Teen Angst Art Dan seemed such a bland name for our school punk. I wondered how he got around the Catholic school dress code with his mohawk and Alien Sex Fiend leather jacket. He was rumored to eat cat food from the can in the cafeteria. But what really caught my attention were the photocopied â€˜zines he handed out around school. A teen in the '80s, I was just getting over my Reagan adoration after the disastrous Carter '70s. I was beginning to question my DC indoctrination in the cult of conservatism. Invading Grenada had been cool, and sending Marines to Lebanon to lay down the law out seemed bad-ass, till Ronnie forgot to have them load their guns and terrorists blew up the base. I felt the Gipper's pain when years before Freedom Fries, the French were still cock-blocking us... making our bomb-laden F111's fly all the way around Spain to blow up Khaddafi's kids, instead of cutting through France. Some ally. But the same people who supported our masculine foreign policy also wanted me to cut my hair, and to do engineering homework instead of partying with my friends. Punk music and art spoke to my troubled teenage soul. I was enthralled with the way Cat Food Dan cut up pictures from magazines and newspapers, recombining the pieces to ridicule the establishment. Bands my friends were turning me on to, like the Dead Kennedys, also had furious collage art in their albums. That started to pull my eye away from the Def Leppard and Dio poster art on my walls. I started producing my own â€˜zines, using the crass Sunday newspaper ads and inserts, chopping and recombining the depressing headlines to heighten their absurdity I checked out old school yearbooks from the library, to copy the faces of classmates and teachers. I usurped most of my family's dining table in our small apartment, to spread out the clippings and test my compositions. A hated teacher's jowly head grafted on a ballerina body, my right-wing buddy's face superimposed on Rambo. I clicked dime after dime into the clunky copy machine at the local High's dairy store, holding up grumpy old men trying to copy their tax forms. Freedom of expression for ten cents a page! I distributed copies of my first 'edition' to classmates at school, and held my breath for their reaction... the response was electric, even better than I expected! Fellow students convulsed with laughter, passing the sheets around urgently and jabbing at their favorite jokes. Encouraged, I worked on more. Rolling out each new sheet became the thing I looked forward to most at school. Hard to keep my focus on computer science and pre-calculus. Teachers became concerned about my dropping grades, and I found myself in a meeting with the principal. I assumed I was doomed when he pulled out a copy of one of my 'zine pages. But surprisingly he had a sense of humor about it, even though one of the jokes was about his receding hairline. I was spared detention, unlike when the iron-fisted Vice-Principal had found snap-n-pops in my bag on Sprit Day. The drawback of my artistic success was actually from other students - rumors started that I hadn't actually done the art. I was only known in school for being good in science. My friend Gary on the
PRØOF Magazine's third issue explores the relationships that exist between music, art, and literature.