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Jerry's The Man

Just don't call me a Deadhead

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Since some budding Karl Rove is bound to dig it up one day and use it against me, let me go ahead and get it out of the way: I'm a Grateful Dead fan. Not a Deadhead, mind you, but a Grateful Dead fan. Let me repeat: I'm not a Deadhead. I don't have a dog named Sunshine, and I do have a steady job. As I discovered the band late, however, I never got to see The Dead play live. Mindful of this, a friend of mine invited me out to last Tuesday's Dark Star Orchestra at the Visulite Theatre, the second night of a two-night stand.

The DSO schtick, as it were, is that the band will take a "classic" Dead show from the past -- like, say, Pittsburgh circa June 1984 -- and recreate the show in its entirety, up to and including the exact playlist and any divergences. That sounds neat enough, I mused. I wonder if DSOJerry will cough between songs, the post-nasal trip from his coke habit filling his lungs? I wonder if DSOBobWeir will continue to sport a pair of cut-off Levis like some out-of-work 70s porn star? My mind swooned.

Actually, my friend was pretty much Dead-on. They've got the band's tone down altogether, an easy mix of uptempo rockers and tender jams, and play the whole thing rather faithfully. DSOJerry is a Dead-ringer for teddy-bear Jerry, even down to the choppy quality of his voice. The only thing missing, frankly, was the drugs.

Thankfully, I was glad it was a dry show. Had I seen the real band a dozen years or so ago, I probably wouldn't have remembered it anyway.

Run, don't walk down to the Mint Museum to see Andrew Wyeth's The Helga Pictures before Bill James and his ilk catch on that it contains a few "teeties" and ought to be burned -- burned! -- before it corrupts the minds of our fair citizenry. While you're at it, head over to the Jerald Melberg gallery on Sharon Amity to see even more Wyeth -- in this case, some watercolors and another Helga or two. (Helga was Wyeth's favorite muse, whether clothed or unclothed; he wasn't picky.)The Melberg exhibit is running concurrently with one by Brian Rutenberg, a young talent to keep an eye on. A few years back, I wrote a bit about Rutenberg in the paper, and the artist sent me a nice letter thanking me for understanding his work. After checking the price sheet for Rutenberg's Melberg paintings -- some upwards of $20,000 -- I wish he'd have thrown in a sketch as well. (Mr. Rutenberg, if you're reading this, I really understand your work!)

The Wyeths at both locations are eye-opening, however, and not just because of Miss Helga. In fact, I was so inspired, I'm thinking about breaking out a set of watercolors I have at home after 15 years of dormancy. Then again, I never had a model like Miss Helga in my high school art classes, either.

Sunday evening, The Evening Muse held their Halloween-themed "Exorcise -- Your Right to Vote/Cast Out Those Scary White House Demons" party, featuring the band Sea Ray and all manner of people dressed up as the scariest ghouls imaginable: the real ones in the current administration. Osama bin Laden was there, showing his support. Monica Lewinsky made an appearance wearing a DNA-splashed dress that really could use some Shout with bleach. There was even yours truly as a construction-suited Halliburton worker, replete with dollar bills falling out of my pockets (as I said, it was a costume -- the bills were fake). There was at least one Republican in attendance, a man who, coincidentally enough, sprinted out of the bar after being sternly told in a conversation that no, in fact, Dick Cheney did not serve in the military, and in fact received more deferments than anyone not named...well, John Ashcroft. Granted, it was a left-leaning crowd, but facts -- real facts, and not spin -- are facts, right?

Whether or not any real Dubya demons got exorcised yesterday -- and Jesus, you don't know how frigging nervous I am writing this -- the Muse party got rid of one for sure. It's a start.

And one last thanks for the cool as hell Wall of Pumpkins produced and built by Elizabeth neighborhood Kerry fans on Lamar Ave. (see photo). Interestingly, the wall was featured in a big photo in the New York Times, but our own lameass daily paper couldn't be bothered. So much for the liberal mainstream press.

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