The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lost Posters

Drawn By Jerry Garcia

An integral part of any music scene is the promotional posters that are created to advertise the shows. All the cool posters you see around Northampton are some of the strongest evidence of what a vibrant music scene there is in this area.

Many people collect music posters, and the ultimate collectibles are the old posters from the 1960's psychedelic scene in San Franciso. The rarest of the rare are the Acid Test posters, those that were used to promote the "happenings" where author Ken Kesey and his house band the Grateful Dead performed at dancehalls where LSD was served to the sometimes unsuspecting audience, as part of Kesey's belief that if a significant perentage of the population had the LSD experience then revolutionary changes would begin to occur in society as a whole.

It had long been believed that Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who painted and drew throughout his entire life, had drawn some of the earliest Acid Test flyers, but none were known to have survived. However, last year a mysterious old vinyl Grateful Dead album surfaced at a record swap that had stuffed inside it nine never before seen posters from the earliest years of the Kesey/Dead scene. After extensive research, the posters were identified as the long lost Jerry Garcia Acid Test posters. The collector who discovered the first poster on eBay tells the tale:

Around the time period of April 2008, a very strange, very amateurish-looking Acid Test handbill for the Fillmore on Jan 8, 1966, appeared on E-Bay and was sitting up for several days before I noticed it. I looked at it carefully. Nobody had ever seen one like this before. Every day I scan E-Bay for Acid Test related items and on this day, there was some "energy" about the piece because I was scanning down through the page and it literally jumped out at me as being something interesting.

I contacted the seller and asked if he was interested in selling me the item for $400, and he agreed, removed it and mailed me the item. The next week, I took it in to Dennis King and had it authenticated, and Dennis concluded he believed it was real, and not faked. Dennis said he believed it was printed on Day-Glo green paper which had faded. This gave me a boost of confidence in the item, and likewise, confidence in the seller.

At the same time I contacted the seller to acquire it, I also asked where the item came from, and how he happened upon it. The seller was very nice, and responded that he got it from a record swapmeet where it was inside an old Grateful Dead mono version of the first album.

To read the whole story behind the discovery of these historic handbills drawn by Jerry Garcia click here.

The Poe Down

In case you didn't notice, this is the 200th anniversary year of the birth of Edgar Allen Poe in Boston, Massachusetts. UMass is holding a Halloween weekend symposium in honor of the event.

It's mostly for Poe scholars from around the country, but I strolled past to check out the scene. There were Poe t-shirts for sale.

Also posters were on display from the many cheesey Hollywood movies made from Poe's work.

The father of the modern detective story and a pioneer of fantasy and science-fiction, Edgar Allen Poe is indeed worthy of having his birthday celebrated.

By the way, there's a big party at Sam's in Northampton tonight.

Evil pumpkins haunt a porch in Hamp.

Today's Video


Anonymous said...

Great news Tom. From an unknown reader, thanks for your inspiring comments.

tony said...

Good News Re: Job.Hey! Thanks for the Garcia Et Al.
Bestest Wishes

Anonymous said...

The work of the day measures more than the planting or growing.

Tim said...


One of the big regrets of my life was not being at that Holloween show at Radio City with guys that are some of my best friends to this day. I can't even remember WHY I didn't go. Were you there?

Tommy said...

Alas, no I did not attend that show. Hey and thanks everybody for the nice words!

Mark OBLAZNEY said...

So utterly cool to recall it all.