when and waiting:be there now

Psychedelic culture. approaching truthfulness  is always a little more complex…

by Art Chantry (art@artchantry.com):

Most people assume that psychedelic culture began in San Francisco and spread outward. I’m not here to disprove that notion. since all documentation starts there in San Francisco in about 64/65 and seems to virally infect the nation and world, I can’t really argue that finer point.

However, I’ve got to show this stuff and let other figure it out. frankly, I ALWAYS take the side that CULTURE is created by COMMUNITIES of people, rather than a a great man (or a few great men) and they then lead the way.

for instance, according to almost all popular accounts, punk culture seems to have emerged from New York City and then traveled to London and then infected the entire world bit by bit. that’s the narrative until you actually examine artifacts left behind by punk culture if you start to date them accurately, you see that the timeline doesn’t hold true. sure, New York may have (sort of) named punk rock and even got the initial serious media attention.

---AC:the line between folk and psych is pretty thin, too. and didn't the beach boys (no less) release a b-side called "LSD-38" like back in 62 or 63? timelines get so weird,..."the harvard pshyedelic club" is worth reading. some musicians were part of the clan back then. i think maynard ferguson was part of the early experiments. would that make him 'psych"??? heh heh...

But, that only works if you completely ignore what was going on in Detroit and Los Angeles and San Francisco and Akron and tacoma, austin and seattle, etc. etc. etc. (and just about every garage in America) all of these cities seem to have an honest-to-gawd punk culture music arts scene BEFORE the advent of New York punk. it gets really confusing.

It gets even more confusing when you notice that when punk emerges in New York, it also seems to emerge simultaneously all over the world – as if it managed to culturally spread within the mater of a few weeks of it origins. how did that happen? my opinion is that it was already there and waiting. It’s the only explanation I can see for the timelines the artifacts leave behind.

This same interesting problem exists for psychedelia as well. despite the accepted narrative of it origins in San Francisco, it seems to have exploded nationally and internationally almost overnight as well. the timelines are confusing any way you look at it.

---This was the last Acid Test event that the Grateful Dead, Stanley Owsley and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters put on in the Los Angeles area. After this the Grateful Dead returned to the Bay Area and performed at the second Trips Festival. Ken Kesey and the Pranksters headed in all sorts of directions, but primarily off to Mexico. This is the only concert poster that was designed by the famous Stanley Owsley, the king of LSD at the time. One of my favorites and certainly one of the best Grateful Dead Posters ever produced! The reason Los Angeles is written in Pencil at the bottom was that this particular poster was transported up the Bay Area for posting there to attract GD fans down to LA for the event. From what I have learned about the event, the advertising was not much help as only about 100 people showed-up and the Dead netted only $75 which was quickly spent as they headed off to get something to eat right after the show.--- Read More:http://vintageconcertposters.com/_main/Index.cfm?page=api/gallery/photo.cfm&id=254&gid=11


Back in 1984, I put together a gallery exhibit at the old 911 Gallery in Seattle. It was the first collection of Seattle area psychedelic poster ever compiled in one place for public viewing (so far as i know). These 6 photos are all I have remaining of the exhibition (except the poster (which is part of my portfolio, since I designed it as well. duh.)

Sadly, there were more posters in the show that is depicted here. for instance, one of the major psych artists of the era, Walt Crowley, had and entire wall of his posters shown, but the photo I took is missing. has been for decades.

This show inspired myself and a brilliant illustrator and poster authority Scott McDougall to put an even better, more comprehensive collection together and then document them photographically on 35mm slides. The idea was to eventually put together a book of the images somewhere, somehow, someday. nothing came of it, but I still have those slides in my stuff.

---Date: July 14-15, 1967 Artist: Bob Masse Venue: Dantes Inferno Bill: Grateful Dead. Read More:http://www.psychedelicart.com/concertposters/concertpostergallery/grateful-dead-at-dantes-inferno/

in this photo (roughly clockwise – or as best i can):

1) a Trips festival poster from about 65, when the Merry Pranksters dragged their roving sideshow through the northwest.

2) gold color) a handbill for the amazing double bill of the Joffrey Ballet and the Moby Grape. both groups had origins in the Seattle area.

---There was a lot of psychedelic art around, but there were few psychedelic artists. The most famous is the Mucha-inspired Bob Masse, who still lives and works out of his Vancouver studio. Or maybe he's done the Saltspring Island retreat thing by now. Yowser. In the 60s Bob did psychedelic handbills for a club in Vancouver called Afterthought, but the club most famous for its psychedelic art had to be The Retinal Circus, a dopey basement dive on Davie Street that regularly booked psychedelic, blues, rock and rockabilly bands.--- Read More:http://www.rickmcgrath.com/retinal_circus.html

3) The next big one “underground films”. this poster is actually dated from 1964. this is apparently pre-San Francisco. It advertises a screening a selection of underground films and is distinctly psychedelic. It also seems to be printed letterpress. but, I’m not positive. I’ve also found a few other letterpress (instead of silkscreen or offset litho) psychedelic posters from the early northwest. but they’re not depicted here.

4) The two small handbill sin the upper right corner are both for the same show. the Jefferson Airplane and the Byrds at the Seattle center memorial stadium. I seem to remember this was in 1966.

5) Drop down to lower right corner. it’s hard to see, but it’s a poster for the old PH Factor Jug Band.

---John Moehring. Concert promoters created handbill versions of many of their posters and used them as sidewalk handouts and dashboard fliers to promote upcoming shows. Many of the handbills are double-sided, with poster art on one side and a calendar of upcoming shows on the other. These handbills represent an important element of rock concert history because they were hands-on marketing tools that united promoter and patron. Read More:http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/jethro-tull/poster-art/handbill/EAG690307.html

6) The blue image on the small white handbill left of poster #5 is actually created by Tom Robbins, the author of ‘even cowgirls get the blues” and “another roadside attraction.”

7) Of the rest , the most interesting one it the poster in the middle that is almost entirely obscured by the flash flare. It’s by John Moehring and fro a show at the Eagles auditorium promoted by legendary promoter Boyd Grafmyre. the bill consisted of Jethro Tull with the MC5 as the opening act. this dates to about 1968.

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