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Clamor magazine shuts down after years of national recognition

Clamor magazine closed down shop last month, marking a loss in the Toledo and national market of independent literature.

Citing financial difficulty, an official good-bye posted on their Web site in December confirmed what many refused to believe was the end of Clamor Magazine’s seven year run as a ‘do-it-yourself guide to everyday revolution.’

Founded by Ohio residents Jason Kucsma, a Bowling Green State University graduate, and Jen Angel, Clamor marked its territory on national grounds as an expanded concept of the zine world, with the addition of editors, glossy covers, image-intense layouts and online content.

News of the closure came shortly after a positive expansion of Clamor’s resources from its merging with another independent publication, Altar magazine, and the addition of experienced publishers to the Clamor team.

Kucsma and Angel began the magazine to expand its reaches into mainstream from the world of zines, using personal funds, credit cards and a bank loan to jump-start the innovative venture.

‘[We] felt there was a real need for a general-interest, non-sectarian, non-political magazine,’ Angel said, who aimed at providing a younger, fresher perspective to presenting world issues.

Clamor’s mission, strongly represented in every page, was to fight for underrepresented communities and to be an advocate against oppression and mistreatment of people based on sex, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, class and culture universally.

Each issue, while based around a central topic, hosted discussions that ranged in the various aspects of the idea.

Clamor’s final issue in fall 2006 – the ‘body issue’ – drew attention to the popular clothing retailer American Apparel, and the practices writers saw as labor and sexual exploitation. The issue later drew threats of suit on behalf of American Apparel, though no legal action was ever taken.

To the amazement of the few who knew, Clamor’s headquarters were not as large-scale as the magazine’s grandeur would indicate. Housed on an upper floor of a largely vacant building in downtown Toledo, the closet-sized cement office, packed with merchandise for their online store, infoSHOP (www.infoshopnow.com), and was adorned with a couple Macs, as well as a ventilation system comprised of two large windows.

The magic of Clamor was that it pulled from the community to speak to it. The literary fantasia of its issues was developed by writers hunched over desktops in bedrooms and laptops in cafes around the world. The e-mailed submissions landed visual arrangements that spoke to the reader in intensely audible aesthetics.

The Utne Reader, a popular magazine that showcases less-known independent works, called Clamor ‘Ambitious and messy in the best of ways’hellip; [it] harks back to the rough and ready alternative press of the 1960s.’ Utne named Clamor ‘Best New Magazine’ in its 2000 Alternative Press Awards.

Clamor enthusiasts soon found more to grieve with the recently announced closure of infoSHOP, as well as the end of Clamor Music Festival, a fundraising event for independent media that presented hundreds of musical artists in dozens of venues countrywide.

Angel said their lending institution, Sky Bank, froze the side projects, seeking repayment of Clamor’s debt. The dropped projects are a move that will likely prove disastrous for the other struggling media participants involved.

Along with expressing her appreciation of public support for Clamor, Angel urged readers to do more than keep up on independent media.

‘[Readers] need to support with their money, not just borrow the magazines from their friends,’ Angel said.

Currently, Jason Kucsma is attending graduate school in Arizona, and will be organizing the 2007 Allied Media Conference in Detroit, June 22-24

Jen Angel is working in Oakland, Calif. as a promotions and booking agent for artists and activists in the area. She is working on an analysis of Clamor’s run in hopes of steering other indie publications in the right direction.

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