Monday, November 29, 2010

Grateful Dead Rainforest Press Conference at U.N., 1988

What follows below was sent to me by the publicist for the filmmaker Len Dell-Amico. Follow this link to see the clip of the Rainforest news conference: His blog post is copied below:

11-28-10 LEN'S BLOG -- First posting: December 1, 2010

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.

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.

"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.

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

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. 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."

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.

Watch this space for further journal entries in the future, and I hope to be adding new and interesting clips from my archive on a regular basis.

--Len Dell'Amico, November 23rd, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

greetings, my friend! Just wanted to say you've got some great content on here, I stumbled onto this site doing research for my own writing project (, and I'd very much like to have a conversation with you about the dead, and specifically about writing about the dead. Please send me an email if you have the time and inclination... The address is I'll very much look forward to hearing from you!