CAVS ZINE BECOMES AVAILABLE FOR ORDERING MONDAY.
It's an independent hand made Cavaliers and Cleveland oriented publication about basketball. It features all of your favorite Cavs bloggers and artists. It is insanely cool. Most of them were hand delivered to people who attended the Cavs home opener, so this is one of your last chances to get one. Each one is hand numbered and contains a Cavs Zine 4 pin. There will be only 100 distributed though the mail.
Brendan Bowers, who is the Editor In Chief of StepienRules.com has been a contributor for 4 seasons of Cavs Zine, but his lastest peice, which is exclusive to Cavs Zine 4, may be his best yet. Bowers and I present to you the following Q & A sesh with the secrets of The Bible Of Cavs Fandom, Cavs Zine 4.
BOWERS: Fourth issue of Cavs Zine. Wow. Take me back to when it all started, what were some of your early goals with this project?
JACKSON: I was just having fun, making a zine, a hard copy publication and getting some great writing out to the people. Also preserving the zine format that I dig so much, with as much authenticity as I could. From day one, I made it by sitting down with paper, scissors and tape then put it all together. It takes a lot longer than using a computer program to do it, but man, it looks way better this way. When you sit down with one to read it, you can see some shadows from the tape and know that some dude was sitting there cutting and taping it together so it would look that way. This thing is the realest. In a way it kind of preserves the publishing style and I hope also an ethos that we are all in this thing together.
BOWERS: How has Cavs Zine over-delivered in terms of your own initial expectations during the last four years?
JACKSON: It just gets cooler, more interesting, and better quality. And, quite frankly, I’ve gotten better at laying it out. If you look at the way the first one was done and compare it to what we produce now, it’s amazing that this has reached this level. Every page has high quality writing, different imagintive and sometimes weird stuff. It will make you think. Really hard if you want to. Also you can get a free pizza if you solve a crossword puzzle.
BOWERS: Can you believe that J.J. Hickson is now playing for his third team since gracing the cover of Cavs Zine One?
JACKSON: That dude had the athleticism man. All the potential in the world, but had the wrong kind of passion. Basketball is a game, but it’s also a craft. I thought he could be the guy and I still think he could have been, if he had been more coachable and more interested in becoming great. Worthy of a Cavs Zine cover though, especially since Mo Williams was fat and depressed after the summer. And then he got that pimple and it was all over. That was a real rough year for everybody.
REALLY THOUGHT IT COULD BE THE YEAR FOR THE HICKSON IN 2010-11.
BOWERS: How does the Cavs Zine editorial process work for you—from assigning the article topics to editing and then compiling it all together?
JACKSON: It’s evolved. This issue is bigger than the first 3. The first one was pretty much just handful of emails to Cleveland writers that I liked including Scott Raab. Next thing you know, I was laying the thing out on my desk, making some copies and getting it done. The medium was a lot of the message with that first one. Anybody could have done it. Now it’s a process of meetings and brainstorming of something like 30 people. People contribute to the discussion whose work isn’t even in Cavs Zine. The last 3 have all started the same way though. Me and Mike Brenkus have a back and forth through the summer about which album is going to be the cover and how it’s going to look, then that sets the mood for the rest of the thing. Mike has designed the last 3 covers, and every time I see them I feel like I have something to live up to. Then the rest of the submissions come in, and I’m like “holy crap, this thing is gold.” Then , the magic starts.
BOWERS: Talk about your page design process. That’s some artistic stuff. So many nuances, so much hidden meaning. How do you do that man?
JACKSON: I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s just a magazine about basketball. Right? Like I see this picture of Larry Nance, and I imagine him dunking 45 basketballs. Or I see a picture of the Colliseum at night and I think about what the stars looked like on those freezing cold nights walking out to the parking lot. And what if the Colliseum wasn't demolished but instead was carried away by birds up to heaven? And who hasn't dreamed of dunking over the Terminal Tower? Pretty much everybody, I assume.
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THIS AND NOT THINK IT SHOULD BE WORTH AROUND 90 POINTS?
BOWERS: Who are your artistic inspirations?
JACKSON: Obviously I would be remiss if I didn’t say, first and foremost, Cleveland and basketball. Not sure if we choose what inspires us or it chooses us, but that’s why this is what it is.
Most of what I know about art, I learned from the covers of records. The covers of the Zine, even though Mike designs them, are kind of a tribute to that. I have a decent record collection, and before I sit down and think about what I’m going to do, I file though them and pull out 20 or so. Mostly 7” 45 records that were designed by hand by punk rock bands in the 90s.
HERE'S SOME RECORDS FROM THE ARCHIVE THAT WERE PART OF THE CAVS ZINE 4 PROCESS
My two biggest influencers are two guys, Zak Kaplan who is a graphic artist that designs records, posters for shows and other things. He has a way of conveying his own ideas and then meshing them with art pieces. You can find his stuff on his website Rogue State Design and buy it from Chunksaah Records.
ZAK KAPLAN DID THIS ADAPTATION OF A CHINESE POSTER. CAVS ZINE 4 HAS THIS PICTURE OF ANTHONY BENNETT
Second, Matty King, who is a collage artist. He hasn’t regularly produced stuff in a while, but he does old school cut and paste and works in color. His stuff is a lot harder to get. I think if you combined those two guys and added Cleveland Basketball, they might make something like this. Zak actually did design the inlay to the Michael Stanley record that came out with Cavs Zine 2, if you were lucky enough to get that. He does a lot of industrial-looking art, and the smokestacks from Michael Stanley's "Can't Fight Fashion" looked pretty perfect on that record.
BOWERS: If there is one design nuance or hidden message-ish thing you’d hope people pick up on but maybe they wouldn’t at first, third or fifth glance, what would that be?
JACKSON: I like it when people see something and feel a connection to it, but can't figure out why, then they realize it and have a "wow" moment, like that first time they listened to Michael Stanley backwards to check for hidden messages. But I’ll give this one away. Not the story, which is a great interview by our writer Josh Flagner about a guy who was at The Miracle closeout game, but just these images and the font. This record and that game have a relationship, which is pretty cool I think. "I Believe in Miracles" is a Ramones song title, of course. I also kind of feel like there's an X-Files reference in there too because they all used the same font in the poster that Mulder had in his office that said "I WANT TO BELIEVE" and had a picture of a UFO hovering over bushes that look a lot like the bushes in the Miracle picture that I used. I do want to believe in the Cavs, so there's that.
THE RAMONES FIRST RECORD CAME OUT THE SAME WEEK AS THE MIRACLE GAME.
THE RAMONES WERE STANDING IN FRONT OF A BRICK WALL. JIM CHONES AND CAMPY RUSSELL WERE A BRICK WALL.
FRANKLIN GOTHIC HEAVY (CONDENSED) FONT AND THOSE PINE TREES ON THE LEFT FRAME THE UFO AND THE COLLISEUM
THERE WAS THAT ONE GUY THAT I WISH WOULD HAVE GOTTEN ABDUCTED BY ALIENS ON HIS WAY TO RICHFIELD
BOWERS: How long does it take you to say edit one article, lay the page out and get it ready to print?
JACKSON: I’m a perfectionist in like the weirdest way. Like it doesn’t have to look academically correct, but it has to look correct to me. This is how things get out of hand and I end up doing multiple designs for the same page or tearing it apart after it’s done and completely redoing it, reversing it, changing font styles, sizes of type, anything. So there’s no real time period scheduled. It seems like it takes a long time, but when a page looks perfect, it’s like seeing your script turned into a movie.
BOWERS: Has anyone approached you asking for a crossword puzzle answer key in search of a free pizza and how hard is that crossword puzzle?
JACKSON: No, but there is a crossword puzzle and if you solve it, you get a free pie. So you should do that if you like pizza, which you probably do.
BOWERS: What do people need to know about the Scott Raab Minizine?
JACKSON: I talked to Scott Raab in the summer of 2010 and talked to him about his coverage of the Cavs in the 2009-2010 season and we ended up talking for about two hours and he asked if I wanted him to write for the Zine. I was blown away, because he is an amazing national writer. He wrote for the first 3, and then his submission for 4 didn’t get to me in time, and I had laid out something about him already which looked and fit perfectly and he made such good points there that I didn't want to change anything, so I decided to make a mini-zine”Son Of CAVSZINE” to include with the Cavs Zine mail orders. These are extremely limited, but have his writing, which I am always excited to include, the writing of a new contributor, and some new stuff I designed.
BOWERS: How do people place an order and how much time should they expect delivery to take since it is you printing all the Zines and then physically mailing them out yourself?
JACKSON: Ok here’s the big question:
1. I am going to give an email address on Monday, December 16, 2013. The first 100 people that email the address with their address will get an email back from me explaining where to send $3 well concealed cash in an envelope. Once I get it, I will immediately mail a copy of Cavs Zine 4. I will send them daily until they are all out. This is how zines used to be distributed, so you get the whole experience this way.
2. If someone emails me and then doesn’t send the $3 cash money I’ll send it to the 101st person. Last year we did the credit card ordering and I didn’t like that I didn’t send them myself and also that you had to have a credit card to get a copy, which is not really cool at all by me. I'll just do it myself.
3. The $3 is ONLY to cover shipping and handling. Believe me it costs a lot more to produce the copy that you get than just $3. You get the zine for free because you are a Cavs fan, same as if you had picked on up on opening day and there were no shipping and handling costs involved. Only one per person. If you want to send more cash, I won't send it back. If you are in another country, it would be cool of you to send a little more money. You know, because it costs more to send you mail, bro.
4. Every Cavs Zine is color stamped on the front page. Making a bootleg is basically impossible this year without it being totally obvious. Also they come with 1” buttons that identify you as a Cavs Zine reader without being too obvious. Like, you could wear it on the lapel of your suit, for example.
GET A CAVS ZINE AND YOU CAN SET IT ON A TABLE NEXT TO YOUR OWN AWESOME LAMP!