import_contacts Mondo Bizarro

reviewed by Kimberly Villalba Wright

Published in Issue No. 19 ~ December, 1998

Mondo Bizarro describes the content as well as the home page. It’s an amusing look into the counterculture on the Internet (yes, there is still a counterculture). Besides the ’60s-era, up-the-establishment slant this zine takes, there is also some capitalism at work, as they offer books and cassettes for sale. Am I the only one who finds that odd?

The home page suffers from clutter. There is so much information here; it’s like looking at a university bulletin board. When you click onto the icon that says “Mondo Bizarro,” you stay in the same place, so why even have the icon? This page screams for reorganization.

This slightly odd zine is subdivided into sections: Frank Media, Panic Catalog, Ideas First, and UnderZGround. Mondo also has a sister site, Gak Pirate Bongo, which will have to wait for its own review, as well as a separate e-zine, The Underground Crawlspace Review.

As for the mascot to this near-chaos, they offer the lovely Emma Peel from the Avengers television series, who reappears in the Panic Catalog as a unique navigation tool. Mondo Bizarro offers “What’s not on Mondo Bizarro, stuff that will make you extremely rich, more powerful, more popular, and more attractive. Amazing gimmicks to help you find the love of your life.” I think they’re right, but this zine does contain things that will amuse and perhaps enlighten.

The “Ideas First” section contains the main matter of the zine. Among the articles in this section is a report on how Florida persecuted a comic book artist whose work the moral majority found objectionable. Another writer reports on the funeral of a beat poet and how people who were indifferent to the deceased went to his funeral and acted like they were his good friends. I found the editorial to be one of the most well-written and enjoyable works in here.

As for the rest, well, I was amazed at how much of it was advertisement. Perhaps they did that on purpose, as a prank. It seems strange that these revolutionaries would use this zine as a means of marketing, but at least they aren’t trying to promote yet another 10-10 number as a way of cutting long distance costs. Frank Media is merely an advertisement for the Production Doctor who can help fix your web site. The Panic Catalog sells books such as “The Aerosol Can,” which is advertised as “Poetic looks at the underside of city living; favored topics include apathy, greed, and mindless consumerism.” Gee, I think I’ll buy that book and place it alongside my Beanie Babies collection.

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Kimberly Villalba Wright was born in Hollywood, Florida, and has spent most of her life in Mobile, Alabama. She earned a BA in English at the University of South Alabama in 1997. Her poetry has appeared in the Epiphany, Arrowsmith, Doggerel, Dicat Libre, El Locofoco, as well as Poetry Café. This fall, Wright will begin working toward an MFA in creative Writing at the University of Memphis. Wright currently resides in Kennett, Missouri.