Black Bart Brigade

An Overview

Black Bart Brigade, named for a California outlaw of the 19th Century who staged a middle-aged personal rebellion against the System of his day, was a counter-culture 'sporadical' of the early 1970s. Intended as a rallying point for those who felt left out (on a generational basis) of the youthful ferment then underway, it had a modest success. But it had significantly greater success as my own vehicle of change, on many levels.

Of Black Bart Brigade, there were only seven issues. But together with its phoenix-like offshoots -- the briefly intermediary Yin Times of Black Bart, and the long-trailing mimeographed series mainly called Black Bart, there were 19 issues in all (though variously numbered, as well as named), over a 13-year span (1971-1984). That a readership of some 400 stayed largely constant, for most of those years -- and many of them remain, today, on the Ripening Seasons mailing list -- is an effective commentary on the quality and appeal of what came out under this rubric.

I subtitled it an "Outlaw Mag[azine]" and it was that in every sense: I pirated freely from other publications when something worthwhile turned up (always giving credit, however), I obtained no licenses, permits or accreditation, filed no tax returns, and observed no library or subscription house formalities -- which is to say, I did not seek their patronage or their assist. Some patronized me anyway, but on my terms, not the other way around. My mailings went out under a borrowed postal permit, and my bank account was never backed by any formal DBA papers ("Doing business as...").

I'm not at all sure one could get away with such 'in your face' independence today, but my position through the thick of it was that Black Bart was neither a business nor a profit-making venture, offering its product entirely on a free donation basis, with no other source of income through it. No books were ever kept that could show otherwise. (No account books of any sort were kept, beyond the first six months that it took me to realize the worrisome idiocy of shifting numbers around on paper, in a one-man operation!)

What you'll find, here, is a representative sampling from each issue -- mainly (but not entirely) consisting of my own writing. Each separate issue opens, here, with a few words noting the circumstances around that particular workup, to provide a context: the issue's focus, where it was put together (my residence shifted continually, though the publication address remained the same), and what was going on in my world at the time -- mostly with respect to the issue at hand.


The issues of Black Bart Brigade

BBB #1 - November 1971

BBB #2 - January 1972

BBB #3 - April 1972

BBB #4 - August 1972

BBB #5 - March 1973

BBB #6 - September 1973

BBB #7 - May 1974

The Yin Times of Black Bart

YT #1 - February 1976

YT #2 (part 1) - October 1976

YT #2 (part 2) - January 1977

(just plain) Black Bart (and its trailing after-words)

BB #10 - January 1979

BB #11 - August 1979

BB #12 - October 1980

BB #13 - September 1981

BB #14 - May 1982

BB #15 - April 1983

The Brigade #1 - August 1983

The Brigade #2 - January 1984

Black Bart's Last Hurrah! - early summer 1984



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