Show Posters As History

I am a huge fan of the lowly show poster. The simple 8 1/2 by 11 advertisement for upcoming shows. I have written about them several times, largely the ones that Dalton and I would collect after shows in Madison. This is one from a Poopshovel show he saw.


We would see a show and then take a poster from a street light pole on the way back to Dalton’s room downtown. I had a collection of these that regrettably has been lost over time. Sigh.

In the past year and a half however, I have started seeing shows again, and getting the poster from the show has become a priority.

Recently I saw Sister Hazel at the Majestic.

Sister Hazel Poster

and the English Beat


and got my T.U.G.G. poster signed by Andy.

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Lately I have been to the Majestic, but I was at the Barrymore for Henry Rollins and Meshell Ndegeocello last year. I got a poster from the Meshell show and guarded it through the whole show and brought it home intact. It’s a big one.


After a recent show I began to really think about these posters. There must be a repository of these out there somewhere. I mean a lot of work must go into producing these, short lived as their purpose is. Whoever is creating these must have them saved somewhere, right? I mean you go downtown and there are the kiosks with these all over them.

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This represents a lot of work. Considering all the venues in town, that’s a lot of history coming and going in a weekly wave from these kiosks.

I decided, geek that I am, I would investigate.

I wrote to the Barrymore and the Majestic to inquire about the posters and if there was a collection of them somewhere, or were they saved anywhere where people could look at the old stuff. I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask. That would be an amazing site, a show poster aggregate. Search for all the posters of a favorite band. Patent Pending.   LOL

Frankly I wasn’t expecting a response, but The Barrymore manager passed my e-mail on and I received an e-mail from David Michael Miller. He did posters for the Barrymore during 1999 and 2002, and as it turns out many other venues. He shared this link

and his Tumblr link

It was so cool to check out these historical posters. I was surprised to see that Green Day, Fiona Apple and Tori Amos played here in town. I checked out some of the other venues he did posters for and I spotted R & R Station. Unbelievably, he did posters for the Buddy Guy shows there. I actually saw the 1993 show with Paul Black! I REMEMBER that poster.

Mr. Miller also did posters for the Madison Freak Fest (which Abbey and Max have been to) and the Madison Blues Picnic (which Max and I attended one year, and unfortunately just missed this year). It was a very cool history lesson and walk down memory lane looking at these pages. Great work and I am so glad that they are preserved!

You also have to check out his Isthmus article about, you guessed it, show posters!

I will continue to collect these posters from shows, and now it’s even better to know where some of them come from.

Art. History. Awesome.

Keep up the great work Mr. Miller!

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