real cool chicks, sir,
everyone’s doin’ that rag…” -Robert Hunter
Fifty years ago in San Francisco, LSD-fueled rock-and-roll parties raged deep into the night at The Longshoreman’s Hall, The Avalon Ballroom, and The Fillmore. A new culture was born from this artistic Renaisance—a culture which continues to feed people’s spirits and bank accounts to this day.
For instance, ad agency, Argonaut, now inhabits what was once The Avalon Ballroom, where Grateful Dead and many other psychedelic rock bands gave birth to new forms.
Wednesday night, Argonaut hosted “A Night with the Family Dog,” an event featuring The Avalon’s Co-Founder, Bob Cohen.
The event offered an unprecedented opportunity to hear vintage performances from Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Doors and Grateful Dead, among others in the space in which they were created. In a prescient move, Cohen recorded many of the concerts, capturing rock history in the making.
The evening was one part audio-visual presentation and another part informal chat with Cohen and Grammy-nominated historian and archivist Alec Palao, discussing The Avalon and Family Dog (the producers of shows at The Avalon).
Maura Heilbron, head of culture at Argonaut, says, “When we moved into The Avalon over a year ago, we really appreciated its unique legacy, and what it continues to mean to our San Francisco community. Janis Joplin (who was a regular on the stage here) used to say, ‘the Avalon is where creativity really happened.’ So we set out to celebrate that creativity, not only through the work we do for brands every day but by paying homage to the artists and creators who had a hand in The Avalon’s history.”
Earlier this summer, the agency opened an art gallery on the ground floor of its space and commissioned a show dedicated to Janis Joplin and the Summer of Love. That show has been extended and was on display during this week’s event as well.
Argonaut was founded in March 2013 by creative team Hunter Hindman and Rick Condos, and head strategist Max Heilbron. The agency’s clients include MetLife, Electronic Arts, Credit Karma, and Cricket Wireless.