Monday, August 01, 2005

ULA Behind the Scenes

The great thing about leading ULAers Steve Kostecke, Jeff Potter, and Patrick Simonelli is their genuine enthusiasm for underground writing. They promote writers like Jack Saunders because they believe in them. This makes a strong foundation for what we're trying to accomplish. From these guys we'll see no hesitations, poses, or phoniness-- only total support of the underground. Potter, for instance, has been involved with the zeen scene for close to fifteen years. (As I have.) His support for the genre is genuine.

Many east coast folks don't know how to take us. From their layers of cynicism, they can't believe our straightforward agitation could possibly be real. Where's the payoff? What are we really after?-- the incorrigible cynics ask. They judge our behavior by their own corrupt standards.

We wouldn't be investing years of our lives in this project if we didn't believe in it and our writers. I was a fan of Bill Blackolive's "Last Laugh" long before the ULA was thought of. I wrote about Jack Saunders in my newsletter ten years ago! Jeff Potter flew to New York City for the ULA's Amato Opera House show in 2001 because he was a fan of Jack's. There was not a thought at the time of Jeff joining the outfit. I'd never met him before, was in no way a friend, but was struck by his professionalism and his selflessness when he joined me posting and passing out flyers in what quickly became a downpour; in the way he bought refreshments for the cast. Not until much later in the ULA's tumultuous history-- after we'd been through internal conflict; after, purely as a fan, Jeff helped rescue this project-- was I able to persuade him to become an official member of the gang. There has never been a time since then that I didn't know Jeff's word, or Steve's, was their bond. I've known they have my back. With the inevitable disagreements which arise in any project, we operate under an atmosphere of communication and trust.

Those who met Pat Simonelli in Philly quickly realized he's like this also. The guy is for real-- a genuine fan of the Underground Literary Alliance. (Why else do we stress that is our fan site! We're fans of underground writers.)

What's my point? It's that writers and others who join this outfit should know we have YOUR back also. In the final analysis, we pursue this cause not out of stray hopes of personal gain, but because we love what we're doing.

It's the reason we've continued despite occasional rainstorms of ignorance, hate, and scorn.


Anonymous said...

Man, that's just beautiful.

Jeff Potter said...

Yeah, we're not shy around here.

We say what we like and what we don't. (Unlike our critics.)

Thanks for the good word, King!

It can get lonely working here in the trenches---that's why I wish I coulda made the Philly Show, just to see the gang and get a recharge.

I'm in the publishing game because I'm firstly a READER. I read and I look further, for more, for writers who push whatever area they're working in. If I sense an important cultural need (from long familiarity with a topic) I'll publish something on it from a writer who fills that need. I've contributed in this way to several niche areas.

I sense a need in literature. I want something new, bigger, bolder to read. I've found it. I'm grateful that I have done so. Now I want to share it. I know there are LOTS of readers like me out there.

So I want to help READERS as much as writers. One supports the other. I believe that if I show readers to a writer then the writer will get what he needs.

I started down this underground road first as a zeenster with my "Out Your Backdoor." I started OYB to give people a place to share their candid experiences adventuring in the world---the truth of which was not in any outdoor books or magazines, being whitewashed as they are.

I was also reading deep'n'wide at the time, following the grittiest literary veins to see where they led. One old secondhand indy nonglitzy Ann Arbor bookstore was very helpful: the Dawn Treader. I'd go down in their basement place and ask for what I might next explore in the candid style. Thru them I discovered Buk, O'Toole, Leonard, Willeford, Burke, Crumley, McCarthy, and the Euros Simenon, Freeling, Sjowall-Wahloo. When I was done with them (ha!) I asked "What's next?" The black lady co-owner said, "Waaahhhlll, you might try Jack Saunders..." Instead of being prejudiced against his Southern ways, she knew that pushing the limits was a good thing and pushed him to me, and I'm grateful. If you like those other writers, you'll like Jack, too. He goes further. If you want that, too, check him out, that's all I can say.

At first I didn't like his work. But then I never do. I'm as uncomfortable with the new as anyone. But when a writer keeps bugging me, keeps popping up for me months after I dismiss him, I'll check it out again. Jack stuck. Then finally roosted for good. Thru Jack I've since discovered many other writers, musicians and movies. I've had a GREAT TIME. I want to share what I've gotten---and I've done so, and plan to do a LOT more.

The best way is to push the writer. The best way to push an UNDERGROUND writer is to make noise AND put out a Catazeen...which is what I'm doing.

(The printer says he'll have a few hundred issues done tonight! ONWARD!)

The ULA After Dark said...

In Withdrawl Symptoms, King wrote:

'The writer has been left in a darkened room, the door shut behind him: a closet. We've opened the closet door, and are saying, "Come out!"'

Now he's writing about who has his back, who's back he's got, how others should know he'll have their back. That and Jeff Potter's description of his "deep'n'wide" reading made me wonder, seriously:

Are you guys making a point here or is this all inadvertent. Because if you're trying to say something, that's cool, you should just say it. But if it's an accident I think it's funny.

Jeff Potter's bruised prostate said...

I don't think it's funny at all.

the MP said...

They're saying they've got the ULA members' backs. And each others. That's the way real friends are toward one another not that Dork Sad and Prostrate seem to have any experience with either the coloquial idiom referred to or with real friendship even tho there IS somebody standing right behind you both right now!

Jeff Potter said...

Those guys are from the Beavis and Butthead school of culture. It had its day---without impact, gone in 15 minutes, no contribution. "Pull my finger!" But of course they can't even "get up" that high. It's hard to imagine such non-achievement. I've met such people: nonentities. That's what's to laugh about. THIS is who we're up against? Grey, skulking snivelers? It's hard to imagine couch potatoes as real people, but they're out there---so thin they're hard to see.

The ULA After Dark said...

Jeez, okay, I was just asking a simple question. I don't now what you guys are getting all excited and defensive about. I mean, if you want to go and insult me that's fine but I really think you should lay off of Jeff Potter's bruised prostate.

Jeff Potter's bruised prostate said...

Really. Haven't I been through enough?