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The Bindweed Press
Birth Place: 
San Francisco
“The Bindweed Press” was the business name of Frank Westbrook, a San Francisco printer. He is best known for printing rock concert posters in the late 1960s for dance concerts at the Avalon Ballroom sponsored by Chet Helms (1942-2005) of The Family Dog, for the Straight Theater and for the Matrix, a San Francisco club. The posters were designed by the leading poster artists of the day. The Bindweed Press was in operation by 1962, having printed an illustrated book of poems that year, “Poems & Prints,” with poetry by George Hitchcock and illustrations by Adrian Wilson. It printed a variety of books, pamphlets, handbills, menus and posters during the 1960s. Bindweed printed one of the famous posters for the January 14, 1967 “Human Be-In” in Golden Gate Park, a poster designed by Stanley Mouse (b. 1940), Alton Kelley (1940-2008) and Michael Bowen (1937-2009). Another was the poster for “The Invisible Circus," a happening over three days during February 1967 at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church, sponsored by The Diggers and the Art Liberation Front. Bindweed did political printing work as well, such as the 1968 “Cleaver for President/Power to the People/Black Power to Black People” poster. The rock concert posters were printed in the garage of a two-flat apartment building at 141 Noe Street, San Francisco; Westlake lived upstairs. The building was around the corner from the Mouse Studios operation of Mouse and Kelley. Apparently Bindweed’s work for The Family Dog ended with Helms having failed to pay for some of the print jobs. Its work printing rock concert posters was over around 1969, but was still in business the following year. At some point, probably in the early 1970s, Westlake left San Francisco for England, taking with him many of the plates for the rock posters he had printed earlier. In the 1970s he began reprinting unauthorized copies of the Avalon posters under the trade name “San Francisco Poster Company,” perhaps feeling that he could do so in light of Helm’s unpaid bills. Many of these “bootleg” posters remain in circulation along with the originals. (TNB 10/2016) Selected bibliography: Cushing, Lincoln. All of Us or None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area. Exhibition catalog, p. 123. Berkeley: Heyday, 2012.