'Zines Of The Times & Biting Art

“Zinebriation” exhibit at Emergency Arts

Long before the likes of Tumblr, Wordpress, Twitter and Facebook turned us intoreal-time Matrix babies continuously uploading the goo of our souls to the cloud, there were ’zines — gleefully, sloppily Xeroxed botches of personal journalism in which zeal was the only cover charge. Some ’zine historians like to loop dissidents and pamphleteers into their preserve — Thomas Paine and his “Common Sense,” samizdat agitators under the Soviet regime — but the contemporary version of a ’zine usually takes the form of an unfussily photocopied DIY publication dedicated to chronicling a subculture or amplifying a worldview. Sometimes there are poems.

Through Nov. 26, you can see Vegas’ contribution to this phenom at the “Zinebriated” exhibit at Emergency Arts. Curated by Jeff Grindley of the Las Vegas Zine Library, it’s two walls of Vegas ur-pubs that cover everything from the Vegas punk scene (Piece of Dump) to diaristic meanderings (Polar Bear Vixen) to subversive comix (Greater Unincorporated Clark County Psychopath) to, yes, poetry (Tippy’s Wild). (Disclosure: There are a few cringe-inducing samples by yours truly as well). They’re not just interesting because they offer a keyhole glimpse into ’90s Vegas underground and arts culture, when Cafe Espresso Roma was the boiling center of the poetry scene and punk-rock energy sizzled up and down Maryland Parkway. They’re also interesting in the context of today’s reigning Internet culture of brand-conscious solipsism that enables, demands and relies on personal expression to lubricate the gears. Funny to think that, before it was pegged as a commodity, personal expression entailed a lucid urgency that called for work: You wanted so much to be heard, you scrawled it out, you typed it up, you cut and pasted it, you copied it 200 times and threw it with hopeful abandon at the world. — Andrew Kiraly

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Jared Africa at PeaceNart Gallery

Other than the one verbal recommendation (“His stuff is rad!) that steered me into the PeaceNart Studio recently, I’d never heard of local artist Jared Africa, who’s showing some drawings there. But I was in the Arts Factory anyway, to see Abigail Goldman’s deadly hilarious murder-scene dioramas in Trifecta Gallery, so, what the hell, I bopped upstairs to see what passes for “rad” these days. Well: Whoa!We may need a hairier adjective. These miasmic swirls of body parts and functions, bared teeth, scary eyes, pop-horror ambiance and dream-world intensity, rendered with the kind of detail that suggests a tinge of mania — can they be called merelyrad? No. Gloriously eruptive, they’re like experiments from some mad lab of the mind, where outrageous visions are gene-spliced into a new kind of nightmare. Viscous and creepy, but with an edge of outré fun, they make a good counterpoint to the perfectly dry wit of Goldman’s death scenes downstairs. No powder-dry irony here; this stuff is juicy. See for yourself at PeaceNart before Nov. 29. — Scott Dickensheets

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