December 20, 2005


I'll Be Punk For Xmas

I know everyone has their hand out around now asking for donations, but I recently received an e-mail from the staff of Punk Planet magazine (an excellent periodical I subscribe to that is always chock fucking full of discussions about current events, informative interviews with relevant musicians, artists and activists and exhaustive new music reviews) that worried me enough to open my wallet. Here it is in full from them:

"A week ago we received a letter from the president of the Independent Press Association, the not-for-profit organization that owns the company that distributes the majority of Punk Planet's copies, Indy Press Newsstand Services, formerly BigTop Newsstand Services. The letter acknowledged the truth of a rumor that had been running through independent publishing circles for months now: the only remaining independent national distributor was having cash flow problems. Payments to publishers for magazines already distributed had been and would continue to be effected for an unknown amount of time.

In case you don't operate a magazine, the money coming in from newsstand sales is vital to publishers' bottom line. For a magazine like Punk Planet, where our ad rates remain very low to cater to independent businesses, those distributor payments are even more critical. Although bookstores and newsstands may not work directly with Indy Press Newsstand Services—few do—Indy Press contracts with the other national distributors to place independent titles on their shelves. Indy Press is the last distributor in the country that specializes in distributing independent press magazines.

A decade ago, there were close to a half dozen such independent distributors; the loss of each has also brought about the loss of a few magazines. Because Indy Press is owned by the IPA, an organization whose mission is to "amplify" the voice of the independent press, no one expects that they will go out of business; but the independent press also remains unclear about when all distributor accounts will be brought to date.

What does this mean for the future of Punk Planet? The truth is we don't yet know. The payment issues affecting us, however, are not singular--there are others in the same predicament that need your support as well. A few of the other magazines currently distributed by Indy Press Newsstand Services include: The American Prospect; Bitch: Feminist Response To Pop Culture; Bomb; Clamor; ColorLines; Curve; Extra!; Giant Robot; Heeb; Herbivore; In These Times; International Socialist Review; Kitchen Sink; Maximum Rocknroll; Mother Jones; The Progressive; Razorcake; Rethinking Schools; Tikkun; Venus; and YES!: the Magazine of Positive Futures. Please consider visiting their sites and supporting them with subscriptions, advertisements, and other purchases.

To best support Punk Planet right now, we are asking supporters to visit our merch table and purchase subscriptions, books, shirts, magazines, or anything else we offer. Even the smallest amount helps immensely."

I would suggest picking up a copy of the excellent book "We Owe You Nothing--Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews". Once again, from them:

we owe you nothing

"The first compilation of the riveting and provocative interviews of Punk Planet magazine, founded in 1994 and charging unbowed into the new millenium. Never lapsing into hapless nostalgia, these conversations with figures as diverse as Jello Biafra, Kathleen Hanna, Black Flag, Sleater-Kinney, and many more provide a unique perspective into American punk rock and all that it has inspired (and confounded). Not limited to conversations with musicians, the book includes vital interviews with political organizers, punk entrepreneurs, designers, filmmakers, writers, illustrators, and artists of many different media. Punk Planet has consistently explored the crossover of punk with activism, and reflects the currents of the underground while simultaneously challenging the bleak centerism of today's popular American culture. We Owe You Nothing includes interviews with: Black Flag, Kathleen Hanna, Noam Chomsky, Winston Smith, Sleater-Kinney, Thurston Moore, Frank Kozik, Ian MacKaye, Matt Wobensmith, Ruckus Society, Porcell, Jody Bleyle, Mordam Records, Los Crudos, Jello Biafra, Negativland, Chumbawamba, Central Ohio Abortion Access Fund, Art Chantry, Steve Albini, Ted Leo, Jem Cohen, Voices in the Wilderness, Duncan Barlow, and Jon Strange."

You locals and ex-locals might also want to order back issue # 50:

issue #50

"PP50: OUR KIND OF TOWN. Punk Planet marks its 50th issue with an issue that celebrates the magazine’s home: Chicago. Featuring a diverse group of interviews and articles, PP50 showcases the many people, places, and things that make this city unique. To kick things off is the beautiful JON LANGFORD PAINTING of Chicago’s Mayor Daley on the magazine’s cover. Inside, Langford and bandmate Sally Timms wax philosophical about 25 YEARS OF THE MEKONS and what moving to Chicago has meant for the band. Also interviewed in this issue: post-rock poster darlings TORTOISE talk about why the critics got it all wrong; BLOODSHOT RECORDS explain the link between country and punk; the woman behind VENUS ZINE talks about creating her amazing publication; LOS CRUDOS’ MARTIN SORRONDEGUY talks about why he’s left Chicago; HOUSING ORGANIZER JAMES MUMM talks about fighting gentrification; GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE (AND PUNK) JASON FARBMAN talks about taking on Chicago machine politics; the two wonderful people behind HOMOCORE CHICAGO talk about the good old days; the braintrust behind the "dance show for kids of all ages" CHIC-A-GO-GO talk about making one of the best shows on cable access; death row inmate AARON PATTERSON talks about the brutal Chicago cop that beat him into confessing to a murder he didn’t commit; indie hip-hoppers THE MOLEMEN drop some knowledge; and garage rockers THE DISHES make some noise. PLUS MANY MORE INTERVIEWS WITH FOLKS FROM CHICAGO. In addition, there’s all the columns, reviews, DIYs, letters and everything else readers have come to expect from Punk Planet for 50 issues."

Baby jesus sez, "fuck the Salvation Army, help out Punk Planet this holiday season."

Baby Jesus sez, "If you still want to help, and don't know how, send your monetary donations to: The Western Slope Hot Tub Relief Fund." Or if you don't wish to send a check, just turn that thermostat up, I'll get it either way... And remember to take excessively long and pointless trips to visit friends and relatives over the holidays!! HAPPY SATURNALIA EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!
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