Deleted Zines Digging the dirt on ex-zinesters

Seven years seems like a lifetime to some people. Imagine finding a file folder of poems or essays you’d written in grad school or high school. Seven years ago. As old as Attack of The Clones. But much more realistic. This very issue of Wegway I am holding is seven years old. Think about stuff you made seven years ago! You sorta cringe as you read or maybe you’d relish the opportunity to once again see the world as you once saw it…Maybe… Wegway was no folder of poems or essays from seven years ago so just stop it.

No, Wegway was a highly detailed, slick and coherent arts collective in paper journal form. It had mastheads, colour ads, bleeds and all the other tricks that make modern journals tick. And yet after eight issues, Wegway walks the earth no longer…(BP notes the last issue of Wegway came out in spring of 2005).

What was it like? Here is an excerpt from Adrienne Redd’s photo essay “Roadside Politics” from Wegway

3. “Moments after the collapse of the twin towers a wave of black smoke and debris billowed up the corridors between buildings and people fled just ahead of it in a darkening gray cloud. As the darkness spread out from the center, so did the ripples of reactions — shock, grief, anger, sympathy, disbelief, vengefulness.”

The roadside photographs of placards and ghetto signs the author snapped 100miles from ground zero on a road trip is effective, simple and poignant; Wegway was full of brash sensitivity and capitalistic subordination, the banal infusing the pages through artist rendering in sketches or photography complimented the texts considerably. In this same issue, David Lester’s fork and spoon-headed couple, complete with the caption “In search of the palatable,” is a tidy example of Wegway’s direct message. Though it’s never fair to compare a magazine to Lola, quite likely the greatest zine in contemporary imagination, Wegway had that sort of feel to it. “A magazine for artists, writers, composers, curators and all other culture-producers to publish primary documents, texts or images,” says an editorial note in issue 3(April 2002). “In other words,” the editorial continues, “we will not publishing secondary literature such as reviews or essays that interpret other peoples’ work. This magazine contains:

1) Work often referred to as an “artist project” 2) Comment on the world from the point of view of a culture-producer. 3) Experiments with texts and images or a combination of the two.”

And so (so we thought), Wegway continued, ’til about 2006. Typically in this column I resurrect the editors and ask them to tell me where it all went wrong. Is there a point? Perhaps. Perhaps Steve Armstrong would tell me they ran out of steam, money, they had children, they had to move. It’s a familiar story within the depraved underfunded development sect, and these anecdotes will surprise no one, so I’ll return to the contents and my appreciation of their lovely guts.

I first familiarized myself with the organized periodical around 2002and thought it was both academic, anarchistic and most of all well edited. This issue was something I re-read over and over again, and if you can find one of these relics, I urge you to cherish it. Read Rene Price’s piece on Suburbia, “One of these days I will found the ‘Save Suburbia Society’ (SSS)…lest we forget one of the many places from whence our millennial angst comes,” or Istvan Kantor’s “Old Boring Shit.” Read Tommy Campbell’s The Slacker Confessions (High Times At Small Greeks Pizza, November 12, 1992) or Bernard Bloom’s piece on a 2002Sheila Copps press conference at the Edmonton Art Gallery, which brings to mind Harper’s recent war on the arts and demonstrates another example of the perverse relationship our political leaders have always had with the arts. Quoting Copps at the press conference, “‘Whenever heritage is lost, it’s gone forever.’ Copps did not mention the crippled careers and creative initiatives aborted by federal government manipulations. At least one generation will never use the skills it spent years acquiring.” While it’s a cliché to say this, but such is life, they just don’t make ’em like they used to.

For back issues/ visitation or to read about their copyright free Clip Art from the Age of Coal project, please visit www.wegway.com. Or write Wegway to P.O. Box 157, Station A, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5W 1B2.

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