Twenty-four years (and counting) into its mission, the Rex Foundation continues to broaden its community of friends, donors and beneficiaries. The Grateful Dead performed many benefit concerts for various good causes during its 30-year touring career. In 1983, members and associates of the Dead formed the Rex Foundation to further that tradition of giving, enabling the Dead Head community to participate through their purchase of tickets to concerts the band gave to benefit the foundation. Since then, Rex has granted more than $8 million dollars to over 1,000 recipients, including individuals and organizations engaged in vital endeavors in the arts, sciences and education, working to protect our natural resources and to help make our planet a safer, more peaceful place. When the Grateful Dead disbanded following Jerry Garcia's passing in 1995, Rex, having lost its primary source of funding, began a process of reinvention. While the foundation has continued to benefit from the commitment of time and energy from alumni and friends of the Dead and from the legendary generosity of Dead Heads everywhere, Rex has also developed new strategies for community outreach and involvement. One of the more exciting aspects of this effort has been the willingness of a new generation of musicians, many of them inspired by the Grateful Dead and seeking to extend and expand upon the Dead's musical and social traditions, to offer their talents in service to Rex, and to bring their own audiences into the ever-larger community of Rex donors.
This process of widening the circle of giving will continue on November 17th with a benefit concert at New York's Highline Ballroom, bringing together friends old and new in support of Rex. The evening will feature two popular and critically acclaimed bands that are equally at home in a variety of genres, Donna The Buffalo and Ollabelle. Also performing will be an old pal to all of us in the Grateful Dead world and a longtime supporter of Rex, David Gans, whose excellent idea it was to throw this musical shindig. David is well known for his years of service to the Dead Head community as a broadcaster, journalist and all-around stellar dude. In recent years, he has begun to receive richly deserved recognition for his talents as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, and has been a welcome presence on the club and festival circuit, sharing stages with Dark Star Orchestra, Donna Jean and the Tricksters, Railroad Earth and many others. Having pitched in to help Rex in many other ways over the years, Gans figured it was high time he put his musical gifts to good use in service to the cause, and to invite some friends to do the same. Happily, those friends jumped at the opportunity, and the resulting lineup of talent should make for a most memorable evening.
Donna the Buffalo
Asked for a few thoughts on his fellow performers, Gans told dead.net: "Donna the Buffalo is one of my favorite bands on earth. Two excellent songwriters - guitarist Jeb Puryear and multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins - and a deep, and deeply American, dance groove. Their songs are spiritually positive without being hippy-dippy. This is one of the few bands that can make me forget where I am and hope the set never ends.
Ollabelle: five fine songwriters who are also fine singers and players, a great love for American roots music - what's not to love?
Donna The Buffalo, Ollabelle and David Gans perform to benefit the Rex Foundation on Saturday, November 17th, 8 pm, at the Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street, New York, NY). General admission tickets are $27.00 in advance ($30 day of show). A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $55 (includes balcony seating) and $75 (side-of-stage seating). VIP ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert cocktail reception with the artists. Tickets are available through the Highline Ballroom and Rex Foundation websites. For further information, contact Rex at 415-561-3134.