poster by Chuck Sperry
Chuck Sperry lives in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, where he’s made his particular style of rock poster designs for over 20 years. He operates Hangar 18, a silkscreen print studio, located in Oakland.
poster by Chuck Sperry
Featured artists include: Chuck Sperry & Ron Donovan of the Firehouse Kustom Rockart Co, Chris Shaw, Political Gridlock, Dave Hunter, Scott Johnson & LuLu. Screen printed rock posters, plenty of mayhem, and much, much, more! 21 & Over Only, Please.Lucky 13
New York Post • February 10, 2008 • by Karen Holt
One Saturday night in Las Vegas, twelve-year-old Newell Ewing goes out with a friend and doesn’t come home. In the aftermath of his disappearance, his mother, Lorraine, makes daily pilgrimages to her son’s room and tortures herself with memories. Equally distraught, the boy’s father, Lincoln, finds himself wanting to comfort his wife even as he yearns for solace, a loving touch, any kind of intimacy.
As the Ewings navigate the mystery of what’s become of their son, the circumstances surrounding Newell’s vanishing and other events on that same night reverberate through the lives of seemingly disconnected strangers: a comic book illustrator in town for a weekend of debauchery; a painfully shy and possibly disturbed young artist; a stripper who imagines moments from her life as if they were movie scenes; a bubbly teenage wiccan anarchist; a dangerous and scheming gutter punk; a band of misfit runaways. The people of Beautiful Children are “urban nomads,” each with a past to hide and a pain to nurture, every one of them searching for salvation and barreling toward destruction, weaving their way through a neon underworld of sex, drugs, and the spinning wheels of chance.
In this masterly debut novel, Charles Bock mixes incandescent prose with devious humor to capture Las Vegas with unprecedented scope and nuance and to provide a glimpse into a microcosm of modern America. Beautiful Children is an odyssey of heartache and redemption – heralding the arrival of a major new writer.
Bock was born and raised in Las Vegas, which served as the setting for Beautiful Children. He comes from a family of pawnbrokers who’ve operated pawn shops in downtown Las Vegas for more than thirty years. On his website, he reflects upon his upbringing as a source of inspiration for the novel:
“Sometimes, when my siblings and I were little, my parents, for various reasons, used to have us stay in the back of the shop. This would be after school or during summer vacation, when there wasn’t summer camp, or they didn’t have anybody to watch over us and we were too small to be alone. We’d occupy our time with sodas from a nearby casino’s gift shop, comic books, and a television that got wavy reception, and we’d do small chores, rolling coins or filing the previous day’s pawn tickets. The store often had a line of people waiting to pawn their goods, local customers who worked in casinos and also spent all their spare time playing blackjack and slot machines, and also tourists who had blown all their cash, and maybe their plane tickets home, and now were desperate, and hung over, and needed loans on their wedding rings, so they could go back into the casinos and win back their money. I’d sometimes stare out of the back of the store and watch the people in line and take in their faces. Lots of times my parents would be put in the position of having to tell these people that their wedding ring was only worth a fraction of what they’d paid for it, or that, say, the diamonds in that ring were brown and flawed. From the back of the store, I’d watch as the customers exploded and called my parents dirty Jews and cursed at them and threatened them at the top of their lungs. It’s impossible in situations like that not to feel for everybody involved – to be horrified, sure, but more than that, to be saddened by the spectacle, to want so much more than that out of life for everyone.”
Bock earned a Master’s of Fine Arts in fiction and literature from Bennington College and has taught fiction at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. His short fiction has been published in Esquire Magazine.
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Four members of the The British Rock Artists’ Group (BRAG) ignited San Francisco when they visited the Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company. Firehouse invited BRAG to come here to create a set of silkscreen posters for the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love concert.
Firehouse artists Ron Donovan and I organized the workshop with BRAG to bring the British artists to San Francisco to make a poster series, but we wanted something more. Ron and I also wanted to expose them to the rich poster tradition of The City. We planned a series of guest artist visits and educational lectures that highlighted the many facets of the rock poster world from a San Francisco perspective.
BRAG artists Rhys Wootten, Jamie McGregor, Matt Douthwaite and Adrian Day were four of the dozen or so members of the British art group who responded to the invitation. They were able to drop busy job and family schedules to participate in the workshop.
San Francisco is the mecca of the original psychedelic poster tradition. It’s also the well-spring of the current world-wide poster renaissance. Firehouse felt it was appropriate to bring these British artists here to produce posters for the 40th anniversary of the seminal San Francisco psychedelic moment – The Summer of Love.
I asked Boots Hughston for his blessing to create a limited edition silkscreen poster set for the 2B1 organized concert in Golden Gate Park. The set was designated the BRAG Series, and with Firehouse producing one of the posters, five posters comprise the set.
The British artists created their designs in England and brought them to San Francisco to print them here at the Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company, located at 179 11th Street in SOMA.
During the printing workshop we were visited by some of San Francisco’s best poster artists and rock poster authorities:
Only one thing was left: a congratulation dinner at the Beach Chalet with a beautiful view of the sun setting over the Pacific and dozens of beach bonfires, ringed by Summer of Love revelers. Cheers BRAG!
link: Creative Review
Chuck Sperry lives in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, where he’s made his particular style of rock poster designs for over 20 years. He operates Hangar 18, a silkscreen print studio, located in Oakland. Learn More…