Alice Embree :
METRO EVENT | Documentary film about ‘The Rag,’ Austin’s pioneering underground newspaper, to screen in September

The showing will be followed by an open meeting to start planning a 2016 Rag reunion and celebration.


The Rag‘s first banner, 1966, designed by Clelie Moore.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | August 17, 2015

Event: “The Rag: Austin Underground Press 1966-1977”
What: Film showing and planning for 50th Anniversary Rag Reunion
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Time: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Fannie Mae Stewart Community Center
Address: 1902 East 22nd Street, Austin, Texas 78722
Donations: Contributions welcome

AUSTIN —  There will be a screening of Parts 1 and 2 of a three-part documentary film, The Rag: Austin Underground Press 1966-1977, on Saturday, September 12, 2015, at the Fannie Mae Stewart Community Center in Austin.

The film, about the life and times of Austin’s pioneering underground newspaper, The Rag, is being produced by Peoples History in Texas. It is still a work in progress with a third part now in development. A premiere showing of the full work is scheduled for October 2016, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the first publication of The Rag on October 10, 1966.

The September 12 screening will be followed by an initial planning session for a 50th anniversary reunion and celebration of The Rag. All those interested are invited to remain for the meeting.

george and mariann

George Vizard sells first issue of The Rag on the drag, 1966.

In his 1972 book, The Paper Revolutionaries, Laurence Leamer wrote that The Rag was “one of the few legendary undergrounds,” and in 2010, the Austin Chronicle‘s Kevin Brass called the paper “a firebrand little troublemaker.”

And The Rag was the inspiration for it’s digital-age rebirth, The Rag Blog, and the syndicated weekly Rag Radio show. The Rag Blog grew out of a hugely successful 2005 Austin reunion of former Rag staffers and followers and many of its contributors are veterans of The Rag and the underground press.

Noted for its unique blend of New Left politics and Sixties alternative culture — presented with a hearty dose of irreverent Texas humor and psychedelic art — The Rag was among the earliest and most influential of the Sixties-era underground newspapers; it was the sixth member of the Underground Press Syndicate (UPS), the South’s first underground paper, and the first to grow directly out of an activist and counterculture community.

The Rag was also the first paper to eschew the traditional top-down editorial structure: the staff made all decisions democratically.

people's history in texas 2
The film relies heavily on interviews made at the 2005 Rag Reunion of Rag former staffers — writers, artists, and activists who were at the heart of the civil rights, anti-war, women’s liberation, student power, union organizing, and countercultural movements of the Sixties and Seventies.

People’s History in Texas is a non-profit 501(c)(3) research, publishing, and media production organization “that brings to life the stories of ordinary people and significant socio-political movements” related to Texas history.

The screening and planning meeting will take place from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Fannie Mae Stewart Community Center, located at 1902 East 22nd Street in East Austin. It is free and open to the public, with contributions welcome.

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3 Responses to Alice Embree :
METRO EVENT | Documentary film about ‘The Rag,’ Austin’s pioneering underground newspaper, to screen in September

  1. Great news ! I will be there whether live or in spirit — hope there will be a way to participate in writing for those far away geographically, like in Berlin.

  2. Well, this oughta be fun! Nice summing up, Al, of The Rag’s influence, but we should also mention its numerous spawn: Space City News,The Rat, The Gar, and others whose parentage is perhaps more dubious but are/were nonetheless family: the Austin Sun for sure… Let a thousand flowers bloom!

  3. MacBryde, for those who will not be able to be at the 2016 event in the flesh, whatever event may be planned and wherever it may be (I’m still plugging for Cuba!), maybe we can do some video teleconferencing! Appear virtually; see and be seen!

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