The American Theatre Handbill

The American Theatre Handbill
  • The American Theatre Handbill
Bill Graham pushed the envelope of popular prurience with the presentation of poet Michael McClure's The Beard. An imagined confrontation between Jean Harlow and Billy the Kid, the production ended with explicit oral sex between the protagonists. Cast member arrests were common at early productions until the ACL intervened.
Print Variations
The handbill was printed once before the concert, on a variety of papers and with different inks. All variants measure 5 1/2" x 8 1/2".
The 1st printing A (see BG019) is purple ink on white paper.
The 1st printing B is navy ink on white paper.
The 1st printing C is brown ink on yellow paper.
The 1st printing D is brown ink on white paper.
The 1st printing E is brown ink on ranging shades of tan paper.
The 1st printing F is brown ink on coral paper.
The 1st printing G is navy blue ink on yellow paper.
About Wes Wilson
When the Avalon Ballroom and Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium began to hold weekly dance concerts, Wilson was called upon to design the posters. He created psychedelic posters from February 1966 to May 1967, when disputes over money severed his connection with Graham. Wilson pioneered the psychedelic rock poster. Intended for a particular audience, "one that was tuned in to the psychedelic experience," his art, and especially the exaggerated freehand lettering, emerged from Wilson's own involvement with that experience and the psychedelic art of light shows.