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    Grateful Dead / Warlocks January 1966 Mime Troupe Appeals III Poster (AOR-2.39). An original and rare cardboard concert poster advertising the S.F. Mime Troupe's third and final fundraising show at the birth of the Bay-Area rock scene on January 14, 1966 at the Fillmore Auditorium, as presented by Bill Graham. The Grateful Dead are one of the acts, listed as "formerly the Warlocks," making this the only known concert poster in history to reference the Dead by their original 1965 name. And this is one of only about five known surviving specimens that have been accounted for.

    This is also the very first concert poster in history to state "Bill Graham Presents" and "Fillmore Auditorium." (Three weeks later, the BG-1 concerts would take place.) Graham had promoted the Mime Troupe Appeals II show at the Fillmore as well, but his name did not appear on those posters.

    And, this is the second known concert poster in history to say "Grateful Dead" on it; the first one was the December 1965 Acid Test posters designed by Paul Foster (originally attributed to Norman Hartweg), one of which Heritage auctioned in spring 2020.

    So this is a huge gem of a concert poster, and one that almost nobody owns. You can talk all you want about FD-1 and BG-2 and so on, but there are dozens of known specimens of those two combined. There is exactly one handful known of this poster.

    Why is there no photo of Jerry Garcia & company? It's always been said that Bill Graham didn't like the band's new name "Grateful Dead." The group's Bob Weir offered a first-hand account in Graham's autobiography, Bill Graham Presents - My Life Inside Rock and Out: "We had just changed our name from the Warlocks to the Grateful Dead," Weir states. "But Bill Graham didn't like the idea. He was going to put Warlocks on the poster. And we had a long hassle with him, and he finally put 'Grateful Dead - formerly the Warlocks.'" We can speculate that either out of spite or because he didn't have room for both names otherwise, the group's photo disappeared from the box.

    To put this show in Dead-history perspective: at least a couple of times this very week, the Dead played at Marty Balin's 150-seat Matrix coffee shop on Fillmore Ave. And the weekend following this Mime Troupe benefit, they played the legendary Trips Festival at Longshoreman's Hall.

    With the Dead stealing the limelight, it's easy to overlook the other acts on this poster. The Great Society featured singer Grace Slick, about 10 months before she jumped over to the Jefferson Airplane. And the poster uses an irreverent group publicity photo, with Grace somehow appearing to defy gravity, wearing a genuine smile on her face. This was a month before the group released their debut single "Someone to Love" / "Free Advice" on North Beach Records, which went nowhere. The former song was adopted by the Airplane, changed to "Somebody to Love" and the rest was history.

    And the Mystery Trend were the first S.F. band to hold a mid-60's live-band rock dance, playing as the Terrazzo Brothers at the Primalon in the spring of 1965, a seminal event largely forgotten to history. They also had performed at Graham's first two Mime Troupe benefits, so the Mime-benefit trifecta is an amazing pedigree for them. Sam Thomas & the Gentlemen's Band had played at the first Mime Troupe benefit as well, a month earlier.

    As for the importance of this poster, it's hard to overstate how much the San Francisco Bay-Area music scene was coalescing in January 1966. This month was so transitional and pivotal to S.F. psychedelic rock that it provides music historians with a field day. Besides the aforementioned events, January saw The Psychedelic Shop opening on Haight Street, which quickly became a focal point of the emerging scene; the first San Francisco Acid Test, with not only the Dead but Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters; you had a Family Dog dance at California Hall, promoted by Luria Castell, Rock Scully and Danny Rifkin; Kesey and Mountain Girl getting busted for pot in North Beach and his subsequent departure for Mexico, which certainly changed local pop-culture history; and the organizing and booking of the first Bill Graham and Family Dog dance-concerts at the Fillmore.

    Elsewhere in this auction, we have the first psychedelic concert poster, by The Charlatans, known as "The Seed." This poster is also, certainly, some kind of major seed in itself.

    Measures 14" x 20" and grades to repaired Very Good Plus condition. COA from Heritage Auctions.

    Literature: See Grushkin, Paul, The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk, Abbeville Press, New York, 1987, p.114 (illus.).

    More Information: It's fun to note that while most rockers automatically pronounce "Mime Troupe" with a long "I," so that it rhymes with "time," in fact "meem" troupe may be the preferred pronunciation. In audio interviews, both Bill Graham – who worked for the S.F. Mime Troupe all throughout 1965 – and the Dead's Bob Weir pronounce Mime to rhyme with "team." It may be one of the most divisive rock-n-roll pronunciation conundrums since the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein's Ep-stine vs. Ep-steen. (For the record, John Lennon used the former.)

    In terms of this event, according to Ralph J. Gleason's notes on the back of the handbill for this Appeals III show, the Dead had played as The Warlocks one month earlier, on December 10, 1965, at the Appeals II benefit, although their name didn't appear on the posters or handbills.

    In regards to the Mystery Trend on this poster, in addition to what we wrote above, the Great Society's Darby Slick had this to say in his book Don't You Want Somebody to Love: Reflections on the San Francisco Sound: "I liked the Mystery Trend a lot, because of their blatant experimentalism, their willingness to try things that were really weird. Ron Nagle's [musical] philosophy was very similar to ours; he would stick various elements together, as we did. We were a pretty natural double bill, so we worked together quite a bit in those early days. It just seemed like there were so many people in music playing it safe, so it was great to see somebody who's willing to break out and try to create something new."

    Condition details: Tackholes in each corner have been expertly filled by Chameleon Restoration. Some repair work visible in the white down the left and right side, and some inconsistencies in the white background where grime & soiling was removed. There was a crease to the right of the Warlocks box, out to the edge, which has been toned way down. Presents beautifully, just in outstanding shape.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2021
    16th-18th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,914

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