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Lackluster Jobs...All Kinds $2.99 BACK COVER | by James Prochnik Photography
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Lackluster Jobs...All Kinds $2.99 BACK COVER

This is the back cover of Lackluster Zine #1, published in 1997 by Editor-In-Chief Amy Balkin and her colleague James Harbison, a tough hard-nosed reporter. And a bunch of other people.


Despite the name, the magazine itself is anything but lackluster. In fact, it's down right deluxe. Both the front and back cover were silkscreened by hand with thick ink that gives real dimension and materiality to the zine. It thus subverts the general mass production magazine by making the front and back into genuine art pieces.


When I contacted Amy about posting these scans, she told me that the the screens for the artwork were daylight burned using sunlight on a San Francisco rooftop. Well, that story makes the rich and tactile results of their efforts even more special.


The interior of the magazine is fairly standard in terms of layout and art for zines of the time, but it is bound well, and was obviously a labor of love.


What makes the zine special beyond the artistry of the cover art is the quality of the writing. As the cover indicates, the theme of this issue is jobs, and what the writers did is interview a variety of people in jobs both interesting and mundane. The end result is very interesting as they have excellent interviews with a paramedic, a knife sharpener, a taxidermist, a flavor maker, a bondsman, a bagel painter (excerpted in another scan I put up), a commercial diver and more. Truly interesting stuff, and very fun to revisit and re-read. It's very much a zine version of Studs Terkel's famous book Working.


Lackluster's second issue, about homes, was recently featured in an architecture zine exhibition held here in New York this past January, and you can read an unpublished interview they had done on the biosphere that was part of the exhibition here.


You can find more information on writer/artist James Harbison here.


Amy Balkin is still a practicing artist and involved in several fascinating public art projects including Public Smog, This Is the Public Domain, and invisible 5. Check out the websites, they are all very interesting and cool.


Lackluster Jobs - That's something this country could use more of.

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Taken on April 16, 2009