People: Phil O'Shaughnessy: booking inspiration
Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 30, 1996

People: Phil O'Shaughnessy: booking inspiration

Phil O'Shaughnessy clearly remembers his first Grateful Dead show. It was June 12, 1980, at Portland's Memorial Coliseum. While the Lake Oswego, Ore., resident was grooving to Jerry Garcia's guitar, Mount St. Helens blew again. The well-known big blast that made headlines around the world had happened about a month earlier. Still, this June 12 eruption tossed up tons of ash, plenty of which fell over Lake Oswego, located about 10 miles south of Portland.

But seeing the Dead play live had a longer lasting effect on O'Shaughnessy.

"It was an epiphany," he said.

The passionate emotions that were racing through the young O'Shaughnessy as he saw the Dead for the first time are the same types of feelings that he hopes to help pass on to others.

As marketing director for Stanford Lively Arts, O'Shaughnessy is responsible for promoting the variety of shows--from string quartet concerts to ballet performances--that make up the Lively Arts season. His job includes pitching story ideas to the press, organizing the direct mail campaign, handling radio advertisements and writing copy for the brochure. The bottom line is to sell tickets, but what O'Shaughnessy really wants to happen is for the audience to leave "electrified."

O'Shaughnessy came to Stanford in 1990 after graduating from the University of Oregon and working for a year as an account executive for an advertising agency.

Dealing with various theater groups, virtuoso musicians and international dance troupes has made for some interesting times for O'Shaughnessy. One of the most memorable was his short-lived modern dance career with Momix. The dance troupe was performing a piece on baseball and asked the athletic-looking O'Shaughnessy if he was willing to participate.

With some reservations, O'Shaughnessy agreed--only to later find out that he was required to perform in, what he describes as, something less than a Speedo. In each of his three performances, he experienced some type of mishap. The most embarrassing of them was when, as part of the routine, he dove off to one side of the stage and his shorts got caught and ended up down around his knees, leaving his private parts exposed.

Despite the embarrassment, O'Shaughnessy still has fond memories of his short-lived modern dance career. "If I can't play quarterback with the Raiders, at least, I can dance with Momix."

Jim Harrington 

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