Category Archives: RagBlog
Dorothy Dickie has documented a significant and nearly-forgotten chapter of our history.
Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Dorothy Dickie is completing production on an exciting 80-minute documentary film called Under the Ground: The Story of Liberation News Service. LNS was an alternative news operation that flourished between 1967 and 1981 in the United States, playing a major – and underrecognized — role in those tumultuous times.
Austin’s New Journalism Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit group, is joining Dickie in co-sponsoring Under the Ground. NJP also publishes The Rag Blog, sponsors Rag Radio, and has a book-publishing arm that produced Celebrating The Rag: Austin’s Iconic Underground Newspaper.
Liberation News Service served underground newspapers, college publications, radio stations — a range of alternative media. They sent out weekly packets of news and graphics that provided content otherwise not available to these feisty but often-shoestring alternative publications that sprung up around the anti-war and student power movement and the ‘60s counterculture.
Read the latest on the Space City! project.
Did you work on Space City!, Houston’s historic underground newspaper? Did you sell it? Did you read it? Do you want it to be preserved online? Do you want it to be commemorated in a book?
The Space City! project is moving forward and you can contribute at this site.
Space City! — originally called Space City News — was one of the most important of the “second wave” of the underground newspapers of the ’60s-70s. It was praised for its strong reporting, its power structure research, its groundbreaking art, and its incisive cultural criticism. Space City! helped to pull together an activist and countercultural community in spread-out Houston.
Some may be surprised that there was an Underground Railroad network in Texas.
We are all familiar with the tales of the Underground Railroad, how enslaved people in the South risked life and limb to escape to the Northern States before and during the Civil War.
Some of us may be surprised to learn that there was an Underground Railroad network in Texas. Maria Hammack, whose research on this subject is coming to light in a doctoral thesis at the University of Texas in Austin, estimates that before the Civil War between 5,000 to 10,000 slaves escaped to Mexico to obtain their freedom.[i]
And I am fairly sure that most of us would be astounded to learn that there may have been a way station for this Underground Railroad in Blanco County.
Help us preserve Houston’s historic underground newspaper.
Did you work on Space City!, Houston’s historic underground newspaper?
Did you sell it? Did you read it?
You may be able to help us.
As part of a Space City! project, the New Journalism Project is assembling a collection to be digitized. And we need five issues from the final year of the paper, the year when the paper went weekly. If you have kept a stash of papers, as some of us have, please look through those seeds and stems now. If you are a junior archivist — a.k.a. hoarder — you may be able to find the following:
- Volume III / Number 23 / November 11, 1971
- Volume III / Number 26 / December 2, 1971
- Volume III / Number 32 / January 20, 1972
- Volume IV / 6/8/1972
- Volume IV / 7/6/1972
A cautionary tale in 2020, the Year of the Rat.
I can’t remember when I first heard of The Pied Piper of Hamelin; possibly after I began to read in earnest, around the age of 8. I may have found the story in a child’s version of The Brothers Grimm or seen the adaptation on T.V. in the 1950’s with Van Johnson.
My memory of the story faded over the subsequent years until I found myself confiding in a few trusted ears, “You know, I’ve begun to see Facebook as the Pied Piper of this epoch.” The look of surprise, incredulity and amusement that was evoked rarely elicited any questions from friends. The question of why this has become an annoying itch is what brings me to ask for the reader’s patience and curiosity while I sort through the threads of plague fear, greed, separation, and loss that are part of this story.
Historic climate pollution emissions almost everyone missed.
Microsoft going net zero by 2030 is a tremendously insightful action, but what’s truly groundbreaking and ever so much more important today, 30 years after we began trying to solve the climate pollution problem through the extinction of the fossil fuel industry, is that Microsoft is now addressing the most important part of the climate reform equation — historic emissions: the climate pollution that remains in our sky.
This is a first-ever declaration to take responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions in the past and the vast majority of the press totally missed it, except for NPR. The headline with Microsoft should not have been “Microsoft to go Net Zero by 2030,” but the much more profound, “Microsoft to remove all their historic climate pollution from the sky by 2050.”
The book is a fictional coming of age story set in San Antonio.
Listen to Thorne Dreyer’s November 25, 2019 Rag Radio interview with Severo Perez about his new book, Odd Birds.
Judge this book by its cover. It is stunning. And Severo Perez’ Odd Birds is a captivating read.
Odd Birds [TCU Press, Fort Worth, 2019] is a fictional coming of age story, the tale of three young library interns, an older displaced artist, and the city of San Antonio. Set in 1961, in the town where the author was raised, we experience a small town on the cusp of change.
Cosimo Infante Cano, a Cuban artist, has arrived with only a courier bag, his luggage stolen before he boarded the train out of Chicago’s Union Station. The 70-year-old artist has come to Texas to join the longtime lover he has shared a life with in Paris. But, he can’t make contact with her. He can’t access the trunks he shipped to her address. He has only the clothes he intended to wear on the train — a peasant shirt, beachcomber pants, red sandals, and his weathered courier bag. He also wears a mysterious watch that was given to him by the woman he is trying to find.