The Love Club

In 1982, for my senior thesis project at the Philadelphia College of Art, I created of a series of photocopied posters that were glued to lamp posts throughout Center City Philadelphia. There was one new poster each week for 9 weeks. The posters consisted of a singular statement - "I Cut Meat for a Living," or "My Dog Throws Up Beef" - with a simple marker-drawn illustration on a checkerboard background. The posters proved to be quite popular were the subject of several articles and interviews published in local newspapers.

One day, while hanging one of these posters at the corner of Broad and South, I was approached by a gentleman named Chris Boas. He was in the process of opening a new club on the corner called "Love." He said he was an admirer of my project and asked if I would be interested in producing posters for his new club. I thought about it for a few days and decided to give it a whirl.

The Love Club turned out to be one of the most thrilling "incubator" clubs to open in downtown Philadelphia in a generation. Opened by artists (Chris Boas is a photographer, his partner Tom Sokol is a graphic designer) and staffed by musicians, poets, performers and visual artists, the club was a soon hotbed of cross-pollinating underground activity.

Almost all of the Love posters have been lost to time, but several years ago I was contacted by a collector of underground cultural detritus, James Lewes, who happened to have over a hundred of my original posters. He was kind enough to digitize the posters and forward his collection to me. There were only a few of the original Love posters in his collection and below are the few that have survived.

(Click on poster for full-size view)

Sadly, Love closed after only one year of operation. Avant-garde artists and musicians certainly make for an exciting place to hang out, but unfortunately these same (usually poor) artists are not a good foundation for a business that needs to make money to survive.

The East Side Club

After the Love Club closed, Bobby Startup, the booking agent for the East Side Club - a much more "sophisticated" operation in Center City (and one that made significantly more money) - asked me if I would be interested in continuing to make posters for his club. As with the Love Club, Bobby guaranteed me complete freedom to do whatever I pleased and I accepted. For the next several years I produced hundreds of posters for the East Side Club, from Madonna and The Stray Cats to Einsterzende Neubauten and Black Flag.

And as with the Love Club posters, all would have been lost if it had not been for James Lewes. Thankfully his collection of East Side Club posters is more extensive than the Love posters. Below are some of my favorites in no particular order.

(Click on the posters to view them full size)


The East Side Club ran strong for several years, but eventually, for reasons unclear to me, Bobby Startup migrated to a new club on South Street called Ripley's. Ripley's was a huge space with a big stage for touring bands. The intimacy of the East Side Club was gone (the E.S.C. was literally underground beneath an office building on Chestnut Street), but the continuing flow of international post-punk and independent bands continued to provide inspiration for a vibrant underground. Bobby brought me along for the ride and the poster making continued.

(Click on poster for full-size view)