From Issue 4.2 - Summer 1998

Another One Bites the Dust...

I write with considerable mixed feelings as we publish what will likely be the last hardcopy edition of Cuir Underground. Editing CU has been a great opportunity to connect with the leather/SM community, learn about interesting organizations and events, and work with some wonderful writers and photographers.

The demise of the hardcopy CU can be attributed to the same factors that lead to the downfall of so many volunteer projects: lack of time and lack of money. The editorial staff of CU is essentially a creative bunch of people. We love writing, editing, covering events, reviewing books, and doing artistic layout. Unfortunately, we don't much like selling ads, doing mailings, physically distributing the paper, or handling finances and, unfortunately, sometimes these things got done poorly or not at all.

This issue reflects what we've always wanted CU to be. It contains in-depth articles by and interviews with interesting people, and was done over an extended period of time so we could ensure that we got the content we wanted before we sent the paper to press. Unfortunately for us, this type of extensive content and lax schedule is not possible if we organize production around advertising, and without ads, we can't afford to publish the paper.

We will not be going away entirely. CU will still produce a web version, including our extensive list of leather/SM-related links and our calendar of events (updated weekly). Additional features, news, reviews, fiction, and other content will be posted whenever we have something interesting to add, rather than on a regular schedule. It's even possible that you'll be seeing special theme issue or other projects in the future.

Please continue to send us material, including news, review copies and events listings. We will no longer maintain our AOL address; all e-mail should be sent to (we prefer to receive material by e-mail if possible). Our new postal address is 584 Castro Street #272, SF, CA 94114.

Many thanks to our loyal readers and supporters. It has been a great 3 and a half years, and we could not have done it without you. I hope we'll be seeing you in Cyberspace!

--Liz Highleyman, Editrix

Yes, this is the last print issue of Cuir Underground -- but not a sad event. Actually, it's with much relief that we decided to discontinue printing. We'll continue to maintain the webpages, , but the cost and hassle of running a 'zine while working regular fulltime jobs was too much.

When the first issue of Cuir Underground came out at the Folsom Street Fair (September) of 1994, it was with high hopes that it could become a profitable self-sustaining magazine dedicated to informing and bringing together the Bay Area kinky communities.

At that time printing costs were around $300! Because of a world-wide paper shortage, and increased print run, costs have quadrupled. At the same time, kink-oriented businesses have an increasing number of options for their advertising dollars -- and the time investment it takes to get those dollars is, unfortunately, more work than it's worth for small publications like CU.

Why didn't we just charge a cover price? Well, CU was started with the principle of being freely distributed, since most other magazines and information resources about SM cost a pretty penny. Plus, it takes at least several thousand dollars (that we didn't have) to launch a store-bought 'zine, since you have to front the publication costs for 3-6 months before being paid by distributors, who are infamously flaky in the small 'zine business.

These fiscal reasons, along with the predictable burnout factors and my own changing interests, led to the decision not to continue printing Cuir Underground. However we're quite excited about continuing it as an online endeavor, and I'm hoping that the time saved by not designing, laying out & pasting up print boards will allow me to spiff up the website! So please check it out.

We're still very proud of what Cuir Underground was (and harbor great resentments against those shoddy sex zines that actually make money!). Since its inception it covered controversial issues like Nazi role-play, regulation of local sex clubs, sex-writer Dan Savage, and now, satanic sadomasochism. We published brilliant, important writers like Pat Califia, Gayle Rubin, David Aaron Clark, Carol Queen, Thomas S. Roche and many more. We featured ground-breaking artwork by artists such as Eric Kroll, John Abrahamson, Michael Manning, and Mark I. Chester. We were supported by kink-community artists like Tala Brandeis, Dawn Lewis, Darlene Wiede, Fish, and many more. We regularly reported on community events from title contests to conferences.

We hosted a celebratory birthday party at the late Trocadero, an inspiring reading at 848 Divisadero, and a fabulously fun Black Mass sex party (we may have to do more of these!). Both businesses and SM groups, as well as hundreds of individuals in various sex radical communities, supported us financially, socially and spiritually. We had inquiries from as far away as Finland! To all of you, we owe a heartfelt "Thanks!"

Special thanks are due to those of you who volunteered and helped out far above any expectations: Bertha Markowicz, Liz Highleyman, Anna Bergman, Fish, Drew Campbell, Bernice Ferrer, Joshua James Keels, Kris Hill Tax Service, Anne Williams, Lady Green, Dawn Lewis, Wendell Ricketts, Dr. Beth, Unicorn Escobedo, Sally H., Karen K., Scooter, Midori, Michael Manning, Mr. Marcus, Rebecca Harris, Dhalgren 13, Sister Roma, David Cabral, Ken and Theresa, Drew, Jim Rossen, and many more, as well as our founding supporters Sarah Lashes, Pat Califia and Gina M. Gatta. We'd also like to thank our financial supporters: our 40-or-so subscribers, Body Manipulations, Leather Etc, Stormy Leather, Eros, Good Vibraitions, Castlebar, House of Differences, PostFundamentalist Press, Black & Blue Tattoo, William A. Henkin, Passionflower, Power Exchange, Black Stallion Inn, The Black House, Stompers, Dark Garden, Panther Leathers, Something Fishy, Fashion Fantasy, LeatherWercs, TLC Electrolysis, and others.

If you're an advertiser or subscriber who believes that we owe you, please write to us and we'll do our best to honor our contracts, either with a refund or through our website or another publication.

Kiki "Line 'em up" Scar, Founder, Design and Layout

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© 1998, Cuir Underground

Last updated: 7 September 1998