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Wes Sadler, co-publisher of Chiaroscuro


Wes Sadler is co-publisher of Chiaroscuro, a black-and-white, paper-and-staple zine. Since November 2002, he and co-author Doomlazer have created three dozen issues of cut-and-paste, blatantly intellectual punk fiction, poetry and commentary. It’s well worth reading, and—with the advent of DVD-enhanced issue No. 36—also viewing. Chiaroscuro is available at Slowtrain Records (221 E. Broadway) and Nobrow Coffee & Tea Company (315 E. Broadway).

The kids are wondering: What, exactly, is a “zine”? Is it like an RSS feed?
A zine is like if a book and a magazine got married, and the book fucked a Kindle. When the magazine found out, it stabbed the book and then shot itself. Yes, it’s very much like an RSS feed.

You started Chiaroscuro while you were a U of U student, right?
Yes. I didn’t initially want to go to college, but the state gave me $1,000 for graduating early from high school. I felt some pressure from my parents not to waste it. I was a philosophy major with a creative writing minor. I dropped out after two years to focus on my real passion: gas-station employment. Years later, I went to Westminster for about two weeks, and, recently, I’ve been going to SLCC to become a pharmacy technician.

Why publish a paper zine when you could create a Website instead?
There’s something very transitory about the Internet, for one thing. I’m not tech-savvy enough to create a Website that would look anything like the zine does, too. I guess having it as a physical object just makes it more tangible.

What is Chiaroscuro’s circulation? And what is its function in society?
Issue No. 36 had a circulation of 100 copies. Sometimes I print a lot more and sometimes a few less. I tend to think of myself as the co-creator. As far as my function in society goes ... a parasite? Doomlazer would like to add that he has no function in society and is merely “waiting to die.”

Why are there no ads in Chiaroscuro?
We’re working with a pretty limited budget here, so we can’t really afford to put ads in our zine. It’s always been something we’ve wanted to do. I mean, commercials have come so far in the last couple of decades, and we all feel there are some really good ones out there nowadays.


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