By Gene Gregorits
Sex & Guts began in 1997 as a xeroxed, stapled along the spine fanzine by Harrisburg, PA native Gene Gregorits. The publication has evolved greatly with each subsequent issue. Having established a tradition of publishing in-depth (and usually invasive) conversations with musicians, filmmakers, writers, and artists, the magazine has cultivated a marginal cult following, while striving to break out to a wider readership.
“My earliest ambition with Sex & Guts,” says Gregorits, “was simply to cover the kind of films, literature, and music I appreciate most, that being the dark stuff, art which is concerned more with real people, their problems, their situations. I’m an idealist, or at least a realist, and I’m constantly searching for things that reflect the way I feel about the world today. I think that is the function of creativity, to express how you feel about the world around you. I’m especially interested in fucked up, creative people, why and how they do what they do. How they survive. Their obsessions. A lot of these people do not have a collective voice in contemporary entertainment media. The independent film magazines that are out there aren’t interested in the same people, and they can’t even manage to be entertaining or engaging. Neither can the mainstream magazines. If a magazine can provoke as well as inform, why not do both?”
“But by the second issue, I’d realized that a magazine devoted only to this kind of material didn’t exist, and at that point started seeing Sex & Guts as something much bigger than a fanzine, whether or not a large audience for it existed. Entertainment journalism has grown so unbelievably stale, and the underground is practically dead. I think the world needs a truly outrageous arts and entertainment magazine, something to breathe some life back into the newsstand. Into culture, generally. Discovering new things, keeping up with the independent art culture, that should be fun. And I don’t see why reading a magazine shouldn’t be any less a confrontational or emotionally stimulating experience than reading a novel.”
Legendary “punk diva,” raconteur, and spoken word/performance art icon Lydia Lunch became involved when Sex & Guts was revived after a three year hiatus. (Her first appearance in the zine was in 1998, interviewed by Gregorits.) Lunch’s second stint as Sex & Guts co-editor is the current release, a 280 page large paperback, published by small press veteran Kelly Dessaint’s Phony Lid Books.
“I really think that we cover things that matter, that we talk to people who need to be heard, who should not be living in utter obscurity, or poverty…but do, and live their lives dedicated to producing work that, while shocking or upsetting to some people, expresses feelings and thoughts that relate to us all on some level. This is not a time in history when either passion or urgency exist in any kind of abundance. To me, that is more than reason enough to take chances. I expect that kind of attitude from people, I expect it from movies and books too.”
It’s difficult to define Sex & Guts as a magazine or a fanzine or a book. It’s perpetually in flux, and although the subject matter itself is often of a profane manner, it is the integrity and heartfelt humanity of the work, and of the artists covered, that makes the publication valid.
“I aim, first and foremost, to communicate ideas with Sex & Guts, but I also try very hard to produce a kind of journalism around those ideas that is entertaining, to profile and promote these artists in a way that compels, and maybe even amuses.”
Table of contents can be viewed here.
Many of the interviews from Sex & Guts #4 and earlier issues can be found here.