Vol. 3, Issue #11 June 20th - July 3rd, 2008

A NONtaneous NONhistory of NONzine
By: G. Smith

The working title was of this piece was supposed to be something to the effect of “A Brief History of NONzine.” I was also given total freedom, so this is probably not what was expected. There isn’t enough room this issue for real history.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what all the NONfuss is about, and I hope to clear some of them up. If you’re looking for the disclaimer you’ll find it under the masthead.

Sixty plus issues and a couple of years later this rag is still being printed. I’m here to alleviate some fears and resentments and maybe add a couple of my own. There’s no journalistic approach. No complex theory on magazine design. The main focus is production. Just get it out. Get it written. Get it painted. Get it in before the deadline occurs and you miss out on throwing your soul into the void. But then I said the D word. Deadline.

NONzine, NONzine, what the hell is NONzine? Is it non’zeen or non’zyne? I’m not here for that. NONzine is a regional bi-monthly arts and entertainment variety newspaper. There’s T-shirts, buttons, decals. A do-it-yourself publication under the umbrella NONCO Media. Every issue is different. From Mark Faulk to Kurt Vonnegut to Chuck Norris, the contributor list is as humble as it is impressive. There’s NONcast internet radio. That’s Adrian’s baby. More local music that you could shake a stick at. There’s even been a NONfest. And now as the web of the NONCO spider spews forward and ensnares Tulsa, we may hush some of the rumors that have been trickling from the mill that NONzine may soon close its doors.

NONzine has a staff of two. Adrian Fallwell and Michael Taber. You can read that in the masthead. There’s a pulsating list of contributors. Mainly writers some selfless, some eager, some selfish, some pretentious, but most contribute to share their voice (with little money ever thrown their way).

Taber left me a voicemail about an article, an interview. He wanted me to interview Adrian and himself, to help introduce the NONmission to newer readers. A masturbatory moment really, but I was honored. I’m not a journalist nor seek those margins. I’ve been in and out since issue three. I write fiction. I find truth in my own lies. Occasionally I’ll do a review.

Oklahoma City, Moore, Norman, Edmond and now Tulsa. That’s what I write down as I sit at the NONfactory, a triumphant location itself an evolution of the city and the magazine. A relic from the fifties in a heartbroken shopping district. The NONfactory itself is the last gasp. The large drab brick building with windows barred shields a serene and modest Northwest Oklahoma City neighborhood.

I’m here to name drop really, if you want to know the truth about it. I’m here to state all of the NONmerchandise, and NONproductions: NONcast, the NONshow. There’s the NONcamp with City Arts, July 7th through the 11th, for children to learn and produce an issue of the magazine. This is two guys whom I’ve grown to know in business and friendship. With all of the NONfuss and the resumes that get emailed, I’m to say that this is a modest publication, but if you’re looking to make a buck, it’s the guys that make the press run, deliver routes, and the advertisers that benefit most.
The NONnews is the NONfactory; offices and gallery space. Artist and Gunfighter, Troy Scott. Patron of the Arts and Theatre, Laura Sullivan. Pop-surrealist, Conrad Hale. Pego, whom you can find on myspace as pegothejerk. And it’s a sales pitch as I sit in the office listening to two guys talk about ideas. The greenhouse, the market, the television show. Limitless possibilities inside of the mind. But it’s a sales pitch still. It’s capitalism baby. It’s the media.
“I have a quote,” Adrian tells me as I’m scribbling down a journal entry. Adrian is a musician and he draws from the old front man of the Dead Kennedys, “Jello Biafra said, ‘Don’t hate the media, become the media.’” And the interview hovers somewhere in the room. Big ideas that make one hear that parental adult voice in the back of the mind in its envy and helplessness, ‘You can’t do that.’ But it’s not all serious and sales. Taber blurts his own blurb, “Mike Taber? He’s a pontificating windbag with delusions of grandeur who should be put on a prescription to ease himself back into the world around him.”
NONzine. A magazine that depends only on contributors who believe and advertisers who hold the same values. Advertisers that confess results. Advertisers that don’t sell hummers or braided belts. There are no corporate whores here yet.
A sales pitch. Not an interview, and I leave the office late believing in my own community. Wondering when money is going to rain down from the sky so we can spread it all around. It’s passed deadline.

The clock is ticking.

This is our media and oh, what I have seen.

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©2008 NONCO Media, L.L.C.