ART ATTACK The Midnight Politics of a Guerilla Artist by Robbie Conal (1992, 64 pages, IBN 0-06-096951-2) book
Robbie Conal is the man responsible for those huge 3 by 4 foot political posters that appear wheatpasted in major cities across the country. Often combining distorted caricatures of public slime with pithy humorous phrases, Conal's work is easily recognizable and always gets a giggle out of me...like the posters of Jim and Tammy Baker captioned with the text FALSE PROFIT. In Art Attack, he relates how he moved from stuffy art galleries to late night guerilla posterings. He wants to provide "a little surprise on the long drive to work in the morning: a bit of counter-infotainment, a low-level irritant, visual noise squawking away from every traffic light switching box." The book contains numerous instances of his posters before and after being defaced. This often adds to the humor and provides a public forum for opinions from the street instead of from the pundits. Likewise, the book shows the results of creative paper-hangers who made use of pre-existing posters--images of Bush/Atwater placed over Beastie Boys advertisements. Conal's start small, Do-It-Yourself approach to being a thorn in the side of mainstream society is inspirational. (HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, NY NY 10022)
BANANAFISH Insensato! No. 8 (1993, 96 pages) magazine
Bananafish, the handiwork of Seymour Glass, now under new editorial control, is fairing well without the the esteemed Mr. Glass' guidance. And it is the largest issue yet! Number 8 has excellent interviews with Dave Harris (saxophonist for the Raymond Scott Quintet), the Japanese S/M noise group C.C.C.C., artiste Harvey Stafford, and Madonna...I mean, Masonna. There is a mind melding Darcy Megan S. comic that reads both rightside up and upside down. Not as much collage art as past issues, tho'. The editors column and the letters section are riotous, as usual. With Seymour gone, Bananafish now has advertisements, my favorite being the Ray and Pete "Shut Up Little Man" GAP advert. Look for the Insensato! cover in stores near you. ($6 ppd. c/o Tedium House, PO Box 424762, San Francisco, CA 94142-4762 USA)
THE DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY CIRCUS (1992, 32 pages) booklet
I might as well join the legions that will write about these booklets that have mysteriously appeared at our mailbox. Some social misfit with a vengeance is rewriting the captions for The Family Circus cartoons with a decidedly incest-ridden and scatalogical sense of depravity. Before our copy gets mangled beyond recognition like a copy of Playboy being shared by a bunch of young teenage boys, we've reprinted a few of our favorites. As you can see, it's pretty obvious why the creator didn't leave a return address. Whoever you are, thanks! (I Have No Fuckin' Idea Where To Get Them So Don't Ask)
GOOD VIBRATIONS (spring 1993) catalog
Part catalog, part consumer report, the Good Vibrations catalog (and store for Bay Area residents) is a great place to shop for sex toys and books. An all women-owned collective, Good Vibes presents sex information in a comfortable manner for both women and men. They sell vibrators, dildos, harnesses, safer sex supplies, videos, and bondage gear (including The Klutz Book of Knots). Amongst the goodies, there are tip pages like Safe Sex Guidelines, So You Want To Buy A Dildo, and Seeing Too Much of Your Vibrator. The Sexuality Library is an invaluable companion catalog of informational and erotic books and videos. Each item has a zine styled review and the videos come with a set of erotic rating symbols like the firecracker symbol which means "makes up for weak filmmaking with killer sex scenes." Now that's honest selling! (Good Vibrations, 938 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103)
HOTHEAD PAISAN Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist by Diane DiMassa (1991-93, ISSN 1069-5281) comic
Sick of all the shit women and queers have to put up every day? Punk lesbian Hothead Paisan and her hilarious cat, named Chicken, exact the kind of violent revenge on testosterone pumped-up jocks and businessmen that we've all fantasized. In issue number 7, Hothead is unsuccessfully trying to move objects with her mind. However, after coming upon a White Power couple she telepathically sets them ablaze with little effort and says "I guess you just have to be inspired." Each issue also has loads of satire on the manipulative nature of media. A wonderfully cathartic comic for all you politically incorrect feminists. ($3.50 ppd/$14 subscription, Giant Ass Publishing, P.O. Box 214, New Haven, CT 06502)
JEUX DE DAMES CRUELLES 1850-1960 Serge Nazarieff (1992, ISBN 3-8228-9353-6) book
John Zorn's Heretic CD says it is a soundtrack. It is a soundtrack to a book, this book. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this fact while browsing at Good Vibrations in San Francisco. Jeux De Dames Cruelles is a photographic history of sado-masochism among women, chronicled through the male lens. What I find really wild about the pictures is that they are so old, some being over 100 years old. Seeing a picture from 1850 of a nude Nun spanking another Nun's bottom gave me some perspective on sexual adventurism. Definitely a book for fans of spanking and bondage. Well, mostly spanking. Your S/M lesbian friends will love this book. Text written in French, German and English. (Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH, Hohenzollernring 53, D-5000 Koln 1, Germany)
MALEDICTA The International Journal of Verbal Aggression Volume 10 (1990, 320 pp, Maledicta Press) journal
From the journal introduction: "Maledicta specializes in uncensored studies and glossaries of offensive and negatively-valued words and expressions, from all languages and cultures, past and present. Our main areas of interest are...verbal aggression and verbal abuse of any kind, as well as language usually considered vulgar, obscene, or blasphemous." Maledicta brings you hours of delightful and humorous reading about religious graffiti in New York, Swahili cursing, and the pejorative nicknames of baseball All-Stars. A raunchy blending of lo-brow and hi-brow, it is an excellent resource for the browbeat scholar. Perfect for those comebacks you never seem to have at the right moment. Now you will be fully armed with gems like "May God curse you, and the curse is that you be what you already are."
For fans of the National Enquirer, Maledicta Press also publishes the Maledicta Monitor, a newsletter with harsh and abusive quotes from contemporary public figures. (Maledicta Press, P.O. Box 14123, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-6123)
MINOTAURUS II (1993, 48 pages) zine
Dark, artfully produced tribal industrial zine from the Crash Worship/Haters west coast axis. Issue number one was all visuals and while number II is still dominated by graphics, there are interesting articles on Zeni Geva and the vastly underrated percussion group Left Hand Right Hand. Other text includes informative interviews with Coil, Cop Shoot Cop and Merzbow. I like. (!Alarma! Press, Box 230404, Encinitas, CA 92023 USA)
MOTORBOOTY Number Six (Fall 1992, 64 pages) magazine
Motorbooty shares the title with Bananafish as the funniest, most entertaining, and irregularly produced magazine. Like an eccentric old man, it skips wildly from one unrelated topic to another: comics, satire, oddball interviews and...ahem, incisive commentary.
This issue has interviews with Blowfly and Bozo the Clown alongside an in-depth article on the Firesign Theatre. The article on Miles Davis' excursions into "louder, heavier, freer, and more cacophonous" music got me to run out and buy the albums right away. Meanwhile, the "Meet Camille Paglia" column is a hysterical, yet succinct, description of the "Don Rickles of the literati," the lesbian feminist lesbian feminists love to hate. With interests like these, Motorbooty's editorial staff is always welcome at stately browbeat manor.
Motorbooty also has loads of great comics from Lloyd Dangle, The Pizz, and Mary Fleener. My favorite is the Male-to-Female-to-Male transsexual in Terry LaBlan's strip. This guy gets a sex change, discovers the joys of vibrators and gets harassed on the street. Fed up with the catcalls, she has another sex change with "a gallon of testosterone and the biggest dick in the store" and seeks revenge on the assholes. Glorious. ($3.00 Motorbooty World-Wide Communica-tions, P.O. Box 7944, Ann Arbor, MI 48107)
RELIGION OF THE MONTH CLUB Holy Shit (1992, issue #16) zine
With a 7-year hiatus between issues, Religion Of The Month Club is back. In this issue they are deifying the god that passes through the throne in each of our homes. Packed with 16 pages of philosophy, quotations, and artwork about shit, this hysterical issue is best keep in the white tile wing of your personal library. ($2.75 ppd cash/money order from Religion of the Month Club, PO Box 2430, Santa Clara, CA 95055-2430)
ROLLERDERBY No. 12 (1993, 24 pages) zine
A specialty magazine for fans of violent buxom women with knee pads on rollerskates, featuring spotlights on the stars, a Top 10 survey of the best rinks in America, in-depth personal bios and...well...not really. Rather, Rollerderby is Lisa Suckdog Carver's "little newsletter." Every one filled with wonderful stories about her neighbors and family, drawings by Darcy Megan S, and friendly, yet probing, interviews. There is also the occasional music review. While the contents and topics change from issue to issue, they all have Lisa's distinctive sense of curiosity, which I really enjoy.
Issue number 12 grabs you with a killer photo of Lisa's friend Cindy, entitled 'My First Orgasm.' Without giving it away, all I can say is it ain't exactly prurient. Lisa interviews a variety of women (her mother, Lydia Lunch, Courtney Love, and Kim Gordon) about their bodies, and ends up with some unusually honest and sincere answers. In past issues, she has interviewed two young bankrobbers from her hometown, Bananafish publishing magnate Seymour Glass's mom, Royal Trux, her dad, and G.G. Allin. Always a joy. ($3 ppd-payable to Lisa Carver, PO Box 424762, San Francisco, CA 94142-4762)
SABOTAGE IN THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE Anecodotes of Dissatisfaction, Mischief and Revenge Edited by Martin Sprouse (1992, 176 pp, ISBN 0-9627091-3-1)
Entertaining anecdotes of workers retaliating against their employers. While reading it, I kept getting up and leaving my room to show housemates particular passages. Taken from personal interviews, the book chronicles workers' frustrations and how they react to them. The responses encompass everything from working slower and taking long lunches to destroying company property and outright stealing. My favorite story is of the stockbroker who used to "pound the keys" on the block trading computer and then run over to the Telerate screens to watch the market fluctuate. As it says in the introduction, "this book provides new insight into attitudes toward work by redefining sabotage as a common and significant aspect of the American work experience." It's a Do-It-Yourself anthropological study of how some Americans deal with the work environment. ($12, Pressure Drop Press, Post Office Box 460754, San Francisco, CA 94146)
If you have a job without aggravations, you don't have a job.
- Malcolm Forbes
SECOND GUESS Issue #7 (summer 1993, 56 pages, digest) zine
A well-done DIY punk zine that has a stream-of-consciousness, travel journal flow to it. There is a great first person account (with photo) of the infamous Insaints banana sex show at the Gilman Street followed by a funny story excerpted from Charles Bukowski's book The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. The Pranks and Scams section has several good ideas including "accidentally" mangling those symbols at the bottom of your checks to delay (by a couple of days) the time it takes to debit the money from your account. SG has a healthy dose of zine reviews, along with the requisite music reviews. Send them a coupla bucks. ($2 ppd. cash only. Second Guess, PO Box 9382, Reno, NV 89507)
SHOW KAI Underground in Japan (1991, 64 pp, Public Bath) zine
An excellent resource for folks interested in the underground music scene of Osaka Japan. There are interviews with Omoide Hatoba, Folk Tales, Boredoms, Daihkase, Dub Squad, and Soap-Jo Henshi. Jo Jo Hiroshige, of Alchemy, contributes a detailed history of the Kansai No Wave scene from 1984 until 1989. The issue also has lots of reviews and comes with two cassettes full of music. There are still copies of this zine floating around, Japanese music fans should hunt it down.
SKRONK Issue #6 (1993, 32 pages) zine
A neat little zine covering underground rock and jazz music. This one has interviews with David Murray and Marilyn Crispell along with sordid details from the Teen Beat anniversary banquet. Rec reviews include Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, and Einsturzende Neubauten. (Skronk, c/o Brent Burton, 502B Jackson St., Blacksburg, VA 24060)
TASTE OF LATEX Issue #9 (1993, 48 pages) magazine
Finally, a sex magazine without typical vanilla, hetero-male-centric photos and fantasies. Taste of Latex is a magazine for the sexually disenfranchised. This issue finds Don Baird telling of his sweaty sexual adventures while dancing in the slam pit at punk shows. Back in issue number 4 you can find a tale about a butched-out woman cruising an unsuspecting leather daddy. My favorite story, it's a dramatic read, and steamy too. Beyond fiction, the "Practicing Pervert" column is a wealth of wisdom on topics like playing safely with piss and deciphering the colors of the hanky code. And the photographs are always well done with the Woman with Weapons photoessay being particularly noteworthy. Filled with a brash punk attitude, TOL pushes the limits of sexuality seen in magazines - bloodletting, vaginal fisting, piss play, genderfucking, and endless varieties of sadomasochism. Editor Lily Braindrop and friends expose it all with their juicy stories, nasty visuals, and entertaining, yet educational tips. "All sexual flavors with no bitter aftertaste of apology."
I have this feeling that some time in the future, the emergence of Taste of Latex will be looked upon as the catalyst for a new era in sex positive attitudes. If I were you, I would subscribe and order all the available back issues at once. ($7/issue, $19.95/4 issue subscription, Taste of Latex, P.O. Box 460122, San Francisco, CA 94146 - age statement required)