Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

To my dear regular readers, of whom there must be tens of you, I apologize for missing out on last week's column.

You see, if business is bad, I don't feel like writing much. In fact, I feel like uncorking one of those big ass bottles of red wine, calling up The Hungover Gourmet and throwing OC AND STIGGS on the ol' VCR.

On the other hand, if business is good -- which it has been of late -- I feel like firing up a cigar, uncorking a good bottle of Kendall Jackson Zinfandel, calling THG, and tossing THE STREET FIGHTER on the laserdisc player. Either way, some days I just don't feel like writing. And, last Friday was just one of those days.

But, things are better now -- Dave is distinguishing himself as The Poet Laureate of Stupidville on 'The Real World,' I get to go on a business trip to Pittsburgh (home of some of my favorite eateries), and my car might even be out of the shop this afternoon. Wow! And we won't even talk about having to eat $5000 of my 401K money in order to pay the IRS for back taxes!

That is a story I'd rather reserve for the pages of a zine like WORKING FOR THE MAN: Stories From Behind the Cubicle Wall. It's sort of sad that the job of "temp" has taken on such a negative image in the last few years. Maybe I've just been lucky, but the temp-like freelance work I've done has been nothing but a positive experience. Sure, some of it was a bit mindless. Sure, some of the interview processes are insulting. But it's nothing like the stories that appear in this zine.

WFTM is the work of Jeff Yamaguchi and his Stroboscope Productions, and like TEMP SLAVE!, WFTM is a collection of stories -- horror stories, mainly -- about temping in today's corporate world. There's Sheila Rice's penis-shriveling 'Working For a Pig: Stories of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace' which makes you ashamed to be a guy. Amy Ellsworth's 'The Mind Read' is a bitterly funny read on the temping environment and how it sucks to be different. But it's the editor's work that really stands out: 'The Fax Machine' struck a chord because I spent three months in a university news bureau doing nothing but copying news clippings from a service -- it's a wonder I never killed anyone; 'The Big Mistake' details Jeff's attempts to start his own business in this big, bad world; and, 'Temp for Hire' makes a point of a topic I was bitching about just the other night...companies that don't have the common courtesy to send you a letter of rejection after you've taken the time to go on an interview. WFTM is available for $2 from PO Box 460125, San Francisco, CA 94146.

While we're on the subject of zines, I just want to alert you to the new ish of an ER fave as well as a snazzy publication we stumbled across on a recent trip to Philly.

First up is Dann Lennard's BETTY PAGINATED, one of the most loved and loathed zines out there. Originating from the cozy confines of Australia, BP swaggers in the face of every granola-hugging, tree-crunching feminist I went to college with or bumped in to at a punk rock show. Yep, BP #18 is 48 pages of unabashed love for porn stars, wrestlers, strippers, booze, drive-in cinema, wrestlers, and porn stars. Oh yeah, and Bettie Page. Dann dishes up an article on THE REAL BETTIE PAGE, the recent book that provides an unflattering look at the pinup queen's post-pinup life. Send $3 (or equivalent trade materials such as zines, photos or magazines) to: Dann Lennard, PO Box A1412, Sydney South, NSW, 1235, Australia.

Our newest read comes from the mean streets of Ypsilanti, Michigan -- and it's called CRIMEWAVE USA. But don't let the title fool ya. This isn't a paean to the banner years of cheesy detective magazines. You know the ones, the kind you'd stick inside Sports Illustrated and read while waiting for your mom in the grocery store. The kind you were always lifting from the corner newsstand when the elderly proprietors weren't looking. The kind...ah, you get the idea.

Nope, CRIMEWAVE reminds me a bit of X, the superb mag put out by Jeff Hansen and his crew of misfits from Royal Oak, Michigan. Hey, wait a second -- I wonder if there's some sort of connection or if it's just something in the water!

Anyway, this is another fine zine that has more interesting articles and ideas in its scant 52-pages than any issue of DETAILS, POV, or MAXIM put together. Especially fun is Leon Bernstein's 'Wine Wave,' which provides pointers for wine-tards who wouldn't know a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from Kool-Aid's Goofy Grape flavored drink mix. Good stuff and I'll be looking for more. $3 to Mark Maynard and Linette Lao at PO Box 980301, Ypsilanti, MI 48198.

Everyone has a favorite tv show that hardly ever aired. Me, I have a couple. 'Whew!' was a bad game show that I got addicted to one summer. Each day I'd peddle home furiously from swim team practice in order to catch every moronic second. I've never met anyone that remembered it. There was also 'King's Crossing,' a brutally bad nighttime soap opera that made its way onto the ABC Saturday night lineup before 'The Love Boat' and 'Fantasy Island.' It starred Bradford Dillman and a pudgy, pre-TERMINATOR Linda Hamilton. It aired for about six weeks before the network gently pulled the plug.

Last, and certainly not least, is 'Way USA,' an awe-inspiring double-shot from the days when MTV was about more than z-grade rap and reruns of 'My So Called Life.'

The show -- which aired once or twice depending on who you talk to -- was a travelogue/pop-culture examination hosted by the one, the only Tesco Vee. Never heard of Tesco Vee? Well he be the lead singer and chief Satanist of the Meatmen -- that rock and roll juggernaut, five bees in the bonnet of the human race, twistin' USA youth into waste!

If you're not familiar with the band or Mr. Vee you may want to plunk down $10 of your hard-earned cash for 'Evil in a League with Satan,' their latest (and last?) EP. Sure, it's got eight Meat classics like the title track, "Strap On", and "Do a Whippet", but it's also chock-full of extra-juicy CD-ROM goodness like live concert footage, a tour of Tesco's toy collection, classic fliers and photos, a band discography, lyrics. Plus, the uninitiated can experience snippets from both 'Way USA' episodes...and when you want to reserve your seat in Hell just play a quick game of 'Tesco Vee vs. Jesus,' a childlike video game. To order the disc check out the Go Kart Records web site. To read an interview with the inimitable Mr. Vee go to CARBON 14's superb chat from issue #11.

And speaking of C14, it's time for this week's dose of shameless self-promotion! The new issue is on the stands at finer reading establishments everywhere and features interviews with the likes of 60s cycle-savage-pic-scorer Davie Allan, punk icon Jeff Dahl, and featured artist Niagara. There's also a Confederacy of Scum LIVE EP with tracks from Antiseen, Hellstomper, Rancid Vat, Cocknoose, and Limecell. Oh yeah, and there's something called EXPLOITATION RETROSPECT #47 in the middle complete with a Marilyn Burns interview, a new column from The Hungover Gourmet, movie reviews, and a chat with porn star Sunset Thomas! Get your 100-page ish for just $7 (postage paid) from Larry Kay, PO Box 29247, Philadelphia, PA 19125.

That's it for this week...

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