Monday, April 03, 2006

Leahy Photo Exhibit Wins Praise

Senator and Deadhead Patrick Leahy's photographs are on display in Vermont. Here's a blurb from WPTZ5

Leahy Photo Exhibit Wins Praise

COLCHESTER, Vt. -- An unusual photo exhibit at St. Michael's College in
Colchester, Vt., has been winning praise from photographers and historians

The photographs of luminaries ranging from presidents to the Dalai Lama
to rock stars such as Jerry Garcia were taken by Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick

Leahy said he's been an avid photographer since childhood, and the
shots he's taken as a senator show an ability to get behind scenes rarely
available to a news media photographer.

The photos are on display through Tuesday at the McCarthy Arts Center
at St. Michael's.

Here's part of an old AP article about Leahy's love for Jerry and the Dead from 1995:

Meanwhile, longtime fan Sen. Patrick Leahy said news of Garcia's death left
him feeling ''like I've been kicked in the stomach.''

''I just feel terrible about it,'' said Leahy, D-Vt., a fan since the
1960s and personal friend of Garcia for about 10 years.

''When they were here last just a few weeks ago, I was talking to
Jerry,'' Leahy said in an interview with The Associated Press. ''He was talking
about how he was watching his diet and being careful. I took my oldest son with
me. We were on stage for the whole show.''

Leahy's friendship with the guitarist developed after someone
representing the band called to find out if it was true that Leahy had attended
a Dead concert.

''I said 'I go all the time,''' recalled Leahy, 55. Then came the first
of many invitations to sit backstage.

''I got a call one night from the White House operator while on stage.
... The president and secretary of state are looking for me. I got on the phone
with the secretary of state (Warren Christopher) and he asked me if I thought I
had my radio on rather loud.''

Last year Leahy invited Garcia and other band members to lunch in the
senators' dining room.
''The most remarkable thing about that was Senator
Thurmond came up, introduced himself to Jerry Garcia and said, 'Boy I understand
you're a rock star.'''

Garcia acknowledged that he was. The then-91-year-old South Carolina
Republican then responded: ''Well I'm Strom Thurmond. I'm the oldest member of
the U.S. Senate.''

During that lunch, Garcia asked Leahy which was his favorite song.

At the concert this year at RFK Stadium, the band played that song,
''Black Muddy River,'' as its encore in honor of Leahy's presence.

''I thought he looked better than he had in years,'' said Leahy of
Garcia at that concert.

Leahy said he had wanted to attend the band's recent performance in
Vermont, but couldn't. It had been their second show there after being urged by
Leahy to go to the state.

He couldn't count the number of concerts he's attended. ''I go every
time I can,'' said Leahy. ''They have probably kept the most loyal cadre of fans
you can image. They have always treated their fans and their own people right.''

Leahy said he keeps track of the band on the Internet. ''I even have
their Web page on my list of bookmarks,'' he said.

The senator said he felt different kinds of people could read their
feelings and hopes into the Dead's music and lyrics ''even though they may be
diametrically opposite.''

''I've never left one of their concerts not feeling better than when I
went in,'' said Leahy.


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