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'Cranks, Ranters, Ravers'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: March 22, 1996
Section: Opinion
Page: B64

'Cranks, Ranters, Ravers'

ZINES (pronounced "zeens," as in magazines) are publications created by
anyone who cares enough to make one. They can be one any subject. Creators
of zines don't do it for the money. They want to express themselves. They're
cranks, ranters, ravers, reborn magazine and book freaks. True zinesters are
tinged with or drenched in anger, wit, perversity, clear- or jaundiced-eyed
innocence, iconoclasm, and imagination.

Their zines have names like Diseased Pariah News (for those "disenfranchised
by mainstream AIDS-support approaches that emphasize superstition, denial,
and/or teddy bears"), Farm Pulp Magazine (created because it was "far
cheaper than therapy ... and less demanding than religion"), The Girl-illa
Art Zine ("it quiets the raging menace of my menopause"), Love Letter to
Madmen, Poetry Motel ("we felt the lit mags were too tame both textually and
graphically"), and Dreams That Kill.

Zine production methods vary, from mimeograph to silkscreen to copier to
offset on lovely handmade papers. Zines may be saddle-stitched (stapled),
perfectbound, or bound with ribbons. They're almost always labor-intensive,
made with artistry and care, some with odd materials, such as fused plastic,
wallpaper, or high-heeled shoes. While a typical press run might be 100
copies, distribution may be global, using the World-Wide Web, and tends to
be, in the words of one zinester, "sporadic, haphazard, and intuitive."

Zinesters review and rip one another off (they're not big on copyright),
trade issues, and sometimes are noted by the mainstream press and become
popular and trendy. This dismays purist zinesters. Real zinesters, you see,
are little Greta Garbos "vanting" to be alone, yet beloved by those of us
possessed of exquisite taste.

The exhibition "Some Zines 2: Alternative & Underground Artists' & Eccentric
Magazines & Micropresses" is at Boise State University through March 31 (a
"closing" will be held on April 1). More than 75 artists' publications, from
Australia, Canada, England, Holland, Mexico, Poland, and the United States,
are included.

The text above is by the exhibition's curator, Tom Trusky, professor of
English and director of the Hemingway Western Studies Center at Boise State
University and director of the Idaho Center for the Book.

The exhibition's address on the World-Wide Web is

(Sysops Note: It has also been added to the Book Arts Links Section of our
home page at http://web.syr.edu/~pdverhey)

Copyright (c) 1996 by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc.
Title: 'Cranks, Ranters, Ravers'
Published: 96/03/22
Peter D. Verheyen                                       <wk> 315.443.9937
Conservation Librarian                                  <fax>315.443.9510
Syracuse University Library               <email>pdverhey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Syracuse University                    <www>http://web.syr.edu/~pdverhey/
Syracuse, NY 13244                <Listowner>Book_Arts-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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