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A special night of conversation and music, exploring the Grateful Dead through their seminal live performances. Writers Ray Robertson, author of All the Years Combine: The Grateful Dead in Fifty Shows and Nick Paumgarten, a staff writer for The New Yorker will discuss the bands most notable concerts including Harpur College, 5/2/1970. The Harpur College concert is where the Dead performed a legendary acoustic set featuring brand new music from WORKINGMANS DEAD and AMERICAN BEAUTY along with down home traditional tunes, straight from that “old, weird America”.

The second act will feature THE HARPUR COLLEGE DRIFTERS, a one time only gathering of stellar musicians including Gabe Witcher, LeeAnn Skoda, Rob Stone and players to be named later who will reimagine this famous show. An Evening of the Grateful Dead promises to illuminate the legacy of America’s most enduring band as well as give a flavor of one of their greatest live performances. 

Featured Speakers and Performers:

Nick Paumgarten

Nick Paumgarten is a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine and the author of the forthcoming memoir "The Intangibles," from Penguin Press. His essay "Deadhead" appeared in the New Yorker in November, 2012.

Ray Robertson

Ray Robertson is the author of nine novels, five collections of non-fiction, and a book of poetry. His work has been translated into several languages. He contributed the liner notes to three Grateful Dead archival releases: Dave’s Picks #45, the Here Comes Sunshine 1973 boxed set, and the From The Mars Hotel 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. He lives in Toronto.


This new series is a salon-style inquiry into a theme, a moment, or an emotion with a wide variety of guests.

This program will take place at the Los Angeles Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071. Click here for a list of public transportation options.

We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is available at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. If you park at the Westlawn Garage, 524 S. Flower Street lot, there is a $8 charge if you exit after 9:00 PM ($1 with Library card validation before 9:00 PM).

Patrons can obtain validation upon presenting a valid library card at the Central Library’s Information Desk (first floor) BEFORE the program. For more information, visit the Central Library’s website.

As this program is free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at the start of each program.

You are welcome to come as a standby guest. Standby numbers are distributed one hour before the program on a first-come, first served basis. Admission is subject to availability.

All books are non-refundable. Thank you for supporting the Los Angeles Public Library.

Yes, the author will be available to personalize your book.

Book purchases will be only available for in-person pick-up at the event. Please note: We strongly encourage you to purchase your book(s) in advance of the event; we cannot guarantee quantities available for sale at the event.


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