Secret Origins of MISCmedia
October 15th, 2009 by admin


June 2011 began my 26th year of writing MISCmedia, originally known as Misc.: A Report on Popular Culture in Seattle and Beyond.

From June 1986 to December 1989, Misc. appeared as a monthly or bimonthly column in ArtsFocus, a tabloid originally published by the Lincoln Arts Association. At its peak, ArtsFocus printed 5,000 copies per issue.

From October 1989 to January 1995, Misc. was also an independently-published newsletter, starting as a two-pager and ending as a four-pager, sold by subscription. At its peak, the newsletter had 120 subscribers. As many as 600 free copies a month were distributed around town.

Starting on Nov. 18, 1991, and continuing to Oct. 8. 1998, Misc. was a weekly column in The Stranger, Seattle’s leading alternative newspaper. The column entered the paper in its ninth issue. Within seven years The Stranger came to distribute 80,000 copies a week, seen by approximately 200,000 people, almost all inside the Seattle city limits. The paper did one of those hi-falutin’ demographic surveys and found 44 percent of The Stranger’sreaders turned to Misc. every week.

Nevertheless, the paper’s editors decided Misc. no longer met their long-range strategic plans for the paper. The column continues online here at MISCmedia.com, along with a host of tangentally-related features.

A printed MISC magazine appeared for 17 issues, in three different design formats, in 2000-2002. Some of the pieces originally done for that venture, by myself and other writers, are now interspersed with the blog entries on this site.

There was also a brief run in Tablet, a short-lived freebie mag about which I have erased almost all memories.

One more print run occurred from 2004 to 2010 in the Belltown Messenger. That tabloid monthly was an attempt to chronicle the life and times of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhood. Its publisher now runs a marijuana magazine.

What’s in MISCmedia?

The simpler question would be what isn’t in MISCmedia: Gossip, parody, gonzo journalism, self-promotion (well maybe just a little), or poetry.

Other than that, almost anything goes as long as it relates somehow to the public life or pop culture of Seattle and the world immediately surrounding it.

Over the years, the column has included items about TV, film, theater, vacuum cleaners, politics (local and national), youth culture, clueless middle-aged professors complaining about youth culture, fashion, advertising, local publishing, bumper stickers, vanity license plates, the demise of great local institutions such as Frederick & Nelson and the Dog House restaurant, junk food, beer and wine, the new class wars (locally and nationally), postmodern philosophy, hypertext, the growth of desktop publishing and the Net, and the rise (and partial fall) of the local music scene.

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