Dear FSU Students:

I'm dissapointed.

Did you drain Poor Pauls? Was Bullwinkles finally shut for code violations? Did Potbelly's burn down? Did beer pong go out of fashion? Did all the sorority girls buy shirts that actually cover their torsos? Have red plastic cups been banned within city limits? Did Mike's Beer Barn close again?

What happened to the hard drinking, hard puking students of yesteryear? For shame, FSU. Letting UF beat you like that. Have some college pride.

A Local


where I belong

Juancho feels compelled to hop on a bike and ride it all over creation in 105 degree heat. My mama just has to get out in the garden, stooping and pulling and weeding and fighting enemy species invasions. Some folks are compelled to climb mountains. Some find themselves playing the same video game over and over to perfect a handful of skills that only apply to that situation. Seems like everyone feels some pull, has some inner drive to do this certain thing, even if it sounds completely batshit insane to everyone else.

I guess that's why I spent a few hours last night in a wood-and-tin shed downtown, near the homeless shelter, sweating rivers and losing my hearing. There's something pure about a do-it-yourself punk or oi or hardcore show. I don't mean all our motives are pure - ask any independent musician why he or she does what they do and you'll get answers like "I just want to get fucked up and make loud noises" or "to piss people off" or "to get laid." I mean, a bunch of folks want to hear a certain band that's on the road. They contact the musicians and make plans for a show. They borrow or rent a space, do a little fliering and spread the word. Ask a few local acts to jump in. Maybe they get a keg. Stick someone at the door to collect a few bucks from everyone to help out with gas money or whatever. Set up some PA and let 'er rip.

Next thing you know, people who, in their day to day life, take shit as kitchen workers or state employees or yard guys are singing their lungs out, throwing each other around a dirty room with no ac, burning off all the pent up frustration and energy we deal with in this society to the sounds of their favorite bands rocking out. Even when my feet ache from standing in boots on concrete, even when I catch an elbow in the belly or get knocked off my feet by 250 pounds of excited hardcore guy, even when the beer is warm and the microphones barely work and the headliners are broken down somewhere in Valdosta, it's worth it.

There's no money to be made in the scene I love. World famous musicians live in shitty trailers in the dirt near Stark or rent one bedroom apartments in Jersey or share a punk house with 15 other guys in Portland. There's something in it that's like being part of a particularly charismatic backwoods church. Talking in tongues, rolling on the floor in ecstasy, uniting in fellowship for ideals above and beyond our real lives. A lot of kids come in and out of the scene - they spend a time here and grow out of it, find a place in mainstream life where they can be comfortable and get what they need. But I can't imagine not being part of it. I don't jump in the pit any more - bad knee - but someone needs to document the shows, interview the bands, record our history.

Honestly, though, that's just rationalization. It's not making zines that keeps me going to shows. It's the feeling you get when you're crammed up against the lead singer with a brother or sister on every side, each of you shouting along, part of something grand.


fairly useless passion

This is my favorite part of the zine making process. I've done my interviews, compiled my photos, wrangled columns out of strangers, decided on a cover image. Half the content is printed up, sliced out, and pasted down. I'm working through a check list of needs that crop up as I put this thing in order, and I'm sliding downhill toward a hard deadline on Sunday night. Sprinting to publish, there's just nothing better.


poor boy's revolution

Back in the way back, when I was 21, newly on my own after 3 years of dreary relationship hassle, and freshly embedded in Atlanta, I did not know how to drink. I mean, I knew how to swallow liquid, and due to being raised by musicians and live music fans I knew general bar behavior better than most of my age group, but the actual process of going in and buying my drink of preference was something of a mystery.

There's a magic line in this country between 21- and 21+. Before that, you pretty much imbibe in whatever your older buddies or girlfriend buy you. Cheap corporate beer, high priced micros, Evan Williams, plastic bottle vodka - it's all pretty much luck of the draw, ain't it? So, the first few times I went out with friends here in town for a legal drink, I felt sort of flummoxed. What did adults order?

Sometimes I followed a friend's lead. Sometimes I ordered a simple mixed drink I wasn't scared of - a rum and coke, maybe. Sometimes I just asked for a Bud or a Rolling Rock because they were the first beers I recognized sitting on the shelf. But I had no finesse, no taste of my own was really involved.

Not long after I packed my duffel bag and headed for the Big City, I fell in with a kid named Dean. Now, Dean had issues. Whole subscriptions. When I say the words "pathological liar," I mean, "claims to have stomach cancer, says she was Winnie's understudy on the Wonder Years, would say she got mugged to explain where all her (drug) money went". That aside, though, we palled around for the better part of two years and had some damn good times doing so, as long as I kept in mind that if she said the sky was blue I needed to grab an umbrella.

Dean taught me to drink in bars. She and I walked into a joint in East Atlanta one night. She put a 5 on the bar and said, "Two Pabst tall boys." Left a dollar tip and still got a dollar back in change. That first PBR changed my life. Cold, clean - beat the hell out of Bud and its cousins. The red, white, and blue can design appealed instantly to the classic graphics fan in me. Plus, you couldn't get the stuff in Tally - this was at the very beginning of the PBR hipster revival. Dirty punks, pomped rockabillies, and working class rednecks gulped it by the gallon in bars tucked away in Atlanta's dark corners. It tasted like self reinvention, like punk rock, like downtown.

By the end of the night, I was suddenly a brand loyal man. Sure, if a place doesn't carry Pabst I'll switch down to High Life or up to Red Stripe. I've gulped my share of Dixie and Lone Star. I've put away cases of Natty and quarts of Schlitz. But Pabst Blue Ribbon is my beer of choice. And now it's the largest remaining American-owned brewer. That's something we can be proud of, I'd say. Or at least something we can drink to.


Do you like good music?

If you have even the slightest interest in bluegrass, string music, old timey stuff, and so on, get your happy ass down to the Warehouse Saturday night for a beer and a good time. These folks play like devils and sing like angels.



That weekend blurred into three days of eating charred flesh, drinking cheap beer out of ice-wet cans, and playing with fire and gunpowder. Now, let me tell you, these are easily some of my favorite things to do in a group. Ribs? Yes. Burgers? Of course. Pabst? Any time. Roman candles? Hand 'em here. But somewhere around the 40th hour, I hit a wall.

No, not literally.

I poured out the keg beer I was gulping, ate the last bite of my chicken wing, and went home to sleep for 10 hours solid. Of course, that just means I was rested and ready for the bring-your-own-pool party the next afternoon.

You know, I am actually a shy, introverted guy who loves quiet and can easily be alone even in a big crowd. However, my lifestyle belies this. That's okay. I like contradiction.


One of my best friends told my sister (they work together) that she's worried for me. I'm going through some sort of phase. The symptom? Wearing Hawaiian shirts.

It's true, too. Last month, for my luau, I stopped into the local kmart and wound up with a couple of nice, light, colorful Hawaiian shirts for a couple of bucks each. (If anyone can explain kmart's pricing policies to me, that would be a great - it's like a weird lottery system, and half the time the numbers on the sign have nothing to do with the numbers at the register.)

Reactions are strange. Someone told me I look "snazzy." A friend, seeing me in yet another one, told me, "enough is enough." I do feel a faint urge to make frozen drinks and sip them out of coconut shells. But hell, this is Florida in the summer. As long as no one turns me into the Suede/Denim Secret Police, I'm set until September.


snip snip

31 was kind of a throw-away year for me. I lost too many friends and relatives, work just limped along, and - strangest for me - I didn't release a single zine the whole time. Looking back at it, that's a major sign that something just flat wasn't right in my life at the time.

But here I am now, 32, climbing out of the doldrums. Last night, I sat down with some pictures, graphics, and articles at my living room table. As I downed a few beers, I cut pieces of paper into smaller pieces of paper and then glued the snippets to yet more pieces of paper. I have no idea why I love doing that so much. I feel like I've truly accomplished something when I see those copies come popping out of the machine at Office Depot, ready to be collated, stapled, folded, and shoved into a stranger's hands.

The most fun I ever had with that last bit was at the show at the Beta Bar a couple of years ago. I'd run an article on the brand-new-at-the-time Tallahassee Rollerderby Team as the center spread, and I finished the final paste-down and copying just a few minutes into a show that was a benefit for the squad. I wanted to be able to hand out issues that night, but I'd run out of time for assembling the copies. So I walked into the venue carrying a box of loose pages and my long-arm stapler. The roller girls (Capital Punishment!) laid that puppy out and put it in order, sending me set copies to be stapled, folded, and thrown on the merch table. Somebody brought me a draft beer while I worked, and the issue disappeared as quickly as we could put it together. Beer, zines, and hotties in short skirts collating for me? The ultimate zinester fantasy.