The Vital 5 Review is written by drunks. It's messy, photocopied, and bound with staples. The first issue, published last week, contains 78 pages of lists, song ideas, haiku, portraiture, sketches, diagrams, doodles, pie charts, short essays, on-the-fly art criticism, advertisements for future Vital 5 stuff, quizzes, proposals, thoughts about Journey and Prince, and a page called "Test Your Kink Level Today," with a spine of numbers running up the page, 10 being "You are a sick fuck rapist-child molester-maker of snuff films necrophile" and 3 being "Sex with partner only at night, little diversity, lights on, oral." There's a page of "Vital 5 Personals" ("Really depressed, fixer upper, prematurely brilliant, nice dresser, excellent cell service, fully employed $$$, great sense of aesthetics but not currently metrosexual, great potential for self confidence w/ right woman"). There is a list of new drinks (the Sylvia Plath is gin with muddled limes, a Seconal, and three burnt cookies). There is a four-page mea culpa. There is a fantastic drawing of a giraffe being lowered on a crane into a construction site. There is a lot of genitalia.
Most writers and artists do their work at home, that is, in obscurity, but all of the contributions to The Vital 5 Review were made at the First Hill bar the Hideout. "Out of the 600 pages that we had accumulated, my job was to narrow the stream and present an altered snapshot of bar life at the Hideout," writes Greg Lundgren in the letter from the editor, which, he admits from the outset, he wrote drunk. (Lundgren's other job was to type up illegible submissions.) "If I had included all of the submissions dropped into our interior post box, this magazine would be much larger—filled with deep thoughts about freedom and humanity, a small army of poems and one-line epiphanies, and a whole section on scribbles and flower drawings." He adds, "We do hope you like this collection of work. Burp. I am proud of the quality and honesty of our patrons."
The final product does have some thoughts on politics ("KARL ROVE SUCKS"), and some poems ("I watched you watch the sunset out your window tonight/I pretended but you did not turn around..."), and some scribbles (the most impressive doodle I've ever seen takes up all of page 66), and, again, an abundance of genitals (the line drawing of a man with an erection, a Bible, and a bullet going through his brain is childishly brilliant). And there's serious Seattle-art-world history here, including plans for future projects by the art trio SuttonBeresCuller and the aforementioned mea culpa, by Dylan Neuwirth, who details, from his perspective, the ConWorks upheaval of last winter and the stolen-art scandal of last spring. The Vital 5 Review is a document of what artists are thinking about, and it's fun to read, and it's free. An anonymous contributor writes, "As fucked up as this magazines [sic] gonna be, when I'm 60 its [sic] gonna be a collector's item."