Zine collection donated to Center for Popular Music

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Over the years 1989 to 2001 when I edited and published thirteen issues of the music and outsider art fanzine MOLE, I accumulated a huge number of fanzines. Most of them were music related, but there are examples of all sorts of zine genres–travel zines like Dishwasher, handwritten things, proprinted mags on glossy paper, and more. The picture above shows the sixteen cartons full of the collection. I decided to donate the whole mess as part of a downsizing effort in preparation for a long move to another state. That effort has been put on an indefinite hold due to the coronavirus social distancing, but that’s another story.

Finding an archive willing to take so many magazines proved more difficult than I thought. The DC Punk Archive was a first choice, since MOLE was a DC-based publication. However, even though my contact there, Michele Casto, called the collection “epic,” the archive’s small footprint at the Martin Luther King public library in DC wouldn’t allow them to expand beyond a DC-metro focus. I had already donated a bunch of LPs, CDs, tapes and ephemera to the DC Punk Archive, but I didn’t want to separate out the few DC zines and thus break up the whole collection. I also tried a few other places, but they either had a regional or topical focus that meant they couldn’t take the whole thing, or they never responded.

At the top of my list was The Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro, TN, because it generously supported MOLE during its existence by taking out a regular subscription and paying the full annual fee even though I only printed one issue a year (instead of the promised 3 or 4). Of course, we’re only talking about $10, but the number of subscribers was pathetically small. At first, the size of the collection was a barrier for CPM, but when its director, Greg Reish saw my pictures of all the boxes, along with shots of the contents of each, he was hooked. I also gave the archive three cartons of promotional materials I received during the 90s from record labels at every level from single band efforts to indies to corporate. I found a box of promotional postcards and threw those in. And all my copies of Flipside, Maximum Rocknroll, Factsheet Five, and Option were included (not shown in the picture above.) All told, the donation amounted to 26 liner feet of fanzines, promotional materials, and assorted other materials.

In late February, Greg Reish flew out to Northern Virginia, rented a minivan, and came by to pick up the boxes. We filled the van–you can see the mass of stuff below–and he drove back to Tennessee. It was a big relief to pass all that stuff on to a great archive that will make the material available for readers and researchers.

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“Reaching for the Sun” published in Chiron Review

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Just got the new issue of Chiron Review, #118 Spring 2020, in the mail, a bit in advance of the official release date. Lots of great work in this print-only poetry journal, one of the best of its kind remaining in the under-the-mainstream scene. I’m very pleased to be included with one of my poems, “Reaching for the Sun.” It’s another installment in a series about an imaginary relationship between the narrator and a woman named Billie. You can purchase copies of the issue from the Chiron Review website when it’s released.

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“Keeping It Forever” and “Holding On Tight” published in Rat’s Ass Review

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Online poetry journal Rat’s Ass Review just released its Summer 2020 issue, crammed with loads of great poetry, much with that straightforward, real life focus found in the best outlaw work. I’m pleased to be represented with two poems, “Keeping It Forever” and “Holding On Tight.” These pieces are from a series about an imaginary relationship between the narrator and a girl named Billie. You can read the complete issue here.

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Space Force vs. Coronavirus

Nevermind Outbreak. Last night, my wife and I discovered a movie on Amazon Prime that proved surprisingly relevant to the the quarantined shut down of American life. Despite its execrably cheesy science fiction surface, The Green Slime comes across as a prescient vision of America’s Space Force in action–fighting the contemporary menace of Coronavirus infection.

By now you’ve probably watched the above trailer, so the highlights of this festering pile of camembert are self evident: goofy model sets, astronauts blasting stuff in space, the female cast clad in silver go-go outfits, and monsters manufactured by guys hired away from the Godzilla franchise. And then the theme song: a groovy blast of psychedelic rock highlighted by acidic guitar solos and spooky theremin sweeps, while a guy sounding like Tom Jones belts out the silly lyrics! I’ve never heard anyone get so emotional while delivering the words “the green slime,” and I doubt you have either.

Although probably not strictly necessary, here’s a brief plot summary. A giant asteroid looking like a magnified COVID-19 blob threatens to collide with earth. The USA quickly rounds up its Space Force, lead by romantic rivals, which races off to intercept the threat. The force lands on the asteroid to plant detonators, while a scientist collects samples of a green substance that spreads over their moonmobiles. Some of the slime hitches a ride back to the space station, where it grows into Sigmund and the Sea Monsters’ cousins. The space station must be quarantined to avoid spreading the creatures to earth. Of course, destroying the station is the only solution, and the place is evacuated. Cue explosions. Slime contained and destroyed. Over and out.

Aside from that amazing theme song, the 1969 production holds some interest of its own, being a combination of flamboyant Eurotrash science fiction sensibilities, Japanese style monsters and modelwork, and efficiently tight Hollywood editing. Indeed, it was a collaboration between Toei, who contributed a director and locations, and MGM. It’s not surprising that Mystery Science Theater 3000 used it for their pilot episode, as it’s ridiculously easy to throw mockery at the absurd delights appearing before your eyes.

Irony free drive-in fodder like The Green Slime is an easy watch that goes well with crunchy snacks and alcoholic bevvies of choice. (I can personally recommend an Aviation cocktail or four, but that’s the current house favorite.) But it’s not often that these films resonate with current events. In these grim times of pandemic quarantine amidst a backdrop of official buffoonery, one needs a little laugh. Around here, we’ll be singing the “Green Slime” song to get us through the long, nervous days. You might try it yourself.

Ten visual poems published in Utsanga

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The new issue of Utsanga (#23, March 2020) was released today, packed with visual poetry, asemic writing, text work and poetics to help us while away the quarantined hours. It’s one of the the major journals documenting the international literary avant garde, and a quick glance of this one reveals interesting work by John Bennett/Texas Fontanella, Mark Young, Judith Pauly-Bender, Axel Calatayud, Francesco Aprile…well, it will take a while to check it all out. I’m pleased that the issue includes ten of my visual poems from a series incorporating tape samples (from Chinese newspapers) and asemic writing. You can check it out here.