This poster advertised a poetry reading and dance concert presented by the Straight Theater, but it was actually held at the Avalon Ballroom. It was the first time the Grateful Dead ever playerd at the Avalon, a classic venue they played 28 more times from 1966 through 1969. Two Fall 1966 live albums were recorded there, Vintage Dead and Historic Dead. Also, two tracks of their famous "Live/Dead" album were recorded there in early 1969, The Eleven and Turn On Your Love Light.
The poster itself eschews all images but the interlocking zig-zag neon stripes do a number on your eyes. Note that in those days many of these posters were known as “blacklight” posters for their extra psychedelic quality when shown with a blacklight on them. Blacklights emit ultraviolet light which causes certain inks to “fluoresce.”
Artist George Jacobs from Kansas City was new in town but soon commissioned by James D. Wilson to do the Straight Theater’s first poster. George approached Fillmore poster artist Wes Wilson who was standing across from the newly renamed Straight and asked, “What color contrast would give the design the most jump?” Wes’s answer;“red & blue”. The results were an outstanding work, as brightly vibrant - leaping off the page today, as it was decades ago.
The Straight Theatre was a vaudeville and movie theatre at the corner of Haight and Cole Streets in San Francisco, formerly know as the Haight Theatre. Cole is three blocks off the reknowned crossroads of “Haight-Ashbury,” the international headquarters address of the psychedelic era and hippie movement.