Passion Over Professionalism

In the dark, hip land of the East Village, a cramped store on St. Mark's Place sells only 'zines to any bugger willing to read a sentence ... or at least look at the cartoons. Magazines are disdained in this place, and any resemblence of support for these depraved monoliths will result in a severe reprimand or maybe worse. It's just 'zines, man -- yeah, 'zines.'Zines are the smart-ass bastard sons of the magazine world. They care little about "demographics," and they don't have the money for that kind of research anyway. So 'zine editors create something for themselves, even though so many of them want to be the voice of Youth."No one is talking to us in this gray, corporatized world!"That's the standard line you'll hear from your average 'zine editor, but it's only the good 'zines that go for something more and avoid that chicken-shit youth angle altogether. Unfortunately, the 'zine world -- like any other world -- has few visionaries who can muster up such orginality and stick it to The Man with an ugly cleverness that makes all of us young folk proud.Everything Goes! is somewhere in between the raw wasteland of good ideas looking for a second chance and bad ideas that should have never been formed in the first place. Right away, the 'zine's "Mission Statement" makes any reviewer nervous:This is a non-profit magazine geared towards cultural, educational, and social issues targeting 18-26 year old young minds of today and tomorrow. In an effort to help many struggling people express themselves, the concept of giving an open forum to speak on issues that are important politically, artistically, culturally and personally is the direction we have chosen since most of the times they are not heard or taken seriously.There's a lot of angst in that paragraph, and none of it is all that original. It's the kind of shit we dug in 1991 when Nirvana first broke but have since moved on. But Everything Goes! somehow hangs in there ... barely ... by a string ... with some cheap gum reinforcing the cracks.That seems a little harsh, but you didn't read all of the perplexing punctuation mistakes or the lazy intellectualism or the dumb-ass article about cigars that was only an advertisement for an advertiser that sat on the opposite page. Now that kind of conflict of interest is out of line, and you don't have to be a journalism school grad to figure that out. This was the kind of bent I was on as I read Everything Goes! A full-out, hard-flurry of anger and disbelief. Then I calmed down. Then I realized I was reading a 'zine, or I thought I was reading 'zine.Everything Goes!, as edited, published, marketed and contributed written by Walda Laurenceau, claims to be a 'zine in one press release and a magazine in another. This publication ain't no magazine, and if it is Laurenceau ought to hang it up. As a 'zine, well, that's another matter.Despite the insipid youth angle, Everything Goes! has a strong Black woman thing going on that's hard to ignore and, when it's good, an interesting read. And whatever mistakes that take place inside the pages of Everything Goes!, it's a courtesy given by 'zine enthusiasts that not everything is going to be tip-top professional. The goal of the 'zine creator is to deplete the brain of all ideas until it runs dry. Then sit around for another few weeks, think about more shit that pisses you off and bleed it out all over again. If a publisher/editor/marketer like Walda Laurenceau can't do that, then she doesn't have a 'zine or a magazine. She just has squat.Walda Laurenceau, however, does have a 'zine. She and her colleagues let it out. The focus? Black is beautiful, Baby. I spell Black with a capital "B" because any other way would probably offend Ms. Laurenceau. There are a whole lot of capital "B"s in Everything Goes!, and it just emphasises the whole strong Black woman focus of the various stories: one Black woman walks away from an abusive relationship, another Black woman has all the secrets of the earth, a different Black woman dishes out straight-forward advice, another Black woman provides the strength for her community and one more Afro-German Black woman searches for her father despite her white family's objections. A lot of kick-ass Black women in these pages, and I've got a feeling there'll be more to come as the issues roll on.The stand out Black woman in the premier issue of Everything Goes! is Sanie. I'm guessing she's black and a woman because there's no other guesses to make considering the material that's been written. Then again, I've met some strong-minded Black transvestites who could dish out the strong Black woman thing with the best of them. But something tells me Sanie's not a 250-pound Black man from the Bronx who wears a D-cup.Sanie's first contribution to Everything Goes! is a collection of short story excerpts called "Us n' Crow." She writes in a rough, Southern dialect that annoyed this white man's ear until I found the flow. Then I kind of dug it. I kind of felt I was down in Georgia in the hot sun, drinking a beer on the front porch as someone told me a story. Yeah, that Sanie is pretty cool, even though I didn't understand half the stuff she wrote. But the words felt goooooood, and I understood it that way.Sanie later writes a poem titled, "dragonfly": (an excerpt)"a dragonfly, fell out of the sky, and landed on the concrete, right in front of my feet ... "Yeah, dig it, man. It doesn't flow all that well, but it's Sanie.It's this kind of rough mix-match of literary success and failure that fills the pages of Everything Goes!, and it can get disheartening or inspiring. But Walda Laurenceau somehow keeps rolling, probably with the deep belief that she's making a difference, and that's all you can ever ask of a 'zine editor.Everything Goes!, 450 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11225.


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