V. Vale is an editor, writer-interviewer, historian, photographer and pianist. He was the publisher-editor of the 1977-79 zine SEARCH & DESTROY, launched with $100 each from Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and published at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. For Vale, Punk provided a launching pad for cultural-anthropological explorations, including Industrial music, the writings of J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs, feminism, plus “Incredibly Strange” film-making and music, which he has chronicled with the RE/SEARCH series of publications founded in 1980 (the DBA of Vale as “sole founder” is posted on the wall).
Now lauded as an invaluable document of early punk and a graphic design rule-breaker (“We’d do a layout meeting: ‘Here’s the text. Here are the pictures. Your job is to make this interview as rad as you can’”), Search and Destroy also became a way for Vale to make critical connections between the work and thoughts generated by punk groups and those formulated by artists in other media, as interviews with Vale’s mentors Ballard and Burroughs made their way into the zine.
The RE/Search series have become the equivalent of a counter-cultural bible: essential reading not only for Punks — all the books, Vale swears, are informed by that Revolution — but artists, musicians, and cultural fire- starters. Vale built a bridge with his paperbacks between cultural movers around him and the world of books: “I learned long ago that reading is not a passive process, I like to mark up my books. My books are heavily interacted with. I look at books not as books, but as conversations.”
J.G. Ballard, Dead Kennedys, William S. Burroughs, Devo, Philip K. Dick, DNA, Brion Gysin, George Kuchar, Timothy Leary, Lydia Lunch, David Lynch, Octave Mirbeau, Genesis P. Orridge, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Siouxsie Sioux, SRL, Suicide, Sun Ra, Television, John Waters. V. Vale has covered them all. Burroughs even taught Vale how to throw knives!
From September 6 to 13, V. Vale will be doing a mini-lecture/workshop tour in Belgium and Holland. September 6, at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, Vale will unearth a rare complete set of Search & Destroy—the 11-issue punk zine about underground literary and music culture Vale produced from 1977 to 1979. Then, at 8pm, Vale will talk about how seed money from Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg led to Search & Destroy, how that led to RE/Search Magazine, and how all of it led to RE/Search Publications.
SATURDAY (SEPT 6)
Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (www.objectif-exhibitions.o
6 – 10PM: a talk with V. Vale
SUNDAY (SEPT 7)
019, Ghent (www.019-ghent.org)
8 PM: a talk with V. Vale on “music by 70s San Francisco punk bands, or bands I saw in San Francisco in the 70s”
MONDAY (SEPT 8)
Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam (www.arti.nl) hosted by Babeth VanLoo & Katja Vercouteren
8 PM: a talk with V. Vale on J.G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, George Kuchar, Industrial/Noise Music, and more!
TUESDAY—THURSDAY (SEPT 9 – 11)
Private, not open to the public.
An intensive workshop by V. Vale and Julie Peeters with graphic design students at Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam.
THURSDAY (SEPT 11)
Rietveld Library, Amsterdam (www.gerritrietveldacademie
5 PM: a talk with V. Vale on the making of Search & Destroy, 1977–79
THURSDAY (SEPT 11)
San Serriffe, Amsterdam (www.san-serriffe.com)
8 PM: a talk with V. Vale on how he sold his typography business to publish full time
FRIDAY (SEPT 12)
Printroom, Rotterdam (www.printroom.org)
2 PM: a private interview with V. Vale by . . .[not a public event]
7 PM: a talk with V. Vale on Modern Pagans, Modern Primitives, and more…
SATURDAY (SEPT 13)
West, The Hague (www.west-denhaag.nl)
7 — 11 PM: V. Vale and Chad Wiedner, Home & Away 3: The Elixir (on Timothy Leary & William S. Burroughs)