Digital Culture Stream
While you would assume the theme of Digital Culture Stream (Mixed Media Productions, quarterly) is digital culture, most of this publication is actually devoted to music, primarily techno and industrial. Band profiles, reviews, a history of Chicago’s Wax Trax! Records, DJ playlists, and what is billed as a “very interactive look” at the Pet Shop Boys make up the bulk of this disc, with supplementary material on comics, art, fashion, and a few other areas tossed in as filler. But Stream is so enamored with the idea of being a digizine that content often seems an afterthought. The editors had too much fun tweaking the “alterna” interface and throwing in animated monkeys (literally) to consider whether or not some of this stuff was even worth publishing. An article on “Sci-fi Gender Roles” reads like a freshman essay for an American Studies course, written by a guy who obviously doesn’t know Dworkin from Paglia. His prime qualification seems to be a familiarity with Star Trek reruns. The “very interactive” Pet Shop Boys article amounts to a user-controlled slide show – we’re guessing everything came straight out of the band’s press kit. And the “Art” section contains work by “artists” who just happen to be editors/art directors/writers for the digizine. On the brighter side, production values are top-notch, and the editors should be commended for publishing one of the few digizines that registers a zero on the nude “babe-o-meter.” Now if they’d just hire some writers.
– January 1996