2007_02_arts_RadicalLivingPapers.jpgRemember that smart-alecky retort, “It’s a free country”? That's the brazen spirit behind Radical Living Papers: A history of the free, alternative, counter-culture and underground press, 1965-75. Situated in the Passerby bar, it no doubt will inspire many fervent debates about freedom of the press.

The rag-tag collection of zines promotes everything under the sun:

politics, revolutions, evolutions of the planets, freak-outs, love-ins, support of green politics, gay liberation, power to the people, the peace parties, protests, the Panthers, peyote, LSD, pot, fiction, music, poetry, prose, prayers.

The lyrics to John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance spring to mind.

Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, musician Dan Donahue, and writer Eva Prinz curated this absorbing exhibit of obscure but important publications. All three the curators are actively involved in promoting the arts. The publications they selected for this exhibit come from America and Europe: Actuel, Avatar, Berkeley Barb, Berkeley Tribe, Black Panther Papers, Digger Papers, Door, East Village Other [EVO], The Fifth Estate, Freep, Grabuge, Hobo-Québec, International Times [it], Los Angeles Free Press, The Oracle, The Organ, Other Scenes, OZ, Rat, The Realist, Re Nudo, Rolling Stone, The Seed, and Ann Arbor Sun.

The exhibit is a collaboration between Council for the Fortieth Anniversary of The Summer of Love and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. It is open at Passerby (436 W. 15th Street, NY) from noon to six, Thursdays through Saturdays, until March 7.

By remembering the in-your-face rants of yesteryear, Radical Living Papers promotes much-needed dialogue on today’s scary status of journalism and airing opinions. Just last month, the outspoken Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was murdered. A few months before that, in October, independent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed . To find out more information about issues concerning freedom of the press, visit Pen American Center.