Gray Areas Magazine's Letters To The Editor
Your interview with Candida Royalle was sensitive and factual. However, it struck me as chauvinistic. Not your comments, which touched on women in porn making more money than men (an accurate assessment thatís rarely mentioned). What surprised me was Candidaís disregard for veteran male actors like Joey Silvera. She complains that such men have "been around for years" while women stars are supposedly "replaced" in a "year or two." Not true. Actresses like Nina Hartley have had tremendous success for a decade and more, while the big stars of the 80s, such as Seka and Annette Haven, have ready jobs and handsome salaries waiting for them (they choose not to perform).
As for producers keeping reliable male studs around-- sure they do, like a breeder keeps a bull. Few men can get an erection on demand, perform all day if necessary, and climax on cue. How any veteran of the adult cinema could miss this criterion, is beyond me. Yes, we see Silvera and Ron Jeremy forever slogging their way through videos, but if she considers this proof of a bias in their favor, she isnít reading their reviews. People throw jabs at Silvera and Ron Jeremy all the time, labeling them used up, pudgy, and overexposed. Yet the critics would really be crying if they had to put in a "hard dayís work" the way the vets do. A woman who is pretty and a good worker can make quick money in adult movies, bigger money if she keeps her career in mind. But, show me a man who can make it in porn--regardless of looks, acting talent, or dedication--without getting it up.
Finally, Candida calls the industry sexist. Sexism is everywhere, but as it affects adult film careers, it plays more against the actors than actresses. This should be addressed. A womanís career is measured in years, a manís in inches. Now that is sexism!
On another note, did you see the Rolling Stone review of EFF and the BBS world? They covered EFF--but Gray Areas scooped them by months! And they only quoted Barlow indirectly, whereas you had a long interview. Other shortcomings: It was the usual outsiderís view with all the usual mistakes. They pretended the phenomenon was new, and that it really is all it purports to be. Every user is a cyber ace, interacting fully in the net. As you know, the truth is that most users are as passive as couch potatoes; they donít interface with all the functions or other users, but cruise on through, snag a few games, and sign off. Anyway, at least it was ambitious enough to leave the uninitiated well informed. As a final hitch, like any subculture coverage published by a bloated mainstream conglomerate, the piece was impotent in its impact: not a single address or BBS line was given. So no one can try it out, get involved. Just a poserís story, after all.
Keep up the great work. Gray Areas is the best magazine I get.
I was so surprised to find something so open as Gray Areas on the shelf in my local bookstore. Hereís to a job well done. Iím not much into legalese, and constitutional talk, but I applaud your efforts to enlighten those of us who just enjoy what we do, regardless of the consequences. I do think there is entirely too much regulation concerning todayís activities, especially when it comes to certain illegal substances and forms of employment. As long as you donít force yourself on someone else, what harm is there in what you may do for your enjoyment?
Iím willing to take my chances with my spare time activities, and I am more than willing to pay the price for my actions. I have never seen the point in trying to blame anyone but myself, for anything I have done.
Iíve been a Deadhead for a long time now, and met a lot of wonderful people in the process. Iíd have to say the majority of the population doesnít understand us, and just totally refuses to, since weíre pretty much unlike any other bunch of people around. At least in their eyes we are. I tend to think of heads as a misunderstood minority. Much like other groups in the world.
There is only one forum I would like to open up here. It is that of communication. I know not everyone has the interest in this area that I do, but perhaps if more people did, the world would be a better place for us all. Specifically, Iím talking about keeping in touch with our fellow man who is imprisoned, whether it be in a local or federal prison. It takes a special person to get involved with a relationship like this. Not everyone is capable of it. In the last 12 years, Iíve written guys on both coasts and they were all decent human beings. Some just got what they deserved for what they did, while othersí cases are undecided in my mind. Iíve written guys who were on death row and guys who were guilty by association, and guys who were dealers whose only crime was being caught. In some cases, illegal searches came into play. I think this is one gray area that needs absolutely no gray areas. The courts should clear this up immediately. So many people are being convicted unfairly, especially in the federal system, and for inordinately long amounts of time. Itís just not fair.
Iím looking to set up a network of sorts concerning this issue, and Iím looking for communication from everyone and everybody on this issue.
Write to Ann c/o Gray Areas if youíd like to get involved. We wish Ann good luck with this. Most prisoners are decent human beings with much to say. As with any large group of people, however, there are some liars, cons and scam artists out there. All it takes to get involved is to write to a prisoner, ask questions, and be willing to be a penpal. They should be able to supply you with proof of their crime(s). Although we had some grief from one prisoner, the majority of them are cool people indeed and we at Gray Areas have already learned much from interacting with them.
Here in Italy it's very easy to put out a bootleg record, and it is fully legal, due to an obscure article (art. 80) in the law concerning reproduction of a unregistered body of work. Therefore, you could release a live concert but not a re-edition of one that was legally released a long time ago. The only thing you have to do is register your trademark, pay copyrights and deposit a certain amount of money in the bank to the artist/group. Yes, you have to pay the copyrights, and the sum you have to pay is not different from the sum paid by the major labels. It goes directly to the artist, and the amount paid is usually larger than the one the official record labels pay to the same artists.
If you use a recording done over twenty years ago you can legally avoid paying the artists, as the copyright expires after that date in Italy. You do have to pay all the copyrights on the new recording, however, so it is not entirely free. The pressings are limited and vary from 1-5,000 (including any repressings). Although the cover art is getting better, it cannot match the art department of a major label. The bootleggers often use known photos or paintings. Sure, a lot of them are works of love, but not all, and you can hear all the clips and pops of the record which they used as their source (in a Grateful Dead CD called Tea For The Dead they used a warped groove disc, so you hear Pigpen sing every word two times!). Or they might use a rare tape that is almost inaudible (see Pink Floyd at the Fantasio Club to witness this). Still others use promotional albums so the quality is perfect, but liner notes are absent and even the authors of the songs are incorrect (Grateful Dead New Years Eve 87/88 part II lists "When I Paint My Masterpiece" as having been written by the Dead themselves).
Another way to release this kind of record/CD is as an enclosure with a book or a magazine, but in this case you're gonna pay money to get some more printed paper, not to have a decent sounding CD. But, at least you can read (sometimes) something related to the record. Yes, there are the exceptions, but are they worth it? I don't think so, because if an artist/group wants to release a concert they'll do so anyway, or at least give the tape to friends that put it in the grapevine, so we tapers can get it. What makes it illegal even here is that the artist has no control at all over the product (sure, even the major label CBS in 1973 released the album Dylan without the permission of Dylan himself, but they had the rights) and this means that we as records/CD buyers are being ripped-off because we have no guarantees that we are getting a decent sounding album or at least a good one that is representative of the artist.
We are the only ones that can stop the bootlegging business by not buying their records. I have bought only one in the last two years, and I don't plan to buy any more. If no one buys those records they will simply stop making them because they're only in it for the money. If there is no money in it for them, bootleggers will leave the music world.
Greetings Gray Areas!
Iím enjoying your publication more with each issue. Iíve ordered several items from the catalog section, and a couple of "zines" as well. Keep up the fine work. It is refreshing to see my opinions and points of view represented not as the fringe and radical, but more mainstream and accepted. For example, I got a sample issue of Nude and Natural and it was wonderful to see people view the naked body as beautiful and not something to be offended by. I think if nothing else your magazine is effective in promoting tolerance and awareness of alternative lifestyles away from the mainstream.
Somewhere in issue #2 it was mentioned that a good way to spot someone who was into bootleg profiteering was to look for inconsistent styles in their list. For example, having Michael Jackson and Stan Getz and the Symphony and the Grateful Dead and Frank Sinatra and DEVO. Well, I have all these and many more and I am staunchly opposed to making any money off my collection. So thatís some advice that is off base in my opinion.
Again, keep up the good work.
Great mag! The following are additions/corrections to the Airplane video list:
1. The show listed as Something Else is The Noel Harrison Show. The version of "White Rabbit" from here was released legitimately on a Casey Kasem tape from Vestron Video circa 1986.
2. The 8/18/69 Dick Cavett performance is around in excellent quality. On the second Dick Cavett appearance (5/70) they did "Emergency."
3. J. Starship 1976 is the American Music Awards, not the Grammys.
There was also a Bell Telephone Hour from 1/67 on NBC. According to the TV Guide listing, during a tour of San Francisco, they featured "The folk-rockiní Jefferson Airplane" doing "Itís No Secret." This leads to two questions: Does it exist on tape and was it Grace or Signe singing? The show was broadcast in January, but was most likely shot in the fall.
Thanks for your input. Alas, we do not know of anyone who has this Bell Telephone Hour show. As a rule, we do not list tapes which we cannot confirm are in at least one personís collection. Presently, all of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour episodes are being rebroadcast so collectors should be able to upgrade their copies.
I just recently saw your magazine on the newsstand and bought it mainly for the virus interview. Viruses donít particularly fascinate me, but there has been so much insane howling on the subject by the "mainstream compu-press" that Mr. Kouchís discussion makes evident their real motives.
Adding some Amiga coverage would be really neat because the Amiga environment offers potentially much more to the technically competent creative user than the PC and with no arrogant, expensive BS as with Apple.
GG Allin? Richard Pacheco? An interesting read, I guess. John Trubee, on the other hand, was funnier than hell. I used to have some Don Imus vinyl wherein heíd order fifteen hundred hamburgers, or something, and no one remembers this anymore.
Finally, I have to admit I just donít understand the Dead. Their sound is great, and itís nice of them to allow overt taping, but... Iím into the New York bands of awhile ago. Ramones, Lou Reed, etc. Okay, if you must know, I have this Debbie Harry fetish. I have everything sheís ever released and twenty or so hours of stuff she hasnít and a couple of things she, I hope, wouldnít dare. And, yes, her work has been a little sporadic, and she hasnít the song writing feel Chrissie Hynde does, or Carly Simonís savoir-faire... and she is old enough, easily, to be my mother.
But, like all real fans, I just donít care. Thanks to the magic of live bootleg releases and covert tape trading, Iíve heard her best work and (to steal a line from another singer with more class than taste sometimes) her best was the best that ever was. I canít believe her career might not have turned out a little differently had Chrysalis released the New Yearís 1980 gig Blondie did in Scotland. Who said that the beauty of rock and roll was that there was no one "greatest band," it was whoever on a particular night made you feel completely changed.
I wonder if Dead fans ever feel that way, or Rush, or Zappa, or whoever. I hope they do.
Dear Gray Areas,
I picked up your Spring 1993 issue and found the article on Grateful Dead bootleg CDs to be excellent. A round of applause out to Thomas Storch! No doubt his blunt and straightforward reviews of this market has saved many of us friends of the Dead a few dollars. Perhaps his can be a semi-regular feature, reviewing a few CDs every so often?
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for a great magazine. Iím not looking for a strict computer magazine (2600 covers that oh so well). Rather, Iíve been searching for a watchpost out there in the lunatic fringe zone of zinedom and I think you cover that very well with your excellent review sections. Ever since Factsheet Five disappeared with my cash for a renewed airmail subscription I have been deprived of just the kind of info Gray Areas delivers. Obscure is too small, and I donít trust the new Factsheet Five project all that much. Besides, itís exactly the gray areas in life I cherish the most!!
I also appreciate the interviews with the alternative porno stars, the comic strips (Ace Backwordsí "Sex and Drugs" was a real highlight!). I can live without all this Grateful Dead tape stuff, but the interview with John Perry Barlow was most interesting.
Dear Gray Areas Type People:
I received your publication on June 30, two days after GG Allinís death. I felt compelled to write you this letter. Now that GG is gone, a lot of cries will go up for joy. One less piece of scum to deal with or what have you. Well, you folks arenít getting off of the hook that easily. The GG Allin mission is not dead. I speak on behalf of myself and many others when I say we will continue to provide that much needed kick in the groin every chance we get. Albeit, no one can do it in the manner GG did, we will do our best. GG Allin was, no is, rock Ďní roll. Whether you loved him or hated him, GG Allin earned your request. How many people do you know that live out their convictions with such ferocity and back up everything they say 100%?
GG was the real thing. No bull. Thatís just too much for a lot of people to take. The truth hurts. You see, while most people are busy talking the talk, GG walked the walk. He lived, and died, by his rock Ďní roll. It was not something he did to make money and it was not something he did for an hour every night and forgot for the other 23 hours of the day.
I still feel at a loss. GG was one of a kind. There will never be another. For those who loved him: continue the mission. For those who despised him: you still have myself and many others to contend with.
Never thought Iíd see GG and the Dead in the same magazine. Must say you guys kinda put yourself on the line with that. You guys do so much stuff about tape trading. Thereís an extensive line of people who trade GG audios and videos out there also.
When I learned of your magazine I was intrigued, but I was leery of getting a subscription because Big Brother gets bigger every year and I wish to remain as anonymous as possible. getting on your mailing list seemed like a step in the wrong direction. So I was glad to spot your magazine at the local bookstore.
I found the magazine well-written and informative, as well as mind-opening. Even though I am about as computer illiterate as one can be, I was able to follow the article on computer viruses. Though I suggest you provide a short glossary of sorts for future articles of a technical nature.
I thought I would comment on my area of grayness. My hobby is audio recording concerts and trading cassettes. I am not a bootlegger - to my mind that term implies a financial profit, through unethical means. Iíve never sold a tape... people have offered to buy copies or give extra cassettes in exchange which I refuse. Usually I ask for just the tapes needed for the dub and in the event the person lives some distance away, just enough money to cover the postage back to them. I probably take the position of not profiting to the extreme - but Iím a firm believer in the yin/yang nature of the universe and feel I must make up for the amoral slime who give tapers a bad reputation.
When I started taping in the field seven years ago, the field was not nearly so "crowded" as it is today. The advent of small portable recording units and the proliferation of cavalier type microphones has made it a lot easier for people to get involved. Add to that the increased popularity of video and rampant availability of hand guns and you get the result of increased security at venues. I usually donít worry about security too much, itís at itís worst at arena-type shows, which I usually avoid because I hate the atmosphere of those kind of shows and my taste in music isnít that mainstream. But even a lot of clubs are instituting pat downs. In a not too subtle show of racism, some clubs implement heavy searches for reggae shows - thinking a black audience is more likely to be carrying pistols.
My interest in live concert tapes stems from my belief that the true measure of a group/performer is what they do live, rather than what they can do in the studio with countless overdubs and a producer shaping the sound. Iíd rather hear the performer in the purest form possible. Before multi-tracks even studio was "live" - no more.
Iíve actually helped out a couple of up and coming bands with my hobby, as theyíve used copies of my tapes to help teach new band members how they do songs live and for practice. And that makes me glad to know that a service has been provided. Usually with bands who let me record them, Iíll bring an extra tape deck and give them a master copy at no charge at the end of the show.
As to your comment concerning bootleggers potentially preying on trading advertisements, thatís a concept Iíve considered and I try to screen potential trading partners as best as possible. Not an easy task, but by seeing whatís on their list and judging the commercial viability of their list one can come to a conclusion. The thought of one of my recordings winding up on someoneís sale list and/or pressed onto CD or vinyl (though slightly flattering) does fill me with dread. With Goldmine advertisement I have cross-referenced ads in the trade and sale columns and have seen the same people.
To turn a phrase, "let the taper beware."
Greg, donít be the least bit paranoid about subscribing to Gray Areas. After being named one of "The 10 Best Magazines Of 1992" by Library Journal weíve gone mainstream. Our mailing list is now at least 25% libraries, Fortune 1000 corporations, etc. Because of the number of different types of crimes we cover no warrant could ever be issued for a subscriber. Some of our readers do not collect tapes and do not even buy the magazine for the music coverage. We have readers who are only interested in the reviews, or in the computer underground, or in the sex stars.
As to Goldmine, you are absolutely correct. Itís a shame they do not monitor their own publication. The recent Soldier of Fortune case (see previous issues of this magazine) shows magazines are absolutely responsible for the contents of their ads. This is why we have no trade ads.
We were even more surprised when we heard in confidence from the publisher of a Grateful Dead magazine which prints trade ads that they routinely change the word "sell" to "trade" when they get ads in. We think that says it all. These "trade" ads are clearly a major place where bootleggers are getting their product. We need the subscription money as much as the next magazine, but we wonít break the law and stab the artists we love in the back to get it.
In reference to your article about phone pranks and the John Trubee interview, I think when I do phone stuff Iím more interested in language and words and how they are used. Phone pranks donít always have to have a punchline or manic climax. In all relationships between people, language, words, their context and how they are used is important. Over the phone a personís personality comes across - and this is what fascinates me.
Many people seem to like the more obvious "funny" pranks. Personally, I prefer to work on/with people. A lot of the time I like them, even though I donít know them.
There is also a difference in cultures. American pranksters seem to thrive on conflict, whereas here in Ireland we are more relaxed and easy going. Irish people like to talk to each other, whereas Americans on the phone are far more aggressive and "out to get you." Donít get me wrong. John Trubee and the other phone funsters are a huge inspiration, but are only one facet. What about Kim Fowlerís "Great Telephone Robbery" track off the Good Clean Fun LP (Imperial 1968)?
The phone can be used for enjoyment too, not just a case of "victims" and "revenge." I usually just end my phone conversations by saying good-bye to the "phonee" and not "Iíll kill you motherf---er!"
I just got through reading Gray Areas #3, and overall it's fantastic. I can't begin to tell you how sick I've been getting of all these "underground" magazines that come out that are nothing more than advertising space and hype (Wired immediately comes to mind). I'd like to bring up some comments about the magazine.
The high points of the magazine are the interviews. The questions asked are intelligent, and are unbiased. The interview with Urnst Kouch (the virus writer) is the initial reason I subscribed to the magazine, and I must say that this was indeed a highlight. Please continue with interviews with members of the computer underground. I have met many of these people, and there is MUCH to be learned from them. Perhaps some interviews with pirates, hackers and/or phreaks would be in order.
Richard Pacheco's article about his experiences in the porn industry was superb. He defies the stereotype of the people that work in the industry; he is intelligent and a clear thinker. I hoped that the article would go into a little more depth about the business, such as more detail on the people in the business (he did give a good description of Marilyn Chambers), etc. I wish him luck in getting his biography published, I'll be looking for it!
One major complaint: censorship. The editorial mentions how some retailers refuse to carry the magazine if there are curses or other objectionable items. I feel that by adopting censorship you are
contradicting the ideas contained within Gray Areas. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be any consistency within your policy. GG Allin's interview is continuously censored, but on p. 103, the review of a Led Zeppelin 1973 bootleg says in part, "...it is a shitty recording..." When do you decide to censor, and when not? I say remove the censorship and don't worry about the few retailers that will have a cow.
A minor complaint: Remove the software reviews unless they fit into
one of these two categories: 1) they support ($) the magazine's existence, or 2) the software is gray area software, such as deprotection, hacking (Tone-Loc), cheating, etc. I think there are plenty of magazines available which review the latest "warez" for PCs and Macs. Furthermore, I think the video, book and CD reviews could also be reduced by limiting the subject matter to gray areas, or related matter.
The audio tape section is a great idea, but I'd like to see it extended past the Bay Area scene. No offense to the Dead or Jefferson Airplane/Starship/whatever, but there's plenty of other great tapes
available of other bands. What about very rare audio tapes? How about jazz audio tapes? How about a trader section for very rare tapes?
One last suggestion. How about captions for the pictures that are in
Gray Areas. On page 105, top right is a picture of Bob Dylan, but who is on the bottom left picture?
Well, thanks much for publishing a great magazine. I can't wait for the next issue.
PS: If you said "eat shit and die" to GG Allin, would he take it as a compliment?
A friend of mine recently loaned me the first two issues of your magazine. I must say that I read them both and was intrigued by the idea of your magazine and what you are trying to accomplish. I hope it is successful and you continue to expand. I suggested to my local newstand that they get your magazine.
Anyway, the real reason I am writing is to help you with your Rolling Stones article in the second issue. The article mentions that you did not have access to the Los Angeles Times regarding the concerts that occured in November 1969. I investigated it for you. According to the Nov. 12, 1969 issue of the Los Angeles Times, Part IV, Page 15, due to the Stones wanting to have their own stage help, the show was late beginning. It was to start at 7 P.M. with a second show scheduled for 11 P.M. The two shows actually started at 8:40 P.M. and 2:00 A.M., respectively. The second show did not let out until 5:15 A.M. Sunday morning. Lots of people were pissed. They were also mad because the Stones were supposed to come back later in November but they canceled because Mick Jagger thought "it would be anti-climatic to add another date" and that the Stones hadn't expected "such an ovation."