Backstage Pass museum displays music collectibles
By Cindy Card, Journal correspondent
March 01, 2008
HILL CITY Every collector dreams of creating the perfect display
for his treasures, from the ideal curio cabinet to a designated wall
or room. But Kim Goldsberry of Hill City can boast that he has an
entire gallery for his collectibles. He and his wife, Julie, own
Backstage Pass in Hill City, a rock 'n' roll memorabilia museum and store.
They have more than 100 vintage concert posters from 1966 to 1970 on
display, most from the early San Francisco era. Goldsberry has
another 120, but no place to hang them. The posters are flanked by an
assortment of other unique items, including autographed guitars, a
one-of-a-kind oversized air-brushed painting of Yoko Ono and John
Lennon promoting their "Milk and Honey" album, and a 44-year-old box
amplifier that once belonged to the Beatles. Classic record album
covers adorn the walls. And as if to avoid being labeled a specific
type of collector, his museum includes an impressive assortment of
novelty Pez dispensers.
His unique collection began with posters for psychedelic music and
counterculture musicians such as The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin,
Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, the Doors and King Crimson, to name
a few. He liked the music, but it was the poster art promoting the
music that especially struck a chord with him.
"The first time I saw one of these posters was in 1967 when I was in
junior high school and thought it was incredible art work for what it
was," Goldsberry said. "Then that kind of snowballed into collecting
it. I didn't start my big collection until probably the late '70s,
about 15 years after I first saw the first posters, and I was lucky
enough to be able to buy one from the concert promoters when they
were selling them off."
He began collecting the posters for his own enjoyment. "I thought
they were real cool looking, and I wanted to get all I could get
before I couldn't get them any more." He said people can still find
the posters, but you will pay a lot of money for them. "I know a
couple of the artists, and even from them I have to pay hundreds of
dollars, but they'll give me a break." If you try to buy them from
some of the companies that still have them, he said, be prepared to
pay top dollar for them.
He said the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, known for
its historic music venue and psychedelic concert posters, still
creates some poster art. "But they are not as psychedelic as they
used to be. They have toned down a little bit," he said. The Fillmore
has its own collection of posters on display.
Goldsberry's collection includes a guitar autographed by Eric
Clapton, which he acquired from a private collector in Florida, and
another autographed by Gary Duncan and David Freiberg, members of a
psychedelic group in the late 1960s called Quicksilver Messenger Service.
He also has canceled royalty checks for different musicians, which he
got on eBay. "eBay makes it easy to get some things, but I think it
has put a lot more on the market than needs to be on the market."
One step inside the gallery and visitors are taken back in time,
primarily the 1960s. But for Goldsberry, it does more than that.
"I think it brings me back to my youth," the self-proclaimed Deadhead
said. He said he has seen the Grateful Dead in concert more than 120 times.
Among Goldsberry's psychedelic posters is the Jimi Hendrix "Flying
Eyeball" poster by Rick Griffin. Griffin is one of the "Big Five"
poster artists. Goldsberry has posters by all five.
He said his accumulation of Pez dispensers was not exactly by design.
"That just started out as a joke," he said. "I got one a long time
ago and somebody came over and saw it and brought me one. Now my
friends bring me Pez dispensers, for some reason."
His most prized Pez dispenser features Jerry Garcia. "They're called
Fantasy Pez. Each one is handmade. I don't think there are any two
that really look alike," he said.
"I have some old Disney ones that are pretty nice, like Scrooge
McDuck and the Pink Panther series The Pink Panther, Inspector
Clouseau, the aardvark and the ant. Those are getting pretty hard to
find now." Others include The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Batman and
Looney Tunes, Peanuts and Sesame Street characters.
Goldsberry worked at a record store for nine years in the 1980s and
bought anything he could get his hands on, including cloth rock band
patches. He does not currently charge admission and sells a variety
of items, including some collectibles, Pez dispensers, T-shirts, CDs
and DVDs. "We have a little bit of everything," he said.
Names in his guest book include Frank Zappa's cousin and visitors
from across the country, even as far away from Indonesia. The words
"cool" and "awesome, dude" appear many times in visitors' comments.
And some sightseers from Las Vegas who happened upon the store did
not expect to bump into an old friend, but that has happened more than once.
Goldsberry lived most of his life in Las Vegas, and after a vacation
to the Black Hills six years ago, he and his wife decided to move here.
"We were pretty much fed up with Las Vegas," he said. "It's gotten
too big. There are over 2.5 million people there now. We really like
the people in Hill City, everybody's really nice here and friendly
and there's no crime. I don't hear sirens and gunshots every day."
His wife said she loves it here. And while not a collector to the
degree her husband is, Julie Goldsberry gives her total support to
the museum: "That used to be the entryway to our house," she said,
pointing to the wall of Pez dispensers. "And I really didn't like
that. But it worked. He enjoys it, so I enjoy it."
Deborah Casey, special event coordinator for Hill City Area Chamber
of Commerce and Economic Development, said it is this type of unique
store the town likes.
"It gives our community a little bit of diversity and flair and
something different. Is it a sign that Hill City attracts all types
of visitors," she said.
She added she thinks it is a very imaginative concept. "I would hope
that it is a success. It's hard to tell sometimes when you are trying
a new business in a community where tourism is used to certain types
of shops. And sometimes venturing into something a little different
like what they have at Backstage Pass is a little different for
people to try. And I'm hoping they will try it."