Pagans believe that Halloween is a time when the living have an easier time of communing with the dead. As you get out your orange and black décor to celebrate Halloween – and our own SF Giants as the World Series Champions! –folks who were in San Francisco on October 31, 1966 might recall the “Dance of Death” costume ball at California Hall. The Grateful Dead shared the entertainment duties with the Quick Silver Messenger Service and Mimi Farina.
Farina was born Margarita Mimi Baez, the younger sister of folk singer and activist Joan Baez, and was married at age 18 to folk singer and composer Richard Farina. Richard died in a motorcycle accident on April 30, 1966, Mimi’s 21st birthday.
Farina entertained regularly with her sister and as a solo folk singer. In 1967, she was arrested during a peaceful protest of the war in Vietnam. Having that experience, along with seeing prison conditions when she joined her musical friends to entertain prisoners, led her to create Bread and Roses in 1974. This nonprofit organization continues to bring free entertainment to hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and juvenile facilities.
Here is Mimi Farina talking about the mission of Bread and Roses:
Farina died of cancer at age 56 at home in Marin on July 18, 2001. Due to her vision, Bread and Roses volunteers still perform more than 500 free shows a year. As with other unsung heroes of the 1960s, she lived her belief that, “We all owe it to each other on this planet to take care of one another.” If you are listening Mimi, thank you.