This photo was taken about half way through a very caffeinated hang out session with Pat Libby. Pat is the manager and head booker at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland on 40th Street, about two blocks from the old UGZ headquarters.
"Summer Of No Love" aka Urban Guerrilla Zine #17.5 is currently available at both the Oakland and SF store locations.
Iron Lung from the first UGZ Speed Trials at Burnt Ramen in Richmond, 2003.
The following year we held them at the Slaughterhaus in Oakland, and then a couple of years later we held a few at Gilman, but even then I had to come out the pocket at first for posters, decorations, and trophies. Thankfully Will Rutherford (who also painted the walls behind the Gilman stage for us) stepped in as treasurer at some point and I was able to get reimbursed for some of that stuff. The trophies were from a spot in Fremont, and I used to drive out there from Berkeley to pick them up, usually a day or two before the shows. Gilman was never that supportive of the UGZ Speed Trials, but there were always enough of us to win the vote.
Corrupted from their 2008 show in Berkeley, which was one of the highlights from the 4 years that I booked at that club. The night before Corrupted, Asunder, Amber Asylum, and Stormcrow, we had a show headlined by an Industrial Dance band from Sacramento, complete with laser lights and fog machines. It had the smallest draw of any show I ever booked anywhere, but I took a chance knowing there was a Corrupted show the following night. Not that Corrupted was the biggest show of the year, even though it was big enough to feel packed in the club, and the draw was large enough to justify the money we spent on things like posters (2 designs), homemade food for bands and volunteers (vegan and non-vegan options…no Lanesplitter pizzas), not to mention the guarantee for Corrupted, which I was personally responsible for if for some reason the show had bombed. This was back when they were still doing 50/50 splits at that particular venue, and before bookers could pocket money on the sly by circumventing the traditional payout process. That stated, we were able to cover the guarantee, posters, food, equipment to heat and serve the food, etc. because we’d raised door prices earlier in the year. The basic door cost went from $5 to $7, but if it was a local band night you could still charge $5, and if it was Subhumans (UK), then you could charge $12. It was all about being reasonable and open to discussing the reasons for wanting to charge more for a particular show, keeping in mind the history of the venue and the the principles on which it was founded, but not being bound by them.
All of the food and the equipment used to prepare it was a byproduct of Thursday Night Booking, which started as a booking night for planning art shows, spoken word nights, and acoustic music events that would take place on Thursday nights (a dead night at the club prior to 2007), but it was also our way of kickstarting the food idea for shows, and we ended buying a lot of equipment that we later used to feed bands, volunteers, and patrons between 2007-2011. I think the first time we went all out after asking the club for money was when Karen and Ale made homemade tamales for a Thursday night show. They didn’t just make vegan tamales, but there were cheese and meat options as well. I don’t remember the show, just the tamales, if that tells you anything. Thursday Night Booking was myself, Alejandra Nunca Mas, Karen O'Brien, Russell, Ariel Awesome, and Pat Libby. From that crew, Pat helped me paint and prepare the club for Corrupted the Thursday before the show, and by prepare I mean we removed almost all of the lights and covered the remaining ones with red and blue gels. Karen made food for the show, and I’ll always remember running into her on San Pablo Ave in Berkeley the day of the show. I was out flyering and she was on her way back to the club with groceries from Mi Tierra. Ariel and I worked the door together, and I remember at some point that night she leaned over and told me, “Nights like this make it all worth it.”
Alejandra is currently one of the organizers of Punks With Lunchin Oakland, providing lunches along with hygienic packs, female hygienic packs, laundry detergent and dog food to those in need. For more info click here.
There’s a new UGZ half issue out now entitled Summer Of No Love, which is just a little something that I wanted to get out there before tackling anything bigger. It’s a theme issue and a personal zine that I worked on alone that contains photos (35mm), a story or two pulled from old notebooks that I used to take with me to cafes back in the day, as well as random observations that I jot down, usually after I’ve had a large cup of coffee and wandered around a bit. Most importantly, every zine comes with stickers.
As you probably guessed, this was supposed to be a summer issue, but I hit some snags with the offset printer we were going to use. So as the summer passed, then my fallback plan of an Indian Summer issue began to dissolve, I had to bounce over to a print shop in Berkeley to get a 100 or so photocopied (the same as the last issue). They turned it around very quickly, and a little over a week later I had a box of zines finally, only they got the print run wrong and the number of zines was half of what I ordered. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the Summer Of No Love is real.
If you’re in the Bay Area, you can purchase a copy ofUGZ #17.5, Summer Of No Loveat:
Issues, 20 Glen Ave, Oakland, CA
1-2-3-4 Go! Records, 420 40th St, Ste 5, Oakland, CA
Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA
Or you can send $5 (well concealed cash) to: UGZ ℅ Jay Unidos, 1442A Walnut Street #419, Berkeley, CA 94709. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the things that catches my attention most mornings while watching the news is how bought and paid for our media is, even at the local level since the station I tune into broadcasts from Oakland, California. At this point anyone who’s reading this is probably saying something to the effect of, “yeah-yeah, you’re preaching to the choir”, but just because many of us are aware that most media in this country is basically owned and controlled by a small number of conglomerates, it’s still interesting to note the bias in the way certain items are reported. In particular any stories involving the police beating and tasing innocent people (yes innocent because that’s what you’re presumed to be until proven guilty in a court of law), and in some cases killing innocent people. Incidents that are increasingly captured on video. The pro-police stance of my local station shouldn’t surprise me, and it also shouldn’t surprise me that they appear to be pro-gentrification, and extremely uncritical when reporting on local politics and elections, and I’m not surprised, but taken aback at times by how blatant their establishment bias is. It’s another one of those things that we shrug and shake our heads at, but accept as a reality of the world we live in.
Instead, we should be asking, what are we doing to break the cycle that has lead us to this place. One of the big mistakes we’ve made and continue to make is that we tend to be reactive instead of proactive. The political system that governs us (even on the local level) is just that - a system. By the time you’ve reached the point of being angry about affordable housing being demolished in the Mission to make way for $3000 dollar a month micro lofts, it’s too late in the process. When across the Bay Area you see a trend of only 50% of eligible voters being registered, and only 25% actually voting, you’re going to end up with mayors and city councils being elected almost by default. Who do these politicians serve if a majority of the citizenry didn’t vote them into office?
That’s only the beginning, and if you need a quick education on how things work in government, even at a local level, attend a city council meeting. It’s as simple as that. I do want to leave off with my personal belief that politicians are not to be trusted, even at a local level, but if you’re going to vote anyone into a position that could influence the lives of those living in your community, make sure they’re from that community. That doesn’t mean you moved here to work for Google or to attend law school at the local university, but that you are actually from the community you want to make decisions for, ideally born and raised there.