The Drink Tank’s Bicentennial Issue

The double-century issue of The Drink Tank (#200), its fourth annish, is more than historic — it’s a hoot-and-a-half. Chris Garcia and a whole slate of interesting fans have packed it with laughs.

When Chris invited Cheryl Morgan to contribute, the word annish seems to have been garbled in transmission. But who could have done a better job than Cheryl of envisioning traditional Amish fanac?

A fanzine produced by science fictional Amish, therefore, would be composed on an Apple Mac, or a Dell running Windows XP (which, incidentally, is still on sale in the future because Microsoft still haven’t got the bugs out of Vista, or whatever they are calling the latest release).

Cheryl shows that being a fine writer can take you far. Beth Zuckerman proves that fine writing combined with advance preparation goes even farther toward ensuring your convention experiences will yield great fanzine material. No conreport of mine can ever hope to achieve anything like her account of Arisia 2009:

I did have to seek out a t-shirt vendor, because while my 51-lb suitcase was fully equipped with rocketship pajamas, the ostentatiously unnecessary coin bra, an entire No. 6 costume with eyebrow makeup, a veritable mountain of lingerie, and a generous supply of little rubber things, somehow I entirely failed to bring anything to wear during the day before the parties started.

Pro wrestling is one of Chris Garcia’s passions. In this issue, his friend Bobby Toland has a lot to say about professional wrestler Kurt Angle’s need to learn humility, and how those lessons might be imparted. One of the hallmarks of good fanwriting is its ability to make fascinating a subject that ordinarily would be of little interest, which is my default response to pro wrestling. Toland held my attention from start to finish.

I also admired the trivia quiz “Fantastic Fours” by Frank Wu and Brianna Spacekat Wu. I answered more than half of them wrong, but everyone reading this review should be able to name the foursome composed of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo.

Christian McGuire spends most of his time as one of the leading conrunners of the age, but thanks to Chris Garcia he hasn’t been completely lost to the world of fanwriting. Plenty of people will want to read all about McGuire’s adventures at Further Confusion 2009 once I mention that one of the lines in the report is: “A prurient Pink Panther holding up the tail of the Tiger before him offered Andy the choice to play jump rope with the tail. All I can say is that Andy can Double-Dutch with me any day.”

Leigh Ann Hildebrand is yet another friend of Chris’s with a great sense of humor. This is not even the funniest line in her list of “Five Things I’m No Longer Allowed To Do in the Fanzine Lounge”:

4. Not allowed to offer impromptu origami classes using materials at hand, even with the justification that it’s a form of performance art expressing my thoughtful critique of the phrase “core fandom.”

Every issue of The Drink Tank is highlighted by a combination of original art and assorted graphics liberated from the internet. An example of the latter, my favorite in issue #200, is the wry parody of RIAA’s anti-piracy ads showing a woman in a pre-WWI hairdo manipulating two Edison phonographs under the caption “Home Cylinder Duplication Is Killing the Music Industry.”

It doesn’t seem that long ago Chris was gushing poetically about what it might be like to produce his hundredth ish, at the time something only a select few active faneds like Arnie Katz, Knarley Welch and Mike Glyer could claim. Within five seconds after mentioning this in File 770, I immediately heard from myriads of offended fans who’d been left off the list, the most impressive being Mark and Evelyn Leeper who wondered what was the big deal, since their MT Void has published fifteen “one-hundredth” issues.

But the point is that it’s my turn to live vicariously through Chris’s experience. At the rate I’m producing issues there’s a good chance I will have to wait until 2028 or so to have a 200th issue experience of my very own. Great work Chris!

Snapshots 7

Here are three developments of interest to fans:

(1) Happy Birthday, Ursula K. LeGuin. A tribute to her at The Writers Almanac offers this insight:

An interviewer once asked her advice for writers, and she replied, “I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you’re writing. And if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn’t flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.”

(2) Mark Leeper’s latest dissertation about the best Western movies of all time is online. It’s a fascinating list.

(3) Within five months of opening on Memorial Day 2007, the Creation Museum in Kentucky attracted 250,000 visitors and the world’s major media. And the satirical attention of sculptor Stephen Geddes, whose new exhibition includes “Jurassic Ark,” subtitled, “Noah Saves the Dinosaurs.” I hadn’t previously known that the Creation Museum teaches that Noah took dinosaurs on the ark. So from that viewpoint, will Geddes’ image of T-Rex swallowing Noah be any more theologically controversial than questioning how Noah survived every other carnivorous predator aboard the ark?

[Includes links from Chris Barkley, Evelyn Leeper and David Klaus.]

Clipping Service: Mark Leeper on iPod Ads

Mark Leeper writes in the 8/22/08 issue of MT Void: 

There is the problem that if you go through life with iPod buds in your ears people tend to assume you are a mentally-deficient anti-social techno-dweeb. It does not help that the Apple ads for the iPod seem to picture silhouettes of what appear to be mentally deficient techno-dweebs dancing like crazy to music only they can hear. And I am glad only they can hear the music. Before the iPod people carried these huge “boom-boxes,” awkward but portable stereo systems and they would inflict their so-called music on all who surround them. The iPod is a whole lot better technology. But the ads give the impression that the listener is engulfed in orgasmic, frenzied musical nirvana. And the person in the ads does not look like the sharpest cheddar in the cheese shop.

File 770 30th Anniversary Issue

File 770’s 30th Anniversary issue is now available at eFanzines.com. Thanks to the indefatigable Bill Burns for taking time out from his Eastercon trip to post it.

Here you can read John Hertz chronicling the Nippon 2007 Worldcon. There’s a classic photo of John Pomeranz in Japanese formal clothing next to George Takei at the Hugo ceremony. And Bruce Gillespie adds his salute to Big Heart Award winner Robin Johnson.

Chris Garcia, Taral Wayne, Mark Leeper, Marie Rengstorff, James Bacon and Francis Hamit celebrate the anniversary with their own special features.

Tim Marion tells about the massive project to organize his old fanzines and his nostalgic rediscovery of apas populated by New York City fans of the 1970s, in “Fannish Archiving Blues.”

Brad Foster’s cover on this issue is also his 71st contribution to File 770, going back to 1984.

The PDF file contains information about how to subscribe to the paper edition, too.