I'm, yet again, unable to sleep. In my attempts to make myself tired, I started scrolling through the pictures on my phone and I've reached a conclusion:
One of the most depressing things about the shit that's wrong in my head is that I can look at pictures of myself...and as I scroll from older to newer, I can actually see the light flicker out. I can pinpoint almost the exact moment that it finally died.
^^ That's connected with how our body reacts to light. We start generating melatonin (sleep hormone) in darkness. Apparently warm milk helps jump start melatonin output as well. However a racing mind does need distractions, otherwise sleep is a tough task...
I get about 4 hours a night. Not great when you are up at 6.30am. It adds up towards the end of the week and I'm fooled. Not stressed or anything just naturally have a very restless, overactive mind. Not having a television or DVD player in my bedroom as helped.
Now I'm the founder of OG alt erotica and entertainment sites, but I started off laying out zines, in a group house basement, with a hand waxer.
During the zine revolution, I began publishing Black Leather Times (BLT for short), an antisocial humor zine with cool funny artwork and appalling but witty prose. My unsavory pals and I would give away thousands of copies of each issue for free at goth-industrial nightclubs, science fiction conventions, and local punk, sex, and music boutiques.
I graduated to putting out the full color, glossy, internationally distributed, critically-acclaimed Blue Blood magazine of counterculture erotica.
Then the internet came along and made this sort of behavior into a viable business and Blue Blood evolved into some of the first alt sites on the net.
Kickstarter Staff Pick BLT punk humor book 25 year Black Leather Times zine omnibus: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ameliag/blt
Blue Blood web site: http://www.blueblood.net/
Professor Duncombe's general thesis is that zines often have charismatic convincing voices, but they tend not to effect enough social change because zinesters other themselves and seek intimacy with their audience in a way which requires a small size. Speaking about BLT, in his chapter on "The Politics of Alternative Culture," he wrote:
Bohemians have worked long and hard, shedding the values and appearances of their upbringing and creating new ones in replacement, why should they turn around and embrace the very things and people they've left? Think again of the pride of Black Leather Times's Amelia G in "loud, joyous proclamations of our freakdom, our otherness, our willingness to be different"; and her glee in mass rejection: "So what if we horrified the neighbors; we exulted in one another." The problem is this: in order to effect political change when you have no power, you need your neighbors.
I'm going to resist my own pedantic impulse to take a professor to school on what it means to be punk or at least my own personal micro social psychology. I'm just going to take a moment to stop and smell the roses and be stoked that my sweet antisocial baby BLT is in university textbooks. BLT is being taught in school. Now please go back the BLT Kickstarter and own a piece of zinester history.
Yay! We've got a whole bunch of potential T-shirt designs ready to go. BLT's wonderful kind backers will be the ones to decide which ones we actually produce. The plan is to make a minimum of 3 of these designs, although I kind of want them all, now that I am looking at them. Old skool folks will recognize Forrest Black's reworking of the classic BLT knight tee. Slash's genius artwork features throughout. These will be printed with very current screenprinting techniques, so they will be super soft and comfy, not plastic-y at all. We can get these in up to 3X size. I'll be requesting backer preferences in designs and size, after the Kickstarter project is (hopefully) successful. Backers won't be charged at all, unless the project meets its funding goal.
*New* Jumbo BLT T-Shirt Designs
July 27, 2015, 04:37:pm
Thank you I'm thinking of doing the last one in more of a latte/coffee-ice-cream tan instead of the red, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy with them. The process I have planned for the printing is going to be nice too.
I've just added some new BLT t-shirt designs to the BLT Zine Omnibus Kickstarter page. We're probably going to need to get supporter feedback on which ones people want most. I have a bunch more designs to complete, but I really like these. BLT zine artwork by our cool collaborator Slash. Some of you old school folks might recognize the F-Thee design, which is a bit of an update on the original BLT t-shirt printed by Tony Tribby, some 20ish years ago.
Blue Blood's BLT in The Miami Herald and Librarians are Awesome
July 27, 2015, 04:05:pm
As I've been working on the BLT Kickstarter, I've been doing some deep searching in Google and Bing/Yahoo. For those just tuning in, BLT was the zine I started before Blue Blood and it is very funny, if you have ever lived in a punk rock group house, gone to goth-industrial clubs, gotten drunk at science fiction cons, or at least known people who engaged in related activities. So I want to do a giant 400 page collection of all the issues of Black Leather Times (BLT for short), along with some reminiscences and technical production info for fellow zinesters. Okay, now that everyone is on the same page, back to searching BLT and Black Leather Times.
I saw that a journalist named Rene Rodriguez at the gigantic circulation Miami Herald did a huge feature on the zine revolution and selected BLT as one of the zines she covered. The article was not online, but a wonderful librarian I know helped me find the original. In the age of the internet, it would be impossible to get press from a newspaper as huge as The Miami Herald and not know about it.
The tiny (and misleadingly titled) Black Leather Times has only 12 pages per issue, boasting impressively intricate (and twisted) pen-and-ink illustrations along with its grab bag of essays, stories and advice columns, all centering around a different theme (employment, travel, holidays, Valentine's Day).
Nice shoutout to the awesome artwork, the lion's share of which was done by Slash. I like that they got the concept that each issue of BLT had a theme. In all fairness, although we thought it was obvious at the time that Black Leather Times was a reference to our crowd all wearing leather jackets, a lot of people did think it was a kinky sex thing. Which helped encourage me to start Blue Blood, so that misunderstanding worked out pretty well in the long run.
Other zines mentioned in-depth in the Miami Herald article "Magazines Like You've Never Seen" include Gnosis, Gray Areas, Answer Me, Cross-Talk, Smart Drug News, Diseased Pariah News, Girljock, Twilight of the Idols, Science Fiction Eye, and Boing Boing. There are also brief mentions of Wonderful Lifestyle, Prison Life, Mercury Rising, Whorezine, Satan Wears a Bra, Jack Ruby Slippers, Presence, Short Circuit, The Skeptical Inquirer, Frostbite Falls Far Flung Flier, Whole Earth Review, American Window Cleaner, and Asian Trash Cinema. Out of all of those publications, plus more from Richard Kadrey's Covert Culture Sourcebook, the author found Boing Boing and BLT the hardest to classify.
Magazine Central: BLT, Blue Blood, Boing Boing & High Times in SPI
July 27, 2015, 04:04:pm
As I've been working on pulling everything for the BLT Punk Humor Book 25 Year Black Leather Times Zine Omnibus, I've been finding all sorts of odd surprisingly non-ephemeral ephemera from the past. Below you will see an advert which ran in SPIN magazine approximately a zillion years ago. The ad is for both BLT and Blue Blood and a bunch of other titles. Looking through this advert, I think the only other folks left standing from this piece of the zine revolution are Boing-Boing (who are crushing it online) and High Times (who pre-dated desktop publishing.)
There was this project called Magazine Central and it shared large, high ceilinged, nicely sunlit, SF offices with these two zines called Future Sex and The Nose. Magazine Central had the clever business model of buying full page ads in high circulation magazines and dividing those pages up into lots of little ads they sold at a profit, mostly to other zinesters, keeping just a few slots for themselves. Magazine Central also did the order processing, at a time when getting credit card processing was actually rare and challenging. I actually kind of wish someone would do something like Magazine Central now. Only maybe with more careful accounting.
In the end, Magazine Central wound up screwing everybody. Kind of unnecessarily; I would have considered us square if they'd given me some punk rock barter, in place of the funds they owed. I don't recall either of their names, but I remember having a conversation with the wife of the dude from Magazine Central, where she told me that things were so bad that her husband had taken a day job. At the time, I was publishing Black Leather Times and Blue Blood from spare rooms in a Maryland punk rock group house called Hollowpoint (a nice punk rock group house, but still) and had never quit my day job. So I was nonplussed by her presenting a day job as the worst thing in the universe. Just a really insensitive thing to say to a zinester because most zines are at least partly a labor of love. Heck, I've heard the Newhouse family (of Condé Nast) loses money on magazines but loves publishing. Anyway, the Magazine Central mode of outreach was pretty cool while it lasted and I think we connected with a lot of readers we might not have gotten to reach otherwise. I only wish it had been able to continue longer (by say not blowing so much of their budget on San Francisco VC parties and expensive offices.)
The best ad ever was in Esquire for one issue before the mag decided stuff like Blue Blood was too racy for their readership. Their readership, who purchased in great quantity, clearly did not agree with their editorial management. Fortunately, others like SPIN were more progressive and open-minded.
Anyway, I've been thinking about those times a lot. I'd love it if you guys would check out the BLT Kickstarter and consider backing it. You know you need 400 pages of bite-sized anti-social humor.
(this scan is from the 1990's so don't call the 1-800 number