After haphazardly stumbling across an old issue of the Fang in Special Collections, four seniors set out to resuscitate Occidental’s once-robust but long-defunct literary magazine last spring. Unlike Feast, the college’s chief arts and literary review, the Fang strives to be an alternative, satirical publication of subversive and provocative humor and content.
“I was on the Feast literary committee for two years. I think they do a really good job for what they do, but I think there’s a whole other branch of things that should be done on campus,” Fang co-editor and English and Comparative Literary Studies major Jacob Surpin (senior) said. “We differ from Feast in that we publish four times a year. We can take faculty and alumni so it’s not just current students. And we’re a little more fun – we take ourselves a little less seriously.”
The staff takes the mantra of having fun very seriously, while also taking on a professional and academic approach.
“I’ve found that I really enjoy it. We really just want to showcase that people are doing cool things on campus and they should be talked about,” Art History and Visual Arts major Zoe Butler (senior) said. “And we’re creating more of an arts culture.
Because we need so many submissions, we’re forced to reach out to people and say, ‘Hey make art, submit to the Fang.’ I have friends that have written things specifically for the Fang.”
In the past year, the new generation of staff has published several issues, created a website and recruited younger members to ensure the magazine’s lasting existence. New member and undeclared Brita Loeb (sophomore) wrote a poem mocking the notorious “Oxy Confessions” Facebook page.
“Brita’s Oxy Confessions poem from last issue is a perfect representation of the humor portion of the publication because it uses comedy to transcend the pain and social anxiety that sometimes surrounds us,” Fang staff member and Group Language and Art History and Visual Arts double major Samuel Wylie (junior) said. “It’s critical that we as humans continue to laugh at our own behavior. When we lose that perspective, our souls darken. I hope The Fang will continue to articulate our hilarious fallibility.”
Much to the delight of the various Fang staff members, the magazine has even sold copies to local bookstores.
“We got our first issue into Skylight Books and in Los Feliz,” Butler said. “Skylight bought seven copies from us. I went back in December and there were still seven copies, but [the point is] they were there.”
The Fang editors seek to expand the influence the magazine has on arts culture, even exploring mediums such as performance art.
“Our friend Elise pitched a performance art piece where she would make a bed out of cake, and we had a Fang party around it,” Butler said. “She got on the bed of cake and took a 15-minute nap and had a dream about weasels. While she was napping, people were going up and taking pieces for themselves. I think that was a good point for us to start being more involved with arts around campus.”
The Fang is a donation-funded publication. In conjunction with a release party, the next issue will be sold in the quad in mid-to-late April.