Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Days Left to keep OBSOLETE! Alive!

Update: Good News! With the money raised outside of the indiegogo campaign, we passed the halfway way point to our ultimate fundraising goal for the next four issues of OBSOLETE! BUT... there is still time for you to help out. Even a couple bucks will get us a little closer to putting out 3, or even 4 great issues in 2013. THREE DAYS LEFT to contribute!

Over the last two years, the team here at OBSOLETE! Magazine has worked hard to put out 6 issues of a real, live, newsprint tabloid arts magazine. It's not a blog, it's not a twitter feed, it's not a webzine. It's a real, old-school underground newspaper, distributed  through a network of volunteers who have placed free copies at locally-owned shops, independent businesses and public libraries from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. I'm proud to say that we have published work from great emerging artists and writers, as well as some well-established talents. Early on, I set a policy of paying for new, unpublished work, unlike most of the outlets young writers and artists have available to them in these times of devalued digital content. I am very grateful for the chance to work with so many talented and dedicated people and support their work, while they support ours.

As you can see, we are bucking the trends in publishing... and literally paying the price. Thanks to an early online fundraiser and a few loyal and generous advertisers, we have squeaked by, but paying the talent, printing the papers at a local printer and shipping them via USPS has taken its toll, financially. Yes, I know it's a ridiculous business model–create an expensive product and give it away for free. Yes, I am crazy, naive... and most likely stupid.

OBSOLETE! has been a grand experiment - a meta-zine examining the relevance of print, assessing the pros and cons of technology and questioning a society that wants artists to work for free, while happily paying a premium price for drinking water. At the same time, it's an experiment in equity crowdfunding and gift economics. By taking small donations from many supporters, we are trying to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. It's a platform for social commentary. It's a free gift for customers who support local businesses. It's a free source of ideas for people with limited resources. It's a unique way to promote contributors and advertisers. It's a way to build community in the non-virtual world. It's an outpost of analog media in an increasingly digital world - an excuse to unplug and enjoy the physical experience of reading.

A month ago, we launched an online fundraising campaign in hope of pulling together enough money to put out the next four issues of OBSOLETE! Magazine. I set an ambitious goal of $5600. (enough to cover the per issue costs of $500 to print 3000 copies, $300 for shipping and $600 to pay contributors) knowing that it would be tough to reach, but thinking that if we could at least reach half of that amount, we could use it to leverage grants or other funds to raise the remainder. Surprisingly (to me, at any rate), as of today we've reached less than 1/4 of that  goal, and there are only 10 days left to raise the money we need to continue. There is a very good chance that issue #7 may be the last for OBSOLETE!

Perhaps this is just an indication that analog media is truly dying - that people aren't interested in supporting the non-digital format. Maybe it's a failure on my part to deliver a product that people really want. Maybe the model is tragically flawed - after all, distributing beyond the local community is something underground papers have always found challenging, even in their heyday. Maybe the people who do support it are just as broke as we are, and simply unable to afford even a small donation. I accept that any and all of these are possible. Still, as much as I hate to beg and spam, I'm going to invite all of you, once again, to take part in keeping OBSOLETE! alive and free.

You can help in several ways. First - just drop us a couple bucks. You can take part in the online fundraiser at . You can also mail a check, as some folks have - if you don't like the on-line thing. Even if you can't afford to contribute financially, you can help us by spreading the word. Let your friends know that you support OBSOLETE! and maybe they should too. Finally - send us your feedback. Let us know what you like and don't like about the paper. We are open to suggestions on content, format, distribution, funding... let us know what you like - or equally as important, what you don't like and why you aren't contributing.

A special thanks to all of you who stepped up early and continue to support our project. We have special thank you gifts and perks prepared to send out at the end of the campaign. We will keep forging ahead, and with your help and input, we hope to keep putting OBSOLETE! out there in the real, physical world.

Best wishes -
Rich Dana
OBSOLETE! Magazine
POB 72
Victor, IA 52347

Sunday, November 18, 2012

1983 Zine unearthed!

This is the 2nd issue of an arts zine I published in the early 1980's in Iowa City. Viva Boheme has a strong punk streak, but this issue also features features fiction by Toma Longinovic and poetry by Robert Dana. This 1983 issue includes an article on the infamous ""Black Wedding", held at the Black Angel in Oakland Cemetery.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are still taking submissions for issue #7!

OBSOLETE! Magazine is seeking high quality writing and artwork for the upcoming issue. The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY, and will explore the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture.

Short fiction, essays, poetry, illustrations, comics and photography will all be considered. You may submit completed work or pitch a story idea. Some story ideas might include: The history of zines and/or fan fiction, the influence of scifi on technology, the rise of “Cons”, “Citizen Science”, Geek and “Maker “Culture.

The deadline for submissions is November 30th. OBSOLETE! offers token payment for original content but we also consider previously published material or excerpts from upcoming books. OBSOLETE! is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

For more information, please email Rich at

Unfortunately, our site, is still down due to Hurricane Sandy, so for now we will be posting updates at this blog.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 down due to Sandy

Just in case you recently tried to visit We are down due to our hosting company being knocked out by Hurricane Sandy.  Fear not- we will be back soon!  For now, we will go back to using this blog site, and remember that all of our merch is available at a discount right now if you contribute to our online fundraiser. We still have a long way to go, so please consider giving OBSOLETE! a hand.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

OBSOLETE! needs your support!

I hope you have had a chance to enjoy the six issues we have published over the last 2 years. I'm really proud of what we have accomplished- on a shoestring budget we have distributed our little underground arts and lit paper from coast to coast in the US, in the UK and Canada, all through a grassroots guerilla distribution network of volunteers and independently-owned local businesses. And did I mention we give it away for free? You can read back issues online for free as well,  just visit our new website at

Can you help by contributing to our online fundraiser?

It costs us about $1000 to put out each issue. That includes PAYING OUR WRITERS AND ARTISTS FOR ORIGINAL CONTENT, printing and distribution. If we can reach our goal, we can be assured of continuing publication for the next 4 issues and distribute to an even wider audience.  Please visit, contribute, and grab some great perks!

We appreciate your support SO much!

Rich Dana

Monday, October 15, 2012

Check out our new website!


Please check it out- will eventually take the place of this blog, but for the short term we will still be posting here as well....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What are you really eating?

Sign ©WILDGIRL®/Ericka Dana 1998, photo ©WILDGIRL®/Ericka Dana 2012.

See (Pesticide Action Network) for current statistics on the types and amounts of chemical residues found in specific foods and the human health effects of pesticide residues, and for EPA maximum pesticide residues allowed. (Both are interactive searchable databases.)

Obsolete! Now accepting Bitcoins (again)

After a short hiatus, we are once again accepting Bitcoins for purchase of Obsolete!

If you don't know about Bitcoin:

"Bitcoin is an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is also the name of the open source software which enables the use of this currency."

Email us to arange payment-  we are currently charging .41 Bitcoins for the current issue (about $4.50 - cheaper than the USD price!)

Embracing Illness: Issue 6 Intro

Illustration by John Gill
by Rich Dana

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a  profoundly sick society.”  
—Jiddu Krishnamurti

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of  the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as “Obamacare”.  The bill has been lauded by supporters and pilloried by detractors, but the majority of Americans don’t really understand what the new health care law does.  The 974 page monument to government mediocrity is not a clear and decisive overhaul of the wretched and corrupt American “health care system”, but  rather it represents what remains when government bureaucrats leave behind any noble ideals and principals in favor of temporary political mojo. We are left to hope that the few crumbs that fall from the master’s table will ease our healthcare burden.

(Why not order your copy of Obsolete! #6 Today?  Use the paypal link on the right to help support Obsolete!)

The bill does not provide for universal healthcare. It does not provide socialized medicine, OR conversely, a true free market system.  It combines the worst of both worlds, creating a corporate socialist approach in which the same companies that have been ripping off patients for decades get even more business. It mandates universal participation in a horribly sick system.

Recently, my wife had an insurance claim rejected because her “pain” was found to be a pre-existing condition, according to the code number it was submitted under. Yes, ladies and gents, that is what it has come to. “I’m sorry, but we will not pay to treat your pain, because you have had pain before.” I shit you not. Do I hope that Obamacare will bring relief for those of us with so-called “pre-existing” conditions?  Of course.  Is it the first step to universal health care? Doubtful. There is just too much elite money at stake. Controlling the health care of workers is too big of a stick to give up.

Society is getting sicker, and It’s projecting its illness on the people.  Cancerous unchecked economic growth is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Corporate persons are now societies imaginary friends, like giant, sociopathic talking white rabbits that communicate with the government, but remain invisible to the rest of us.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Can you help distribute Obsolete!?

Do you have a favorite local hangout where you would like to see OBSOLETE! on the racks? We will ship you boxes of 20 and 50 copies of the latest issue of OBSOLETE! This way, you can share OBSOLETE! In your community. Drop them at your favorite locally-owned bookstore, music store or coffee shop. Also, feel free to use it as a promo (put a sticker on the cover – “compliments of...”), sell them as a fundraiser, or use them as give-aways or bag stuffers. Email us for more info on becoming an OBSOLETE! distributor.

 Don't have time to deal with it yourself? Send us the name and address of your favorite local spot and we'll send them an intro pack.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Obsolete! #6 - OUT NOW!

Obsolete #6 explores illness, creativity and freedom. 

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
-Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill - Bruce Levine PhD
  • Keeping Gabe Among Us - Kelly Rose Pflug-Back interviews Martha Eleen                 
  • Analingus and Old Lace- Amy Bugbee              
  • Technology and Other Miracles-- Jonna Higgins-Freese                                  
  • The Golden Pattern - J.J. Anselmi   
Poetry by:
  • klipschutz                             
  • W. Joe Hoppe 
  • Greta Anderson
  • Christopher Barnes  
Artwork by:             
  • Eleanor Leonne Bennett
  • Ericka "Wildgirl" Dana
  • Blair Gauntt
  • John Gill
  • Rolland Guild 
  • Ken Jackson
  • P.S. Monear

Featured Artist:
  • Terry Lee Dill

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are you OBSOLETE!? Send us a video! Deadline extended!

ARE YOU OBSOLETE!? Deadline Extended!We need MORE CLIPS! 

We are putting together a new promotional clip for OBSOLETE!  and you can be a part of it! Send us a video clip (less than 20 seconds) riffing on the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Obsolete Man"- it can be as simple as a shot of you or your friends saying "YOU ARE OBSOLETE!"using your phone, tablet or computer. OR- feel free to get as creative or elaborate as you want. Don't worry, though, don't be shy- we need LOTS OF CLIPS! The more the better- quality is not an issue. We will collage you all together into a fantabulous obsolete montage.

We need the clips asap, so send them in soon- the new deadline is Sept 1st. Send small clips to or send a link to download larger clips.

Here is a shortened version of the original show with only the opening and closing scenes- you can find the whole episode elsewhere on YouTube.
 Blair does Serling Karaoke...

Just to show you how simple it is- here is a quick one I did sitting at my desk.
If you get really inspired, you can find the entire script of Rod Serling's Obsolete Man HERE.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23rd is Robert Anton Wilson Day

Each year, during the Dog Days of summer, I get the urge to re-read Robert Anton Wilson.

It would be easy to dismiss the impulse as nostalgia- after all, reading Bob was part of my passage to manhood- stoned, anti-establishment hippy-punk manhood. I spent many a blistering summer afternoon in crummy, un-airconditioned apartments smelling of dirty cat boxes, stale beer and Nag Champa, expanding my mind to books like The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan, Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, Schrodingers Cat and Right Where You Are Sitting Now. I don't think it's just nostalgia, however, to re-read RAW. There is something magical about the Dog Days, and it always seems like an appropriate time to re-visit the work of one of the late 20th century's most underrated masters of High Weirdness.

July 23rd was designated as Robert Anton Wilson Day by the City of Santa Cruz, California in 2003. Wilson had become a beloved resident character in Santa Cruz, and a political activist for Medical Marijuana (which he used to treat the symptoms of the post-polio syndrome which was slowly killing him) and against what he called the “TSOG” (Tsarist Occupation Government). Mayor Emily Reilly declared:





July 23rd is the most appropriate day to remember Bob, and choosing the date, rather than his birthday, exhibits the sense of humor of the Santa Cruz city government so absent among most bureaucrats. For it was on July 23rd, 1973, that Bob claims to have been contacted by aliens. Or a Giant Rabbit from Count Kerry. Bob was also quick to point out that it was Monica Lewinsky's birthday. 
July 23rd coincides with the rising of “the Dog Star”, Sirius (the root of the term “Dog Days”) which has mystical significance for ancient cultures from the Egyptians to the Romans, to the African Dogon tribe. For me, it is has always been time for the greatest interaction with the “the cosmos”. The night skies are spectacular. The days are long, but getting shorter- garden and outdoor projects take on a greater urgency. At the same time, the heat, and all of the related malfunctions both personally and technologically that come along with it, tend to add to the “weirdness” factor. Cell phones, computers, cars etc. tend to go “on the fritz”. Animals act strangely. Insects are in full assault on all fronts. This year, the Midwestern drought adds to the biblical (or Mayan) “end times” vibe, while the skies around our little organic compound are abuzz with crop dusters bombarding the corporate monocrop corn/bean fields with pesticides, hoping to rescue what they can from the parched genetically-modified franken-plants.

But as Bob said, “Humans live through their myths and only endure their realities,” and so each summer I drag out some of RAW's books. During a season when the high priests of technology are locked in a death match with the ghost in the machine, faieries, aliens and giant rabbits from County Kerry, it helps to remember that our reality is what we make of it, both technologically and mythically.

So each year, we celebrate the life and writing on Robert Anton Wilson, on this, the weirdest of all days. As you go about your day, look for the Sirians. They are there. They will talk to you, if you listen. FNORD.
“All phenomena are real in some sense, unreal in some sense, meaningless in some sense, real and meaningless in some sense, unreal and meaningless in some sense, and real and unreal and meaningless in some sense. “ - Robert Anton Wilson

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Big News: Obsolete! Magazine is now Obsolete! Press

This month, in addition to putting out issue #6 of ObMag, we will be releasing our first book under the Obsolete! Press imprint.

Diamond Plate, a new book of poems by Austin poet W. Joe Hoppe will be available in mid-July, so watch this blog or follow our Facebook page.

Our second book will be compilation of highlights from the first 2 years of ObMag, out in late 2012. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

OBSOLETE! #5 - Now Available Online

Hey Gang...  As much as I would like for people to read the REAL, smudgey newsprint edition, I know some of you prefer the online version, so HERE IT IS!
Cover Art by Robert Schefman
Warning: Oldster Rant Ahead - Rich Dana
The Rise and Fall of Zuccotti Park - City of Strangers
Three Poems - Chuck Miller
Before I Was Me - Lenny Zenith
Paintings - Michael X. Rose
Benchclearing- Spike Vrusho
Drag Racing’s
Return to Romance - Diana “Doc”Thomas
University of Strangers- Bob Pfeifer
Illustrations - Karim Hetherington
Kings of Scrap - Ricardo Obsolete    14 Patent Medicines - Ricardo Obsolete
We Interupt This Broadcast - Christopher Schipper
Ivey and the Airship - Cheryl Ammeter
Quasar Gets a Car - Walter Sun Chien
Special Bonus Story: Orion Express - Gauntt, Dana, Martin

Remember- if you dig it, you can still order a paper copy, or donate to keep OBSOLETE! afloat using the paypal links at the right of the page!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Call for Submissions: OBSOLETE! #6

Deadline Extended: Send Submissions Before June 30th
Because we are so busy putting the finishing touches on the first book from OBSOLETE! Press, we have decided to push back issue #6 a few weeks.  So-  it's not too late to submit your work!

“In Praise of Illness” is the theme of the 6th issue of OBSOLETE!

The latest edition of the sporadical newsprint tabloid will explore the connections between art and illness. Artists and writers are invited to submit fiction, poetry, essays, photographs, cartoons and other 2D artwork directly or indirectly addressing the role of physical or mental illness, disease and disorders in the creative process, in society, technology, religion, politics, history.....

Every day, new drugs are being developed and marketed to address issues that, in the past, may have simply been accepted as aspects of an individuals life. Angst, ennui, precociousness, apathy, melancholy are all now defined as treatable disorders. Are the treatments for ADHD, ODD and other conditions medicating away the symptoms that made Vincent Van Gogh, Arthur Rimbaud and Jim Morrison who they were? Wired Magazine has for several years explored the high rate of Asperger's Syndrome among successful software developers. Is Asperger's a disease, or an symptom of evolution?

Do physical disorders inspire creativity, a new way of thinking about physical space? Prosthetic limbs and artificial organs are changing lives the way eyeglasses did in the past. Buckminster Fuller often spoke about the fact that he saw the world as a blur as a child until he went to school and was fitted with glasses- at which point he saw order in everything.

Medication, self-medication, diagnosed and undiagnosed conditions, treatment and healing, overcoming and submitting to illness- learning, creating, living and dying. Share your experiences in OBSOLETE #6.

Deadline is June 11th, 2012
Submit work (or inquiries) to:
obmag (at)
PO Box 72
Victor, IA 52347

include SASE for original work

Saturday, March 31, 2012

1985 Zine Unearthed!

 Thanks to Don Rock for unearthing a copy of "Bizarre World", a zine I published while living in New Orleans in the 1980's.   You can view the entire 22 pages at

Despite the crispy, stuck together  and bled-through xeroxes, you can still see most of the content- and it's pretty similar in lot's of ways to OBSOLETE! in theme and tone.  I guess some things never change...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Artist Profile: Peter Aschwanden

Peter Aschwanden: Illustrator and Pioneer of the D.I.Y. Movement
By Rich Dana and Deborah Reade

This article originally appeared in OBSOLETE! #2

Recently, I found myself perusing the book tables at a sustainable living fair and came across a copy of The Septic System Owners Manual. Granted, it's not a title that would attract most readers, but if you live on a farm with an aging septic system as we do, it might. There was something about the cover of this book, with it's playful turn-of-the-century fonts and the tightly drawn pen and ink cartoon that made me pick it up and start leafing through the amazing illustrations.

I remembered immediately where I had seen this drawing style before. In the early 80's, I was living above George Herget's bookshop on Magazine Street in New Orleans.  One of my roommates, George Morrissey, had undertaken a complete rebuild of his VW Rabbit (to the dismay of the neighbors and landlord) on the sidewalk outside, as well as on the living room floor and kitchen table. Ever-present was a copy of How toKeep Your Volkswagen Rabbit Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for theCompleat Idiot. The illustrations in the Septic System book were in the same meticulous yet quirky, humorous style.

PeterAschwanden’s work was ingrained in my memory - the "compleat idiot" series of VW repair books were omnipresent among DIY'ers of the 70's and 80's, and were the predecessors to an entire genre of informal "how-to" books. His illustrations adorned t-shirts and posters of VW nuts across the world.

With the launch of OBSOLETE! Magazine earlier this year, I decided to look into the work of this guy whose skill with a pen rivaled that of other better-known 60's illustrators like R. Crumb and Spain Rodriguez. I wanted to meet this guy. Unfortunately, Peter had passed away in 2005. I’m indebted to Deborah Reade and Francisco Aschwanden, who very generously helped me put together this profile of Peter, his life, and his work.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Friend Dahmer: A Nearly Perfect Graphic Novel

John "Derf" Backderf, the cartoonist who has done the strip "The City" for many years, delves into his real-life boyhood friendship with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in this mind-blowingly well done graphic novel.

My Friend Dahmer is a nearly perfect piece of graphic storytelling. Unlike many comics, the writing and the art are perfectly meshed. As I read, no matter how enthralled I was with the story, I never pushed on to the next panel until I had fully explored al of the elements of the artwork.

Shadowing and angles occasionally reminded me of Spain Rodriguez, but the style of the drawing is unique. Each character seems to almost have their own style, all equaly dynamic. Dahmer alternately casts deep shadows and breaks into almost psychedelic abstractions.

Even if you are not a fan of the graphic novel format,  I can't recommend  My Friend Dahmer highly enough.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

OBSOLETE! will be World Book Night "Giver"

OBSOLETE! was selected as a Word Book Night "giver" this year.  It's pretty cool- if you have never heard of it, it works like this:

"The goal is to have 50,000 people give a book to a stranger or to people you might know but believe aren’t frequent readers. Go to a coffee shop, a hospital, a park, a church, a community center, an after-work party, a local school, or even just give them away on your daily train ride. WBN will give you 20 specially-produced, not-for-resale World Book Night editions to randomly give away. There are 30 titles to choose from for all types of readers. Basically, if you love any of the books included in the program, you can get free copies to share with others."

ObMag was selected to give away 20 copies of "Just Kids" by Patti Smith. I would like to see that these go to people in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City who would enjoy and appreciate them. Anyone who has limited resources, wants to read it and will agree to pass it along when they are done with it can get one. If you would like to have a copy to give away on World Book Night, let me know. I'm thinking people could volunteer to give out one or 2 each, and it would be up to you to decide. I'll Have them for pick-up in Cedar Rapids.

If you haven't read it, Just Kids is Patti Smith's memoir.  It's a great book about 2 young artists:

"It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.
Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous—the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame. "

 it's a quick and easy way to do something cool and spread some good karma....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

OBSOLETE! #5: Quasar Gets a Car, by Walter Sun Chien

illustration by Blair Gauntt
Walter studied art, theater and writing at the University of Iowa, The University of Northern Iowa and the University of Oregon. He has written three screenplays, a memoir and a collection of short stories.  He currently teach art at Kirkwood Community College and write grant proposals for a non-profit. “Quasar Gets a Car” is his first published story.

Like greasy spoons everywhere, you can tell the comers from the goers by the way they mingle during the breakfast rush. Comers, time-tested patrons, brace themselves like cosmic travelers falling through space on reentry to the world and the land of the living. All others, the goers, position themselves opposite the chrome and glass like time-sharing tourists in need of reassurance that they are, in fact, where they are. Uncertain, they tend to order things that don’t exist and bag the rest.   

Grease glistening on the farmer’s shredded hash brown brow. The spittle on the griddle gurgling under busty golden yolks ready to burst. And spitting links spurting like little dicks hot for the fork. A bottomless cup of chthonic tonic to wash it all down. Good to the last drop.

We comers are pilots in solidarity; urban satellites of steel creating random havoc, forever orbiting some misbegotten summabitch. 

Speaking of summabitches, nobody knows Quasar’s real name and, word is, his family is dead. More refugee than vet, we conjecture. Same time. Same country. Different war. Maybe it all started in Nam where the quick sand seeps through your skin. Maybe he tripped on one too many two-step vipers—one will always be too many over there. Tiger traps and tar pits. Some say that he is a Tai Chi master and can kill a man with one finger. If he touched your chest, your heart would explode. No. Fucking. Shit. He thinks he’s invincible like a superhero. He looks at you like that sometimes, arms flapping as he walks by. Up up and away!

Quasar may very well be the last true pedestrian in the world. Bugger gets around. He knows how to navigate the vehicular winds that blow through town by weaving between Galaxies and Windstars like a solar surfer. Quite a sight to see. He falls through traffic like an accident in slow motion, arms and legs everywhere, silhouetted against azure skies. Frozen like a demented snow angel.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

OBSOLETE! First Four- Limited Edition Folio

...but it's not too late to get on the waiting list for the limited edition sets...
The first four issues of OBSOLETE! will soon be available in an extremely limited edition archival button-and-string folio, hand printed by Don Rock. The folio also includes hand printed purple ditto introduction and issue guide.
If you have questions or would like to be on the waiting list for the next printing, please email me at:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WTF Fest in Austin flips bird to SXSW

from OBSOLETE! contributors Shane and Amy Bugbee...

An Event Even Alzheimers Won't Let You Forget - WTF Fest

This is an event of unbridled, free-form, creative human expression - Some would call it art - We call it WTF Fest! A night of provoking words, live music, performance art, video shorts, and an art show devoted to Aleister Crowley descends onto Austin, TX and SXSW for a day that will live forever in the minds of those who witness it! Never before have a group of such diverse and uncompromising artists and creatives come together for a performance such as this!

Hear the immortal words of 1960s icon, professional thought provoker, and revolutionary John Sinclair, death defying commercial fisherman and poet Dave Densmore, and psychedelic epiphanies from New Orleans punk rock deity Mike Williams, as they share the stage for the first time ever!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

1965 "Are We Next?" now available as Tee!

Every bit as appropriate now as when originally posed by legendary San Francisco poster artist Wes Wilson in 1965, Light On Rags has licensed the famous  Are We Next?" poster for their latest t-shirt design.

Lights On is a big supporter of OBSOLETE! and if you order a limited edition "Are We Next?" t-shirt and mention OBSOLETE!, you will receive a  free copy of issue #5 with your order.

Send $20 (shipping included) to Lights On Rags, POB 222, Cedar Rapids, IA, 52406.  Please indicate size, S-5X.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

ObMag Preview: Intro to Issue #5

Oldster Rant Ahead

by Rich Dana

This year, I’m going to be 50. Yes, 50. It doesn’t bother me.  I swear. I am soon going to be 50, which entitles me to be offended by young people. I am. But I am only offended by the fact that I am not offended by them. That is ironic.  Those creative people younger than me- Hipsters- are supposed to be all about the ironic.  So... I guess it’s working.

I know that the hipster thing is over.  O-V-E-R. Declared dead in 2008 (by hipsters, ironically). Hipster bashing is old hat. But they just won’t go away. Some have gotten jobs and been redefined as “Creatives”, but I’m still not buying it. The wholesale re-purposing of past cultural ephemera, without reexamination or personal reflection, is neither hip nor creative.

To be honest, I feel ripped off. I feel like hipsters are ripping off my thing- our thing- our old, 50 year old thing- the thing that came before their thing- which they don’t really have. They need to get their own thing. Recently, a New York graphic designer redesigned classic 80’s punk rock gig posters (Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, etc) in the style of  Swiss Modern design, cleverly tagged “Swissted”. They come off like ads from a 1960s issue of Look Magazine. Although the designer is said to love punk rock and swiss modern design,  to me they are more about the designer’s love of the software and fonts that allowed him to create the posters quickly and thoughtlessly.

Hipsters need to stop trying to be “ironic.”  They need to start by looking up the word “ironic”, because they aren’t. Ironic, I mean. They are robbing the word ironic of it’s irony.  I’m like my mother, who loved gay people, but hated the fact that they had ruined the word “gay”. That’s ironic. Sarcastic is something else. It’s a much blunter instrument, and implies a certain amount of contempt- and maybe even some self-loathing.

Christian Lorentzen of Time Out New York wrote “hipsterism fetishizes the authentic” elements of all of the “fringe movements of the postwar era—beat, hippie, punk, even grunge,” and draws on the “cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity,” and “regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity.”

“Winking inauthenticity” is not irony.  It is laziness. Hey, you- wearing the Linda Richman glasses- You never watched the Brady Bunch. You never played Atari. If you had, you wouldn’t be wearing that shirt. “My dad grew up in the 70’s, and all he brought me was this stupid shirt” might be a more appropriate. That’s sarcasm, “BTW”, not irony. But enough hipster bashing.  

At 50, I was born into a fairly narrow demographic. I see it bracketed by 2 factors; the end of the American military draft in 1973, and the advent of the mass-produced personal computer  in 1977. Those who were too young to be drafted to go to Vietnam were born after 1953. Those who are too young to remember a time without personal computers were born after 1973, generally. This leaves a two decade spread of late baby-boom to early gen Xers that don’t fit into either group. A “Blank Generation”, so to speak. We grew up with the Middle East Energy Crisis and the fear of Mutually Assured (nuclear) Destruction. We grew up lacking either the unification of the anti-war movement or the hive mind of the internet. We are the last of the analog dinosaurs, a merry band of angry loners and misfits.

I feel fortunate, though, to be a part of this small cultural segment. This is where punk rock was born, the indie music scene that turned its back on the corporate record industry. This is the generation that hit the road in a van, playing house parties, trading cassettes and xeroxed fanzines. This is the generation of phone phreaks and hackers and cypherpunks that blazed the trail for Anonymous and  LulzSec. Cyberpunk,  Splatterpunk and the other various “punk” literary genres influenced the “look” of the 21st century. Blank Generation artists put their images on stickers, on flyers, on clothing on record sleeves- on subway trains, dumpsters and cars.  DIY, as a movement, was born of the punks, all of the various flavors shared that Do-It-Yourself aesthetic.

This issue of OBSOLETE! is dedicated to all of my Blank Generation brothers and sisters out there. Keep writing- keep rocking, keep making art. Until they find their own voice, the hipster generation needs you to show them the way. And I guess...I guess that’s what getting old is all about.

illustration by Don Rock

You can't smell the ditto fluid on the web...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's HERE!!!!!! ObMag #5 is on the Street

Sympathy for the Spaceman

Why the moon base may be the least-crazy thing Newt talked about this week

We are not so different, Newt Gingrich and I. On the surface, perhaps we don't have so much in common. I am a chronically broke publisher of an underground newspaper who hangs drywall for a living. He is a clinical sociopath on a quest for Fuhrerdom over the Amerikan Homeland. But underneath it all, we are just a couple of sci-fi geeks with a penchant for post-apocalyptic fantasy and a disturbing lack of regard for societal norms.

Both Newt and I grew up consuming science fiction. We both believed in the promise that man would explore the stars in the 21st century. I would bet that Newt, like I, as a boy dreamt of doing laps around gravity ring of a donut-shaped space station and planting the stars and stripes on Martian surface.

Now, Newt has trotted out his boyhood dreams in the run up to the Florida primary in what is seen by many as a cynical ploy for votes on the economically devastated 'space coast.” Critics in both parties are crying out against Newt's promise of colonizing the moon in times when U.S. workers are worried enough about outsourcing of jobs to China without worrying about losing work to the moon.

Honestly though, for politicians and businesses who are still clinging to the concept of the “growth” model of economics, Newt may not be the crazy one. As we have seen, the idea that growth can be sustained by creating wealth out of thin air with alchemical “financial instruments” has proven to be a fallacy. Real "economic growth", 50's, 60's style growth, is dependent on humans tapping into new territories, physically expanding to tap into new resources. Either we "grow" off the planet, or we shrink.  We can't have it both ways.

On last night's “Rock Center” onNBC, Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson discussed Newt's plan with host Brian Williams. Tyson stated that “we have SO stopped thinking about tomorrow” (sorry Fleetwood Mac) and says of Newt's plan “'s very reachable scientifically...but now people just think about surviving the day.”

Newt also understands the flip-side of sci-fi's message. If we do not expand into space, earth will undoubtedly become a dystopian hellscape, populated by leather-clad mutants and zombies. Newt is, despite recent attempts to downplay it, a believer in climate change and he knows where we are headed, id we don't reverse humanity's cancerous growth. He understands the downside so well, in fact, that he has worked for years co-authoring books with William Forstchen, a Montreat College professor of history and writer of apocalyptic pot-boilers. In the foreword to Mr. Forstchens latest novel, “One Second After” Newt speaks earnestly of the the role of sci-fi authors- from Wells to Orwell- as harbingers of things to come. He also writes extensively of the dangers of EMPs- Electo Magnetic Pulse weapons. But that's a topic for another day.
Still, as Floridians go to the polls in what is predicted to be the end of Newt's 15 minutes as republican loon-du-jour, I can only hope that, as Newt returns to the Fox News green room to lick his wounds, somehow, maybe his crackpot message about the importance of the space program lives on.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: East of Bowery

Issue #5 of OBSOLETE! was so jam-packed that we had to leave out the reviews page this time-  I'll be periodically posting those reviews here. Please consider scoring a hard copy of the new issue- it's our biggest yet...

 East of Bowery
Text by Drew Hubner, photos by Ted Barron

“ In those days, New York City was absolutely lousy with people who had come to the big city to become writers.”

So begins “No Rio”, the fourth chapter of East of Bowery, by Drew Hubner at Ted Barron. Hubner and Barron tell the story, through short vignettes and photographs, of the late 80's Lo-Ea-sider everyman- a dope-shooting writer who moves from bar to squat to dope spot to poetry reading to NA meeting, on the black and white streets familiar to anyone lucky enough to have experienced those twilight days of New York downtown greatness. It's all in there- Save the Robots, The Circle bar, The “Hat”, Sophie's, the Gas Station, The International, the Zoo Bar. PS 122, ABC No Rio, Max Fish, Angelica's, The Parkside, Blue and Gold, Mona's.... The Tompkins Square riot, Clayton Paterson, Adam Purple...

The project began as a web collaborative between writer Hubner and photographer Barron, and has now been published in book form by Sensitive Skin (which has itself grown from 80's East Village zine to webzine and now publishing house).

Hubner's writing is visually rich and his storytelling tight. “The imagery of physical things will carry whatever sort of lies you can think up”, his protagonist states at one point, and it works for Hubner in this case- in his bio he claims that the stories are total fiction, but they read as utterly believable memoirs. The voice of the time and the place is present, but despite the junkie theme, he's not “doing” Jim Carol. He has the perspective of someone looking back, without glorification. He tells the story of one of those who came from the outside, (in this case Raleigh) rode high in the pre-hipster days, and then crashed hard into the wall of addiction.

Barron's photos are wonderful artifacts of the time- images of the Lower East Side that is no more. They are beautifully composed, but they stop time so effectively that the have the feel of a tourists snapshots. Instead of the Empire State Building or Times Square, they are of the intersection across from the Gem Spa, children with a toy gun next to a Dinkins era police cruiser, a cat on a shooting gallery rooftop. If I have any complaint about this book, it is that I would have like to see more of Barron's photos, and in a larger format. Luckily, there are more available on their blog,

Hubner and Barron have done a great job of capturing a moment in time- those last days before Giuliani changed New York forever, when art lived with the poor, not in the sanitized world of internet marketing. Before digital media brought everything to everyone, when mutant culture still eddied in artistic backwaters, high, nodding, un-tweeted.

Monday, January 23, 2012

OBSOLETE! #5 goes to Press

At long last! Issue #5 is going to press. Click the links below to preview the cover, table of contents and introduction.

This issue is our biggest yet, with more essays, fiction, poetry and artwork than ever before. It includes work by Bob Pfeifer, Spike Vrusho, Diana “The Doc” Thomas, City of Strangers, Cheryl Ammeter, Lenny Zenith, Michael X. Rose,Karim Hetherington, Chuck Miller, Chris Schipper and Walter Sun Chien, and more.

Please help keep the underground press alive by ordering your copy today!! You can order copies at the right of the page.
 Cover: Larger View
 Table of Contents: Larger View
Intro Page: Larger View


 From OBSOLETE! contributor Shane Bugbee's blog...

ok, the SOPA deal...

seems like a distraction, an intentional distraction devised by the powers that be.

the real issue is the NDAA bill... and yet, we the Internet e-people have embarrassed the sopa cause over the larger and much more important issue - the attack on OUR bill of rights.

I'm thinking the USA has already been bought and sold... I mean, think about it... these NEW laws are real similar to the laws the chinese folks must follow. coincidence that we borrow a shit ton of cash from these folks and out of nowhere we have these fucked up bills being pushed down our throats...
read the entire commentary at Shane's blog, the Nonsensical World of Shane Bugbee