TEENS GO TOP DRAWER
A little short of a miracle, the "Grateful Dead" have signed to play at the Ladera Christmas dance. What has brought this about, is that the kids themselves have been saving the profits that they have made from past dances so that now they can afford to pay for this important (and expensive) group.
They will be well worth hearing. To quote from Ralph Gleason's article (Dec. 8 Chronicle) "The Grateful Dead is a contemporary rock band, a good deal of whose music is blues based. They have evolved a magnificent playing style that features some of the most exciting instrumental rock music anywhere.
Included in their group is Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan who plays organ and harmonica and sings. Many young white performers in folk and rock music seem to be little but imitations of negro singers. Pig Pen, on the other hand, does not do this and he is tremendously effective. He sings like himself; the music and the style is blues, but he is not imitation."
That sounds good. And the sounds next Saturday night (December 17th at 8:00 o'clock) will be an exciting experience for everyone who can hear them. This will be a real Christmas present for those who attend.
(from the Ladera Crier newsletter, December 1966)
LADERA TEENS SPLURGE ON A PARTY TO REMEMBER
It was quite a party they had at Ladera School one evening of the Christmas holiday.
A blast? What's the "in" word for it?
It really turned the kids on. Anyway, it was noisy and it was fun.
The teen-agers of Ladera decided to splurge the money earned on previous dances to hire themselves a band and throw a real bash.
The "Grateful Dead" came from San Francisco in full tonsorial and electronic splendor to play, with the Rhythm Method Blues Band donating their services to fill in any chinks of silence that might threaten the evening. A troupe headed by George Kelly put on a show of colored light, swirling dyes, movies, and slides, also donating services.
Joe Bonner, Ann Wilsnack, Barbie Rusmore, and Mark Wilson headed the dance committee and turned in a spectacular decorations job. The large window in the multi-purpose room was completely covered with batik designs which turned it into a kind of mod stained glass window, lighted from outside. The wall opposite had a full mural.
The Ladera Community Association sponsored the dance, as they do other teen dances several times a year in the community. Mrs. Richard Hayes had initiated the dance series and continues to assist with ticket sales and other chores. Mrs. Jack Wallis is the current dance committee chairman. Mrs. Dan Dana helped with printing of invitations, limited to Ladera teen-agers and their guests. Jeff Wilson aided and abetted the decorations committee.
[A list of a dozen adult chaperones follows.]
Dancers trip the light fantastic -- and the fantastic ranged from rock and roll spine torture to Greek folk dances -- before a window decorated with batik panels and lighted from outside to give a stain-glass effect. Shown are Connie Hefte and Bruce Hird. That swirl of blonde hair behind Connie is Bruce's partner, Barbie Rusmore. All the pictures are by Ken Gardiner of Ladera, who found he could concentrate on his camera better after he stuffed his ears with cotton.
Gerry Wilsnack of Ladera was one of the many adults who helped the teens make their dream party come true. Took good care of the money, too.
Anne Creelman, a guest from Los Altos, gets into the swing of things.
George Kelly of San Francisco swirls dyes over a light to project colored patterns on a sheet-draped wall.
"Pigpen," he calls himself, one of the "Grateful Dead" who provided the decibels.
(from the Country Almanac, 3 January 1967)
Thanks to Susan Suesser, who uncovered these articles: