Thank you for an incredible 2018!

On December 23, 2018, in News, by Ben Marks

Clockwise from top left: The scene at Faction Brewing, Matt Leunig poster for Rock Art By the Bay, TRPS volunteers at S.F. History Days, ART benefit poster by Emek.

By any measure, 2018 has been a great year for The Rock Poster Society. It began in February, when the TRPS crew transformed a brick coal vault at the Old U.S. Mint into a rock-poster exhibition for San Francisco History Days—we’ll be there again the first weekend in March of 2019. This summer, Rock Art By the Bay was generously hosted by Faction Brewing in Alameda—it was so much fun, we plan to return there in June or July of 2019. And in October, the Festival of Rock Posters returned to the Hall of Flowers, with a beautiful Artist Relief Trust benefit poster by Emek.

Speaking of which, for those of you who pre-ordered Emek’s poster, we apologize for the delay, which has been caused by a number of unforeseen production issues. While we do not have a delivery date yet, we hope to have things worked out and your posters in the mail soon. We appreciate your patience and promise to update you on the poster’s progress as soon as we have anything new to report.

So, thank you for a great 2018! We could not do what we do without the support of our members and volunteers—all of you are amazing. From all of us at TRPS, we wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a peaceful new year.


It’s Time for Bill Graham Menorah Day!

On November 27, 2018, in Events, News, by Ben Marks

Just as the fourth Thursday of November is always Thanksgiving, the first Sunday of Chanukah is always Bill Graham Menorah Day, which this year happens to land on December 2, the first night of Chanukah.

What is Bill Graham Menorah Day? Well, it’s the official-since-1993 name for a tradition that Graham first supported in 1975, when he foot the bill for an enormous Menorah—25 feet tall and 15 feet wide—that was lit in Union Square. This year, the tradition continues in the same spot, beginning at 2 p.m. with lots of activities for the kids, followed by the formal lighting of the Menorah at 4:30 p.m. Attending will be Graham’s sons, David and Alex, as well as Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction.

Farrell is in town because later that evening he and his new band, Kind Heaven Orchestra, will be headlining “The Bill Graham Festival of Lights” at the Fillmore. Also on the bill are Balkan Bump, featuring trumpet player and ethnomusicologist Will Magid, and Jerry’s Kosher Deli. A portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation to support the Bill Graham Menorah Project. For tickets, click here!

Here's a sneak peek of the poster for The Bill Graham Festival of Lights at the Fillmore on December 2, 2018.

Here’s a sneak peek of the poster for “The Bill Graham Festival of Lights” at the Fillmore on December 2, 2018.


John Moehring Archive Up for Auction

On November 23, 2018, in Events, News, Posters, by Ben Marks
John Moehring, "The Quick and The Dead," January 26-27, 1968.

John Moehring, “The Quick and The Dead,” January 26-27, 1968.

From November 22 to December 2, 2018, ClassicPosters.com is auctioning a rare collection of seven John Moehring posters from the artist’s personal archive. Advertising shows produced by Boyd Grafmyre between 1967 and 1969 in Seattle and Portland, the posters showcase some of the greatest bands and performers of the era, including Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe McDonald, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Donovan, Jeff Beck, John Mayall, and the Grateful Dead.

What the Big Five poster artists were to San Francisco, John Moehring was to Seattle, all by himself. Influenced as a teenager by the illustrations for Treasure Island by N.C. Wyeth and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham, Moehring was also impressed by the psychedelic concert posters he saw on a trip to San Francisco in 1966. By the spring of 1967, he’d created his first concert posters for a promoter named Trips Lansing. That fall, he delivered the first of the 30 or so posters he designed for Boyd Grafmyre, who was booking shows into the Eagles Auditorium and, later, the Seattle Center Arena.

John Moehring, Three Eagles Auditorium posters, October and November, 1967

John Moehring, Three Eagles Auditorium posters, October and November, 1967

At first, Moehring leaned on his skills as an illustrator for his posters, but the more he learned about the offset-printing process, the more adventurous his posters became. Moehring’s posters for Eagles Auditorium shows featuring Charles Lloyd, Big Brother, and Country Joe, all of which are up for auction, are good examples of his work from the fall of 1967 through the spring of 1968. As Moehring told me for an article I wrote in 2016 about his work, “In traditional printing on a single-color press, you would have made a film negative, burned a plate, and then started printing,” he said. When Moehring learned that he could also burn a plate from the film positive, he immediately recognized the possibilities. “By doing a two-color run using one film positive and one film negative of what had been a black-and-white image, you’d get 100-percent ink coverage on the sheet.”

John Moehring, "Jeff Beck, John Mayall, Deep Purple" April 3, 1969.

John Moehring, “Jeff Beck, John Mayall, Deep Purple” April 3, 1969.

Some of these posters were so psychedelic they were barely legible, which drove promoter Grafmyre nuts. “Boyd couldn’t read my lettering,” Moehring recounted in 2016, “so he told me, ‘OK, the next poster you do has to be black-and-white, and it has to be readable.’ So, my poster for the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service had an insane border around it but was otherwise fairly legible. That was the only direction I ever got in two years of working with Boyd.” This poster (shown at top) is also part of the Moehring group—according to Mike Storeim of Classic Posters, this is the first time this poster has come up for auction.

The other gem in the Moehring group is a poster for a November 1968 show by Big Brother, one of the last shows with Janis Joplin as a member of that great band. What’s interesting about this poster is that it features collaged and flopped portraits of Janis Joplin, the source of which was a Berkeley Bonaparte poster by photographer Bob Seidemann, who is credited on Moehring’s poster. Like the Grateful Dead poster, this one rarely comes up for auction.

John Moehring, "Janis Joplin," November 29, 1968.

John Moehring, “Janis Joplin,” November 29, 1968.

These John Moehring posters, along with more than 400 others, are up for auction at Classic Posters through December 2, 2018. To learn more about Seattle’s psychedelic poster scene of the late 1960s, pick up a copy of Scott McDougall’s Split Fountain Hieroglyphics.


Ace of Cups Finally Get Some Respect!

On November 1, 2018, in Events, by Ben Marks

Ace of Cups poster from 1967 by Mari Tepper.

The Ace of Cups was founded in 1966 in an apartment on Waller Street in San Francisco. During the late ’60s, the all-female quintet played with everyone from Quicksilver Messenger Service to the Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix singled them out as a band to watch in a 1967 interview in Melody Maker magazine.

Alas, the Ace of Cups never scored a record contract, and their debut album almost never happened. Recently, though, the band went into Laughing Tiger Studios in San Rafael and cut a double LP. Produced by Dan Shea and released by High Moon Records, the album features more than two-dozen tunes, with guest performances by Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Peter Coyote, and Bob Weir, whose collaboration with the band can be heard below. Order a copy here!

On November 9, the official release date of their eponymous album, four of the band’s original members will join author Dennis McNally and special guests (including Mountain Girl, Wavy Gravy, Sunshine Powers, and Barry Melton) for an evening of music, videos, and conversation at the Mill Valley Community Center. You can get more information about this Commonwealth Club event here.

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