A Poster Show, 1903 Style

On February 24, 2016, in News, Photos, by Ben Marks

El Nino is probably not be done with California just yet, but it sure does feel like spring! That means a few of us at TRPS are beginning to think about this year’s upcoming poster shows. More details will definitely follow on those, but in the meantime, here’s a poster show from 1903 to contemplate.

Called the Poster Carnival, the event pictured above was hosted by the League of the Cross and held in San Francisco from April 13 to 20 at the Mechanics’ Institute Pavilion, which, like a lot of structures, was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fires that followed. We imagine that visitors to the Poster Carnival were probably able to pick up an Alphonse Mucha or Jules Cheret for a pretty good price, and according to one report from back in the day, the event’s attractions included “a procession of costumed representatives” and a wild-animal parade featuring an actual lion, tiger, and elephant. No doubt PETA would frown on that sort of thing today, but they’d probably be fine with the Irish folk music and dancing on Gaelic night. And then there was this: “Two gaily dressed Turkish girls sold quantities of confetti, and the crowd had a merry time pelting each other with the bright colored papers.” Hmmm. This is giving us some ideas…


Thinkin’ ‘Bout An Old Cowhand

On February 8, 2016, in News, by Ben Marks


It’s been a tough couple of weeks if you follow the obituaries, so apologies for the delay in giving Dan Hicks (the guy on the right in the far-left image) his due. This is a triptych advertising a series of shows at the Avalon featuring the Charlatans, for their performances between between May and July of 1967. These are all scans of postcards rather than posters. All are anchored by photos by Herbie Greene. Rick Griffin designed the first two, Robert Fried executed the last one—in the manner of Griffin, you might say. Anyhow, here’s to the Charlatans, and that old cowhand.


Jefferson Airplane, We Love You

On January 30, 2016, in News, by Ben Marks

Jefferson Airplane headshop poster, 1967, by Jim Michaelson, published by Sparta Graphics.

The news this past week of Signe Anderson’s and Paul Kantner’s passing—both on January 28, 2016, both at the age of 74—got a lot of people thinking about Jefferson Airplane. Some were lucky enough to see them early when Anderson was the band’s singer, or during the Grace Slick years that followed, when the Airplane’s live repertoire drew heavily from albums like “After Bathing at Baxter’s,” “Crown of Creation,” and “Volunteers.” Others, like me, only saw them at the end of their too-brief ride, when Jefferson Airplane seemed like a side project of Hot Tuna rather than the other way around.

But even at the end, as we gathered in Winterland to hear Jorma and Jack spar with Papa John and fly Jefferson Airplane one last time, we couldn’t fight back the goosebumps when the band broke into Kantner songs like “When the Earth Moves Again.” By then, the hippie logic of that anthem already seemed a bit long in the tooth, but Kantner’s passion, his sincerity, inspired us, while the ringing chords of his Rickenbacker gave this quintessentially psychedelic rock band an almost symphonic anchor. Godspeed, Signe. Godspeed, Paul.

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