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Hello and welcome to the seventh issue of The Radvocate! We are a submission-based contribution zine, unsponsored and non-profit, with the goal of providing a creative platform for artists, writers, poets, and whoever else can get something on a page. If you are picking up this copy in a store, please make sure you pay them the $2 for it! It doesn’t just help us, but it helps your local book store, info shop, café, art gallery or skate shop stay alive. It has been a few months since our last issue, and a lot has happened since then. We were fortunate enough to attend the Portland Zine Symposium 2012, which happened August 10th (see above image). We had an amazing time! Everyone at the con was friendly and engaging, and it was inspiring to see so much creativity and solidarity taking place in the self-publishing community. A big thanks to everyone who attended and especially everyone in Portland who made it happen! I guess that’s all I have to say for now. If you’re interested in contributing content, getting a subscription, or carrying The Radvocate in your space, please contact Enjoy Issue #7! -Ed.

“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald Former English major turned legendary college football coach, Joe Paterno, was not the inspiration behind Fitzgerald’s famous quote. But he ended up being exactly that, with his legion of supporters confronting his mixed legacy. As the Louis Freeh Report concludes Paterno’s culpability in the Penn State tragedy1, support of the iconic coach amongst PSU alumni and students remains inexplicably strong. While some alumni and former players have since backtracked on their support of the grandfatherly coach affectionately known as “JoePa,” there are many more refusing to believe that a man who once insisted on success with honor, could himself be accused of enabling child rape, for the sake of a football program. In a phone interview conducted before the Freeh Report was released, PSU sophomore Steve Valenti, 41 of State College, PA, believes Paterno’s 61 years of community and institutional philanthropy should not be forgotten, nor should his statue be taken down. 1

“We’re talking about a man that’s more than a football coach,” Valenti said. “He was a philanthropist…he has endowed scholarships for liberal arts students.” Valenti also believes it is wrong “…to hold (Paterno) responsible for something [after his death], without him being able to confront his accusers.” Contacted shortly after the Freeh Report was released, Valenti reaffirmed his support of Paterno, and of his legacy.1 Likewise, the San Diego Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association issued a statement via its incoming president Eric Gavala, saying “Throughout his career, we believe Coach Paterno made extraordinary contributions to the Penn State community. While history will have the final word on his legacy and involvement in the Sandusky case, we hope that his countless good works are not forgotten.”1

Former Penn State player, and current Chicago Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams, expressed mixed emotions about Paterno in an interview with Chicago Bears beat reporter Michael Wright last November, saying “…we all know what Coach Paterno meant to the university, [and] we all know what he meant to us as individuals." Asked to comment for this article about the disposition of the Paterno statue, before its early morning Sunday removal, and his opinion of Paterno’s legacy, Adams (@spiceadams) responded via Twitter, “Keep it. He worked hard.” Echoing Valenti’s and Adams’ stance was 18-year old Penn State freshman, and area resident, Connor Bortz. A self-admitted Paterno supporter “all my life, now and forever,” Bortz (@Bortzy67) believes that while “this was the Sandusky Scandal, not the Penn State scandal,” Paterno’s “statue should stay, legacy is tarnished.” In a phone interview, Chris Morelli, editor of the Centre County Gazette (State College Park, PA), and 1991 PSU graduate, tried to rationalize this rabid, albeit slowing support of Paterno’s once pristine legacy. “When you live in a small community, like State College, there seems to be this idolatry put out towards people like Joe Paterno,” Morelli explained. “I think more people are coming around and realizing that maybe he wasn’t such a good guy, but there are people who…will not admit their hero was flawed.” On the day the Freeh Report was released, Nike founder Phil Knight announced that the “Joe Paterno Child Development Center” at Nike headquarters would be renamed. From making an impassioned support of Paterno during his eulogy on January 26, and drawing thunderous applause from those in attendance, Knight reversed course on July 12, saying in an official statement: “It appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences.” Morelli believes the Nike action was inevitable, as is University and local area actions, citing Paterno merchandise disappearing from stores’ shelves as just the beginning. “We’re gonna get to a point where the statue comes down, and I think that’s just the first step,” Morelli said. “If you’re going to get a fresh start, if you’re going to start a new era with the new football coach,

you have to wipe the past clean.” On July 22, Penn State president Rodney Erickson announced the Joe Paterno statue was removed. Erickson cited the statue being “a source of division and an obstacle” in the university moving ahead from the child rape crimes of former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. A reboot of the past may be easier said than done for the JoePa fandom. According to Dr. Sarah Castillo, Lead Faculty for the Sport Psychology program at National University, the entrenched Paterno supporter has two psychological barriers when confronting Paterno’s flawed legacy as outlined in the Freeh Report: cognitive dissonance, a term coined in the 1950s by Dr. Leon Festinger; and fan identity. “[Cognitive dissonance] is the idea that human beings are motivated…for a balance in their thoughts, attitudes and beliefs,” Castillo explained. “When we have attitudes, beliefs or behaviors that don’t agree, that causes a level of disharmony…or dissonance.” Bringing one’s self back into harmony requires altering one of those attitudes, which might be monumental considering the amount of personal energy and time the Penn State (and Paterno) fan has invested in the school and football program, throughout his or her lifetime. While placing the (justified) blame on Sandusky, as well as dissociating one’s self from the other involved leadership figures is easy, it is the Paterno relationship that drives this internal conflict. Castillo explained this struggle from the Paterno fan point of view. “Joe Paterno was very literally….not just the face of the university, but the face of college football,” Castillo said. “It’s going to be a lot harder…to hold onto my love for Penn State…if I don’t separate Paterno from that scandal.” Thus, it is this separating of Paterno from the Penn State scandal that enables the alumni and student “ remain comfortable with being a fan of the university.” The second hurdle is fan identity, a key part of which, according to Castillo, is BIRGing, or “Basking In Reflected Glory.” The theory behind fan identity is simple: “I want to associate myself with winning teams…with successful people,” Castillo said. “The closer I am…the more solid, and the higher, quote unquote, my identity is.”

Castillo cautioned that due to the unique collegial environment, and the “complete immersion in the culture of that university and of that team, and the amount of time those students are BIRGing at Penn State,” dissociating themselves from Paterno is nearly impossible. “My identity is tied up into Penn State, and specifically Penn State football and now this happens. If I have been spending so many years, basking in the glory of this team, am I a bad person because the coaching staff are bad people? And how do I reconcile that? And again, the solution seems to be to separate Paterno from the scandal.” When asked about Paterno’s continued College Football Hall of Fame enshrinement (he was inducted in 2008), Phil Marwill, spokesman of the National Football Foundation, responded via email that “the NFF Honors Court has not met to discuss this issue, and they will do so when they meet in the fall.” The question remains: what is Joseph Vincent Paterno’s legacy? While Jay and Scott Paterno did not respond to requests how they would describe their father’s legacy, Morelli refers to a quote from Paterno himself, in which the Hall of Famer, scholar and philanthropist wished to be remembered for being more than a football coach. “In many ways, he will be. But not for the reasons he wanted to be.”

1 Telephone conversation 9 July 2012 between Mike Lewis and Steve Valenti 1 Telephone conversation 14 July 2012 between Mike Lewis and Steve Valenti 1 E-mail from Eric Gavala 20 July 2012 1 Twitter, Anthony Adams (@spiceadams) 30 June 2012 1 Twitter, Connor Bortz (@Bortzy67) 12 July 2012 1 Telephone conversation 20 July 2012 between Mike Lewis and Chris Morelli 1 1 1 Telephone conversation 17 July 2012 between Mike Lewis and Dr. Sarah Castillo, Ph.D. 1 E-mail from Phil Marwill 23 July 2012 1

The worst nightmares are the ones you don’t remember when you wake. You lie in a bed of cold sweat and tangled sheets. The person next to you could be part of it all. You don’t know because you can’t remember. All you have is the feeling. The overwhelming feeling that something is wrong and you don’t know whose fault it is. You gasp, collecting what you have left. You aren’t sure where reality left and the nightmare began. You hold yourself, wishing the person next to you would awake, see the pain you’re in and hold you close enough that you could feel safe. But that won’t happen because you’re creating your own nightmare. Your problems are your own. By the time you fall asleep again and the nightmare goes away, you wake as yourself. The pain, the fear, the loneliness is gone. Your weakness has been erased and the shroud of confidence resumes. The memories weren’t real, but the pain was and it won’t go away. You can’t give it a name because you never met it in person. It was a person at a party. You forgot it existed before you even met it. Still, it has its effect on you. It swells your brain and you have no idea why. It knows what’s really wrong. It knows that your weakness can break you at any moment. When it’s not looking, you try to build. Wood, hammer, nail, you build. The second it arrives, it knows where to start pulling, shaking, chopping. It sees your fortress for the first time, but it knows the weak points you built into it. It’s smarter than you are and it tortures you.

It’s love and fear. It’s pain and pleasure mock all that you have. It knows more than you ever will because it’s always taking notes, always looking at the details. You plan a bigger picture and it smashes the pixels. It’s a game. You don’t want to play, but it’s the only one that knows the rules.

I stand before you a simple man. I like beer, whiskey, cigarettes, and the sound of this typewriter. I like music I can tap my foot to and not have to give any reason other than it’s rock and roll. I like moving fast and moving forward. I believe in finding wisdom in the past, but that’s the only reason it should be revisited. I believe things could be simpler if we allowed it. I believe in dancing slow and the importance of doing what feels good at the time. I think there’s great wisdom in making yourself happy. If you can share it with someone else, keep her around. I believe that good days come every day, but if they don’t, all should be forgiven. I know it’s nothing more than a nice thought. I know this will all be forgotten quicker than ink can dry. I believe in rights not guaranteed by birth, but given to everyone who shares a same space. I believe no one is owed anything, but I believe we are smart enough to provide for everyone. I know it’s possible to love someone, but hate things about them. I believe the whole of a person is awesomely greater than their parts.

I believe in the importance of losing yourself in something or someone. I think rules should be challenged from now and then. Preferably now. I believe in reading the fine print. I know I’ll always have to wait unless I’m willing to make the schedule. Even then, I’ll break everything for the right person.

Illustration by Tyler Patel

1. In a grey eye, nothing whips lines of fucked horizon inside every shade of orange a tip-toeing rot on a sunny day eyelids, heat, and escape! the dark season, still warm yet at bay.

2. Acupuncture is in my medical plan. Some of my coworkers are granted Iphones for both personal and work use. I see a new wave of society lit on iphone applications and less and less hungry for fleshy embrace. I’m feeling left out. Give me the needle. Porn just isn’t as good as the real thing. But Dr. Seuss says sex is a simulacrum. No wait, I’m supposed to say ‘as a simulacrum’. To emphasize perspectivism (sp) and historicity . Is there choose your own adventure porn yet? There is! Not on Netflix....damn. Our costly talk therapy and mood enhancing pills were the last crackles of a dying Judeo-Christian fire. Sounds good right? Did you also take sex education for the first time in a church? True love waits my pre-pubescent boy! Ya that was not cool, period. So fuck that, I’d rather have my kids watch Carl Sagan and Joseph Campbell on Wednesdays. Why have church at the end of the week, when we are all in a cubicular hell all week. Let’s get some mid-week support, hey?

Standing on Nothingness, protected by nothing, and nowhere to call home. That’s right son, but don’t let it make you sad... There are lots of movies to watch, places to see, women to meet, things to learn, and oreos to eat. But I haven’t had a child yet (almost did, phew). I know 50 year olds who say that they never became an adult because they never had a child. Takes the pressure off huh? Not really, can someone fedex me a rite of passage in the way of Ayahuasca ASAP cause I can’t stand the ambiguity any longer. Does reality have a heartbeat? Is it just all our hearts beating at once? Does this also include chimpanzee hearts? What about bullfrog hearts? Do ideas have hearts? Jellyfish? Is a spine constitutive of heart-having? 5 years after a degree in philosophy I can only hope that my arguments are sound and valid. Intellectualism. Every time I hear people talking like academics I am immediately disgusted. But I hide behind bushes of thought space, leering in silence, in wait for an old lover. I’m not ashamed to tell you her name: Truth. But I want her wrapped in everyday terms now, sweatpants are fine baby whatever you are comfortable in. No image. Does this sound egotistical? Take a chill-pill! This earth is round and I think those weird post modernists were right (but not in a moral sense, cause weren’t they like relativists or something...?) Current Life Wisdom: Anyone can get married on facebook. It’s when you're married on wikipedia that you know you’ve made it.

3. two friends embrace in the midst of their lives they will meet again a set number of times and in each meeting their art will grow like trees in a deep wood twisting towards the sun. supporting imaginary flight.

Photo by Brandon Weiland

It is Friday night and I am not crying, but one question begs an answer in the crowded auditorium of my head. What the fuck am I doing here? Between sleeping houses and browning trees, crisp from the steadily declining autumn temperatures, we cut through the silence of the night; a silvering, serrated blade in the shape of an ‘89 Cutlass Supreme. This happens nearly every Friday night, driving aimlessly through the darkness, what else is there to do in this shitty town? There are only so many nights you can sit cross-legged on the dirty carpet of your girlfriend’s bedroom floor listening to Sublime, or sitting on the hood of your car in the parking lot of the 24 hour diner, debating over what to do until it gets too late to do anything at all, and everyone goes home, cursed to repeat the process again and again, week after week. There are only so many nights you can do nothing before you have to do something. It is Friday night and I am not crying, even in the car, so full of smoke I cannot see the back of Jay’s head, I don’t complain. I sit obediently, pretending the smoke doesn’t bother me, but screaming inside my head, swearing, spitting, hating myself, hoping to telepathically transmit my discomfort to Annie, but she’s lost, staring out the window at the blurry scenery and thinking about God knows what. Jay takes two puffs of the tightly rolled joint and hands it to Sasha; she holds it gently between two fingers as though she is holding the wings of a moth. After taking a big hit, she squirms around and offers me the joint by stabbing it toward my mouth, the cherry stares into my soul, mocking and judging me, do it, do it.

I shake my head and ask myself again, what the fuck am I doing here? Annie snaps out of her self-induced reverie, rests her hand on my knee, squeezes, and runs it up my thigh, and reminds me exactly what I’m doing here. Through the smoke, and the shadows cast in the car by the heavy moonlight, I search for her eyes but only find the glow of her impossibly blonde hair whipping across her face, her neck, her shoulders and tits. The engine of the Cutlass rumbles as Jay forces the gas pedal all the way down, Sasha squeals as we crest a hill, and just as we whoosh, literally whoosh, down the opposite side, Jay flips the headlights off. Sasha screams, and Annie screams, but I keep silent. I’d rather be cool than be alive.

Anthony Muni Jr. is 22 and lives in San Diego where he is making great strides establishing himself as a novelist, poet, and creative nonfiction essayist. He currently has two books published, with plans to release a third in the fall. He can be found at, as well as most major social networking sites.

No, wait. It can’t be this easy. Crossing the border to get into Switzerland was about as complex as exiting a freeway ramp. In fact, it was like the Orange County Border Patrol crossing in San Onofre: just a big gate that you drive through and some police Vlad’s breakfast vehicles parked on the side. No stops, no nothing. I never even had to get my passport out. Just like that, we were in Switzerland, the land of army knives and secret bank accounts. We had spent a few hours driving through the Swiss countryside, which looked like all the stereotypical images you would expect to see. There were bright green mountainsides and red farmhouses straight out of The Sound of Music, complete with grazing black-and-white cattle. The only indication that any modern influence had touched on this land was graffiti on the side of bridges and abandoned houses. Not just random black and streaky writing either: these were big murals, whose unnatural pinks and greens stood out against the bland palette of the landscape. Whoa-ho! Did the Swiss youth have a touch of gangster in them these days? It was hard to imagine the music of Run-DMC, Public Enemy or Biggie passing through this frozen-in-time postage stamp countryside, but it must have happened. For the first time since World War II, Switzerland had been bombed. Actually, Switzerland probably wasn’t actually bombed in World War II, but I couldn’t pass up that pun.

I would see a lot of graffiti in Spain too, but using that line there probably would have been in bad taste. We were on our way to Lausanne, Switzerland. Lausanne is a small city located on the banks of Lake Geneva, which straddles the border with France. But for us, Lausanne would only be one thing: the skate park. It wasn’t just a skate park, it was the skate park: the bowl here is known world-wide and home to decades of history for skating, second only to the Marseille bowl. Most of these guys had been here before, but it was my first time. My Lausanne cherry was about to be popped. It couldn’t have been a more picturesque, either: the park itself was full of big pine trees, right on the edge of a big beautiful lake with lush green hills…Well, just look at it:

Ride the snake, to the lake We could see storm clouds on the horizon, so we rushed, but not in a panicked way. There was a strange quiet calm, which was only punctuated by an occasional thunderclap and some crappy nu-metal emanating from a trailer nearby. As soon as the wheels touched the concrete, I had a strange feeling. What was this? It was a feeling of being… home. I knew it wasn’t home, but that’s what the energy of the place was like. The bowl felt impossibly smooth. You would glide over it, effortless and silent, and briefly experience feelings normally reserved for birds.

Concrete Asgard It wasn’t like human hands had shaped it; it was more like it had been worn down by the lapping waves of the lake over hundreds of years. The archeologists of the future are going to have a difficult time deciding what this space was. The norm is for temples to be structures that reach up to the heavens – not to dip under the ground. This was our strange, inverted cult. This was our Stonehenge, and what we experienced here was our Valhalla. After an hour or two of complete freedom, the rain finally came. It had been just enough. There was confusion among the group about where we were going to stay. Apparently, nothing had been planned past getting to Lausanne and driving to Lyon afterwards. Part of the crew wanted to head to a hotel back over the border, and part of the group wanted to sleep underneath covered bleachers/pavilion back in the park. A small car (with no room for me) left for the hotel, and the rest of us embraced the dharma-bum night ahead. Thankfully, the bleacher area was covered, so we dragged our sleeping bags through the downpour and got to drinking. Things started out innocently enough, just pastimes to wait out the rain: drinking songs, national anthems and loud jokes. But soon, we were out of beer, and were forced to take the long walk into town.

Part of the crew wanted to head to a hotel back over the border, and part of the group wanted to sleep underneath covered bleachers/pavilion back in the park. A small car (with no room for me) left for the hotel, and the rest of us embraced the dharma-bum night ahead. Thankfully, the bleacher area was covered, so we dragged our sleeping bags through the downpour and got to drinking. Things started out innocently enough, just pastimes to wait out the rain: drinking songs, national anthems and loud jokes. But soon, we were out of beer, and were forced to take the long walk into town. The walk was filled with mischief. We were tearing down street posters, smashing traffic lights, pulling down whatever we could get their hands on, and just being obnoxious shitheads in general. The weird thing was, even though there were apartments and buildings everywhere, not a single light came on. It was like the whole city had been abandoned. Apparently it’s quite normal for drunk French tourists to invade Swiss towns and raise hell – a boorish behavior I thought was exclusively reserved for Americans. It’s kind of nice to know that there are other nationalities that get an international rap for being assholes while abroad. We’re not so different, you and I… We saw one car the entire night – a cop car that whizzed past us, uninterested. The passing of the cops caused the group to cheer, and more things were smashed. Eventually we got far enough into town to realize that there was nothing open this late (duh). I thought we would start to turn back, but some of the guys were now drawn by other pursuits that the town had. It turns out that there were local people out this late other than us – the working girls. No, I didn’t do it. But two of the group did – and honestly, they didn’t seem that much happier when they came back the next morning. After stumbling back through gardens and graffiti-covered underpasses, we got back to our dry spot near the bleachers and fell asleep. The next morning was cold and gray. A policeman, called by the groundskeeper, had told us to leave from a polite distance. We complied, and walked back toward our van in the wet parking lot. Everyone was hung over, but accounted for. Vlad, who we thought we had lost the night before, had actually been laid out in front of the van all night, with only his jacket covering his head. People arriving at the park (for rowing practice, apparently) had shuffled by him all morning without a word or concern. From what I heard, he had drunk two bottles of vodka.

Womp-womp. I think we were waiting for the others to arrive from the hotel, because everyone just kind of milled about for a few hours before we got going anywhere. I ended up going on a walk with Remy, Crasch and the Tramp around the park. I took pictures of the lake, some landmarks, and some ruins which were part of a harbor dating back to Ancient Roman times. I thought these pictures would look more interesting, but really they ended up looking like prints you would find in prepackaged picture frames. Oh, well.

We found a weird little store on the campground and I thought, Ah, breakfast. We all sort of browsed, and I was looking at some kind of salami sandwich. “Do you want that?” Remy suddenly asked. “Uh, yeah, maybe. I don’t think I have enough money” “Let’s go find out!” Crasch joined us and lead me up to the counter, where Remy began speaking rapid French with the lady in charge. He would point at the sandwich, she would respond negatively, Crasch would join in. Are they haggling for the sandwich? It’s not that big a deal, I don’t want it that bad. I let them know that, but they kept at it. The Tramp showed up from behind and joined the conversation. It was then that Remy acknowledged me; “Oh, you don’t want it? Okay” The lady repeated the price, and we all offered thank-you’s and no-thank-you’s and formal goodbyes. We left the store and I was very confused. What was that all about? Am I way more culturally detached from this place than I think I am? We got a little while down the road and Remy looks at me with a smile. “Thanks man! We couldn’t have done it without you!” and the Tramp slides a large bottle of Ballantine gin out of his jacket. It dawned on me that I was a pawn the whole time! An unknowing, but very appreciative pawn. Because of my role in the scam, I was offered the first shot. I took it and took in the view of the harbor, with birds and boats floating by in the morning mist. Life was good. To be continued in Issue #9!

The turntable


loops like a

the arm

hula hoop


on a body’s hips.


It gets ticklish

and flash,

when a record

the spider

touches it.


It becomes

the crackling

a sulky thing


when a white


spider lands

turntable, or

on its favorite

talking machine,

Neil Young

the record player


loves the sound

It says,

of all its names.

“Go back

Its favorite

to your own



is that of a house

with hard wood floors, where even footsteps sound sonorous and sweet. Forty-five, seventy-eight, thirty-three and a third— every morning the talking machine wakes up with the same dizzy, drunk feeling,

in a body of song. And how good to have this motion, to hear songs someplace warm where leaves constantly crackle beneath your feet.

It could be anything. Right here - right in front of you. You have twentysix letters, ten numbers, roughly thirty-two acceptable punctuation marks, a sticky space bar, a cup of coffee that bears an especially jovial Santa Claus who’s inexplicably wearing rollerblades, and right in front of you: it could be anything. Maybe it’s the story of a ballerina. She’s a real doll, this ballerina. She can do that thing where she stands on the tips of her toes with her arms splayed and it seems just kind of impossible and painful, but look at her, she’s amazing. And when she does it, for the briefest of moments, she seems to understand the world entirely through this very specific prism of dance. There’s a oneness of sorts. But it’s incommunicable. You really wouldn’t get it. It’s like explaining meows to a cockroach (her words). But alas this ballerina isn’t all is pliés and meows and exquisite movements. She also suffers (and I mean suffers) borderline personality disorder with a whopping 4/4 of Milton’s subtypes. Most people don’t know that depression can physically hurt. It doesn’t bruise, but it hurts. Her friends don’t know any of this. It’s not always easy to see; the especially talented hide it well. They don’t notice that she never wears short sleeves or that even for a ballerina she is remarkably skinny. If you asked them, they’d say she’s a real doll. Eventually, on the second of February, this ballerina stuffs her hungry, lonesome self with cotton and dies. Maybe not, though! Maybe it’s not a story about an unfortunate ballerina at all. Maybe it’s a something less depressing. Maybe it’s a surprise pregnancy at, like, a biblical age and the mother has acne and the unlikely name Merth Dakota. Or maybe it’s a remarkably & unintentionally political allegory called "Mildred Hughhurst’s Brief Life as a Spider.” It could be anything. Maybe it’s just a list of titles that reads:

That’s Fucking Disgusting & Nobody Does That: A Critical Response to “Everybody Poops” Mannequin Nipple Buffet Pensive & Lonely, a Celebrity Quietly Dips Their Passport in Oatmeal Glimpses: Something Written and Titled “Glimpses” {{///~``{]}} Henry David Who?: Walden’s Unasked Opinion Regarding the Whole Thing Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s a brave story that rejects minimalism and cynicism and irony and is truly post-post-modern. Maybe it’s not selfreferential. Maybe it’s a story that never winks at you. Maybe it contains raw, uncensored emotion with no fear of banality and speaks as honestly as one can truly speak in this culture. Maybe it’s about complicated familial relations or waning friendships or even the death of a lover by overdose and subsequent years of stock therapists and alienation and crying until you feel just as completely fucking empty of fluids as you do everything else. Maybe it’s the story of feeling like a vessel for nothing and for no one, for no reason. A story that’s senseless and stupid. A story of death stripping significance from everything you once knew to be true and important; of existing in the sleepless purgatory where eventually everything seems coated in some kind of disgusting, hazy, truly almost physical film. Of a feeling that you don’t know the words for because there are no fucking words for it. Words are the punch line to the joke they compose. They’re fragments of fragments; pathetic attempts to share vestiges of experiences that can never be fully understood by anyone else; bullshit glimpses through a keyhole viewed from a passing car. It’s incomprehensibly painful, all of this. It’s a kind of pain no person could want ever share, even if they could. And how unbelievably awful would that be, anyway? Just how impossibly wrong would it be to hurt even one more person? Maybe it’s the story of knowing truthfully that you alone are responsible for your lover’s death, their overdose, and you can never, ever tell anyone. But maybe it’s not a story at all. Maybe it’s a poem. Yes, a poem that someone found scribbled on a piece of paper and left by a tree at the yuppie dog park. 1

Pronounceable, but trust me, you don’t want to hear it.

Or on the back of a receipt at the Santa Monica Whole Foods. Maybe someone texted it to stranger by accident. Maybe it’s vapid with poor structure and the work of a mediocre poet creep peering through the bushes into a dance class. Maybe it reads: Watchin ballet folk splay like frayed rope, At the scene, lurking, But shirking no hope To grope The biggest secret creep Yes, top three At least It could be the beginning of that book idea you had. The one where the book is entirely composed of Wikipedia-style page entries for characters and events complete with page number “links” to the appropriate persons & context. The whole thing would be a convoluted, non-linear back-and-forth page-turner that would win you some kind of weird, wordy award, certainly. The first character’s name could be Ashby Glitter. She’s allergic to cat hair, gluten, sexual intimacy, cheap bandage adhesives, and scented detergents. She has dependency issues and lives simultaneously in the past and future. Life generally is complicated for Ashby Glitter, but she gets by. But, you know, your coffee is getting cold. And your page is still blank. Santa is looking at you with Mona Lisa eyes and if you don’t sip your coffee soon, you won’t have that perfect warmth that only Rollerblading Santa seems to provide you. But hold that thought. There’s a knock at your door. Surprisingly, it’s Richard Brautigan. Or his personified, decomposed remains anyway. “Help, Richard Brautigan’s Decomposed Remains!” You say. “I don’t know what to write…” RBDR looks around a while, kind of², without saying anything. He smells just putrid and you don’t remember inviting him but concede you could be mistaken. ²He doesn’t have eyes.

Perhaps you texted him by accident. RBDR seems to notice the little mouse evacuations on your dirty, wooden floor. You aren’t entirely sure, but you think you see a judgmental eyebrow wriggling about. Wait, is that an eyebrow? What is that right in front of you?³ That’s disgusting. And anyway who does he think he is coming over unannounced and kind of looking at your mouse droppings? How gauche. “Whatever you do,” RBDR says. “Make sure you end it with the word ‘mayonnaise.’” “Mayonnaise? “That’s what I’d do.” “I’m probably not going to do that, Mr. Brautigan.” “Trust me, there’s no better way to end something.” RBDR gestures a pointed finger for emphasis, but the abrupt downward motion and twenty-eight years of steady decay send his entire right arm falling to the ground. You both just stare at it quietly. Maybe eight seconds pass before he speaks. “Mayonnaise a lot of mouse turds in here.” Your page remains blank. It could be anything.

³It could be anything. a a It’s maggots.

Of all Michael "Doseone" Drucker's music-based projects, Subtle might stand as the best-known, starting with their first four EPs and their first proper LP, A New White, released in 2004, to a number of other EPs and their last album, ExitARM, in 2008. Looking back on A New White, the record stands as one of Doseone and crew’s most confident. It’s yet another in his long line of paranoid, fever-dream “rabbit hole” experiences, wrought with enough existential angst and brokenpoem societal observation to secure his place as that of outsider artist looking in. In an interview with Believer Magazine in 2008, Drucker concedes that the LP title comes from his father chastising him for being a “dark artist,” advising him to “take all these greys and…meld them and push them together.” His lyrics both read and sound slightly schizophrenic, with the occasional moment of clarity, and his trademark high-pitched, nasally, rapid-fire output helps to confound listeners as to what it is exactly he’s singing/rapping about. Closer inspection into the words themselves only bring to light a strange, abstract puzzle, largely without obvious narrative sense. His sentences jump or trail off, such as in “I heart LA”: “if I could only travel back in time and kick my mother in the face after/a permanent.” For the patient listener/reader, lines like these read evocative, with a physical world of action still at play in spite of the fact that it seems to immediately slip out of his grasp. Curiously, A New White is another in the band’s trajectory of its fictional protagonist, Hour Hero Yes, “a struggling rapper with a black-and-white zebra-striped face who, by turns, becomes stranded on a desert island, discovers he has the rarest blood type in the world, and is abducted to an underground bunker beneath the Hollywood sign, where he is brainwashed to write pop songs” (Believer Magazine interview). It’s almost as if Drucker seeks to obfuscate his identity even more by speaking through another conduit, yet the proceedings, buried under Burroughs-style cut-ups and averted eyes, still feel personal. References to the heart appear in virtually every on the record (such as in album-opener, “Song Meat,” a mediation on creative angst—“I know now the problem/lies in no one wire of the human heart/no none of its 12 plugs can be pulled/to tear all veins in one swoop”). References to the head and the brain abound as well, as do parental figures (in “Red, White and Blonde”—"No one spits up mothers milk at 21/wearing their umbilical cord outside their clothing”), as well as long glances at the boundaries of class and societal expectation (the same song's mention of “a time of gold and uncertainty/noise and expensive genetic victory/the proper time for bright black clothes and last ditch diets/the information age and its molecular pimping”; or later in “f.k.o.” (Fuck Kelly Osborne)’s: “and they will have their poems sung to them/or they will have nothing at all”). Hour Hero Yes’s story parallels that of Drucker’s, stuck trying to observe the world in pop-song form but having difficulty doing so. Whatever difficulty many listeners have with Drucker’s music, he’s unapologetic in both his presentation and his content. A New White, like most of his projects, relies more on a necessity for expurgation rather than a need for response. As uninviting as that can seem for some, it’s a tough one to shake once it’s under your skin.

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The Radvocate Issue #7  

Fade Hurricane blows everyone away (get it?) with this incredible cover art. Michael Lewis (no relation) gives us an interesting piece on th...