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August 10, 2018  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Sons of late music promoter to speak during weekend of museum exhibit opening

Bill Graham and Bob Hope make a radio appeal during the earthquake rock-a-thon on Nov. 26, 1989 in San Francisco. 
Photo by Ken Friedman Bill Graham and Bob Hope make a radio appeal during the earthquake rock-a-thon on Nov. 26, 1989 in San Francisco. Photo by Ken Friedman Two events are planned for the opening weekend of the Florida Holocaust Museum’s exhibit “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution.”

The exhibit, opening Saturday, Aug. 18, explores the extraordinary life of renowned music promoter Bill Graham (1931- 1991) who helped launch and promote the careers of countless rock & roll artists from Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Doors and the Rolling Stones.

The exhibit also traces the indomitable spirit of Graham and how his experience as a refugee fleeing the Nazis fueled a lifelong passion and advocacy for justice. He conceived rock & roll as a powerful force for supporting humanitarian causes and was instrumental in the production of milestone benefit concerts such as Live Aid (1985) and Human Rights Now! (1988).

The exhibit, which runs through Feb. 10, features 400 pieces of memorabilia, including photographs of the musicians Graham promoted plus some of their guitars and onstage costumes, archival concert footage, historical and video interviews, psychedelic art and several original Fillmore concert posters.

On opening day there will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. including wine, hors d’oeuvres and a chance to celebrate the exhibit opening with Graham’s family and friends. This program will feature a panel discussion with those who knew him well, with additional insight about the exhibition and how it came together.

On Sunday, Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. there will be a panel discussion with Graham’s sons, Alex and David Graham. This program, titled “Legacy and Remembrance” will explore how life lessons that are conveyed by parents and grandparents have profound effect. When those patriarchs and matriarchs endured the Holocaust, those lessons and their legacy have special resonance. A local second-generation family member of a Holocaust survivor will share experiences with the Graham brothers on lessons learned from parents and grandparents.

Bill Graham and the youngest of his five sisters were placed in an orphanage in Berlin by their mother in an effort to save him. The orphanage had an agreement to send the children to France in exchange of Jewish children for Christian children. Later, after France fell to Germany, he and his sister were spirited out of the country. Graham would up in the U.S. but his sister dies during a journey to escape Nazis. Graham’s mother died in Auschwitz.

Named one of the best museum shows of 2017 by the Chicago Tribune, the exhibition was organized and circulated by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, in association with the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, and made possible by the support of Alex Graham, David Graham, and Danny Scher.

The cost to attend each of the opening weekend programs is $9 per person for general admission and/or free for Museum members. To attend, call (727) 820-0100, ext. 301 to reserve your space. RSVPs are required.

The museum is located at 55 Fifth St. S., St. Petersburg.

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