Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little Red Corvette

Today as I reach another age milestone, I am thinking about the past more than usual. I am always musing about days gone by, especially apparent with the Slack magazines I have been resurrecting as of late. But on my B-day, a little more than usual.....

This day, my birthday, May 28th was always was a signal that Summer was fast approaching. After the Memorial Day festivities have past and the promise of June was right around the corner, all I could think of when I was a kid was Summer! All I did all summer in 1973, when I was 8, was camp and swim (the year of the accompanying photo).

Top Things I Am Going To Do On My B-day Today:

  1. Work- well, it's not glamorous, but it's true. I can't get out of that, I do own my own company...
  2. Wear my new B-day shoes (wearing 'em now!)
  3. Drink a beer (maybe 2 or more...).
  4. Eat some Bocce's pizza.
  5. Get a lot of kisses from my girls.
  6. Read email-wishes from some friends.
  7. Talk to my Mom & Dad on the phone- they always calls.
  8. Listen to music (everyday- it's my lifeblood- keeps me going).
  9. Bask in the glory-- read my name on other blogs/websites (see Typecon Events page, DJs deja blu at the saturday Night Gala)
  10. See my friend Edreys rap live at Allen Hall tonight!
  11. Watch Playoff Hockey at Casa- maybe Sid the Kid will score a goal tonight? eh?
Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Serve The Servants

We have reached the end of an era as we bid adios to hizzoner
Slack no. 3, The Politico Issue
ROCKtober, 1993 (published 10-11-93)

When I awoke on a chilly Memorial Day Monday I went downstairs to make some coffee and read today's delivered holiday issue of my local paper. I was surprised to see the front page obit for hizzoner, James D. Griffin. Buffalo mayor for 4 terms, Jimmy had a reputation that grew (for bad and worse) as his years in office went on and on and on... He will always be remembered for tearing down Billy Lawless's dancing neon penis sculpture that was aside to the Thruway-- every tom, richard and harry (and their wives and mothers) could see it on their commute into the city. He threatened reporters and actual punched a few, and he gave Buffalo one of it's most famous quotes about staying in and getting a sixpack during the big blizzard of '77.

Well as my tribute to a Buffalo political legend-- I give you Slack no. 3, The Politico issue. The issue hit the streets as Jimmy was finally leaving Buff's top spot in 1993 and features some nice close range reports on Jimmy's history in office. There is some riotous journalistic screed about politics nationally in 1993 & 1st Prez Bushie by Horrorscope writer Brad M as well.

The poltics end there.... The rest of the issue is full of musical features including ,nirvana, nirvana, nirvana (the kids were crazy for that band, ya know...) Strick's Top 13 "Never Listened" To Albums (a record by Strange Advance is to remain sealed until his death which at that time it should be 'played in accordance with his will.'), a whopping 10 DJ lists, an 808 State interview by Andre and a Bitter Boy piece bemoaning 1993 rock as "inexperienced fluff."

Looking back at issue number 3 I was happy to see:

  • a more polished layout
  • better quality photosand scans
  • Horrorscope's 'official outlaw of the month'. Capricorn was Stinky Al D'Amato.
  • an actual photo shot for Slack by a photog for the cover (which was cool)
  • eight paid ads (one for The Jumpers Reunion Show and one which I scanned plastic wrap for the background)

Looking back at issue number 3 I was sorry to see:
  • Optima
  • an Urge Overkill song in my DJ list (what was I thinking with this band again!)
  • begging for subscriptions in the editorial
  • that's about it...
Download it here: Slack n. 3, The Politico Issue (4 Mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue

Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We'll Make Great Pets

Reared on Television, Slackers are Defining a Generation in the '90s
Slack no. 1, The Debut Issue
no month, 1993 (published 7-27-93)

"The Son of SOTT" was the subhead from the cover of every issue of Slack magazine-- this was a reference to the Sign O' The Time, Slack's predecessor from 1990. Oh yeah, the birth of the 'slacker,' as us kids were labeled, Generation X... ah good, old July 1993. Paul Westerberg's 1st solo record just came out! What a heady time fueled by rock and roll, grungy shenanigans, only 2 bars on Chippewa you dared set foot in (3rd Room and Atomic), Bass Ale and Phototshop filters.

This first issue took months, maybe even a year to actually come out. Much hype proceeded it's street debut at coffee shops, bars, nightclubs, record stores, college campus's, restaurants, and shops up and down Elmwood Ave. It was started-- as it says in the editorial-- 'because I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and a lot of powerful computer equipment beneath my fingertips..." I had a job at The Retouchables, a pre-press outfit by the airport, and I had access to some good macs, scanners, and an imagesetter.

The 1st Slack was lightweight, with only 12 pages and included poorly reproduced dark-ass graphics- I remember being so disappointed with the reproductions after meticulously scanning images, cutting, pasting, clicking and dragging this baby together. It has only 4 stories (counting the editorial), 4 paid ads and 8 DJ lists. Hey, it was a start. I was a little gun-shy after the Sign 'O The Times came crashing down after only 6 issues. But this still felt pretty good to get this thing patched together-- visiting DJs and hanging around as they wrote down their list for the month, scanning the hand-drawn comics by JH Mack Nair, and folding and stapling the some 500 or so issues that were delivered during an afternoon and a night of drinking and delivering around Buffalo.

Slack magazine was the beginning of a three year journey of writing, editing, curating (writers stories, DJ lists, hand-made ads, and ad payments). This was my first publication which turned out to be a success judged by it's fans, current collectors, and writers that went on to become writers- who knew?

The cover promised:

  • Social Commentary
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • The return of ROCK
  • DJ Lists
  • Comics
  • Comedy
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Horroscope Returns!
Other Notes on Slack no. 1:

The comic artists in Slack:
JH Mack Nair was a leftover from the SOTT era. Jim's comics only appeared in the first two issues of Slack before he literally disappeared and was replaced by Hump and the Slacker in Space serial written and drawn by Don Keller. Jim's Captain Barfly bears a slight resemblance to the artist himself as well as a certain Replacements lead singer...

The bravado in my editorial is pretty funny to read these days. Man, I was so full of piss and vinegar- we thought we had the greatest thing going with Slack! And for a time, we did....
"Read on and enjoy, you slackers. And if you own a business in Buffalo, please buy an ad space in what will be the greatest alternative publication to unearth from the streets of Buffalo. The tradition is once again 'in yo face' and 'in yo mind.' Wake up Slackers, this magazine is for you."
The Horroscope (another SOTT carry over) continued a tradition of having a special feature every month along with really crazy ass horoscopes, ramblings, magic and predictions.... a spellcheck nightmare!

This issue includes an Official Sure Sign of Summer for each Horrorscope:

Birthday: Outdoor cuisine that is charred beyond recognition.
Aries: Driving and driving and driving. Are we there yet?
Taurus: Drinking because it is sooooooo hot out there.
Gemini: People who let their pets drive.
Cancer: People who insist on wearing the wrong clothes.
Leo: The high concentration of mass commercialism and a faulty attitude toward the safety of the peoples (huh?).
Virgo: Men wearing tights in the park and trying to recall their Shakespearian lines.
Libra: The eternal blinker on the expressway of life.
Scorpio: A romantic stroll with Tom Arnold. Yikes!
Sagittarius: The beach, the waves, the sunburn...
Capricorn: Lots and lots of Perry's ice cream with all manners of sprinkles and toppings on it.
Aquarius: Barbecue, backyards, beers, beaches.
Pieces: A sort attention span.

Download it here: Slack n. 1, The Debut Issue (3.1 Mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If I Only Had a Brain

The Media vs. the Juice
Slack no. 11, The True Crime Issue
July-August 1994 (published 7-14-94)
The Phat Summer Reader

The blood dripped from where the knife sliced in and pooled around the edges of the wood. Earlier the rain came so I had to abandon my grill plans (you know us charcoal guys, we need that 20 minutes to get it going at least, maybe a half hour). I was stuck broiling and I couldn't seem to get this piece of meat cooked.

I was thinking of OJ, who was a star player in the issue of Slack I just scanned last night, the True Crime issue. Issue no. 11 went to print in the middle of July 1994 and it was two weeks prior that the Juice went on his slow Bronco run. I remember the night vividly as confusion filled the Third Room on Chippewa as all action was suspended. The crowd stared at the slow moving chase on the bar TV. This city, the world was mesmerized. I was DJing that Friday night, but had to wait until OJ surrendered several hours later. Weird and surreal, to say the least.

The trial was still far off and everyone was talking about OJ around here a lot. Buffalo played a big part in OJ's life and I remembered seeing him at Mulligan's on Hertel Avenue in the '80s one night latched onto 2 blond women- I always thought one of them could have been the late Nicole Brown Simpson, before she became late. Time has not been kind to OJ as we have seen the media splash his name in front of us anytime anything happened involving the Juice-- and things happened often including violent outbursts involving golf clubs and memorabilia stick-ups and what not.

The Slack True Crime issue features some great text about Buffalo in 1994 including several OJ pieces, Slack writer Gary Marzloff's story about spending a night in the holding center, a list of the best crime movies, and a detailed timeline titled The History of Sensational Crime- us Slackers were awesome researchers (and without using that Goolge or Wikipedia you kids like to click on)! This issue includes some great local music stuff including: a set of musings about Buffalonian's lack of dancing ability in Dre's After Dark column, an interview with Moe (a young then 3 year old band) talking about gigs at the Essex Street Pub! and some local record reviews including the Steam Donkey's Cosmic Americana and Them Jazzbeard's Highballs, Lowbrows and Presbyterians CD. Great!

Notes on Slack number eleven:

> It's highlighted on the cover "More words per square inch than any issue of Slack so far!" and there is some really small 7 or 8 point type in this issue... I expected people to read this?

> Hollywood's Best True Crime Portrayals list includes the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.

> Some great old Buffalo ads including Das Boot, The Remix Shop and The Otherside- which was DJ Scotty's radio program he did on WJJL AM 1440 on Saturday evenings. This was when I first met Mr. Scott who went on to become the other half of deja blu (10 years strong! Peace!).

> A Pisces Horroscope that concludes:

" Mr. Big wants to see you in his office right away. Stop coloring outside of the lines. A positive approach leaves you dawdling. You feel expressive. Avoid all summer blockbusters. They will cause neuralgia. You should enjoy the weather and get in touch with friends. Tempers flare and so do nostrils. Your are sleepy. You can relate. You feel love. You peel potatoes. You reach new heights. You are alive. That is all."
Download it here: Slack n. 11, The True Crime Issue (3.5 Mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sweet and Dandy

Next Thursday May 15th Reggae Dance Party at the Mohawk!
A unusual musical happening in a most unusual place....

Jason and Scott and I are going to jump back in time to the days when DJ Scotty hosted reggae parties on the patio of Osaka entitled 'Bass Culture - Scotty with KO, Bridgit & friends. ' I was one of the friends once.

Ah, the sound of summer goes indoors to the dark rock clubness of the 'Hawk! We are hoping to give it that reggae dance club/juke joint vibe where DJs played records for the people all night long! Cold beer will be a available for adults as well as actual musicians to perform (it says Special Musical Guest on the flyer I made)...

My good man Mixwell Einstein joins Scotty and I for the first time together in the booth since maybe his appearances as a guest during the '03-'04 Every-Other-Saturday Night OTW gigs? Fact check, please..?

Our deja blu posse will be sharing the decks at the rock club with WBNY's DJ Universal-- who has a good sense of history and the music. There is a special guest: DJ Super (and rock guy commercial real estate guy) Chris who's b-day we will be celebrating. " And if you heard we were celebrating, it was a world wide lie!" Sorry, it's another PE sample again.

Should be a blast, check out Uni's MySpace groove online or listen to him this Sunday night (May 11, 2008) at 6-9 PM on 91.3 wbny for a warm up!

And if you look in the photos section of the deja blu website, there are some vintage Bass Culture snapshots from the opening of Osaka's Patio July 26, 2002. See the photo of a short-haired Mixwell mixin' da roots (to my right).

Reggae Dance Party- Thursday May 15th- 7 o'clock PM.
Mohawk Place - 47 East Mohawk Place - Buffalo, New York

Hope to see ya there!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Little Underground

Typecon coming to Buffalo this July!
Type Geeks of the World Unite!

Last night I attended the second local planning/info meeting for punkt: Typecon 2008 that is being help in Buffalo on July 15-20th. The meeting was at the magnificent Karpeles Manuscript Library in Allentown and it was infectious. The level of energy among the SOTA folks involved with this event is wonderful.

The meeting:
The couple dozen folks in attendance seemed dulled by the echoes of the Karlpeles church hall (I thought I should have genuflected upon entering) and a few questions couldn't even be heard (Good luck to the AV person the night Sagmeister is speaking!). But upon adjourning to the front room everyone had a chance to speak to either Tammy (SOTA), Brian (from TO and a SOTA board member), Jim from Typeco (who has been to EVERY Typecon!) and Rich and Carima from local foundry P22- they are the local Typecon liasons. Well worth attending...

The event:
This 5 day event is bringing some the major rock and roll stars of graphic design and typography to Buffalo from all over the world and should be a smashing success. Currently they are looking to build the volunteer staff to help with the nuts and bolts of running the event. Anyone who volunteers gets free admission to that days events. For example, you might work in the morning volunteering and spend the afternoon able to go to workshops or to see a speaker.

Many of the events will also be free to the general public including the amazing Stefan Sagmeister at Karpeles and the one-of-akind Erik Spiekermann an the Albright Knox (do not miss this design fans). Other highlights will include Dutch design wonderkinds NLXL at UB, various type gallery events and shows, workshops with the likes of Matthew Carter, Akira Kobayashi, Jakob Trollback, Rich from P22 and one of my favorites, House Industries. Your favorite DJs to the stars, deja blu will also be groovin' at the Gala Party at the Hyatt on Saturday (19th). Come see if Erik Spiekermann will dance to Kraftwerk, eh? Or is that too cliche for a German designer?

Why you:
This a must for all graphic artists and lovers of the 'sport of design'. RoamBuffalo will be in full attendance and reporting along the way, so stay tuned! I am telling you, you are going to want to be there, really.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Tammy at SOTA- here.
Info on the event will be posted here (TYPECON site).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Free Shirt (er..bird)!!

Congratulations!! We have our weiner.

DJ Nate Pharaoh entered and got a good dozen or so correct. Though he should automatically be disqualified for attributing Billy Idol to a PUBLIC ENEMY song!! My word!

Nate got all the funk ones, soul songs and a couple reggae ones. His missed all The Smiths (a band he dislikes) and the Clash songs, which there was a lot of.

Nate come by and pick up your prize: a Where To Roam shirt.

Heer is the list of correct answers: click here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cast No Shadow

Drought index is high. Chili pepper index is low. Nine Inch Nails- David Bowie pairing is questionable. Welcome to another edition of the global-cyber view to your future. (Horrorscope intro p. 16)

Slack magazine no. 18 - the Two-Year Anniversary! issue
October 1995 (published 10.1.95)

Casting the seed of doubt as the Rangers win one, that's what the guy said. As Slack magazine matured it got slicker. It lost a lot of it's cut and paste aesthetic as I created my own magazine layout vocabulary built on years of reading rock mags, Playboys, art books, comic books, Entertainment Weekly, vintage Life mags and street newspapers. The Slack existed at this time among a great group of mid-nineties street zines including Snot, Sacred Cow, Avenue Player, and a young Artvoice. It was a heady time for all. Selling ads and drinking beer!

This time I choose to jump ahead to a really good issue of Slack. Eighteen issues in 2 years, and I think this particular one really shows Slack mania in full form. The cover is great and the layout within has reached a tight, pleasing balance. With a Halloween and Fall-filled issue (2 football stories by our illustrious staff writers: Bitter Boy and Strick), Slack no. 18 was subtitled "Buffalo's Best Reading Material" (says so right on the cover!). Included are ads by some of Buffalo's top movers in 1995 including: Concrete, Atomic, CowPok, New World Record (see cool ad below), Das Boot! and a couple ICONcerts. Looks like Cowpok will be the last man standing as NWR plans to shut its doors in less that 3 weeks from today!

Flashback: There is a concert ad that features "Just Announced: Green Day on Nov 8th" and I remember this show as the last free show I went to that was put on by ICONcerts . It was at the Niagara Falls Convention Center -- before it became the Casino-- and I was there. I was watching 13 year olds standing on their chairs, as their parents sat next to them quietly, chanting 'f--- you' with lead singer Billie Joe. Bizzare to say the least.

Anyway back to this Slack 2-yr Anniversary issue, highlights include:

Cheers: Many great record reviews with Scotty's Oasis music section cover story.
Jeers: My praise for (as time has told us) a weak Urge Overkill record, sorry kids.

Cheers: Dre's After Dark with a window into the club scene in Bflo -95, name-checking other cool zines at the time: Snot and Sacred Cow
Jeers: Seeing the Buffalo Nickel Lounge ad and remembering we never got paid for it!

Cheers: Bitter Boy bagging on "Couch Spuds and Their Football Passions"

"Grab your Zubazz & remotes and warm up your thumbs..."
Jeers: Too short Horrorscopes. These were comedy gold, I tell ya!

Lance Posner where are you?

Download it here: Slack no. 18, the Two-Year Anniversary Issue (3.4 Mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue

Just a Little More, Baby

Get your responses in for our name the blog post titles/song titles!
Deadline is today (Thursday, May 1),
and I will be announcing the winner tonight!!

I will also post the complete list of answers as well- so look for it.

Hurry, hurry, hurry!!!

Contest details >> here.