October 12, 2001
A documentary about the musical friendship between Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia and bluegrass legend David Grisman, Grateful Dawg features live performances by the two men in addition to studio and backstage footage. The 80-minute film is directed by Gillian Grisman, who is the daughter of the talented mandolin player.
Grisman and Garcia formed one of the most famous bluegrass bands ever, Old and in the Way, back in the '70s, and later joined together to form another band in the early '90s. The documentary not only includes rare footage from some of their performances together, but it also intersperses interviews with friends and family members throughout the telling of the story.
The name Grateful Dawg is a combination reference to the two friends. Grateful obviously refers to Garcia's well-known band, and Dawg is the name Garcia gave to Grisman. The film will see a very limited opening in New York and LA, and while it may expand to a couple of other major cities, I doubt if it will receive a much wider release. It may do nicely in per-screen average, though, as Deadheads might turn out for a chance to see their hero in action. (Kim Hollis/BOP)