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Book Talk: Get Shown the Light: Improvisation and Transcendence in the Music of the Grateful Dead

Join us for the first of two author talks this semester celebrating the launch of a new book series from Duke University Press, Studies in the Grateful Dead, exploring the iconic rock band’s lasting impact on American culture and the “long strange trip” their music is still taking today.

Of all the musical developments of rock in the 1960s, one in particular fundamentally changed the music’s structure and listening experience: the incorporation of extended improvisation into live performances. While many bands—including Cream, Pink Floyd, and the Velvet Underground—stretched out their songs with improvisations, no band was more identified with the practice than the Grateful Dead. 

In Get Shown the Light, Michael Kaler demonstrates that the Grateful Dead developed a radical new way of playing rock music as a means to unleash the spiritual and transformative potential of their music.

This is the first of two author talks celebrating the launch of the new Duke University Press series, Studies in the Grateful Dead. The second talk will take place April 5, featuring John Brackett, author of Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness.

Light refreshments will be served. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Registration optional but encouraged to help estimate attendance.

About the Author

Michael Kaler is Associate Professor, teaching stream, at the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy at the University of Toronto Mississauga and author of Flora Tells a Story: The Apocalypse of Paul and Its Contexts.


About the Book Series

Edited by Nicholas G. Merriweather, Executive Director of the Grateful Dead Studies Association and former Grateful Dead Archivist at the University of California–Santa Cruz, Studies in the Grateful Dead explores the musical and cultural significance, impact, and achievement of the Grateful Dead while reinventing the academic and popular discourse devoted to the band. 

Co-sponsored by Duke University Press, Duke University Libraries, and Duke Arts

Friday, February 2, 2024
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Rubenstein Library 153 (Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room)
West Campus
Public Event  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

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Duke University Libraries