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 Early on, I set a policy of paying for new, unpublished work, unlike most of the outlets young writers and artists have available to them in these times of devalued digital content.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.