Former Location –
This was the headquarters of some very talented poster artists led by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley. Two of their most famous images, one featuring ZigZag papers and the Grateful Dead skeleton and roses (see above), became world famous icons.
Many of their images gained attention and fame including work for: Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, The Family Dog, Blind Faith, Journey, Janis Joplin, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. Mouse and Kelley worked on the first eight album covers for the Grateful Dead as well.
The winged horse cover illustration for Steve Miller’s “Book of Dreams” was created by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse, who were credited as “Kelly and Mouse”.
This is also where Janis Joplin first met Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. Chet Helms of the Avalon Ballroom suggested she should hook up with them. The band was not too impressed with her at first sight but when they heard her sing, they knew a star when they heard one.
74 Henry Street
San Francisco CA 94114
My family owned a Victorian on Noe St. right around the corner. I was a young child when the studios were attracting lots of interesting people. I do remember that it was a small dairy operation prior to shutting down and then occupied by Stanley Mouse. I may have heard Janis auditioning because our backyard echoed. Another memory is when all the artists left the neighborhood kid’s including me descended and started to use the plywood to craft nutty go carts Ala Little Rascals with two by four axels and shopping cart wheels with tennis shoe brakes and used that hill on Henry Street to race or crash (asphalt burn). Gravity is sure fun. We rolled tires (sorry) shopping carts, garbage can lids, anything that rolled and used to push anyone with a dead car battery to compression start down Henry St.
When Bill the owner of the property tore everything down he turned it into a junkyard for cars. Bill and his wife lived until the late 1980’s. That’s where I first dropped acid in a junked T bird. THAT PROPERTY IS HALLOWED GROUND and plenty of neighborhood kids had their “first” in a junked car. To say that the energy never left that hallowed ground, an understatement. In the mid 70’s Harvey Milk lived with his lover down the block same side of the street. Harvey was cool even to he straight neighborhood teens. I remember sneaking up to the third story with my girlfriend and we would make out right outside his front door. He busted me and her opening his front door and after a pause, he said “have fun” and left, the dude was cool and he was a great Supervisor. One last memory, my mom gave me a quarter and told me a 6 year old to go to the store right there on Henry and Noe. As flew down the bannister hoping I didn’t collide with a pedestrian I walked to the store. Janis and her junkie girlfriend intercepted me and the junkie with a flower painted on her face planted a kiss on my cheek. Needless to say I was shocked and so was Janis. I stared at Janis and she then started laughing. That girls face was unforgettable. The junkie friend was beautiful so no harm no foul. Never forget those faces. I have a lot to unpack.