Joy of Cannabis
THe Joy of Cannabis

'Box of Rain' Documentary: Lonnie Frazier's Love Letter to Deadheads

via Box of Rain Movie

Three women head West from Maryland in 1985 and end up at a Grateful Dead show in Colorado at legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Some four decades later they stage a reunion for Box of Rain, directed by one of the trio, Lonnie Frazier.

They had no particular connection to the famous hippie band at first. But once the young women immersed themselves in the scene around the Dead, it was love at first sight.

"I wouldn't be who I am if I hadn't found the Deadhead community," Frazier says. She reveals that a high school rape left her traumatized and in need of support. Frazier found it in the Shakedown Street economy where she and her friends sold bracelets and grilled cheese sandwiches to keep the fun going.

First-time filmmaker Lonnie Frazier's goal is to show how kindness and love can help repair a damaged body and spirit.

Several other talking "heads" - including Deadheads director Brian O'Donnell - fill out the story line. It's pretty geeky with band and song references that few would know unless you were a denizen of the parking lot.

"Jerry," "Phil." "Bobby" and others - all band members - are referred to by first names only with quite a bit of reverence directed to Captain Trips, Jerry Garcia.

Even so, Frazier notes, "I have never done any hallucinogen."

There's no Dead music (not even the well-known title tune), though similar songs are played. The film is strictly from the outside looking in. 

The women (Betsy Talbott and Kelly Condon in addition to Frazier) report no bad vibes, male chauvinism or other concerns that could crop up in a crowd of drifter type characters.

Women have a major role in the Grateful Dead world, as this documentary aptly shows.

But it is not a diverse community, and this is never addressed.

First-time filmmaker Frazier's goal is to show how kindness and love can help repair a damaged body and spirit. "It saved me," she says now in her fifties. "I found healing."

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.