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:  obmag@feral-tech.com.

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...