News & Reviews


Fifth Estate # 342, Summer 1993

We could spend all day reading here in the basement apartment which serves as the office for the Fifth Estate. Our mailbox gets stuffed with several ‘zines and newspapers a week, and a few hundred each year. The underground press continues to flourish, yet even our favorite ‘zines rarely get mentioned in these pages. We’ve often left such zine-scene surveys to those who do it best: Factsheet Five, Anarchy and Maximum Rock N Roll. For this issue I tried to pick out some of my favorite mags to mention in a completely biased and subjective manner.

Deep Threat “the revolution will not be about size!” ($1 or “whatever” from 3018 “J” St. #140, Sacramento, CA 55816) is the fourth issue of a constantly changing, cut-and-paste periodical which espouses wild humor, free play, radical politics and counterculture lifestyles.

It began with Alphabet Threat and has evolved through Bicycle Threat and Castration Threat. The attitude and layout style remind me of Live Wild Or Die. I hope we all live to see this spirited project through Zebra Threat because it consistently packs hilarious and defiant rants, acting as a playful balm which deviates from the dreadful seriousness which plagues far too many anarchist publications (including our own).

The current ish includes “Are You A Good Bitch Or A Bad Bitch? A Manifesto for Babes, Beavers, Chicks, Cunts, Fillies, Gals, Gashes, Girls, Hags, Hos, Holes, Hussies, Ladies, Pussies, Sluts, Slits, Squeezes. Tomatoes, Toots, Trollops, Twats, Wenches, Witches, Wives, Whores and Little Missies” bi Babe de Generation, “Fabulous Fun with Menstrual Blood” by Daring Dingbat, and the crass cannabilistic carnivore recipe for Landlord Lunchmeat (“preferably a real asshole landlord but, really, any property owner will do.”) These passionate, pansexual anarcha-feminist freaks take the old idiom “the personal is political” to new plateaus of hilarity. Good for giggles and gleeful insight into living the insurrectionary life.

Mad Woman (#4, Spring 1993, $2 from 1138 N. Wolcott, #3R, Chicago, IL 60622) makes mainstream feminism seem like an outdated organizational tool for politicians and housewives and academic feminism seem like an uptight and insular discourse for analyzing patriarchy.

Primarily an art and poetry ‘zine, Mad Woman is created by the “Sister Serpents” who are pissed off and proud of their in-yerface attitudes and politics. The only disapointment is the “Peep Show Porn Shop” rant which begins as a personal critique and deconstruction of a visit to a porno palace. It sadly ends with a pat regurgitation of the anti-porn party line.

More impressive, the incisive scissors-and-glue revision of mainstream advertising and the “Used Boyfriend Auction” jeer, round out a playful read, uncompromising in its “grrrl-style” politics.

RFD (#73, Spring 1993, $5.50 or $18/ year from Short Mt. Collective, Rt 1, Box 84A, Liberty, TN 37095) is a twenty- year-old journal of eroticism, spirituality, community, culinary/agricultural craft and radical faerie consciousness. Emerging from the communal life of gay men at Short Mountain Tennessee, RFD embodies the resilient radicalism and enduring creativity at the margins of the modern gay lib movement. From safe sex to poetry to a faerie guide to the recent March on Washington, this is a quilt of passionate perspectives for the quixotic queer.

Dumpster Times (#12, $2 or $10/year from PO Box 80044, @kron, OH 44308) brings intelligent explorations of anti-authoritarian thought from a central Ohio hotbed of anarchist activity, Akron. The current edition elaborates on opposition to the fever-pitch of anti-drug hysteria via “Confessions of an Amerikan LSD Eater” by a prisoner-of-the-drug war, Dale Gowin, and “The Moral Culture of Drug Prohibition” by Ed D’Angelo.

The Dumpster is published by performance artist/activist Wanda S. Duck, who had to “reconstruct” this issue after a fire (on the 4th of July, already a bad day for anarchists) burned her out of the “twinplex she was sharing with some other comrades in art.” I’ve followed Wanda’ s work ever since we met at an all-Ohio anarchist picnic in 1991 and it’s good to see her bounce back after a sabattical from publishing (those familiar and irregular lapses to which all ‘zine editors can relate). —Sunfrog

A Distribution has moved to a new address: PO Box 2361, Landover Hills, MD 20784. They do not send out retail catalogs but are seeking wholesale accounts with anarchist booksellers.

Jason McQuinn and the intrepid gang at Anarchy magazine seem to be launching an anarchist media center in a small Missouri town. Their quarterly publication has taken on a professional format with full-color glossy covers, a print run of 6,000 and plans to increase it to 20,000 through aggressive marketing techniques.

McQuinn thinks anarchism can be booted into the mainstream through well done publications. Although often Anarchy’s major articles are reprints, it is always a good read such as the Summer 1993 edition which features Fredy Perlman’s essay, “The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism,” which first appeared in the Winter 1984 Fifth Estate.

As if the work on the magazine isn’t enough, Anarchy has announced publication of the Alternative Press Review which will publish the “best essays from radical zines, tabloids, books and magazines.” One unfortunate result of the increased work load is now “the major shit work will need to be paid shit work,” according to McQuinn. The dark side of a project taking on the qualities of a small business is that it is forced to begin to operate like one although the Anarchy collective will continue as an “unpaid, cooperative staff.”

Charter subscriptions are $14, while subs to Anarchy are $12, both from Columbia Anarchist League, POB 1442, Columbia MO 65205.

The postcard below [not reproduced in Web archive] was produced by M. Spira, whose vividly visual volume of art blends surrealism and social realism, was released in 1992. To receive the postcard or the book, contact: Membrum, PO Box 1494, Gibsons BC, Canada, V0N 1V0.