux about the lack of 80’s releases to bring to your attention the MANY errors, mistakes, foul-ups in judgement, OMISSIONS, and lapses in your recent “film” Long Strange Trip.

Before I begin, let me state my credentials: I am a TRUE Deadhead. I saw Pigpen perform. Bobby snaked THREE of my girlfriends: once in Cincinnati, and two in San Diego on non-consecutive tours. Dick Latvala once called me a “pissheaded little bastard.” I fraudulently enrolled in West High in Anchorage to get better seats for the Alaska shows. I orgied with Healy. I am a REAL Deadhead, unlike some so-called Bar-Levs I could mention.

How could your movie be so long and yet leave so many things out!? Things that I wanted to see, and therefore should have been included!?

I have watched this film eight times, and gotten more furious with each viewing. Allow me to enumerate your many, many failings.

Vince A lot of people LOVED Vince, Mr. Director Person, and if it weren’t for the DNC rigging the game against him in favor of Bruce Hornsby, then he would have been the nominee. Where was he? Is he included in the Director’s Cut which, despite loathing your film, I would very much like to see?

Mickey’s Dad What the fuck is it with you, man? How could you leave this out? This was a PRIMAL MOMENT in the history of the Dead. What were you doing, making artistic choices to suit the chosen narrative structure and forced to cut things? Yeah, like that’s an excuse.

4/6/94 Miami. Great fucking show. Why was this entire concert not included in your movie? Is it because you don’t know what you’re doing? I can think of LITERALLY no other reason to not feature the full show in your movie.

Woodstock If for no other reason: it’s an obscure topic.

Phil’s Fatness With only your “documentary” as a guide, no one would have the first clue about how chubby-wubby Phil got in 80’s, and THAT’S IMPORTANT.

Jerry Garcia Could’ve used more Jerry.

I Was Not Interviewed I was not even CONSULTED, Amir So-called So-called! Al Franken gets a half-hour and what do I get? Nothing, that’s what. Althea told me to tell Al Franken to suck my balls.

In conclusion, I am dreadfully disappointed with this complete failure of a film which I am about to watch again.

Until my next letter in which I will complain about the lack of bonus features for me to complain about,
Some Internet Fucko

The Fog Of Rando War

“Rando War!”

I cannot explain this to you for the second fucking year running. A rando is a non-famous person who is not your wife.

“Are these people famous? Or my wife?

Yes to both. I don’t know the guy in the middle, but he looks famous. He’s got the skin of a famous person.

“You should see it up close. It’s creamy.”

Whoa, just noticed the boob window. Christie’s aging well.

“I was gonna make a run at her.”

Looks are not important to her.

“But she lives in such an uptown world.”

Don’t you fucking dare.

“You think she’s ever had a backstreet guy?”

You stop that now, Mickey.

“Ooh, there’s the guy with the little hot dogs.”

“Hey! I figured out the rando thing!”

Shit.

“Randos! I’m in the Rando War now.”

Those are the Brolins, Amir Bar-Lev.

“Is that a sub-species of rando?”

Those two men are the opposite of randos.

“Sodnar?”

Stop that.

“Not randos?’

No.

“The old one keeps bothering me about stuff I left out of the movie.”

Yeah, you’re gonna get that for the rest of your life.

“I’m coming to terms with it. Do I win Rando War?”

You were DQ’ed out of the gate.

“Dairy Queen?”

Disqualified.

“I mean I wanted you to buy me Dairy Queen.”

“Are we getting ice cream? I found a rando.”

Not a rando, Mickey. Your daughter.

“She’s a mermaid.”

She is. Still your child, though, and therefore not a rando.

“Let’s get back to the ice cream.”

“Mickey, you up for ice cream?”

“Amir?”

“Hey, Mick. Soft serve?”

“Fuck, yeah. Swirl that shit up.”

“Nice. Let’s go.”

Guys?

Guys?

Um. Hi, Reya.

“Don’t talk to me.”

Okay.

Bring The Boys Back Home

“None of these boys know how to properly fight a Rando War.”

Dammit.

“Coach Wooden taught me everything I know about Rando Wars.”

Which is what?

“Number one: try not to touch the randos.”

Good rule.

“Number two: watch your wallet; some randos are actually pickpockets in disguise.”

Smart.

“And I’m especially susceptible to pickpockets. My eyes are 22 feet away from my pockets.”

You’re Comey-sized.

“Number three: hands up on defense.”

Bill Walton, I have a question.

“Shoot.”

Was there a situation for which Coach Wooden didn’t say to put your hands up on defense?

“Driving.”

Okay.

“Hands at ten at two. Coach was a stickler. Sometimes, he would hide in the backseats of our cars to make sure we were doing it right. Used to scare the bejeezus out of me.”

“Can anyone get in on Rando War?”

Who is that?

No, Andy Cohen from Bravo, you cannot be a part of Rando War.

“But, I have a rando.”

You’re not a Grateful Dead.

“Neither is Walton.”

Walton has two championship rings.

“I have tons of rings.”

Andy, you’re out. Not happening. I let you in Rando War, and every loose screw and nutjob out there is gonna want in.

“Bullshit. I want in. And when Andy Cohen wants something, just watch what happens.”

I see what you did there.

“I’m quick on my feet.”

“I have a rando! Are we doing Rando War?”

Okay, first of all, Amir Bar-Lev: you cannot participate in Rando War. Second: that is not a rando. That’s Greg Gumbel.

“This is anti-Semitism.”

How!? Andy Cohen’s not allowed in, either!

“And homophobia.”

You stop accusing me of things, dammit.

“I’ll make you a deal.”

This is not a negotiation.

“12-hour long Director’s Cut.”

Don’t you lie to me, Amir Bar-Lev.

“Three hours is the Englishtown show.”

There is no Director’s Cut. There’s just wackadoos and speculists making shit up on the internet.

“If you say so.”

“The Senator from Minnesota rises to enter Rando War.”

Oh, no.

Again: not a rando. That’s a Senator.

“How many Senators could you pick out of a lineup?”

I could pick Elizabeth Warren out, Al.

“Senator Franken.”

Your lapels are too narrow.

“I want in Rando War, and I’m prepared to shut down the government or do my Mick Jagger impression until it happens.”

I truly hate this bit.

“It’s not as bad as the one with the Burning Man girls and then the picture of the weird guy.”

True. That one’s dreadful.

“Wanna talk Althea?’

No.

Reading Is Fun And Mental

Strap on your eye goggles, Enthusiasts!

Eye goggles are just called goggles.

I was kind of quoting the Beastie Boys.

RIP Jam Master Jay. Still: makes no sense.

The Enthusiasts expect a certain level of playfulness when it comes to the English language.

Irregardless.

I see what you did. Anyway, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, it’s time for everyone’s favorite semi-regular feature: TotD Has Too Many Tabs Open. As always, Ive been meaning to write about all of this bullshit, but haven’t found the time. Cuz, you know, I’m so busy.

Let’s start with Trixie Garcia’s touching and honest article from Lenny, which is run by Lena Dunham, whom I am aware of only through other people’s mockery of her. Trixie talks about coming to terms with all the nonsense that comes from being her father’s daughter, and–in very sweet language–begs Deadheads to stop hugging her and telling her secrets.

(What do you think the daily over/under is on “white guys in tie-dye staring deeply into Trixie’s eyes while telling her that her father was John the Baptist” is? I’d set the line at three.)

And if I had any doubts that Trixie and I were meant to be together, she also writes this:

In high school, Grateful Dead music was probably the least cool thing you could be into, as far as I was concerned. I remember giving Jerry a hard time for the clothes he was wearing. This was when rock stars were supposed to be glamorous … think David Lee Roth. [Emphasis mine.] I was so disappointed that my dad wasn’t the cool kind of dancing, spandex-clad rock star and instead wore corduroy pants with orthopedic shoes. I wouldn’t even call him a rock star at that time, maybe “cult leader in absentia.” He must have thought my whining was hilarious, but I was dead serious.

I just admire how her mind works is all.

This is Noura Mint Seymali, and she is from Mauritania.

The guitarist is out of tune, but he’s out of tune in the right way.

The top comment on YouTube is shockingly informative and well-spelled and does not contain any racial slurs or “FALLOUT BROUGHT ME HERE.” Apparently, Noura is singing nationalistic songs about Mauritania, and this is bullshit, man. These songs are far better than God Bless America or America the Beautiful or whatnot. There is an enormous Nationalistic Song Gap developing between us and Mauritania, and I hope Jared Kushner does something about it.

The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is one of the oldest preserved human structures on the planet, or elsewhere. 4,000 years before Christ, the inhabitants of Malta, who were called the Gozo, built it. The Hypogeum is carved into the soft rock of a cave complex, and contains a temple and a cemetery and a funeral hall. Life, death, and that little bit in between where everyone looks at you and cries.

Worship came first. Before God, there was worship. Before the gods, there was worship.

And while you’re in Malta, you can visit the set of the 1980 film, Popeye, which starred Shelley Duvall.

After you’re done listening to Mauritanian boogie, check out this interview that Amir Bar-Lev gave to ReCode’s Peter Kafka, in which he (quite correctly) declares that TotD is pretty much the only one carrying on the Dead’s legacy at this point, and I am a great person and a super-genius.

Last but not least, Pitchfork did a compilation article about the Dead’s greatest live cuts; it’s 90% on point, but–like every one of these lists–it ignores 1975, which featured two of the best Dead shows EVAR. Go read it, it’s wonderful: the great Jesse Jarnow edited it, and everyone writing about the Dead nowadays contributed. Everyone you could ever think of who’s carrying on the Dead’s legacy. Yup, everyone.

Bar (Lev) Mitzvah

Hey, Amir Bar-Lev. Whatcha doing?

“Premieres, my man. Schmoozing. Going to parties sponsored by start-up vodka-delivery apps.”

We’re coming up on another tech bubble, aren’t we?

“Big time.”

Is this how white men dress now?

“We seem to have reached a consensus, yeah.”

I’m trying to decide which is more rebellious: the sweater on the sweaty guy, or the blue sneaks on beardface.

“Well spotted. Those two are the wild men of the group.”

Amir, I gotta say that you sound a more…how do I put this?

“Sane?”

That’s how I would put it. Sane, yes.

“It’s done. I’m done. The movie’s out there and there’s nothing left to edit and there’s no one left to kidnap. When it first screened, my mind just…you know how you’re going around the turn on a roller coaster and your stomach isn’t where it’s supposed to be, and then the car straightens out and your guts slap back into place?”

Yeah.

“Like that. But instead of my stomach, it was my sanity.”

Congratulations.

“I got a little out there.”

It was worrisome.

“Can’t go back to the library.”

Why?

“I had this idea that certain ideas were ‘hot’ and other ideas were ‘cold,’ and I started really thinking about that, and then I was awake for four days straight, and I went to the library and doused all the books with the ‘hot’ ideas with a fire extinguisher.”

Ooh, that’s not good.

“And several patrons.”

Did you think they were “hot?”

“No, I just wanted to spray old people with a fire extinguisher.”

That’s the first non-crazy part of this story.

“Right? You must be tempted to.”

Constantly. Or a potato gun to the chest.

“Sure. Oh, and then because there ‘cold’ books in the library–”

You set it on fire.

“–I set it on fire. How’d you know?”

Intimately familiar with insanity’s florid logic.

“But I’m all better now. Little vacation with the family. Seeing old friends on the publicity tour. Bought myself a blue shirt.”

It’s a nice shirt.

“Thank you. Listen, I’m glad we’re talking. You’re an incredibly gifted man, and I want you to write the screenplay for my next film.”

What? Really? Sure, I’d like to do that. Let me just–

Am I talking to the real Amir Bar-Lev or the semi-fictional one?

“Second guy.”

Dammit. No, I do not want to collaborate with a documentarian that doesn’t technically exist.

“We’ll do great things together. And I can pay you.”

With what?

“Money.”

Real money?

“No.”

Knock it off. Who are these bozos?

“Tall guy on the left is Giovanni Thant. Owns all the Burger Kings in Düsseldorf.”

Okay.

“Next is the third Weinstein brother, Marvin.”

I didn’t know there was a third one of those.

“He’s usually not allowed out. Weird case of sleep-induced Tourette’s. Just the filthiest stuff imaginable.”

What’s the problem? He’s not anywhere near asleep.

“Narcoleptic.”

Ah.

“Marvin’s conditions react in a sort of amplifying wave. Very unfortunate combination.”

I’ll say.

“Marvin is also a biter.”

He sounds great.

“Solid citizen. On my left is Cassius Hammersmith, a 18th-century sea-captain with many problems.”

That’s Justin Kreutzmann.

“No. Troubled sea-captain.”

Amir.

“How do explain the shanties?”

Amir.

“He means to make for the Horn, but the weather bedevils his e’ery move.”

“It could also be Justin.”

Who’s rocking the sweater?

“Eric Eisner.”

The fashion designer’s husband?

“Yeah.”

Cool. The other three?

“Randos.”

Dude! You got your own randos?

“Past three or four weeks? Boom: randos everywhere.”

You deserve it, man. You’re a Grateful Dead now.

“Yeah, uh-huh, but: I don’t like it.”

No one told you to make the monster, Doc.

“You turned my shit around on me.”

I did.

HIGH FIVE

This was nice. I’m glad you’re not crazy any more.

“My lawyers aren’t. Gave them a lot of work.”

Fuck lawyers.

“True.”

Twenty Thoughts About Long Strange Trip

1.

Let’s get this out of the way: this is one of the best music documentaries ever made. Take away the films about a show–Woodstock, Stop Making Sense, Last Waltz–and it’s mostly dreck and filler cluttering up the bottom rungs of your Netflix queue: white guys recounting stories about arguing with the record company; hagiographies that blip by all the corpses; tedious chronologies. Some are fun, in a background kind of way, half your ear listening for an interesting story and tootling around on your computer.

Not Long Strange Trip. Might be art. I think it’s art, but we’ll have to wait to see if they hang it in a museum.

2.

If I were a suicidal guy named Art, I would hang myself in a museum.

3.

Possible Television Spin-Offs Of Long Strange Trip I Would Watch Religiously

Glabba Humb? with Sam Cutler Sam Cutler drives around in a van–which he may or may not live in–yelling at traffic and telling stories. (Sam Cutler will be sub-titled, as he’s almost incomprehensible.)

Al Franken Brooks No Shit About His Althea Choice Each week, a new Deadhead enters Senator Franken’s office and makes a case for an Althea that is not the Althea from 5/8/81; Senator Franken refuses to listen to their argument and has the Capitol Police throw them out of the building. Then, he draws America freehand.

4.

Frankenstein is about hubris. It’s Greek, and Greek stories were about hubris. Greek plays had dick jokes and sword fights, but the stories were about hubris. The gods have always reserved certain rights for themselves, and when poly became mono, Yahweh continued the practice. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, or maybe chained to a rock and eaten by an eagle.

But that’s the book. Movie’s different, because while the themes and philosophies in the novel are lasting and fascinating, the plot is dippy and turgid–too much chitty-chat and not enough pitchfork-wielding townsfolk–and it’s got the wrong ending, by which I mean the right ending: monster lives, doctor dies. Hollywood has never given a shit about whether an ending was wrong or right, just as long as it was happy, and so the doctor ends the film toasting his pregnant wife, and poor old Boris burns to death in a fake castle. Even more than the original novel, the movie should have been called Prometheus Unbound. Hubris goes unpunished, and man is free to do whatever he wants.

And with this freedom, he makes monsters.

5.

Alternate title for the film: Four Hours of Garcia Smoking.

6.

There is an almost-complete lack of hippy-dippitude to the presentation that I find refreshing, welcome, and pleasing. Don’t get me wrong: Mickey’s still yammering about magic, and Bobby spends the entire film in either the lotus position or a Tesla; I mean the aesthetic choices of the visuals. The film’s split into chapters, and the font looks like this:

Amir Bar-Lev could have easily gone with that scribbly poster shit where you can barely read the words; he did not. Good work, Amir Bar-Lev.

Why do you insist on using the man’s full name?

It’s a good name. “Amir Bar-Lev” sounds like a minor Egyptian deity.

The god of laundry baskets.

Something like that.

7.

John Perry Barlow is an old man, so it is not fair when he stands over the grave of his friend, who was a young man, but it doesn’t make it less true. I saw it on my teevee, so it must be true.

8.

There’s at least a dozen bits of footage in here that are jaw-dropping: Garcia in pigtails wandering around Egypt (in color), and the Acid Tests (also in color), and Keith chopping out lines on a dinner plate while Mrs. Donna Jean drinks angrily at him, and the entire band being subtly terrorized by a Hells Angel in some random dressing room.

9.

But, you know: they let the Hells Angel in, so it’s tough to muster up too much sympathy, and good for the film in letting JPB call out Garcia’s bullshit re: the Angels. Militantly passive-aggressive to the end, Garcia floats some bullshit about “the good needing the evil to exist,” to which JPB quite reasonably points out that, while good might require evil, good doesn’t have to give evil a backstage pass.

10.

I won’t spoil it, but the person you would least expect to be in the film gets the biggest laugh.

11.

Doctor Frankenstein knew what he was doing. He didn’t have to make the monster so big; he didn’t have to make him so strong. He could have walked away.

12.

Englishtown isn’t mentioned, nor Cornell. Bill Graham is seen in passing, but not discussed. You do not hear the names Winterland, or Fillmore, or Woodstock. Tom Constanten is not in the film, and neither is Vince or Bruce Hornsby, but TC casts a shadow.

“The Grateful Dead is Jerry Garcia’s backup band,” the abstemious keyboardist once said, and according to Long Strange Trip, he was right. I saw it on my teevee, so it must be true.

13.

Fuck gatecrashers and bumrushers. Bill Graham was right: dig a moat, fill it with gasoline, and burn baby burn. After two or three minutes of entitled behavior from smirking Deadheads, there’s a shot of a cop punching a kid in the jaw and you almost root for the cop.

You need to stop reading books about Nixon.

These smelly children cannot just decide which laws to follow and which to disregard.

Quit it.

The Silent Majority is on my side.

Please concentrate.

The Dead!

Riiiiight.

I forget this blog is about the Dead sometimes.

It’s in the title, champ.

Might be about Joyce’s lesser work.

The Dead was not Joyce’s lesser work. You’re just saying that because you understood it when you read it, as opposed to everything else the man ever drunkenly dictated.

Can you concentrate, please?

Just write “14.”

Fine.

14.

The movie’s about Garcia, but he’s not the hero.

15.

Long Strange Trip is not a comedy, obviously, but there are some deeply funny moments which I won’t ruin but just congratulate Amir Bar-Lev on the best hard cut I’ve seen in a while. Parish is on one side of it, Sam Cutler the other. Trust me.

That laugh is a universal one, but there are also Enthusiast-specific giggles. For example, Bobby has not quite mastered seatbelts yet. Again: trust me.

16.

Not to toot my own tooter, but I write Pigpen well. At one point in the Acid Test footage, you can hear him yell at the soundman, “Skip all that babblin’ and give us our power!” and I thought maybe I had written that line.

17.

Kerouac gets mentioned multiple times. On The Road. (You were expecting Phil to start waxing critical about The Town and the City?) The rolls of typing paper, taped into an infinite scroll, bennies and coffee and three weeks of sweat and double-blinking eyes and WHAMMO a masterpiece. Garcia mentioned this as an influence.

And Jack really did that, honest, sat there and birthed On The Road in less than a month, but only after writing at least eight drafts of the novel over the course of the previous decade.

Spontaneity is much easier when you practice it.

18.

At a certain point, neutrality becomes cowardice.

19.

Go see the damn movie.

20.

There is a shot at the end. Garcia has died and Bobby, present-day Bobby, drives through the mist: it is nighttime and foggy and the cabin is illuminated by a massive touchscreen glowing expensive blue; the car has been named after a mad scientist and conditions on the ground make it impossible to see whether there are dangers ahead. An old man, alive, with young friends, dead, and that does not seem fair, but I saw it on my teevee so it must be true.

The fog is so thick that anything could be right around the corner.

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