Chris Smith, aka C. Turmoil, editor/publisher of the Triangle's newest zine, Writers' Grind, tagged print media's "law of publishing" just right in his masthead: "I Hear the Second Issue Always Sucks." Smith, a Duke University junior, started Grind in Miami and is always looking for submissions. He says simply, "I decided to collect a few pieces of art and writings my friends had been working on and put them out in one collected little book."
Smith starts off Grind with a heartfelt intro, "I felt there was an absence of writing within my community. There was no poetry, no prose, and no artistic rants. There was nothing to go with what I was feeling through the punk scene and what I was writing. Thus, Writers' Grind was born."
Three hundred copies of the Grind appeared all over the Triangle two weeks ago, focusing on "music we liked (punk/ska/emo/hardcore/indie rock) with a mix of prose, fiction, reviews" and "just a good 'ol rant." Look around: You can't miss WG's bright yellow cover. And be reassured Issue 2 doesn't suck. It's a bunch of staple-bound, Xerox cut-and-paste, DIY honesty.
Smith is eager to distribute his zine to wider campus audiences, and seeks local talent for Issue 3. "People should feel free to contact me with anything that mixes interesting writing/art/photography with independent music." The deadline is this weekend; he wants the next WG on the streets before Thanksgiving.
While Writers' Grind got my attention with it's jumpy lemon cover, Music Maker Rag resting on the same freebie shelves couldn't be ignored either. How could you not notice the Harvey Pekar/Gary Drum comix cover? Music fans and American Splendor fans unite!
But here's the wonderful, unique catch of the latest MMR, the official newsletter of the Music Maker Relief Foundation: the comics introduce their annual report.
For almost 10 years the foundation has been providing aid for the "forgotten heroes and pioneers of Southern musical traditions." This annual report catalogues the past year's successes, with artist bios, photos, feel-good stories, CD offers and contact information. Last year over a half a million dollars were raised to improve the standard of living of recipient artists.
Music Maker Rag looks like a funky zine, but inside, the reader notices that this is no ordinary magazine, and certainly not your ordinary annual report. Tim and Denise Duffy offer a huge CD catalog featuring several Cool John Ferguson releases (not too early for his Cool Yule, a holiday music instant classic!) And who else can offer a fishing trip with Taj Mahal to Costa Rica?
One more magazine just couldn't be left out this month. All across the (rest of the) country folks are celebrating a most colorful fall. Here in Carolina another season dominates--basketball season. ACC Basketball Handbook 2004 is on the racks now. Finish your homework, do the dishes, put the kids to bed, whatever. Then curl up with what's really important! Mike versus Roy, Feb. 5. Read all about it and then some: lots of stats, photos, and a dozen local sportswriters talking their talk. Get game.
Contributing Writer John Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org