An early issue of Girl Germs, one of the zines archived in the Riot Grrrl Collection at NYU’s Fales Library, is made of ten sheets of standard-size office paper stacked on top of each other, folded lengthwise, and stapled twice down the spine. With the fold on the left, so the surface is taller than it is wide, the sheets become a half-size book of 38 pages and two covers. When the master copy was made in the early 1990s, its pages were hand-pasted with illustrations, essays, and letters either torn from notebooks or cut to size, then photocopied into a small print run by Molly Neuman and Allison [...]
In my case, this year's Internet experience didn't suck, exactly, but it was—at least in the precincts I frequent—drearily focused on the predictive. Ninety percent of what I read, excluding pornography, maybe, was either authored by, a celebration of, or a brief against Nate Silver. And that's nice! On balance, that a smart, gay adopted son of Brooklyn is a big deal is a good thing. But oh, how I wish we purveyors and consumers of the written word would spend a bit less time quantifying the probability of future events and a bit more [...]
Garry Winogrand used to say that he took photographs of things to see what they would look like as photographs. He took a lot of them. He photographed relentlessly: crowds, zoos, dogs, cars, parties, sidewalks, train stations and women, always more women. He'd describe a good night as "thirty-five rolls." A good year might involve a thousand. He was always slow about editing. He had a rule that he wouldn't even look at an exposure for a year, so that emotion wouldn't cloud his judgment, but towards the end of his life he wasn't even doing that anymore. He just let his rolls pile up in trash cans and [...]
In college, I dated a girl who applied for a job at an Express store in the mall. Part of her training involved something called the "Express You! Street Verbage [sic] Guide"—an almost unbelievably wrongheaded dictionary of street terms and slang that Express management wanted sales associates to learn so as to best relate to customers. My friend, a greeter-in-training, was instructed to review and memorize it. To be fair, this was the mid-90s. Illmatic had just dropped, Mariah Carey was putting out remixes with ODB, and it was virtually impossible to avoid TLC’s “Waterfalls.” But never mind that. The guide was funny even then—and as soon as I heard [...]
It sounds preposterous, and it is. But the story of Esquire's grand plan to shoot a bevy of distinguished men and women in the altogether is, so far as I know, true. Here's the first paragraph of the unbylined, unheadlined story from the February 1970 edition of The Los Angeles Advocate:
Amazing! But how is it possible there is no record of these scandalous plans, save for a microfilm'd squib in a West Coast gay rag? (Go ahead and look. You will find nothing.) Before consigning this to the realm of the urban legend—albeit a legend that no one seems to know—I ran it by Gerald Clarke, Capote's [...]
Today would have been David Foster Wallace's 50th birthday, and if you'd like to mark it, here are some things that might interest you to read (or watch) and revisit. The list isn't intended to be comprehensive; for that there's the Howling Fantods, not to mention this, this and that. This is more like an old trunk, some favorite things that got packed away and today's maybe a nice day to take them out and rummage around a little: Remember when Frank Bruni peeped inside DFW's medicine cabinet? etc.