What a spring we've enjoyed at Desperate Times Towers! First, I'll mention our latest review,via Xerography Debt, which said (for the benefit of those who can't read sideways):
"Pure old-school vibe and I love it. This one takes me back to the times when 'zines in punk were a very essential part of communications on the scene. This publication has a lot to read, but is also very artistic with its words and images. It is both interesting to read and look at it. The 'zine talks about music in a way that makes you want to read more and more about the topics. I cannot wait to see what is coming next from this publication. I am very sure that I will not be disappointed."
Thanks, Xerography Debt! I hope that future issues live up to that particular billing.
Locally, we seem to have caught the fever, too. On April 14, Krasl Art Center hosted a grand opening for a new 'zine library that it's creating, complete with a 15-minute keynote speech from Luz Magdaleno, founder of Brown & Proud Press (Chicago, IL). Not surprisingly, I wound up recording and writing many more comments than my resulting Herald-Palladium story could accommodate, but I think the basics came across well.
I swapped a copy of Desperate Times #1 with Luz, for her 'zine, Serio....and, best of all...was asked to drop off two more copies of DT for the library. Since then, my wife and I have also taken out time to contribute one page apiece for a special collaborative 'zine that Krasl also rolled out for the grand opening (and will also end up in the 'zine library). That just goes to show, there's no limit to the formats and styles associated with 'zines, which the best part (and reason) for doing them.
Lastly, but certainly not least: Desperate Times #1 is now available at Quimby's Bookstore, in Chicago. I pulled off that feat by dropping off five copies at their table, for a consignment, during the Chicago 'Zine Fest, on May 6. I'd missed it a couple times before, because I couldn't seem to remember that it preceded the Grand Rapids 'Zine Conference -- the event that inspired me to get into the game.
Suffice to say, the variety and diversity on display across the Chicago 'Zine Fest Floor proved awesome to behold -- and, naturally, difficult to summarize in a paragraph or two. However, based on the energy and commitment that I witnessed, it's fair to say that proverbial printed paper comeback of 'zines continues apace. I caught up with Luz again, this time at her table, and handed off a photocopy of my Herald-Palladium story, which she'd requested.
Overall, it's been a great couple of months. We'll find out soon enough what the rest of the year holds, as I begin the process of compiling Desperate Times #2. Onward and upward.
<REVIEWS: ROUND ONE (2/09/16>
Well, the verdicts are trickling in (along with the orders): thanks to those who have shown a willingness to wrap their arms around Desperate Times, the 'zine that sticks up for the right to cut, paste 'n' comment...without a care in the world for where the chips may happen to fall.
Here's what they're saying so far: UGLY THINGS #40: "....A throwback to the classic cut 'n' paste style of the '70s and '80s with collaged Xeroxed images, hand-drawn graphics, and -- ah, yes, I remember them well -- paste-up lines." "Written, assembled and stapled by UT writer Ralph Heibutzki, Issue #1 has articles on Swedish Killed By Death favorite Hemliga Bosse, a reappraisal of the second Jam album, and Sylvain Sylvain stage banter, and some personal commentary pieces." Thanks to my main man, UGLY THINGS Supremo Mike Stax, for his comments there...as you'll gather from the above company, this is one instance in which I don't mind being seen as a throwback....they don't call it "old school" for nothing, right?
MAXIMUM ROCK 'N' ROLL (#391, December 2015): "Mostly punk oriented, Chairman Ralph is putting in work to dig it up; digging through clues in comment threads in old KBD blogs to contact the old '77 punks behind classic singles or making the two-hour drive for a 'storytellers'-style session with Sylvain Sylvain. It's good to know that someone is hoofing it to dig up and preserve the gritty details....Curious to see what gets turned up for #2."
POSITIVE CREED #28 (UK): "All the way from the States, DESPERATE TIMES is a new 'zine with a difference. Ralph has done a good job with this debut effort, and put it together in a Dada kind of way, which gives it an old look, which takes me back to a time when 'zine editors relied on imagination, not modern technology. "Inside this issue, you'll find an interesting piece on the New York Dolls, an article on the Jam which goes back over their THIS IS THE MODERN WORLD album, a brief chat with Paul Shand from The Numbers, a really nice piece of writing regarding theft at work, and various other things which have been thrown into the mix. "For a first attempt, I'm impressed with what's going on here, and my only criticism is that each page is only printed on one side, which makes it a bulky read...and I think it would not only be cheaper to distribute, but easier to follow if both sides were used. Nice work, Ralph, and I look forward to seeing issue #2 soon, my friend." Thanks, Rob, nice on that score, as well!
And, as I freely acknowledge, the last point he raises about the single versus double-sided issue is a fair one....believe me, though, it's not intentional, or some kind of art statement on my part...it's more a reflection of living in a small town where your options are crap! :-) Or, in other words...the best deal I've found on double-sided copies so far is 9 cents a page, versus the nickel per page I currently pay for my single-sided copies....so guess what's winning out? And I'll probably have to stick with the latter, at least for the short run, until I find some clever way around the whole nonsense.
Or, put another way...I could have waited for the ultimate moment, with all the options falling into place...but you don't always happen to get that particular combo, in life or in art...so I followed my instincts, and went with what I had. If you have any interest in the proceedings, I hope you won't mind...for all I know, I suspect you won't. So what are you waiting for?
Check out the contents for yourself, all 44-odd pages, with a color stock cover that'll make you sit up and take notice (trust me)...for only $5 postpaid, to: PO Box 2, St. Joseph, MI 49085-0002, USA. Go ahead -- just take a deep breath, and take the plunge! And it'll beat seeing the usual stacks of junk mail, or bills...more updates to come, as events and space dictate.