Raw Material

Basura cover

Bob Bellerue, Basura

Age: 28

Selection: "Letter from Granpa Vic," by Victor L. Bellerue (page 1)

Sample: No longer available.

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
Basura was found in September 92. I had used the name before for some musical projects with my friend Asura. Bob + Asura = Basura, ha ha ha. I just liked the term & traveling in Mexico definitely helped. (Basura="trash" in Spanish.) That's how I got the name. I had been publishing for about 18 months before that, under a variety of names: Savages, Stew Art, Sewage, Witness, in that order. The first three were one-shot deals, one ish per name, then Witness struck me as a delightful name for a zine, so I stuck with that for two ishes until I discovered another journal called Witness that was in its fifth volume, so I dropped it.
That's when I came to Basura. Witness & Basura fit my esthetic in the sense of witnessing culture & appropriating the trash into artistic statements. it amazes me still how much junk mail & flyers & pamphlets & crap float through out lives without much notice. I wanted to use snippets from it all to accent my own creative endeavors & those of my friends. Primarily that was the purpose: to create a venue for my own & my friends' work, but having a little more fun than the usual stuffy journal by including cut-ups & weird found printed material & funky shtuff.
I then changed the name to Basurame cos there arose another poetry journal called Basura & a record label too & I figgered, whoa better get a move on. I hadn't published in a year when that happened & I still haven't gotten the next ish together, so now it's been two years, but I got some things in mind.

Why publish a zine?
It's easy, it's cheap, it's fun, it's something to do when you're bored, it's a greeting card, it's a business card, it's expression, it's a stab at definition & critical evaluation, praise & condemnation for whomever or whatever you wanna poke or parade.

What can you tell us about the selection you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
My grandpa & I had a brief correspondence of three letters that began when I sent him & grandma a copy of the second ish of Basura (Feb 93). I didn't want to have the same relationship with them as I had with my Grandma on the other side before she died. My parents said it probably wasn't a good idea to send them one, but I figured what the heck & sent it off.
Within four days I had a letter in my mailbox from my grandfather denouncing the endeavor as trash (he was knowledgable of Spanish from his days in Peru as a cartographer) while also encouraging me to do better. I decided to publish it in issue three, and as I was laying it out I found out he'd died. While I didn't feel responsible for his death (like, as contributing to his stress level), I was sad that I couldn't continue the dialogue & somehow make good on his desires to see me as a "responsible young man." He was always like that, pushing me to be more "responsible" to be more "organized," trying to teach me some things that he felt my parents hadn't.

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Get a job in a place with a copier. Don't pay Kinko's to do your work. Start as small as you want or can afford; let it build over time. If you wanna do something as big as the cool cats in your town, you'll end up eating your own egg, unless you let it grow as slow or as fast as necessary. Don't be afraid of selling copies, nor advertising, but don't let money rule your creativity.
Let yourself get in trouble for your zine/lifestyle, just try to get in the "right" kind of trouble: revolutionary lifestyle/artistic statements are "better" than getting busted for scamming copies. Don't hide your creativity, don't hide yourself, except maybe now & then to be polite. Who knows, maybe you'll change someone's mind. Remember Gandhi's line: What you are doing may not seem important, but it is extremely important that you do it.

What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
The smell of glue & white out.

In my other life, I'm a:
Musician (avant garde noise, percussion, and traditional Balinese orchestra member), performance artist, poet, cook, husband, thinker.

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