bOING bOING


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Remember life before AOL, the Web, and the Time cover story that branded the cyber prefix on every tongue between Silicon Valley and Soho?

Neither do I.

But bOING bOING helps bring it all back. Established in 1988, the self-proclaimed 'world's greatest neurozine' was THE sassy Net punk rag years before Sandra Bullock got snagged in The Net. Nestled in the rolling hip hills of Boulder, Mark Frauenfelder and his flock of nerds churned out quarterly issues of inside jokes and techno-hippie aesthetics. They posted a notice seeking writers 'skeptical yet open to new ideas' and 'positive articles about using new technologies and paradigms for individual social freedom and well-being.' Then the rest of the world got plugged in.

These days, Frauenfelder has a day job as the associate editor of Wired. But, there's still time to kick out issues of his gang's first love. It's easy to tell that bOING bOING now has a San Francisco address. Basically a slicker, hipper version of its former self, still snickering at its own dorkiness, the zine's latest tagline is 'media culture brainwash for now people.'

Most of the writers and subjects come from the clique inhabited by cyberpunk writers like Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling, hippie visionary Terence McKenna, and the effluvious purveyors of Mondo 2000. But don't expect a (prefix-)cyber orgy here. bOING bOING has the attitude of a good zine with stuff you just won't find in a publication that's gotta kiss Absolut's ass.

A recent issue featured some interesting refugee pieces: A guy who won a date with Anka, Details' sex correspondent, dishes the dirt on the middle-aged, paranoid-obsessive behind the 'queen of the, ahem, X generation.' Judd Winnick, a member from MTV's Real World, contributes a comic that proves having your life taped for TV seriously cuts down on bathroom reading.

bOING bOING also features interviews from the camp side. The Barbi twins discuss bulimia, 7 Eleven, and Magnesium Xytrate, one of their favorite laxatives. Vixens from B-movie king Russ Meyer's many films explore 'sex, drugs, and schlock movies.' Darby Romeo, editor of the classic zines Ben Is Dead and the I Hate Brenda Newsletter picks her nose and confesses how she once 'planned a cover where I'd have a gun go off in my mouth.' If that's not enough, there are reviews, weird news, and the occasional Spam haiku.






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