Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture & Pop Highlights

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The revolution may not be televised, but thanks to Boo-Hooray, it will be preserved. Founded by voracious collector-turned-curator Johan Kugelberg, the gallery is zealous about their mission: “the organisation, stabilisation and preservation of cultural movements.” Now Kugelberg has joined forces with Sotheby's to stage the online auction Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture & Pop (1–16 December), offering a treasure trove of artefacts from the pop underground. The colourful characters associated with Boo-Hooray’s property range from late, great sci-fi scribe Philip K. Dick to reclusive pop balladeer Scott Walker, with many Monkees, Flamingos and Stones in between. Click ahead to see selected highlights. –Bill Crandall

The full catalogue will be available and the bidding will commence online 1 December at 12 PM ET.

Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture & Pop Highlights

  • The Monkees, Head Poster, 1968. Estimate $300–400.
    With political assassinations and war escalations, 1968 is eulogized as one of America’s most turbulent years. It’s considerably less known for a dark pop-culture event: The career suicide of four of America’s biggest pop stars, the Monkees. The implicit mission of the film Head was to obliterate the Monkees teen-idol image. Devilishly co-written by counter-culture hero Jack Nicholson, the film opens with singer Micky Dolenz jumping off a bridge, and it only gets weirder from there. The promotional poster is naturally devoid of Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike’s loveable and familiar faces, and instead features a black and white headshot of PR rep John Brockman. The poster was intended to confuse audiences, as did the film, which has since become a cult classic. Thankfully, the Monkees themselves bounced back a few times, too.

  • New Order, Blue Monday Manual Video Flip-Book, 1988. Estimate $200–300.
    If you were anywhere near a dance club in the 1980s, you’ve likely grooved to “Blue Monday.” British synthpop band New Order’s infectious, drum-machine-propelled anthem charted six times over a dozen years in the U.K. and topped the U.S. dance charts. The futuristic beats also inspired a generation of DJs to transform electronic dance music into a global phenomenon two decades later. The song’s 1988 video, directed by dog-loving photographer William Wegman and avant-garde artist Robert Breer, features the band members browsing through flipbooks of Breer’s hand sketches, including some of Wegman’s four-legged pal Fay. In the memorable video, the images come alive and dance around the screen; here, they stay put on thick card stock.

  • The Germs at The Whisky Poster, 1978. Estimate $200–300.
    Darby Crash is on the shortlist of rock & roll’s most tragic figures: the following day’s fatal shooting of John Lennon overshadowed his 1980 suicide by heroin overdose. The Germs, the mighty band Crash fronted, were a driving force of the late-1970s Los Angeles punk scene and later revered on early-1990s Seattle grunge scene. Former Germs guitarist Pat Smear even joined Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. This poster, designed by Germs drummer Don Bolles, promotes two 1978 shows at the legendary Whisky a Go Go, the club famous for launching the career of another short-lived singer, Jim Morrison.

  • Keith Haring Hand-Decorated Shoes, Early 1980s. Estimate $1,200–1,600.
    These shoes may only be size 5 ½, but they feature the clash of two cultural titans: Keith Haring and the Living Theatre. Haring’s inspirational dancing figures stood for freedom and tolerance from New York City murals to the Berlin Wall (not to mention T-shirts and album covers), while the Living Theatre is the nation’s oldest experimental theatre group, dramatically battling oppression and prejudice for nearly 70 years. Discovered in the Theatre’s archive, the shoes likely belonged to a troupe member who performed at the original New York City location of Third Street at Avenue C. Before he died of AIDS-related complications in 1990, Haring drew one of his trademark figures on one shoe and signed it. The figure remains in perpetual motion.  

  • Rig for Ultimate Breaks & Beats, 1986. Estimate $1,200–1,500.
    “Breakbeat Lenny” (record label owner Lenny Roberts) and “Breakbeat Lou” (DJ Louis Flores) are hip-hop’s ultimate matchmakers. On their Ultimate Breaks & Beats compilation series, they deconstruct – or, rather, break down – the music of everybody from James Brown to Tom Jones, providing choice samples including David Bowie and Kanye West. In fact, look no further than Funkadelic’s “You’ll Like It Too” on the second UBB for hip-hop immortality: N.W.A sampled it for “Straight Outta Compton.” This rig is the tool Lou used to create the breaks and beats, both for studio recordings and his all-important DJ gigs. And, yes, dancing to breaks is where we get breakdancing.

  • Scott Walker Lot. Estimate $200–300.
    Scott Walker worked tirelessly not to be famous. As part of 1960s Los Angeles pop trio the Walker Brothers, he scored multiple hits in the U.S. – and even bigger ones in the U.K. With his shaggy blonde mop and dreamy baritone, fuelling ballads like “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” Walker made teenagers shriek. Tired and disillusioned with pop stardom, he disbanded the group, made a pilgrimage to a monastery to learn Gregorian chants and then released solo albums full of interpretations of salty songs by Brussels singer Jacques Brel. Walker’s own dark baroque compositions influenced a new generation of avant-pop artists, and, as the decades wore on, he eschewed elaborate orchestration for what he called “noises and big blocks of sound.” This collection of photographs and press articles tells the turbulent story of a reclusive genius, and the captivated media that refused to let him go.

  • John Waters Posters. Estimate $1,200–1,500.
    “I’d love to sell out completely,” John Waters once admitted. “It’s just that nobody has been willing to buy.” The iconoclastic filmmaker was naturally being somewhat falsely modest: While Variety may have branded 1972’s Pink Flamingos “one of the most vile, stupid and repulsive films ever made,” the Criterion Collection recently restored 1970’s critically acclaimed Multiple Maniacs, and 2007’s Hairspray opened as the best-selling musical in film history. Of course, thanks largely to drag anti-hero Divine, early Waters films pack the most punch – and the most filth – defining what it is to be a cult classic. This collection of rare Waters film posters of Pink Flamingos, Girl Trouble and Multiple Maniacs (one designed by notable San Francisco poster artist Todd Trexler) is certain to sell out.

  • Philip K. Dick Stories. Estimate $400–600.
    Before science fiction writer Philip K. Dick wrote the stories that would later hit the big screen as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau, he published his first work in the pulp science fiction mag Planet Stories. Set in outer space and centring on a pig-like creature capable of mind control, 1952’s “Beyond Lies the Wub” was a mere glimpse into the fantastical mind of Dick, which would spawn 120 more short stories and 44 novels. “Wub” and Dick’s other stories, including “The Father-Thing” (about a replicant dad) and “The Days of Perky Pat” (about a post-apocalyptic doll) are all here in these multiple collections.

  • The Altamont Research Collection. Estimate $400–600.
    Featuring Santana, Jefferson Airplane and the Rolling Stones, the Altamont Speedway Free Festival was supposed to be the West Coast version of Woodstock. However, the peace and love vibes present in Upstate New York three months earlier were replaced by calamity and violence in Northern California. A total of four people died – three accidentally and one stabbed to death by a member of the Hells Angels, who acted as security for the concert. The events played out in front of the Rolling Stones, as frontman Mick Jagger tried in vain to act as peacemaker. This collection features audio recordings, periodicals and photographs of the ominous day that marked the death of the Age of Aquarius.

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