So, where did we come from?
In 2008, a friend and I conspired to make a parody zine called "The Radvocate" to lampoon the seriousness of skating magazines and other publications at the time. With irreverent articles and ridiculous "advertisements", we wanted to make something that illustrated the serious flaws that come with taking yourself too seriously. That, and we wanted to make funny pictures. Unfortunately, this vision never took off, and I became too involved with finishing school to take it on by myself.
Flash-forward to 2010, and I've graduated college (B.A. IN LITERATURE! WOOOOO!!!), moved down to San Diego proper, and hold a solid (if uninteresting) job. While my new occupation could pay the bills, there is one thing that it could not satisfy; my desire to write. Other than writing a few tiny reviews for local publications, I couldn't find any work to contribute to in terms of writing. I had done the blog thing for a while, but eventually that got boring and I felt like I needed a new challenge. The main concern I had was keeping my resume current when I would go in for job interviews. Who would hire someone if they hadn't written anything for an outside agency for 3 years? I felt like I was at an impasse. Then, I remembered something a Professor had me do for a project; create a binded "magazine" of the work of all of my other classmates. "This is something you can put on your resume, you know" he told me when the project was over. "What are you talking about?" I replied. "How could I mark this as editorial experience when the publication isn't real?" He looked at me slyly and said, "What do you mean? Of course it's real. It's right there" Such a simple thing to point out, but the ramifications of it! What makes a "magazine" real? Who's to say? Where's the line between 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate' publishing? I had found the answer to an economy that wouldn't have my writing; self-publishing. Brilliant! But as I got to work, I realized something; I'm not alone with this problem.
The recession of the last five years had left many colleagues of mine (in art, literature, poetry, etc.) without anywhere to publish their work. Sure, most of them have banal self-promoting websites that do fairly well, but you can only do so much by yourself. I knew that the people around me - not just in my town, but around the world - had work that was equivalent, if not greater, then the work featured in "legitimate publications". So, I wanted everyone to share in this solution with me. This zine would be somewhere to exhibit their work, without the compromising lameness of ads for corn nuts and that sort of thing (they - WE - deserve better!). When I was thinking of a name for this project, it came to me - The Radvocate rose from the ashes. It made sense because it combines "Radical" (thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms) and "Advocate" (a person who publically supports or recommends a particular cause or policy). I think of myself and everyone involved (by contributing or reading) as radical advocates for an independent and unbiased (by advertisers) media source.
Since then, The Radvocate has continued to grow. Eight issues in and with the completion of the website (thanks completely to Jesse Williamson), a new age in the zine's life has begun. An online store makes them easy to buy, back issues that anyone missed can be viewed online, and a counterpart video magazine, called RAD.TV, will feature submissions in much the same way as the print edition does. While we will never abandon print completely, it helps to explore new technology to reach a broader audience and (I hope) to create an equivalent experience to the zine. I know that thanks to the efforts of these amazing artists and writers, The Radvocate will continue to grow and do what it does best - give the middle finger to anyone who says, "you can't".
- Matt Lewis, Editor