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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ken Kesey's, 9 Perry Lane, Palo Alto, CA

There is an area on the west side of Alameda and Foothill Expressway on Alpine Road. It borders the Stanford Golf Course. There used to be a bunch of small cottages there. It is near what is now called Stowe Lane. We were aware of the scene, and cruised back there on a few occasions, because we had heard that Kesey and others lived there. That is where there was a Perry Lane. They were not streets, they were just dirt drives with small signs on wooden posts.(1)

Some of the most memorable gigs took place on Perry Lane, a little street located between Vine and Leland. This was Menlo Park's "little Bohemia." Author Thorstein Veblen lived there, and so did Ken Kesey, while he was writing "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
Kesey and his cohorts, known as the Merry Pranksters, would often close down the street for the festivities. Garcia and Lesh would come there to party and jam.
"They were big block parties, starting around noon and going into the night. Musicians would often show up," remembers Vic Lovell, 58, a Menlo Park psychologist who was at several of them. "We used to have Afro-Cuban jazz jam sessions."
The parties would often have a theme, like a Hawaiian Luau or the "Perry Lane Olympics" on the Fourth of July. "I remember Phil Lesh (the Dead's bassist) showing up to play the jazz trumpet. That's where I got the idea he wanted to be a serious musician," Lovell says. "He was tall and lean, playing modern jazz."
Palo Alto resident Bob Cullenbine was also there for the Perry Lane Olympics. "We had treasure hunts, games, partying, smoking and drinking," he says.(2)

Jerry partied and performed here in

1.)^Gunderson, Robert, 2010-05-21, comments,

2.)^Palo Alto Weekly, 1993-05-12, "Dawn of the Dead- A Tour of the Grateful Dead's Midpeninsula roots"

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