Have you met Jimmy? He’s been around for about 4 issues now and doesn’t plan on going anywhere. JIMMY is one of a few zines from LA focusing on queer culture while stroking a hairy chest. The zine’s creators Jimmy (quite egocentric to call the zine after yourself, don’t you think?) and Brent Freaney. After they reached out to me and I initially fell in love with their idea, we had a chat about masculinity and the smell of paper.
JIMMY in a single sentence:
B: JIMMY is an independent publication made by a small group of thoughtful queer men who live east of Vermont Blvd. in Los Angeles.
J: A queer zine with beard appeal.
Why did you start publishing JIMMY?
J: All the great queer zines come out New York, San Francisco, or Berlin. Only a few were being made in Los Angeles, but it’s good here in L.A. and people should know it.
The best part of working on a print product?
B: It’s nice to work on something that will exist only in real life, in someone’s personal space. It’s tangible. The idea is old as shit…you get to hold it, you get to feel it, and it becomes a visceral experience that you can’t really get through the internet. Unless you’ve found yourself in a Grace Jones YouTube K-Hole… that’s kinda visceral.
J: Print is forever. OK if not forever, at least you keep it around longer then a blog post you’d never go back to. I totally enjoy collecting independently published things. There’s a certain love that goes into them. Pulling a zine I’ve had for years off the shelf and revisiting it feels almost as good as getting it in the mail and pouring over it for the first time.
What makes JIMMY distinguishable from other queer zines?
J: JIMMY is about Los Angeles. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s equal part sexy and sweet. B: I think we try to make JIMMY a little more adorable than other queer zines. We get the raunch factor in there, sure, but we also try to focus on day-to-day lives of queer men in the community we live in… We want to showcase the work of men that you want to husband.
Do homos actually need another queer zine?
B: Yes Yes Yes! If not for anything more than satisfying some weird obsessive compulsion so many homos have to meticulously collect the weirdest shit.
J: YES. We homos are always sifting through media for any golden gay nuggets we can find. For me, coming across a new queer zine is like hitting the jackpot.
What defines masculinity for you?
B: A hairy chest
J: Like any good performance it comes with its own props. Mostly body hair and bravado. I’m seriously turned on by masculinity, but don’t underestimate how sexy a beautiful, nelly boy can be.
Would you buy or mock a gay wedding magazine?
J: To each his own, but I’d probably mock. My parents are happily still together, but I think, for the most part, getting straight married is dysfunctional. Why would would the gays wanna do that to ourselves. I’m all for having the right to marry, but I don’t need a magazine selling me petit fours and matching white tuxedos.
B: I don’t know if I would mock a gay wedding magazine (I hate all the print work that goes into Wedding things), but I would for sure buy one. Are you kidding? I’ve been trying to be married since I was 14. Shit, maybe I don’t need the magazine, I already have it all picked out (including denim kimonos please and thank you)
What newspapers or magazines are you subscribed to?
J: New York Times and Radical Faerie Digest B: I get Monocle monthly, Fantastic Man and McSweeney’s quarterly.
What are three things printed matter can’t live without?
B: I have a collection of all my boarding passes I keep really close to me, old 30’s books for design inspiration, and Darrin Klein’s Box of Books.
J: I agree with Brent, my passport is definitely one. You’d think in our digital world they’d be relics by now, but it’s still so satisfying to get a stamp in that printed book. I also love my collection of “The Male Figure” physique magazines from the 1950s. And every time AA Bronson personally gives me one of his zines I feel like the luckiest boy in the world.
What project have you planned in the near future?
B: Issue 5’s up next and then it’s on to some other one-offs that we have up our sleeve… small quantities, super special, etc.
J: Yeah we’re working on Issue No. 5 and a couple other limited edition print projects. Oh and we might be silk screening speedos for this pool party called Summertramp so keep your eye out for a banana hammock with our name on it.