Dare Tabloid: Vol 2, Issue 2: The Bold New City of God

August 13, 2013 5 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Dare Tabloid was the publication of one of MetroJacksonville's founders, Stephen Dare back in the late 80s, early 1990s. It featured urban issues, critical art review and launched the current tradition of covering nightlife in the local entertainment weeklies. We are reprinting old issues of Dare Tabloid and they provide a pretty cool snapshot of daily life in Jacksonville 20 years ago. In it you can still find the complexity, art, passionate politics and a surprisingly hip city scene that somehow wasn't captured elsewhere in Jville's too conservative by half media of the time. Join us after the jump for the full issue!

In a way its kind of breathtaking to go through these old issues of Dare Tabloid.  At the time we were the only media outlet that was writing about the creative community of Jacksonville that is now the Establishment today.  Folio was still primarily a women's issue/lite reading kind of a publication under the editorship of Judy Wells (they didn't really cover nightlife or feature much arts and cultural content, centering mostly on events and chamber functions.

The Times Union was still under the excellent thumbs of Cynthia Parks and Anne Hyman, but they certainly didn't cover daily life for the bohemian set, and no publication in town wrote about current music trends or indie culture.  Except of course for Dare Tabloid.  

The publication only ran for about two and a half years, but it serves as kind of a snapshot of the times.  The clubs, the parties, the unexpurgated opinions.  The gossip.

All good stuff.

The concept of Dare Tabloid was to use the earthy snarky language of the weekly tabloids to write about loftier subjects like urban development, social interest stories, and critical art reviews.  When Max Michaels and I started the Tabloid, the weekly publications like The Enquirer, the Sun, the Weekly World News, and so many many other trashy little newspapers at the supermarket checkout were fairly ubiquitous and their headlines were shocking, funny, and the hip intelligentsia read them for laughs.  But even while laughing at alien plots to subvert President Reagan's anti communist agenda, I loved the conversational tone and populist writing style that gave them so much currency with millions of readers.

I remember thinking that the language and writing style was the tonic to cure the stiff, offputting elitist tone of the kulturati of the time.  And I thought (and still do) that the higher culture should also be accessible to the popular masses.

This was certainly counter to the pretensions of the 70s and 80s.  It seemed like every effort was made to create a culture that was so pedantic, specialized, precious and exclusive to the rubes that no one could participate except for an etiolated, strained, chosen few.

Especially in the smaller southern cities, whose upperclasses had already developed a will defined sense of self loathing for their own cultures and felt the only way to express their educations was to rub it in their faces.  In fact, throughout this issue you will see continuous references to some of the worst offenders of the time for their unfounded snobbiness.  It seems like Theresa McTammany got a lot of shit from us in this particular edition.  But as the high society writer for the times union, she certainly deserved it.  And this is an opinion I still feel pretty passionately about 22 years later.

The publication was divided up into six or seven sections, and every month we had a different feature artist produce internal covers for the section dividers.

The anatomy of Dare Tabloid was as follows:
A monthly editorial summation by me in "The Gauntlet".

Landscape, which was a hodge podge of issues and stories meant to give a sense of the social landscape of the time.

Mirror, which was the monthly feature story (in this edition, its a collection of all the various downtown plans and projects)

Crash Trash and Weekend Bash, the monthly, grueling breakdown of life in the nightclubs.  It was always printed in ultra small 8 point type so that no one over forty could read it.  Nightclub reviews and an essay that gave you a basic breakdown of every possibility by day of the week.  

Flotsam and Jetsam, was our Fashion and society gossip section.  Edited by Andrew Williams.

Hot Silver Pitchforks: A small restaurant and cafe insert.

Emminent Art Critics Revue (all purposely misspelled) was a review section for art shows and performances.

Dominant Submissions was an entire section devoted to reader submitted literature and poetry.

Anyways, enjoy the issue.  If some of the fonts are a little too small, you can click onto our gallery at smugmug (double click on the photo) for a larger version of the page)

Affectionately yours
Stephen Dare

Mirror Section

NEXT PAGE:  The Landscape Section, featuring Harry Reagan, The Judge Santora Scandal, Abstinence Based Education !

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