Sunday, June 25, 2017

Archiving of Old Beatnik

I didn't quite know what to make of this when my friend told me about it. The University of Iowa Main Library Gallery featured my alternative newspaer, Old Beatnik, in its summer exhibit on alternative press in Iowa City. Look down the page: three out of the ten are Old Beatnik. Not that Old Beatnik was the best of alternative press in those days; it was more likely that it just looks more alternative, or clearly more rebellious.

This is a part of my life that I had conveniently forgotten, as it was associated with other wild stuff that I'd gotten in the habit of not mentioning. But it's there for everyone to see, and now I'm processing it. I thought I'd put my reaction to it on here, as well as everything else I know about it.

It's fair to say I was fascinated by alternative press at the time, determined to make my own, and more or less totally unequipped to do it successfully. I have no idea where I typed or drew anything, or how I printed and distributed. For part of this time I didn't really have a home, much less a copy machine or stapler. The Old Beatnik consisted of about five editions. For one, the one with the best art, if I recall correctly, people at the Co-op objected to something I said, and I ended up destroying all the editions in order to keep good relations with them. The details of this incident are hazy to me, but that's what I remember. As a result, some editions of the five are totally lost. There is only one or two that I saved (but I saved several of that edition) - and it is a different one from the one that the Museum Gallery managed to snag. So, altogether, we're talking four or five editions of a four-page (two, front-and-back) rag that had a very short lifespan. If we were to combine mine and theirs we would have a slightly bigger collection.

On the assumption that the university gallery will change its focus on Aug. 25, I'll recopy what they have saved here, so that I have access to it.
Cover of Oct. 1, 1975
Back page, same edition
page two, same edition


Nothing special. I hope they leave it there, as now, after moving to tens of places, I have lost many things, and I'm making a sincere effort not to lose any more. I may work with these folks, if I could possibly stay in touch, and send them what I still have. It's safer in their hands than in mine. But the Southern Illinois Museum has recently closed, so I'm not sure if anything is truly safe in the modern world. I do know that I've been kind of stuck in 70's documentation (reading a fascinating book about the back-to-the-land movement, We are as Gods), so, for me, now's the time.

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