Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Family Dog Posters

After arriving in San Francisco in 1962, Chet Helms scrounged a living various ways, including selling marijuana, an occupation that caused him to go to a boardinghouse at 1090 Page Street. The house was in Haight-Ashbury, then a rundown, low-rent neighborhood. Having met many musicians in his trade, and appreciating the vibrant music scene in San Francisco, he instinctively recognized the need for a forum for musicians to jam. When he saw the large basement at Page Street, he began organizing jam sessions for the local bands and musicians. Helms made those sessions popular and started charging an admission fee of 50 cents. His career as a rock concert promoter began. Big Brother and the Holding Company formed and Helms functioned as their low-key manager. He teamed up Janis Joplin with Big Brother for jam sessions in the Haight-Ashbury basement.

In February 1966 he formed a loose connection with the Family Dog, a commune of hippies living at 2125 Pine street who threw open dances and wild events. Helms was the ideal person to help this group organize their presentations and he moved into the Family Dog house. Their first formal production was a concert at Longshoremen's Hall. Helms formally founded Family Dog Productions to begin promoting concerts at The Fillmore Auditorium, alternating weekends with another young promoter, Bill Graham. As the concerts became more popular, inevitable "conflicts" arose between the two promoters, based in part on the notion that public conflict and controversy could generate free publicity.

To promote their concerts, Family Dog published a series of innovative psychedelic posters, handbills and other ephemera, created by a group of prominent young San Francisco artists including Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse (Mouse Studios),Rick Griffin, Steve Renick and Victor Moscoso. Often printed using intensely colored fluorescent inks, they typically featured a mixture of found images and specially drawn artwork. The posters of Griffin, Mouse and Kelly, in particular, were known for the intricate and highly stylized hand-lettering in which the concert details were written out, which sometimes took considerable time and effort to decipher. Original Avalon posters are now collector's items.

North Utsire

No comments:

Post a Comment