Friday, September 30, 2011

Behind The Monthly Scene

The Monthly was banned by the San Francisco print companies in the early ‘80s. Yes, liberal, accepting of all things unusual San Francisco was not so hip in the print industry. I could not find anyone to offset print the first two issues because, “We don’t print content like this.”
Upon questioning what in the publication’s content these guys did not publish, it came down to the politics that was not agreeable. The Monthly was perceived to be a radical feminist and/or lesbian publication by the printer trade. Whereas, neither of the contributors thought it was political at all!

Becoming more determined to get the issues out into the art public, the Xerox copier was used to print the first two issues. Finally when the third issue was ready a friend referred me to a print company owner who was a Grateful Dead fan who would accept it for print…but there was a condition. I would have to understand that the pressman might be opposed to the job and the owner would not be able to control him.

So what did that mean exactly?

I asked to meet with the pressman to ask him personally if he found the content offensive. Upon his inspection of the galleys he agreed to run the job.

A week later I went back to pick up the completed zines and was surprised to receive a pile of layout boards with the waxed on text and finely tuned originals showing visible footprints. Also they were falling apart as if they’d been thrown across the room. The artwork was generally an overall mess. Plus I could only get the artwork returned when the printed copies were paid for, regardless of whether I liked the resulting job with the messy lines and paste-up marks.

So the third issue of The Monthly is a testament to those early zine days, before the print profession had to change its ways in more than attitude.

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