Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Comedia Repertory Theater, Homer and High Streets (Emerson & Hamilton), Palo Alto, CA

Possibly the Comedia Theater, corner of Homer and High, now, in 2012, it's a Peet's Coffee.

Note the address.
Garcia had a job of sorts doing the lighting at a Palo Alto theater group called Commedia Del Arte, around 1962. Possibly on Emerson Street (possibly on the site of the Aquarius Theater).(1)

In March 1961, per Dennis McNally, "Garcia volunteered as a lighting technician for a production of Damn Yankees." This sounds like it was an informal deal for a friend, and Garcia seems not to have had any involvement in theater afterwards. has a new "Celebrating Jerry" clip that's a little conversation with Jerry from 1974. He talks a little about his pre-Dead days:
"I’d scuffle, I’d hustle, I’d scam. I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to have a job, didn’t want to live that life, and I didn’t care what I did in order to not have to do it... I never felt pressed by that. I’d sleep in the bus depot, theater lobbies behind the ticket booth. I didn't give a fuck - I got into all those trips, because I didn’t want to make myself into somebody..."
Aside from being quite a statement of Jerry's philosophy in itself, this opens up the possibility that Jerry was volunteering as lighting tech at a theater in 1961 in return for being able to sleep there!
We know that at that point, Jerry was living in his car - so sleeping in a theater lobby would actually have been a step up in comfort. When he met Hunter, the two of them would hang out in his car in a parking lot, eating purloined pineapple from tin cans....
It's not often realized just how down & out Jerry was in that post-Army period, but he often remembered those days with fondness.(2)

Jerry rehearsed here on
03/??/61 Robert Hunter
Jerry meets 19 year old Robert Hunter while working an evening lighting job at the Comedia Theater.(3)

2.)^lightintoashes, 2011-07-24,
3.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia: An American Life, pg. 34.

1 comment:

  1. Touching times when we look back on how rough can get for some, it'll always be a struggle. Great story

    -David Enabulele
    Atlanta Junk Cars