GO Magazine, 1989. Jax Indie Newspaper from Springfield

May 23, 2014 11 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

For the closing years of the 1980s, Jacksonville's indie and cultural coverage was provided by Go Magazine, published by Lee Haack from the Go! Mansion on Laura Street. This is a scan provided by Lee for republication here, and its full of interesting insights and coverage! Join us after the Jump for more!

Jacksonville has done a terrible job of keeping some sense of continuity in the history of its alternative, independent and cultural communities.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the arts and music community, especially the long tradition of Jacksonville's bohemian culture.

In the late 80s, it bears noting, the neighborhoods of Five Points and Riverside were still recovering from wanton destruction and abandonment, and downtown was in its final gasp before its complete collapse in the 1990s.

San Marco was primarily a classical music, theatre, writing and gay gentrification community.

But the more visceral side of the arts was taking a foothold in Springfield, and there was quite a scene revolving around the Go! Mansion, the Pink Palace and Kemet House that was every bit as important to the later development of the city's cultural life.

Sandra Darling and musician Jack Tamul, Ok Sun and Volume Burkes, Frances Bradley, Lee Haack and many of the musicians of the era including Eddie Cotton and several of the members of Pretty Boy Freud, Slipped Mickey and other iconic bands of the late 80s and early 90s shared the neighborhood with museum curators and industrial artists.

Go! (like many in Jax's scene was committed to bringing news from the national culture back to the local scene.  It is sometimes easy to forget how difficult information and exposure was to come by in the pre internet age.

The Times Union and Jacksonville Journal were not much help in this regard, as it later came to light that in addition to refusing to cover the 'hippy' art movements or anything new in the way of national music (remember that even punk rock and new wave were 'underground', meaning that there were no radio stations that played the music, and no reviews of any of the new music in the local press)theatre, poetry and the like, but were caught deleting whole passages of the political articles from conservative writers like William F. Buckley.  The censorship was Orwellian inasmuch as publishers could decide whether or not the public ever heard about something at all, and in our case, even national conservatives were too liberal for the alien right wing opinions of the long time Times Union editorial board.

And so it devolved on the indie papers to do two things simultaneously:  To bring news of the outside cultural world back to jacksonville and to cover the local arts and ideas that were shut out from public exposure.

It made for a generally acerbic tone for many years, especially to our more relaxed, information rich times.  Go! was no exception as you can read in the commentary below.  But this tone was ubiquitous in all the cultural groups of the 1980s, as the tendency to kvetch about how isolated other Jvillians were sometimes came across as a bit condescending to neophytes.

Readers might enjoy the almost offensive snark about the Springfield Tour of Homes back in 1989.

And no doubt the descriptions of New York, Washington DC and the discussion about Charles Bukowski might seem surprising.  

One of the things that it does do is underline just how many creative, cultured minds there were operating in the city even before the development of 'districts'.

Remember that if the print is a little too small to read, click on the image twice and you should be able to find a larger version of the graphic which you can enlarge and read at leisure.

scans and article by stephen dare

Cover (front and back)

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