Classic Posters - The Seed - The Start of the Dance Hall Scene
The Seed, The Startof the Dance Hall Scene
by Michael ErlewineMichael@Erlewine.netHere is the poster that most expertsagree launched the '60s era ofalternative culture. This poster featuresthe band "The Charlatans" at anextended gig in Virginia City, Nevada atthe Red Dog Saloon. It was designed bymembers of the band.
cp006145.jpg (52.5 KiB) Viewed8 times"The Seed" was printed in two versions,one with a date of "June 1-16, 1965"and the second (and final) version with"June 21." Apparently the Red DogSaloon had not finished theirredecorating in time for that first poster,so the second was printed, and in manyrespects the art was redrawn. Versionone is said to have been printedoriginally in blue, but was then printed inblack, which is considered the standardversion.The poster was created by two of theCharlatan's members, George Hunterand Michael Ferguson, with Hunterhaving devised the logo, and Fergusondoing most of the actual drawing,including the portraits.Poster expert Walter Medeiros wrote thefollowing in a catalog for a poster showthat was produced fro the San FranciscoMuseum of Modern Art in 1976:"The Seed is unique for beingcompletely hand-drawn, in a denselypatterned format, and was muchdifferent from rock posters that existedthen. Yet it is reminiscent of nineteenth-century carnival, medicine show, andmusic hall posters, in that it boldlyheralds a spectacular event thatshouldn't be missed. It has a funkycharacter about it, and 'funkiness' wasone of the most prominentcharacteristics of hippie sensibility. Andthe poster carries off this feelingbecause of the lightness andcapriciousness which permeates thewhole work."The poster was given the name, "TheSeed" by the authors of "Eureka, TheGreat Poster Trip," the first book onpsychedelic posters, published in 1968.It is a fact that the Charlatans were theheralds of the coming of the alternativeculture that was about to emerge in SanFrancisco, and the "The Seed" was thefirst poster that broke with the traditionof the boxing-style posters in use at thetime.There is no question that the interest inVictorian clothes, old-time music, andthe style and embellishments of anearlier era are reflected in this poster.While I can see in these two posters theelements of the hippie culture that lovesold clothes and the like, what is entirely