Here is my first blog of the new year, and even though I’m looking forward to 2016, this is going to be a look back at Urban Guerrilla Zine in 2015. I attempted to post a new blog every Monday towards the end of last year, which pretty quickly turned into every other Monday, but even so I’ve decided to commit to posting a couple a blogs a week in 2016. Now, let’s take it back to time not so long ago.
In 2015, I managed to put out two zines, which isn’t that impressive. On the other hand, when you’ve been putting out a zero zines per year for the last seven or eight years, two’s pretty good. Urban Guerrilla Zine has never really gone away or stopped being active. When there wasn’t a new issue of Urban Guerrilla Zine there were over a hundred UGZ Presents shows that I booked and promoted, like the UGZ Speed Trials for example, and when I stopped booking shows there was the internet. When the internet started to feel a bit too isolating and detached, I decided to make zines again. For most folks Urban Guerrilla Zine existed from 1997-2006, and that was pretty much it until 2015.
Urban Guerrilla Zine #17 was made to accompany a UGZ themed art show that took place in early 2015 at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland, at the urging of Pat Libby for which I am grateful. Urban Guerrilla Zine #17.5 was a half issue entitled “Summer Of No Love”, which was supposed to be out by late summer, but didn’t actually see the light of day until the fall due to issues with the printer. In fact both zines had printer issues, and in both cases I found myself at Inkworks Press (a worker owned collective) in Berkeley, having to photocopy what were intended to be offset printed zines. Inkworks doesn’t have the best copy machines, but they are well maintained, so the zines looked pretty good. The biggest drop off from offset to photocopy would be the photo quality. In the case of #17 I had to have it done in time for the art show, which we’d also advertised as a zine release party. As far as the “Summer Of No Love” half issue went, I wanted that out as quickly as possible because I know me, and if I’d waited any longer then it would’ve ended up with all of the other unfinished projects cluttering my work area.
Urban Guerrilla Zine #17.5 is a very personal issue, but not a “personal zine”. Maybe I should’ve made that distinction a bit more clear when describing it in previous posts. I wasn’t that concerned with how much the graphics or stories resonated with the reader as much as I wanted to recreate this one summer in Emeryville, standing at a bus stop next to a casino that was in the process of being torn down, surrounded by elderly Asian gambling addicts and crack addicted prostitutes from the stroll a few blocks away on San Pablo Ave. The vibe I felt while waiting to transfer to the bus I rode to my summer job at a bookstore, where I spent all day indoors when all I wanted was to hang out on Telegraph Ave with my friends. I didn’t actually write any of that in the zine, but it’s there.
Looking ahead, I plan on doing more zines in 2016, one or two of those will be newer issues of UGZ for what has admittedly become a somewhat limited audience. On the other hand, I don’t miss printing a thousand zines at a time, and distributing them, then trying to collect the money I’m owed from all the various distributors around the country. I’m making zines at this point because I enjoy the process, and so I’ll see where that approach takes things from here on out.
If you didn’t get a copy of Urban Guerrilla Zine #17, the only remaining copies I know of are at Needles and Pens, 1173 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA
If you want a copy of Urban Guerrilla Zine #17.5 aka “Summer Of No Love”, then you can still purchase a copy at: