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If you happened to visit Olompali State Historic Park near Novato last November, you might have come upon an arresting sight: a camera crew encircling Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir under an old oak tree.

The seven-person crew was part of a team making an authorized documentary, helmed by executive producer Martin Scorsese, about the Grateful Dead over the course of the band’s 50-year career.

Olompali, where the Dead lived in 1966, is just one of the North Bay locales featured in the film, said co-producer Justin Kreutzmann. The documentary isn’t quite finished and may not be released this year.

“It will come out when it’s ready,” said Kreutzmann, 45, the son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. “It would be nice to hit the 50th anniversary, but making a better film is more important than trying to capitalize on the hype around that. We’re still editing. There’s so much great material, as you can imagine, to go through.”

Five concerts will be performed in Chicago and Santa Clara this summer to commemorate the band’s formation in 1965.

Co-producer Eric Eisner, CEO of Double E Pictures, said, “Our film is not a celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary. It’s a celebration of the band as a whole. We hope our movie exists for many years as a legacy piece, so we have no problem waiting until all the festivities of the 50th have passed somewhat.”

The film will come out first in theaters, Eisner said, and long-term, may play at midnight on weekends “in the ‘Rocky Horror’ slot. We want … future generations to know what the band was all about.”

The film remains untitled, Kreutzmann said. “Do you just call it ‘Grateful Dead’? Do you call it ‘Long Strange Trip’?”

Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux is music supervisor for the film, which will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev (“The Pat Tillman Story”). Both declined interview requests, saying they would prefer to talk when the film is complete.

It’s unclear what will make the final cut, but Kreutzmann said the North Bay is an essential part of the band’s story.

“The band’s studio was in San Rafael. ‘Touch of Gray’ was recorded in San Rafael, and everybody (the Dead and their extended family) lived in Marin at that time (1980s),” Kreutzmann said. “The crew all lived in Petaluma.”

Bassist Phil Lesh was filmed at Terrapin Crossroads, his restaurant and music space in San Rafael, and drummer Mickey Hart was interviewed at his home near Sebastopol.

Scorsese has a long history of making rock music documentaries, starting as an assistant director on “Woodstock” (1970) and including 1978’s “The Last Waltz” about The Band’s farewell show, 2005’s “No Direction Home” a look into the life of Bob Dylan, and 2011’s “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.”

“Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years,” said the Dead’s surviving members — Weir, Lesh, Hart and Kreutzmann — in a statement last fall. “With our 50th anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves, and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it.”

Beyond the band members, interviewees include lyricist Robert Hunter, Trixie Garcia (Jerry’s daughter), band manager Dennis McNally and Sen. Al Franken, a longtime fan.

All About Quakes

5 Things to Do When The Shaking Starts

- Duck, cover, hold: Duck or drop down on the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table and hold on. Be prepared to move with it.

- If indoors, stay there: At least, until the shaking stops. If you’re outside, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees and power lines and drop to the ground. If you’re in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place.

- After the shaking stops: Get to a safe place outdoors if you think the structure you’re in is in danger of collapsing. Provide first aid for anyone slightly injured and seek medical attention for anyone seriously injured.

- Assume there will be aftershocks: Secure anything heavy that could fall, and eliminate fire hazards.

- Gas and water: Listen to the radio for instructions regarding turning off gas and water. If you smell gas, or think it is leaking, shut it off. Only a professional should turn it back on.


6 Things To Now To Prepare For A Disaster

- Contacting loved ones: Create a plan for how you will contact one another after the quake, such as establishing an out-of-area contact who can help coordinate the locations of family members and other information should you become separated. Make sure children learn these phone numbers and addresses and know the emergency plans.

- Important papers: Keep copies of important documents at the house of your out-of-area contact or keep important documents and valuables in a fireproof storage box or safe deposit box.

- Disaster supplies kit: Keep a smaller version in your vehicle. Families with children should have each child create their own personal pack.

- Know evacuation routes: Establish several different routes in case certain roads are blocked or closed.

- Plan for pets: Animals are typically not allowed in places where food is served, so you will need to have a place to take your pets if you have to go to a shelter.

- Don’t run out of gas: Always run on the top half of the tank, not on the bottom half.

Things To Remember

Water may be in short supply.

Natural gas and electric power may be out for days or weeks.

Garbage and sewage services may be interrupted.

Telephone, Internet, cell phone, and wireless communications may be overloaded or unavailable.

Mail service may be disrupted or delayed.

Gasoline may be in short supply, and rationing may be necessary.

Bank operations may be disrupted, limiting access to cash, ATMs, or online banking.

Grocery, drug, and other retail stores may be closed or unable to restock shelves. Businesses may sustain damage and disruption—many small businesses require a long time to reopen or do not survive disasters.

Your income may be affected — payroll checks or direct deposits may be delayed.

For more information, go here

Source: County of Sonoma

The Dead considered making a film while recording the album “Workingman’s Dead” (1970), so some rare archival footage exists from that period, Kreutzmann said. “When I saw this footage I thought, Wow, you can do a whole film just on this.”

The Dead and the film’s co-producers are thrilled to have Scorsese on board, he said. Director Bar-Lev will present a rough cut to Scorsese, and he’ll respond with notes and suggestions, bringing “fresh perspective” to the film.

“You know, he’s Martin Scorsese,” Kreutzmann said. “So we will listen.”

During Weir’s day at Olompali last fall, state archaeologist Breck Parkman showed the 67-year-old guitarist around his old stomping grounds.

Weir, Parkman and the film crew spent about four hours at the park with Bar-Lev, finding the old oak tree under which they were photographed for an album cover, checking out the ruins of the Burdell Mansion where the band lived and examining the cement platform that was once the foundation for a commercial bread-baking oven. It became the stage on which the Dead and their cohorts had impromptu jams.

As cameras rolled, Weir’s tour concluded at Olompali’s visitor center, which houses remnants from the Dead’s time there such as old record albums that melted in a fire.

Said Parkman: “Bob seemed to enjoy the thought of being archaeological.”

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