San Francisco

Event Spotlight: 'Retrospectacular' Showcases Eye-Popping Concert Posters

Each week, we'll feature an especially interesting event in the neighborhood based on the event submissions we get, and what we hear about while we're out on the beat. If you want to be considered for next week, please submit your event here.

As part of the 10-day NOISE POP 2016 music festival going on throughout the Bay Area, an exhibit showing eye-popping concert poster art called "Retrospectacular: The Poster Art of Kii Arens" opens from 5–7pm Friday at the Mosser Hotel, 54 Fourth St.

We reached Arens, owner of La-La Land Gallery in Los Angeles, to chat about how he became a go-to guy for album and poster art and other graphic design. "I originally became very interested in all things music and album cover art in the '70s," he told us. "I’m the youngest of four, and I had older brothers who were bringing albums by Queen and Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin."

For those who don't recall the 1970s, it was a time, he explains, without home computers or cell phones; instead, young people would put on headphones and stare for hours at album covers as they listened to their favorite bands. "We have our imaginations to create our dreams for us,” he said. “I think it’s something that’s been lost."

Poster: Kii Arens

When Arens' brothers started a band in the seventh grade, he began making logos for them. "I made my first album cover in 1989," he said, a compilation record that came out of Philadelphia called In Your Ear. He also worked as a designer for the beloved yet now defunct Twin/Tone records. Later, he became the designer for Woodstock '94, and has made his living creating art since then. He also co-directed an interactive video, "What We Do," for Devo.

Poster: Kii Arens

At the show on Friday, Arens will be there along with his work. It'll include some standalone signed canvas prints and more than 40 posters created for concerts by the likes of Brian Wilson, The Replacements, New Order, Van Halen, Alabama Shakes, Death Cab for Cutie, MGMT, Morrissey, Lauryn Hill, Ministry, Beck and Gary Clark, Jr. He's also behind the festival's overall look, which features a lollipop centerpiece.

Now for a few other events taking place in the FiDi and surrounding neighborhoods this coming week:


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