One of the countless cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic was last week’s public premiere of The Tale of the Dog, a 100-minute documentary about the Family Dog Denver, which operated from September 8, 1967, to July 19, 1968. Telling the story of the posters, music, and scrapes with the law that plagued this psychedelic outpost in then-straight-laced Colorado, the film contains interviews with musicians, staff, attendees, and poster artists, including Raphael Schnepf, Stanley Mouse, and Victor Moscoso.
Produced by Scott B. Montgomery (an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Denver) and Dan Obarski (a Denver native), the film was five years in the making. For health and safety reasons, the general public will have to wait a while to see the results of their work, but on February 22, 2020, more than 300 people got to see a special world premiere of the film at the University of Denver. It was followed by a panel discussion involving several individuals featured in the film, including blues guitarist Otis Taylor, who grew up in Denver; Paul Conly of Lothar and the Hand People; Brent Warren of The Eighth Penny Matter; and Melody Wanamaker, an employee of the Dog.
According to Montgomery, the public premiere, which had been scheduled for March 26 at Denver’s Mayan Theater, has been postponed until further notice, but the film has been accepted into the NewsFest film festival in Las Vegas, which will hopefully go on as planned in July. Montgomery says a screening in the San Francisco Bay Area is also anticipated in the future, once the world returns to normal.
Until then, check out Dreams Unreal, a new 392-page hardcover book about psychedelic rock posters, written by Colorado-born Titus O’Brien, who’s currently the Assistant Curator of Art at the Albuquerque Museum. Published by University of New Mexico Press, the book features a foreword by Montgomery.