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eNewsletter #1, January 2000

eNewsletter #1, January 2000



Welcome to the first ever RE/Search Publications eNewsletter! We have finally amassed enough of your email addresses to merit a separate RE/Search news source (other than our two websites, www. and, where you can always find info about what�s new with us, upcoming projects, mail order information, events, etc.). We hope this eNewsletter will provide you with more RE/Search reading entertainment, including interesting stories, hints on upcoming projects that no one else knows about yet, tips on events, demonstrations, and more.

Your email address is on this list because, at some point, you gave it to us–when you ordered books from us, or at a book fair, at a book release party or event or some other time. To get off this list, please see the end of this newsletter.


On Tuesday, December 7, RE/Search Publications held a party at The Lab, San Francisco;s very cool Mission gallery and art space, to celebrate the release of PUNK ’77: an inside look at the san francisco rock ‘n’ roll scene, 1977.� Author and photographer James Stark was present to sign copies of his book, but maintained a low profile in a black cap that partially shadowed his face. �It was all a little overwhelming, you know, with all the…” Stark trails off as he starts laughing. “All the…” must surely refer to the large number of people (ranging in age from 3 to older) who showed up to look at Stark’s photographs, posters and paintings, listen to the music that defined the punk scene (then and now), talk, drink, and visit. In attendance were several of San Francisco’s original 1970s punk rock scene-makers, including: Bruce Conner, fellow punk photographer who hails back to the Beats’ Penelope Houston, former singer for the Avengers, who sold T-shirts and CDs representing her past and current music career’ Dirk Dirksen, former manager of the Mabuhay, the famous (now-defunct) North Beach music venue where the original punk bands got to play to their first paying audiences’ Brendan Early, original Mutants drummer’ Michael Belfer of the Sleepers’ Mike Mannion of the Dickheads’ Brittley Black of Crime’ Hank Ford of the Breeders’ Mindaugis Bagdon, former member of Search and Destroy and videographer behind “Louder Faster Shorter,” a video of the Avengers, Dils, Mutants, Sleepers and UXA playing the Mabuhay in March of 1978′ and, of course, V. Vale, former publisher of Search & Destroy, the legendary San Francisco punk rock tabloids, and current publisher of RE/Search Publications. These people and more are pictured in Stark’s photographs in PUNK ’77.

The Lab is a large, very high-ceilinged, somewhat rough-looking (in the sense of not overly polished) warehouse space at 16th Street and Capp in San Francisco’s Mission district. V. Vale and Marian Wallace (along with Kathryn Johnson and Yimi Tong) worked for two days with James Stark to ready the space for the party, mounting original photographs, posters and zine pages on the white walls and setting up a bar space and tables where Stark would sign books and Vale would sell other RE/Search books and CDs. In punk tradition, The Lab donated the space to be used for the party, admission to the party was free and open to the public, and drinks cost only $2 each (even the mixed drinks, which consisted of strange-looking black vodka–black from being filtered through charcoal–that tasted like bad medicine, and when mixed with orange or cranberry juice produced a strange green or purple drink that tasted very nice). The music played from a small CD and tape player against one wall and consisted of original songs by the Avengers.

Dirk Dirksen looked somehow British in thick glasses for his near-sighted eyes, shirt, vest and jacket in various earth-tones, a belly rounded with middle age, and a tweed hat that reminded me of Sherlock Holmes.

“You know, everyone thinks I did a great thing, giving the bands a place to play at the Mabuhay,” he said. “But really, I was just trying to make a space where the bands could play when no one else would hire them. I mean, we’re talking about the dregs of the dregs of the bottom of the dregs, here.”

“You mean you didn’t do it because you liked the music, then?”

He shook his head emphatically. “Oh no,” he laughed. “I did not like the music at all.”

“So they really were that bad?”


One of the things that defined the punk movement was everyone’s recognition of how important music was–so important that they couldn’t let anything stand in their way of playing it, and certainly nothing so trifling as not knowing how to sing or play an instrument. Many members of the bands learned to play their instruments up onstage at the Mabuhay, during shows. Their music got better and more defined, and gave birth to what is still a thriving movement. “People in the original punk scene weren’t kids, though,” Vale reminds us. “They were a little older, in their twenties and thirties, not like all the teenage punks now.”

All different kinds of people attended the Lab party. There were many San Francisco young hipsters and punks present, but also many people who weren’t punk, many middle-aged and older people, some of whom were formerly punk, several children, and one dog. Also in punk tradition, a “survivor” from the original days named Eric (son of 85-year-old San Francisco accordion legend Clyde), wearing all black skinny clothes and with messy blond hair, walked drunkenly through the party carrying a never-empty drink and yelling in slurred, unintelligible syllables that sounded like he had a British accent–but who could tell?

The party was a real success, as everyone seemed to have fun and most people stayed till well past the party’s advertised closing time.

PUNK ’77 is available now for $13.99 from RE/Search Publications and in bookstores. SPECIAL: If you order it from our website (www. you can get it for only $10 (plus shipping) through December 31.


Tuesday, December 14, James Stark and V. Vale gave an online interview at hosted by San Francisco’s well-known interviewer Alex Bennett. They discussed PUNK ’77, the early San Francisco punk days, the birth of RE/Search and more.


RE/Search is proud to present Michael Bloomfield’s mini-novel, Me and Big Joe, available now. Legendary blues guitarist Bloomfield played with Bob Dylan, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and the Electric Flag in the �60s, and on record and film soundtracks in the ’70s. Me and Big Joe chronicles his early days in Chicago where, in his quest to truly understand blues music, he befriends great blues legend Joe Lee Williams (AKA Big Joe). Together, they embark on a journey to the dark, smoky blues clubs of the Midwest, encountering Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson, Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, and other blues musicians along the way. Me and Big Joe is a classic American adventure story, a must read for any blues lover or musician. “I can’t recommend Me and Big Joehighly enough. It is a beautifully realized American miniature–nearly as scary as Melville’s white whale, fully as grotesque and funny as a Fellini dreamscape and as exhilarating as Bloomfield’s best solo.”–David Armstrong, American Journal.

Me and Big Joe is available for $5.99 from RE/Search Publications and in bookstores. SPECIAL: Order Me and Big Joe from our website and pay only $6 ppd. (domestic’ $14 air overseas) through December 31st.


Every day more small, independent book publishers, booksellers and wholesalers are going belly-up due to financial pressures placed on them by large corporations such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. Even creates problems for small book businesses by requiring unreasonably high discounts for small orders, free shipping, and the freedom to return “unsaleable” books–books once in perfect condition, now acceptable only for sale at book fairs and garage sales for $5 or less.

Tell all your friends! Ordering catalogs in the mail from publishers and record labels is fun, gratifying, easy and often completely free! Smaller companies give you more–so ORDER DIRECT whenever you can!


Attention all swing, rockabilly and retro kids out there, plus movie buffs and collectors of 1950s memorabilia–visit for great vintage clothes, �50s nostalgia, and “all things hep!” Christy and Bob who work there are really nice and are helping us at RE/Search out by posting an ad for our swing culture book, “Swing: The New Retro Renaissance” (available for $17.99 from RE/Search and in bookstores). They’ve got a great website, great merchandise, and you can purchase holiday gift certificates too. Listed in the Daddyos web page “rooms” to shop from: cool clothes’ bowling shirts’ Betty Boop’ Coca Cola’ James Dean’ Elvis’ Felix the Cat’ I Love Lucy’ Marilyn Monroe’ Betty Page’ Three Stooges’ movie posters’ and Route 66, among others.


In coming months we will launch a new line of RE/Search books, “Real Conversations with V. Vale.” Continuing his tried-and-true interview format, Vale will lead conversations with Henry Rollins, Billy Childish, and more, discussing everything from independent publishing to capitalism to advertising to sex to music to…?

Also watch for more in our continuing fascination with/celebration of punk rock.


Vale is too busy to write anything for this first letter, but he promises to write next issue about some subject of his choosing. Anything in particular you’d like to read about? Email us with suggestions.


If you don’t want to receive any future e-newsletters from RE/Search Publications, just email us at and ask us to remove you from the list. Email us at the same address if you know anyone–friends, family–who might like to be added to our mailing list and receive this newsletter!

Also, contact us with any questions, comments, suggestions, or order requests that you have.

As always, we thank you for your continuing interest in and support of RE/Search Publications and our endeavors to make this world more interesting and “incredibly strange.”

Email newsletter #1 written by:

Catherine Avril Morris

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