Raw Material

Dan Kelly, Chum

Age: 30

Selection: Their World of Love, by Leslie Stella (page 55)

Recent review (from McJob): "Uproarious writing, hilarious ideas."

Sample: $3 from P.O. Box 47174, Chicago, IL 60647. Also available: "Cop Porn," a collection of Dan's zine writing ($5)(checks: Dan Kelly)

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
Way back in 1991, during a particularly long bout with unemployment, I began filling my copious spare time through writing away to organizations in Ivan Stang's "High Weirdness by Mail." Eventually I encountered zines and decided—pardon the cliche—"Hey, I can do this... and much better, incidentally." Inspired, I consulted my associates and friends Kathy Mosely and Darrin Sullivan (who several months earlier suggested that we start a magazine called "Idiom," which was a nice idea but never got off the ground). "Whathell?" we thought and threw ourselves into the creation of a zine called Vox Canis. Each issue of Vox Canis was devoted to a single theme, and so it went, up until the seventh issue (appropriately, the "Death" issue). We agreed that we'd eventually publish another zine, and after a year of working on individual projects, we came together in 1994 to create the first issue of Chum. The rest is history/hysteria.

Why publish a zine?
By and large, to put our money where our mouths are. As a collection of cranky old grumps, Darrin, Kathy and I would often spend entire evenings slagging on this or that media abomination. Our zine(s) allow us to show how publishing should be done (or, at least, they allow us to create a magazine that we would like to find on the news racks, but obviously never will owing to public demand, etc.)

What can you tell us about the selection you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
Dan: Leslie Stella is one of Chicago's brightest young writers, and we are proud as punch to have her on board. As demonstrated in Chum and in her ongoing work with Lumpen magazine, Leslie's sparkling style and stinging wit brings a sass and verve sadly lacking in most of the dung that passes for satirical writing these days. If I could be a girl, I would want to be Leslie—only with a Gucci wardrobe and a tony red sportscar.Fabio
Leslie: When I showed the story to my mom, she said, "I can't stand that Fabio. But I love Yanni." Then she said something about Yanni's music lifting her soul, but I wasn't paying attention.

Do you publish other zines?
Evil (R) (a zine devoted to true crime and my personal obsession with serial killers—natch, before they became all trendy) and Danger! (a semi-regular zine devoted to whatever personal obsessions I'm experiencing at the time; be they the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, satanic rock n' roll murder, Tony Alamo, guns, street kooks, and oh so much more).

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
1) Avoid the Megacorp(R) photocopy centers (you know who you are). It is abominable how many stories I've heard about these nellies refusing to copy "objectionable" or "copyrighted" material for fear of legal repercussions; rooking publishers out of tens of dollars for aligning copies, collating or other "extra services" which mysteriously appear during the printing process; snubbing zine people for larger, and thus more lucrative jobs; and generally acting like a bunch of braindead toner zombies whenever I had the misfortune of dealing with them.
2) Do whatever you want to do, but do it well. Just because you have a print run of less than one hundred doesn't mean you don't have to know the difference between its and it's. I have more respect for a zine that comes out only once a year but which reads well and looks professional than I do for a monthly piece of genital toss composed of a zillion reviews and a few poorly written essays. I've always favored the saying: "It's not enough to say, 'I can do this.' You have to say, 'I can do this better.' "

What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
For 24 pages, I am God.

Dan Kelly
Leslie Stella
Fat Bald Jeff
Their World of Love

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