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    FD-14 Big Brother & Holding Company 1966 "Zig-Zag Man" Family Dog Concert Poster. A first-printing San Francisco concert poster for Big Brother and the Holding Company, with brand new singer Janis Joplin, and Quicksilver Messenger Service at the Avalon Ballroom on Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, 1966.

    Known as FD-14 in the Family Dog numbered series, this poster comes from the personal archives of Bob Cohen, the man who co-owned the Family Dog and ran it with Chet Helms from early 1966 until the firm's demise in late 1968.

    This poster is popular in so many ways it's hard to count them. It was designed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley in the spring of 1966, when everything was still so young and naïve. In a flash of brilliance, they designed a poster using the logo for Zig-Zag rolling papers, which everyone in their target audience was using to roll joints. Being such a small, local entity and not making posters to be sold - or so they thought - they feared not copyright infringement. It turns out they were right; the Zig-Zag people never came after them.

    Maybe the suits who owned Zig-Zag saw the irony and humor in what Mouse Studios wrote down in the lower left: "What you don't know about copying and duplicating won't hurt you." What a great, disarming line to include on this particular poster!

    The tables got turned, however, when some enterprising bootlegger(s) made unauthorized copies of the poster to sell in head shops in the Haight. Chet Helms & gang ran around rubber-stamping those as counterfeits; we have a pair of those for sale in our Sunday internet-only sale (August 9).

    As for the real ones, everyone in the Bay Area wanted this iconic image up on their wall, so they were quickly gobbled up from telephone poles and store windows, and were a mainstay in hippie crash pads throughout the rest of the 60's. "Zig-Zag Man" is truly a cultural icon of the decade, one of the five most important and popular concert-poster images of the entire FD and BG series combined.

    Don't forget that Janis Joplin had just joined Big Brother full-time at this point. She may have jumped on stage for a couple of songs as a try-out earlier in June, but this is considered by historians as the first S.F. Janis Joplin concert poster. Another gigantic gold star for this poster!

    Measures 14 ¼" x a little under 20" and grades to Very Good condition. It was printed in both gold and silver, and this is the gold version. COAs from Bob Cohen and from Heritage Auctions.

    To view Bob Cohen's biography, "A Patriarch of the San Francisco Scene," please click here.

    More Information: One thumbtack hole in each of the four corners. A strong 1 ½" crease in upper right corner that doesn't touch the gold. Thumbtack circle and miniscule amount of paper loss up in that corner. Horizontal crease halfway down from the right edge of poster into the middle and getting strongest right under man's beard, where it then stops. Surface or handling crease at the top in the white area above "Zig-Zag." One-half inch edge crease, possibly a repaired tear, on the lower edge to the right of "Lights by." Creasing and handling down in ticket area. Slight dirt in the margin to the left of "Big," and a slight edge imperfection there as well. Couple of other very light edge imperfections around the perimeter. Very slight, very light brown markings in the lower left of the Family Dog logo, such as to the left of "P" and above the "R." Same kind of flecks at bottom edge under "Ticket Outlets: San Francisco." General toning throughout.

    Literature: See Grushkin, Paul, The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk, Abbeville Press, New York, 1987, p.96 (illustrated).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    8th-9th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,331

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