Dedicated to the exploration of marginalized culture, RE/Search publications probe modern alienation with a sense of irony, sophistication, and respect that makes the reader feel like they're among friends. RE/Search's serial "issues" are good reference works, serving as thorough introductions to their subject matter. The books are often annotated with reference sections and ample lists (bibliography, biography, filmography, discography, relevant/oblique quotes). They are beautifully designed and illustrated. The RE/Search staff is about as rigorous as this level of the subculture gets. They also carry additional books, videos and T-shirts are icing on the cake.
RE/Search's point of view is clear, but for the most part, editors Andrea Juno and V. Vale allow their subjects to speak for themselves. The common form of discourse is the interview, with an emphasis on charismatic leaders. In fact, they provide such an excellent forum for the "unheard" that repetition occurs a lot: for example, Genesis P'Orridge appears prominently in 4 recent issues. ("Industrial Culture Handbook," "Pranks," "Burroughs/Gysin/TG," "Modern Primitives"). Since the individual voices remain unique, their ideas aren't diluted or overinterpreted by the editors, and room is left for the reader to converse with the subject interviewed.
They concentrate on real alternative SYSTEMS - a RE/Search issue gives the sense that there is a set of interlocking subcultures with a cohesive shared ideology. No matter how far out, you never feel that anyone's an isolated nut. RE/Search helps create room for the reader's ideas, to expand the notions of acceptable behavior and acceptable means of reform ("PRANKS!" especially seems necessary, in light of how "acceptable" typical leftist strategies have become - and how unsuccessful they are!).
One gets the impression that these people have found ways out of our the mainstream culture - real actions and ideas outside the bummers and routines and the 9-to-5, outside any kind of knee-jerk, or obligation, and beyond the boundaries of good taste. For this, RE/Search is truly inspiring. The books remind one that options exist outside the acceptable, that all culture has its origins in dreams - which are uncontrollable, subconscious, limitless, and frequently disturbing. In "Incredibly Strange Films," the editors express their feeling that good taste often "functions as a filter to block out... areas of experience."
As our culture insists on ignoring its "dark side," this is the side often utilized as creative fodder by the sidestream art and culture that RE/Search explores. This dark side spans from magick and ritual, to sadism, to body modification, to dreadful movies, to subversive humor, to hard-boiled crime novels ("The Willeford Trilogy"). While the publishers do tend to emphasize the most graphic and extreme elements of underground culture, they only cover activities between consenting adults.
In documentating and disseminating information, RE/Search has actually been integral in the popularization of Industrial/Post-Industrial culture - their "Modern Primitives" issue sold out quickly and resulted in a lot of new interest in tattooing and body piercing.
20 Romolo St., #B
San Francisco, CA 94133
Here is the TEXT POPUP for RE/Search:
Listing of Back Issues and Other Products:
Search and Destroy - #1-11. The fanzine out of which RE/Search grew. Documented U.S. and U.K. punk music. Issues, original or reprints, available for $6 each.
RE/Search #1-2-3 - $8 each, set of all three $20.
RE/Search 4/5 - William S. Burroughs/ Brion Gysin/ Throbbing Gristle
1982, 100 pp., some new photos, most old. $15.99.
RE/Search 6/7 - Industrial Culture Handbook
1983, 140 pp., 120 photos, $15.99, with Index.
RE/Search 8/9 - J.G. Ballard
1984, 176 pp., 76 photos, $17.99
RE/Search 10 - Incredibly Strange Films
RE/Search 11 - Pranks!
1987, 240 pp., 164 photos, $19.99
RE/Search 12 - Modern Primitives
1989, 212 pp., 279 photos & illustrations, $19.50
upcoming issues: Angry Women, due winter 1991
rumored: Incredibly Strange Music
Subscriptions are available for $35 (3 issues).
"Freaks: We Who Are Not As Others," by Daniel P. Mannix. 1990 RE/Search reprint edition with additional material. 124 pp., 88 photographs, $14.
"The Atrocity Exhibition," by J.G. Ballard, with 5 additional fiction pieces and extensive annotations, photographs and anatomically explicit medical illustrations (for example, a detailed cut-away view of a blow job in progress) by Phoebe Gloeckner. 120 pp., $14.
"The Torture Garden," by Octave Mirbeau. "The most sickening work of art of the nineteenth century." A classic work from 1899 in which a corrupt frenchman and an insatiably cruel Englishwoman meet and then frequent a fantastic Chinese garden where torture is practiced as an art form. "Will shock and hypnotize the most worldly reader." 120 pp., 21 photos by Bobby Neel Adams, $14.
"Trilogy: The High Priest of California (novel and play), and Wild Wives" by Charles Willeford. RE/Search reprint edition of original 1953 edition. Photos by Bobby Neel Adams, 304 pp., $13.
"Here to Go: Planet R-101," Brion Gysin interviewed by Terry Wilson, with an introduction and texts by William S. Burroughs. Gysin talks about his years of collaboration with Burroughs, life at the Beat Hotel, etc. 304 pp., $17.
"Me and Big Joe," Encounters with some of the last living American blues artists, esp. Big Joe Williams. 40 pp., $5.
"The Confessions of Wanda von Sacher-Masoch" A new translation..... year price pages, photos by Bobby Neel Adams...... A relatively un-racy, but nevertheless woman's point of view of high/low society in that century.... Wanda was the wife of Count von Sacher-Masoch, from whom comes the word masochism. Leopold apparently made a contract with the Countess making him her slave. He insisted that she beat him regularly while wearing furs, in order to fuel his creative juices. The Count was a writer and claimed he could not work if his wife did not play these games with him. Alas, poor Wanda, a victim of woman's legal status, was forced to play along. Whether this book was actually written by Wanda von Sacher-Masoch or not is dubious. It definitely didn't turn me on. It IS sensitively written, and it was curious to hear her side of the story
They also sell RE/Shirts of their logos and graphics featuring artwork from their publications - tattoos, cover art, Survival Research Labs' "Deliberately False Statements."
Videos - 5 different tapes of SRL performances are available from RE/Search.
Also, "PRANKS! TV," a video spin-off of issue #11.
and upcoming: "Modern Primitives" video.
Send for a catalog.