Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Ralph J. Gleason

The second Bay Area Book Festival has me reflecting on my little spot in the publishing world. Since the early 1980s, I've sold, acquired, taught, edited, written, reviewed, and otherwise sponsored books on topics ranging from computer engineering to the Grateful Dead. I started with a sales territory in West Texas and New Mexico; now it's mostly writing, reviewing, and events, but I also help prospective authors place their books with the right publisher.

Two of those books--both on Ralph J. Gleason--just came out. That ball started rolling after I realized that Toby Gleason and I shared a Facebook friend. I asked Toby if he had ever considered producing an anthology of his father's key work. Long story short, that book (and a companion) just came out from Yale University Press.

The New Yorker was on the case. It posted a complimentary piece by Richard Brody and used the photograph above.

Baron Wolman, whom I interviewed for my book on the Grateful Dead, made the photograph. Today he told me he took it at a Mills College conference on rock and roll in 1967. That very day, Jann Wenner asked him to work at a new (and as yet unnamed) magazine. That magazine, of course, was Rolling Stone.

Update: My friend Michael Kramer tells me that Phil Spector and Tom Donahue were at that conference, too. Also that he's writing an article about it.