Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
When Texas-born singer Janis Joplin (1943–1970) joined the San Francisco band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966, she propelled the group to the top of the rock scene. A passionate, bluesy singer with a raw, powerful voice, Joplin electrified audiences with her sexualized performance style, delivered with explosive movements and wailing, whispering, and shrieking. One writer described her as a "mixture of Leadbelly, a steam engine, Calamity Jane, Bessie Smith, an oil derrick, and rot-gut bourbon." Before her 1970 death of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven, Joplin had become a female rock icon.
The distinctive lettering and vivid colors of the psychedelic rock posters helped launch a poster collecting craze. As advertising images, portraits of film and music celebrities, and political propaganda wallpapered bedrooms and dorm rooms, the poster became a statement of one’s personal affiliations and a visual symbol of the era.