Deadheads Delight: Grateful Dead

History Museum of Sonoma County

March 9, 2017

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa, CA, 95401

How fun would it be to be a fly on the wall backstage with the Grateful Dead? Susana Millman was able to be part of the intimate circle around the Grateful Dead as a long-time friend of Jerry Garcia (he walked her down the aisle at her wedding with Dead publicist Dennis McNally). She had unparalleled access and consequently took pictures at family events that were not generally covered. As a result, she wrote the book, Alive with the Dead / A Fly on the Wall with a Camera (2016), which captures the band and its greater organization off-stage and in private events.

Her husband, Dennis McNally, the Dead’s historian (A Long Strange Trip, 2002) and long-time publicist, will conduct an on-stage interview with Susana Millman that reveals how she came to be part of the scene, and the ups and downs of shooting the Grateful Dead. The conversation resembles the book--intimate, affectionate, and revealing.

For your enjoyment, we will have live music from Dead Again, playing from 5:30-6:30pm. Dead Again is a Sonoma County-based Grateful Dead tribute band. They've played together since February of 2016, rehearsing in bass player Don Pasewark's garage in Petaluma. Band members include John Bedell (rhythm guitar and vocals); David Dodd (keyboards and vocals); Will Eichert (lead guitar and vocals); Jim Koblick (drums and vocals); and Don Pasewark (bass). They've played at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, The San Geronimo Community Center, the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, and at the Big Easy in Petaluma.

Susana Millman attended Cornell University and earned a doctorate at Columbia University before leaving the academic world to study ethnobotany in Columbia and Ecuador. While there, she fell in with a group of Dead Heads, so when in the middle 1970s she returned to the United States, she headed for the San Francisco Bay Area. At first a clothing importer, she took up the camera to document her travels in Asia; eventually photography became her full-time occupation. Her work has appeared in many national publications. This is her first book.

Dennis McNally earned a doctorate in American History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for his biography of Jack Kerouac, Desolate Angel. His second book, A Long Strange Trip, led to his working with the Grateful Dead as their publicist for 25 years. He recently published a study of American race and music, On Highway 61, with Counterpoint. It won the Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson writing award from ASCAP. He is currently working with the California Historical Society on a photo show celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

Lecture Sponsor receives 2 tickets and recognition in the Museum's marketing materials. Lecture sponsorships are fully tax-deductible.

Purchase your tickets here online or call us at (707) 579-1500 during regular business hours or between 11:00am-5:00pm on weekends.

The MUSIC begins at 5:30pm, the TALK begins at 6:30pm. Books will be available for sale, and the author will be available for signing before and after the talk.

Event Venue
History Museum of Sonoma County, 425 Seventh Street Santa Rosa, CA, US, 95401


  • Museum
  • Music