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

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