November 23, 2017

“Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution” Review – The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center Reveals an Expansive Life

Bill Graham Exhibition, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Photo: B. Keer

Bill Graham as “Father Time” atop a Golden Gate Bridge float on New Years Eve; Oakland, Coliseum Arena; Oakland, California; photo courtesy of Ken Friedman

Graham’s celebrated Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco was the epicenter of rock’s evolution in the 1960s. Graham went on to promote social change as a driving force behind milestone benefit concerts such as Live Aid (1985) and Human Rights Now! (1988). Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution transports visitors to that era with an abundance of memorabilia, archival concert footage, historical and new video interviews, and psychedelic art, demonstrating the lasting influence of Graham’s vision on the immersive, multidimensional, and highly lucrative phenomenon of rock theater that persists today.

 

Jim Morrison at Winterland; San Francisco, California; 1967; photo by Iconic Images/Baron Wolman

The exhibition was organized by Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles; highlights include:

  • Memorabilia from the Fillmore Auditorium, including the original apple barrel that greeted fans with fresh apples at the entrance.
  • Two of the Grateful Dead New Year’s Eve concert costumes worn by Bill Graham.
  • Iconic photographs from rock’s most famous photographers.
  • Costumes, musical instruments, and artifacts from the careers of Janis Joplin, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, and other groundbreaking artists.
  • An installation of “The Joshua Light Show”—the liquid light show conceived in 1967 by multimedia artist Joshua White — customized specifically for the exhibition.
  • Preparatory drawings and the original artwork of several iconic Fillmore concert posters, revealing the signature visual styles and creative process of psychedelic poster artists Bonnie MacLean, Wes Wilson, David Singer, Greg Irons, and David Byrd.

Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia perform at “Day on The Green”; Oakland Coliseum Station; Oakland, California; 7/24/87; photo courtesy of Ken Friedman

Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution illuminates how Graham’s childhood experiences as a young refugee from Nazi Germany fueled his drive and ingenuity as a cultural innovator and advocate for social justice. Born in Berlin, Graham arrived in New York at the age of eleven as part of a Red Cross effort to help Jewish children fleeing the Nazis. The exhibition follows his path from a foster family in the Bronx, to military service in the Korean War, to his arrival in San Francisco just as the hippie movement was gathering steam. Throughout his career, Graham’s mastery at promoting, marketing, and managing artists propelled him to become one of the music industry’s most important figures.

Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution runs from July 16 to January 7, 2018 (extended) at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive in Skokie. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Cente Webs

 

David Bowie performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre; Mountain View, California; 10/21/95; photo courtesy of Ken Friedman

 

Eric Clapton performs at Shoreline Auditorium; Mountain View, California; 5/5/90; photo courtesy of Ken Friedman

AUDIO TOUR

Listen as Bill talks about his life, from being a hidden child of the Holocaust, to his early days in upstate New York, to the full breadth of his career. Download the link at the Museum’s website and/or bring a pair of headphones to the exhibition to hear Bill’s story in his own words.

Take an electrifying trip through the 1960s-1980s and learn about the extraordinary life and career of rock impresario Bill Graham, the Holocaust refugee who promoted countless music legends—including The Grateful Dead, Santana, and Jimi Hendrix—and produced humanitarian concerts such as “Live Aid” to raise the consciousness of the world.

 

 

“ENCORE! ENCORE!”  In response to visitor demand, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will extend its popular exhibition, Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, through Sunday, January 7, 2018, before it leaves Chicagoland and opens at the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2018.  The exhibition explores the extraordinary life of renowned music promoter Bill Graham (1931-1991) who helped launch and promote the careers of countless artists including the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones. It also traces the indomitable spirit of a man brought to the U.S. as an eleven-year-old Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazis, fueling a lifelong passion and advocacy for social justice.

 

Graham’s celebrated Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco was the epicenter of rock’s evolution in the 1960s. Graham went on to promote social change as a driving force behind milestone benefit concerts such as Live Aid (1985) and Human Rights Now! (1988). Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution transports visitors to that era with an abundance of memorabilia, archival concert footage, historical and new video interviews, and psychedelic art; plus, unique to the Illinois Holocaust Museum exhibition are a trio of rare memorabilia courtesy of the Jerry Garcia family: lyrics to “He’s gone” with Garcia’s handwritten edits; a set list; and his Mark I combo amp & speaker.

 

Winter Break Family Promotion: Kids & Students Visit FREE
From Tuesday, December 26 through Sunday, January 7, kids and students can visit Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, and all other Museum exhibitions free of charge. There must be at least one paid adult present, and the offer can be redeemed by mentioning this Winter Break Promotion at the admissions window at the Museum. This offer does not apply to field trips, group tours, or public programs that require reservations.

 

Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, originally scheduled to close November 12, 2017, at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive in Skokie, will now be extended through Sunday, January 7, 2018.  For more information, go to illinois holocaust museum website

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