Friday, February 19, 2010

Make Believe Ball

The Rex Foundation produced our first Make Believe Ball February 18, 2010 at the GreaPublish Postt American Music Hall in San Francisco. The Make Believe Ball spawned from an idea by board member Tim Duncan who collaborated with board member Dawn Holliday to arrange for the replay of the infamous 1975 Grateful Dead Blues for Allah record release party later released as One From The Vault. The term Make Believe Ball is attributed to the taper who named his audience tapes of that evening "The Make Believe Ball".

The Make Believe Ball, reproduced on the state of the art sound system at the Great American Music Hall included the serendipity that Lee, the sound board operator, was the same person who did the sound for the original show in 1975.

Hopefully there will be more to follow, perhaps in a city near you!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Rex grant keeps giving in Africa

Rex Foundation provided Burners Without Borders a grant in November 2009. Burners Without Borders is a service group of individuals who are Burners, a sub-culture like Dead Heads. Instead of attending Grateful Dead shows, or jamband shows, the Burners work year round on the Burning Man project held every summer in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, 130 miles north of Reno. Some Burners are in fact also Dead Heads and presumably attend jamband shows.

Burners Without Borders was founded at Burning Man in 2005 during the onslaught of hurricane Katrina and consequent destruction in New Orleans and Mississippi. A call throughout the Burning Man event was intitiated to raise money and send a crew of Burners with heavy equipment to help as an act of kindness and civic engagement. Burners Without Borders has since conducted further acts of kindness and civic-minded engagement to assist throughout the world on various projects where the government or local authorities have either failed, or are reluctant to provide assistance.

Two days after receiving the Rex grant, Burners Without Borders' executive director, Carmen Mauk, received a request from a Burner working in Africa named Will Ruddick. Will is assisting citizens in Kenya with their cultural art of fire spinning. The project is called the Moto-moto Circus. The Kenyan troup had been invited by the Kenya National Museums Counsel to a three-day national festival in Lamu, Kenya, to perform for three nights. They did not have the money to send ten people to Lamu let alone stay in another city for three days. Carmen worked out a budget of $500 which would allow the troupe to travel and stay in Lamu to perform their art. An unexpected serendipity; it has been learned that this trip will reunite a Kenyan mother and son who have not seen each other in many years.

The power of grassroots giving is powerful when people like Carmen and Will connect to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rex invites Musicians, Bands and Promoters to get on Board the Rex Music Caravan

The Rex Foundation hopes you all get on board the Rex Music Caravan over the summer when you encounter a Rex Jam at the summer festivals or see one of the bands on the Music Caravan. Rex Jams are when one of the bands announces from the stage that "this is a Rex Jam segment". Volunteers will walk through the crowd collecting donations that are granted to local music programs. The potential is that thousands of dollars will be donated to help children's music programs in communities where the festivals are held. 10,000 Lakes and Gathering of the Vibes are festivals where you will encounter the Rex Foundation in a prominent grass roots fundraising role.

Various bands out on the highway are also on board the Music Caravan donating a small portion of each ticket sold and helping Rex identify worthy non-profits and individuals who are doing the good work that fits the Rex Foundation Mission. Taj Mahal, Bob Weir, The Dead, Dark Star Orchestra, Melvin Seals & JBG, Moonalice, and Steve Kimock's Crazy Engine are just a few bands who are donating $1 from the ticket sales to the Rex Foundation. We encourage you to go out and see these bands which in turn will support their musical efforts along with supporting the Rex Foundation.

Are you a band or a musician who shares the values of the Rex Foundation? Whether you are an A list band or a bunch of Dead Heads jammin' your hearts out, Get on Board and let us know if you want to support the Rex Music Caravan. We would love to work with you! Please email and tell us who you are and how to contact you. Use the phrase "Rex Music Caravan" in the subject line.

We also welcome the interest and participation of Promoters who want to associate with the good works that Rex Foundation has supported for the past 26 years. We can use your help and expertise to further the tremendous effort that has supported so many people and positively affected the human race and the planet in so many ways. Take a look at the extensive list of Rex Grantees to see what we've been doing.

In this short video, Rex Foundation board members, Nick Morgan and Carolyn Garcia with Sandy Sohcot, executive director talk about the impact the money raised from the Rex Jams at summer festivals has on music programs in communities where the festivals are held. Please take a few minutes to hear what they have to say. Thank you in advance... for supporting the Rex Foundation!

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Taj Mahal at Silver Oak Cellars 6-11-2009

In the heart of Napa Valley and California viticulture is Silver Oak Cellars, considered to be among the producers of the finest cabernet sauvignon in the world. The winery and vineyards are nestled between Route 29 and the Silverado Trail on Oakville Cross Road. Thanks to Executive Vice President and Rex board member Tim Duncan, Silver Oak Cellars opened its doors to the Rex Foundation's Music Caravan.

The extraordinary setting included a remarkable sunset that flowed into a bright view of the big dipper overhead while Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, Jay Lane and the Taj Mahal Trio shredded the vines right off their roots. Excellent wine and delicious food were served all evening to several hundred Rex supporters at this intimate event.

The evening was an acoustic exploration of Grateful Dead Music, and Delta Blues with a smattering of World Music sprinkled in. The first trio was Weir, Wasserman and Lane who played for an hour or so improvising a jam so thoroughly delightful that the wine enthusiasts rated it a 99. The Taj Mahal Trio followed with no less than a 99.5 performance that jolted the laid back crowd to its feet and kept them dancing till the music stopped. Bobby Weir joined Taj for an eclectic set of songs.

Some of the proceeds from this Rex Music Caravan event will benefit small non-profits in Napa Valley doing good work who fit the Mission of the Rex Foundation.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet Pictures Everywhere...

or at least on the Rex Web site and on our Facebook page--great shots by Susana Millman and Bob Minkin at December's Sweet Music Everywhere gathering. The music was wonderful, the vibe couldn't be better, and it all shows in the pics. Whether you were part of the event or want to join the fun now, check it out!


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Friday, December 05, 2008

Rex Grantee Bradley Angel Wins 2008 Cultural Freedom Award

Bradley Angel, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Greenaction for Health an Environmental Justice, was just awarded the Lannan Foundation 2008 Cultural Freedom Award. This award honors individuals working on behalf of communities struggling to uphold and defend their right to cultural freedom and diversity. As defined by Lannan, Cultural Freedom is a basic human right dependent on political, economic, and environmental justice.

The Rex Foundation supported Greenaction in 2006 with a grant in recognition of their outstanding work mobilizing community power to win victories that change government and corporate policies and practices to protect health and to promote environmental justice.Using technical expertise and people power, Greenaction has been on the front lines of preventing incinerators being located in communities that are the least prepared to stand up for their rights.

Its another testament to the exceptionally relevant work of the Rex Foundation that we are identifying and supporting organizations that are important participants in the efforts to build a better world!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

An Excerpt from the Rex Foundation Newsletter-Perspectives on the World As It Could Be

The writing below reflects why we put together the current newsletter Perspectives on The World As It Could Be. With the election on the horizon, I’m hopeful that these perspectives add to the hopeful energy stirring around us, where with our votes, energy and engagement, we can both imagine and experience the best of all possible worlds.

To read more of the newsletter (, please

In April 2006 I had the privilege and joy of being at the offices of the San Francisco Mime Troupe Youth Theater Project to begin planning our creative project with youth to help raise greater awareness about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Around the table, in addition to the Mime Troupe staff, were Ellen Sebastian Chang, our soon-to-be Creative Director, Sarah Crowell of Destiny Arts Center, and James Kass of Youth Speaks. We were looking at the UDHR document as printed in the 2006 Rex Foundation newsletter Perspectives on Being Human, reading its Preamble and 30 Articles.

As we contemplated the significance of the UDHR statements, Peggy Rose of the Mime Troupe noted the document’s eloquence in depicting the world as it could be. And so was born the title of our first creative project, The World As It Could Be – A Declaration of Human Rights, which, because of its positive impact, has now evolved to The World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program. What has been most meaningful to me over these last two years has been the way the youth and adults involved in the project have gained not just awareness but palpable excitement about the type of world that is possible, and how individual and collective actions
make a difference.

This experience prompted publishing this newsletter right now. We are close to the November 4th U.S. election to choose the next president and Congressional leaders. We’ll also be choosing local officials and deciding on regulatory policies and amendments to state constitutions. And we are in the midst of a sharp global awakening as to how inter-connected we are in terms of financial and environmental activity. The current situation, though anxiety-provoking and challenging, is a unique opportunity to spur thinking about how vital it is for each of us to be awake and mindful – to know that we can not only envision but also impact the type of world we live in. While we have had visionary thinkers and leaders throughout history, we have not always had the psychological know-how to realize our own individual importance as conscious, caring people, who, by our own actions and awareness of our impact on others, can generate tremendous energy and influence.

In the 2007/08 dramatization The World As It Could Be – Where There’s A Will There’s A Way, created by the youth of the Destiny Arts Center Performance Troupe, there was a segment where each person presented minute actions they would take to manifest the words of the UDHR. One said, “I will no longer drink bottled water.” Another said, “I will speak up if I witness anyone being disrespectful to others.” And another said, “I will vote.”

December 10, 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when all the nations in the world agreed that it was vital to work toward a world that provided for everyone the conditions laid out by each of the 30 Articles. I know that the people who work to carry out the programs supported by Rex Foundation grants are doing all they can to manifest these words. I’m also seeing how the young people who learn about the UDHR are inspired to take on responsibilities as global citizens to manifest it’s words. I’m hopeful that the messages conveyed here and throughout this newsletter provide encouragement to consider the type of world desired for generations to come and how invaluable each person’s thinking and actions are to making this happen.

Sandy Sohcot

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Rex helps with an EPIC battle to save the redwoods!

The recent announcement that Charles Hurwitz and his Maxxam Corporation will no longer be in control of logging old growth forests in Humbolt County is a victory for environmentalists everywhere. Maxxam Corporation engaged in highly destructive logging practices that put old growth forests at greatest risk as well as serous long-term troubles for the local economy. Rex Foundation can feel proud of providing funds for a key leader in the effort to stop the destructive logging practices in the region. The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) received two grants from Rex over the last 20 years to help with organizing and keeping the heat on Maxxam and the courts to protect our forests. With the word that a bankruptcy judge will now be transferring control to Mendocino Redwood Company(MRC), known for more sustainable logging practices, the residents of the area can be assured that economy will continue to thrive while all Californians can rejoice over the protection of our old growth forests.

The MRC Plan comes closest to implementing the standards EPIC advocates for timber management in the Redwood Region. These standards flow from three core principles for timberland management: recovery of high-quality timberland and wildlife habitat for salmon & steelhead and other aquatic, terrestrial, and avian wildlife; recovery of an economy based on these resources and full integration of the region's human communities in these

Rex is committed to funding grassroots efforts like EPIC to ensure the preservation of and conservation of our environment. Thank you to all our supporters for helping support this critical work.

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