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I just found out that Here Comes Sunshine is about (or inspired by) the Vanport flood of 1948, which wiped out the largest public housing complex in the US. Turns out that Portland Meadows is on the site of the former Vanport complex. I checked, and no, they didn't play Here Comes Sunshine at the Portland Meadows shows in 1995. But I didn't know that I was dancing on Vanport's grave at those shows.

Also, somebody wrote a symphony based on the Dead's music. I listened to the samples. It's pretty amazing.

EDIT: OK, Vanport wasn't actually on the Portland Meadows site, it was NEXT TO the Portland Meadows site, where the Portland International Raceway and Multnomah County Fairgrounds are. Which means that I drove over Vanport's grave on my way to the shows but I didn't actually dance on it.

If unable to dance, I will crawl...
There's a good map of the former Vanport on that page. If you google-map Portland Meadows and expand a couple of clicks, you can match Vanport up nicely with the current major roads and geography. There's a good Wiki page on the Vanport flood too.

Here's my favorite quote from an interview with the composer of Dead Symphony:

"I can say this about the Grateful Dead listener as I was getting acquainted with them. I truly believe that the Grateful Dead fanbase is the best educated fanbase in music because, and that’s a big statement and I’d say it to any group, of the ability of the Grateful Dead fan to stick with it and listen for their tunes, that hint that they’re on the horizon and all the transformations that they’re going to go through and all the jams around it. They know how to listen for the kind of musical information, like you would call a theme or motif. Classical composers are counting on the audience being educated in that way and that used to be the case. Rewind the clock a long, long way. Mozart could know for certain that his audience is going to be listening for the second theme of a sonata. He knew that they knew that they were supposed to be listening for it. Well that skill pretty much went away. And I think it has resurfaced in the Grateful Dead fan because they know how to listen for thematic transformation."

I learned quite a lot about composition as a career from that article. I have two friends (one online, one IRL) who have completed or nearly completed degrees in composition, and now I want to know more!


Dec. 15th, 2008 08:39 am
twirlgrrl: (Default)
The bliss of spinning through The Eleven or Lazy Lightning>Supplication is absolutely indescribable.

This thought brought to you courtesy of MediaMonkey.


Apr. 26th, 2008 07:57 am
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A picture to go with the previous entry: Heather and me in my '66 VW bus in the parking lot at a Dead show in Oakland in 1993.

1993-02 Show
twirlgrrl: (Default)
I read an article this week about whirling dervishes and Sufi. There are a couple of parts that I really like. The whole article can be found here:

I am not Sufi. But I have spent a lot of time in my life spinning, going around in circles, whirling, turning, whatever you want to call it. It is the way I typically dance to the Grateful Dead. I am out of practice now, but at the peak of my involvement I could spin for up to 45 minutes at a time.

I don't use any particular method or placement of my hands or feet the way the Sufis do, but there are similarities in what I have experienced and what the woman who wrote this article experiences.

A lot of crazy hippie blather about twirling, spirituality, nostalgia, self-expression, blah blah blah )


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