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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Premiere: RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse @ Balboa Theater, San Francisco, CA - Jan 28, 2020

Grandpa (Larry Cragg) & Grandma (Twink Brewer)
Scene from RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

A premiere screening of the film RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse was held at Balboa Theater in San Francisco, CA on Jan 28, 2020 according to NYA.

RETURN TO GREENDALE @ Balboa Theater, San Francisco, CA - Jan 28, 2020

The NYA posting, details that much of the cast and crew were able to attend the screening and "more special screenings will be held" before a wider release is made.

Last month, a preview of the upcoming concert film of the Greendale Tour by Neil Young & Crazy Horse was featured on Goin' To Greendale | BENTLEY’S BANDSTAND | NYA.

Music industry veteran Bill Bentley writes about his Greendale experience and seeing the film of the 2003 Toronto concert: ‘And that, dear listeners, is when the bells start ringing, the lights start flashing and the thrillometer heats up all the way to the top of the tube.'

Sun Green (Sara White) and Grandpa (Ben Keith)

Neil Young calls "Greendale" on Times-Contrarian | NYA "one of the biggest highlights of my filming life".

Making Greendale
Neil Young Filming Greendale Actors Grandpa & Jed

But back in 2003, "Greendale" was one of the most controversial and divisive albums and concert tours of Neil Young's career. The importance of "Greendale" can not be understated - either in terms of Neil Young's body of work, nor its impact on his fan base. This is how we memorialized "Greendale" on Thrasher's Wheat Home Page in June 2003:
With the arrival of Greendale in 2003 -- for us -- Greendale was like a sledgehammer to the anvil of truth and awakened this blog from it's post-9/11 dormancy. Because when Neil Young Sings Truth To Power, The World Listens.
So let that soak in for a moment.

This website was launched in 1996 -- about 24 years ago. It sort of languished with periodic updates until 2003. Then, with the theme of the "Greendale" songs coming into focus, we here were inspired to begin daily blog updates. At the time we said we would update the blog daily until the concert tours "Greendale" ended. But the tour kept going and going and going around the world, well into 2004, along with all the ancillary books, videos, films, etc.

So we can safely say that Thrasher's Wheat would not exist today if it had not been for "Greendale". Period. Full stop.

'She was welded to the eagle's beak
sun green leaned into that megaphone
and said, "truth is all i seek" '
"Sun Green"
by Neil Young

As many of our long time readers here at Thrasher's Wheat know, we have long since declared: "The Inconvenient Truth of Greendale".

Mainly this observation centered on the album's environmental call to action and it's plea to respect Mother Nature and all of her creations. But environmentalism is but just one of the many themes of Neil Young's 2003 album Greendale, which we once boldly declared "the most important album of 2003, the musical equivalent of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring".

Greendale Graphic Novel
By Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang

The inconvenient truth of Neil Young's Greendale is that he was right -- and his message is even more relevant today than upon Greendale's original release.

greendale flag

For some, 2003's Greendale was an incomprehensible disaster. From The Washington Post's critic David Segal on Year 2003 CDs, who labeled Greendale as the year's "most baffling critical swoon", Segal writes: "Neil Young's 'Greendale' is "a droning mess of a concept album inexplicably hailed as ingenious" and "a vanity project gone stupefyingly wrong".

For others though, Greendale was hailed as a groundbreaking concept album similar to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Who's Tommy or Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'.

Greendale Officer Carmichael in the "compelling", "controversial" and "audiences challenging" concert opera "Greendale".

Some critics went as far as saying that Young had broken new ground by creating an entirely unique art form -- the "audio novel". From New York Times article 'Have You Heard the New Neil Young Novel?' by Madison Smartt Bell:
"Mr. Young has always been remarkable for his creative resilience, and this time he really has done something new, rendering into this combination of print and audio a novel that is surprisingly sophisticated and satisfyingly complete."

Greendale @ Radio City Music Hall, New York City, March 18, 2004
Photo by thrashette

The inconvenient truth of Greendale is its uncomfortable confrontation with themes such as the power of mass media and global corporations, loss of personal freedoms and privacy, destruction of the environment, rampant fraud and corruption, an out of balance government and breakdown of the family. All of which we've detailed before here, here, and here.

"Everything You're Looking For" - Bandit

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At 2/02/2020 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Thrashers: I was struck by the timing of this post and the statement :

“The inconvenient truth of Greendale is its uncomfortable confrontation with themes such as the power of mass media and global corporations, loss of personal freedoms and privacy, destruction of the environment, rampant fraud and corruption, an out of balance government and breakdown of the family”.

Today being Super Bowl Sunday. America’s most cherished of holidays. The day with the highest rate of domestic violence for the entire year. Corporations raking in huge profits while the general population are convinced they are just being entertained. Millions of dollars are spent and made perpetuating the us against them philosophy. The modern day gladiators making millions of dollars in a sport where longevity and permanent injury are intertwined in a brutal dance, and our teachers and caregivers wallow just above poverty.


At 2/02/2020 12:10:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks for stopping by on this "Holy High Holiday, Super Sunday, USA, USA, USA", Dan.

Right, the inconvenient truth of Greendale -- and this post -- is that all of this was written back in 2003. in 2003 reflecting back on the calamity of 9-11 and the aftermath.

so, what's changed since 2001-2003 -- 9/11 to Greendale to 2020?

well, as best we can say, not too much. and many would argue things are only worse.

but one thing that hasn't changed and we would argue has only gotten better is you know who, Mr NY.

thank the gods that Neil hasn't mellowed and is still bashing away as best he can w/ Ol Black & The Horse.

just recently, we had a long time buddy call us on the phone (imagine that). he had been spinning Colorado on vinyl and was stunned by how "Neil's still got it?!" he was incredulous, saying "the guy has to be past 70 right?" (74 to be exact last we checked).

we can all only hope the dream -- and rock & roll -- never dies.

Thanks for readin' & Keep on rockin'!

At 2/02/2020 12:23:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

ps - Dan, great letter to NYA you had published this week!

At 2/02/2020 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Thanks, it’s such a joy to have the opportunity to communicate with such a wonderful person.


At 2/03/2020 07:42:00 AM, Blogger John said...

I like to think of Greta Thunberg as the “Sun Green” we’ve needed for so long. She was born in 2003 so a nice coincidence there.

At 2/03/2020 12:44:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@John: interesting observation and a bit of synchronicity as well. I too thought of Sun Green the first time I heard Greta speak.


At 2/03/2020 01:08:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Dan, I find the Super Bowl inconceivable for the reasons you mention. United States Culture has a shiny surface level appeal, a superficial respect for important virtues and ideals. The reality, which is not hard to find, tells a different story. The athletes are themselves chewed up and spit out. Corruption has actually become the norm so that even as it easily seen it is not noticed or it is accepted as the business as usual. One thing is for certain: the culture is morally unsustainable. I'm glad to be part of this group, it gives me hope.

At 2/03/2020 07:17:00 PM, Blogger mark said...

>> I like to think of Greta Thunberg as the “Sun Green” we’ve needed

........ oh please
.... please do not defile my vision of Sun Green by equating her righteously welding herself to the Eagle's beak w/ StGreta's dancing across the water on a highschool gap year global road trip aboard a billionaire donated, luxury yacht
...... better down the road w/o that load

At 2/03/2020 10:08:00 PM, Blogger Steve Rust Downunder said...

Sun Green and Grata I can not see any difference they are all most one in my mind.... Name one other person that would be closer ? What would be interesting if Neil and her meet up... I"m sure the older head could help her fight the good fight ....Attention shoppers!!

At 2/04/2020 07:35:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

To Mark, I'm not sure you have accurate information regarding Greta's trip across the Atlantic. According to
Thunberg’s original journey across the Atlantic was aboard a “zero-carbon” racing yacht, with her passage paid for by its owners. Conditions across the two-week journey were basic but bearable, with no toilet or electric light onboard.

While the trip was free for her I have to think 100% of luxury yachts have both toilets & lights & I'm not so sure about the accuracy of your gap year comment either. Many climate change deniers want to silence this girl so they can continue to use up this planet and leave her generation with the mess. That's bullshit & Greta Thunberg, is speaking truth to power. That's pretty Sun Greenish to me.
Take Care

At 2/04/2020 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...


I had been actively recycling since 1972, starting in my sophomore year in high school, and spent a good portion of my youth helping educate my classmates on the value of keeping our world livable. I was also heavily involved in political activities to aid people who understood the importance of a global economy in the protection of our climate to get elected into office on the local level. All while finishing high school in the 1970’s. As time went on I began to see just how corrupt our government was and lost any desire to continue in that way.

Undaunted, I continue to recycle everything I can, and use water conservatively. I drive a hybrid car and only drive when necessary and continue to work towards a greater understanding of the importance of renewable resources as energy. I’m now 63 years old and have spent the last 16 years as a outfitter tour guide educating people in the outdoors on how they can make a difference for their children’s future. Creating a positive ripple out into the world is my way of doing my part. Greta is doing her part.

What is Mark doing???? Please tell us about it Mark.


At 2/04/2020 04:09:00 PM, Blogger John said...

If there was a like button for this comment, I’d be hitting it right now.

At 2/04/2020 04:34:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

In 1987 I crossed the Atlantic in support of the Dineh (Navajo), who tried to stop being relocated mainly because of the coal mining interests in their territory. Mark maybe wasn't even there yet.

In 1988 my friends and I blocked an oil-patch to avert the destruction of the Lubicon Cree Nation in Alberta. A Mark was not among those arrested at the blockade and he was not thrown in jail.

The nineties saw me on a boat in th Pacific Northwest to prevent logging of pristine coastal rainforest in BC. I can't recall a Mark being aboard.

By the time I turned thirty I had become a teacher at high-school and college level. For the last 25 years I have been teaching climatology in accordance with the respective findings of science of the times among other things. I didn't meet Mark at university or at school.

The 2000's saw us gearing up to bring about green governments in Europe, have the countries turn away from nuclear and fossil fuels. We wished we had been more successful, but we had to make do without Mark.

When in the last couple of years more than a million people fled war and environmental destruction to the east and south of Europe, many thousands of us worked to provide for a decent welcome at the borders and in the train stations. A Mark person was not to be seen.

I feel very privileged to live in a very wealthy part of the world. Out of the 200 students I meet on a weekly basis there is not one whose second name is not Greta, Sun or Earth. These students are trying hard to leave a positive mark.

Sometimes I even discuss White House clowns with Dan and inspite of our different circumstances and life experiences I think Neil Young's music left a mark on us.

So, Mark, if you read this, I would like you to think about a meaningful answer to Dan's question whenever you put on a Neil Young record.

At 2/04/2020 05:36:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks for sharing Dan & Dionys. Impressive efforts and you guys are to be commended for walking the talk. Talk is cheap, actions speak louder, as you know.

Sort of mulling where to take this? Not really sure.

1st, we wanted to put some context on "Greta", but a somewhat delicate topic.

So. We'll just say here for now that the Sun Green character was based on Julia Butterfly. Julia is best known for having lived in a 180-foot-tall, roughly 1500-year-old California redwood tree for 738 days between December 10, 1997 and December 18, 1999.

Julia rec'd a fair amount of attention in the 90's for her efforts and inspired many to action.

Right now, relatively near us here in Virginia, we also have tree sitters protesting. The tree sitters are now going into their 2nd winter season of blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The pipeline is planned to cut across the Appalachian trail and destroy large amounts of pristine wilderness.

These are the type of issues, we here @ TW are involved in as activists.

But we do other stuff too .

Like march around Capitol Hill & the White House w/ Neil. See

and we do know there are many other Sun Green and earth Brown's out there as well.

Share your story, please.

Because we've got a job to do.

At 2/06/2020 11:27:00 AM, Blogger mark said...

>> think about a meaningful answer to Dan's question whenever you put on a Neil Young record.

Sorry folks,
Had to run The Emperor of Wyoming on repeat for a few days to get my head above some’a the virtue signaling here.

‘Mark’ wasn’t there, eh ?

I WAS at the first ‘Earth Day’ rally in my mid-America home town in April of 1970 and I’ve still got the poster.
I’ve remembered and always acted upon the tag line from that poster, ‘think globally, act locally’

Given that mantra, I’ve not been inclined to expand my carbon footprint by dancing across the water to engage in various protests du jour. If you’re not riding your bike or thumbing to your resistance event, you’re adding to the problem. And I must say that in my years I’ve found the least effective advocate for action is usually the one in jail.

To Reduce Reuse & Recycle is a righteous goal.
I save my aluminum cans & donate them to my local church. I don’t take a daily newspaper or subscribe to magazines, preferring to reduce paper usage via online news sources. I cut household water usage via replacement of bluegrass w/xeriscaping & downsizing the backyard water feature. Said water feature additionally provides an open water source for the birds, deer, turkeys, bear & other wildlife that amble thru.

Mark has been on the board of directors of his local Trails & Open Space Coalition, where he successfully advocated for greater access to the outdoors. He was the first person in his community to publicly advocate for the acquisition of a closed landfill & it’s repurposing as public open space. That initiative culminated in success in 2003.

Mark’s professional life has focused on the repurposing, reuse, & revitalization of aging & outdated housing & commercial structures in said home town. The savings of carbon output that would be expended to replace the utility of those structures over the past 5 decades has likely been sufficient to offset the entire carbon expenditure of StGreta’s traveling publicity circus ……. and the actual impact on liveability in said hometown has been immense

Additionally, Mark served his community in the last decade via participation in & chairmanship of his cities’ planning commission... making land use decisions regarding the growth, sustainability & livability of his home town. The cumulative impact of many of those decisions certainly played a part in his hometown being being called out by Us News & World Report as the #1 ‘Best Town’ in America last year. And yes, I will accept that those same decisions have substantially increased the carbon footprint of the millions of persons who travel thousand of miles via every means of overland transport available to visit my hometown each year. Sorry, .. not.. We’re happy to have you, glad you appreciate where we live & please don’t litter when you get here.

Mark is not an instagrammable ecowarrior traveling to exotic locales to participate in resistance events.
Julia Butterfly didn’t traipse around the world with a camera crew & related entourage directing her toward people to scowl at & berate. She spent two years IN A TREE, and by virtue of her sacrifice & risk of life, brought warranted attention to her cause.
Sun Green welded herself to the eagles beak in her home town.
And I, for the above reasons, do not equate StGreta with either.

John Lennon said, around the time of that first Earth Day, that ‘a working class hero is something to be’.
Mark is a guy who believes passionately in where he lives & works endlessly to make it better.
He’s no star, not on TV anymore and doesn’t attract a crowd, but his work still stands.

Think Globally, act locally.
Be the Rain, people.

Oh, and Thrasher …….. keep on bloggin’ till the lights go out.

At 2/06/2020 12:00:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Thank you very much Mark for answering my question. Nice work. Please continue with what you started so many years ago.


At 2/06/2020 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

It's commendable that you come across in a meaningful way as opposed to just appear a cynic person. If you did all that the Gretas of today are your (grand-)children, too. Ah, and back in the day doing the things I listed: they had been asked for by the people affected because other people were not around and I paid for them out of my own pocket when all that was not fashionable at all, no crowds and no TV or Instagramm either. That aside, Julia Butterfly had to sit on a tree for two years before she was recognized and had some impact at last, such was the media ecosystem at the time. Now the media environment is different, but in both cases, Julia's and Greta's, it has been set up by someone else, not by these little women. And didn't Greta at the UN say something in the vein of "I shouldn't be here, I should be in school..."

Being involved in a few aspects of ecological city planning myself I would be pleased to meet you. Unfortunately the commentary function of a blog is not the place for in-depth-discussion. But maybe we can agree (with respect to Thrasher and his readers) to stick to our sunday best criticism as opposed to cynical comments.

At 2/07/2020 02:49:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Mark - much appreciated all of the background. and applause for all of the efforts over the years to help out Mother earth and her children.


At 3/10/2020 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Great commentary, it is a sad state of affairs, but one I'm ultimately participating in on the daily.

At 4/27/2020 08:15:00 PM, Blogger Rod (on the Red Deer) said...

JUst wondering if I have missed this or if I can watch this again on the Hearse Theater. I saw the original film way back.


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