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excellent writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 7
fits _ fits 2
Fits #1
Fits #2

1971-1972 / 7 Freds Press - Fits Collective

Fits is the brainchild of a group of five men and women based in San Francisco; Flan Taraval, Alan and Nancy Senauke, and Pam and Hilton Obenzinger. In their introduction to the first issue: "We came here from the New York gimme-gimme scene, dragging our political and artistic aspirations behind us. We wanted to make a magazine providing new channels for the great stymied artists and writers...."

They called themselves the Fits Collective, though 7 Freds Press is credited with publishing the first issue of Fits (the seven Freds, mostly celebrities, are named in issue #2). The two issues of Fits look very different from the outside but their content is quite similar: a broad range of short literary works, poetry, articles and comics. Notable contributors included Rory Hayes, Bill Griffith, Tom Veitch, Spain Rodriguez and Allen Ginsberg, though these contributions were only a few pages each. The objective of the publication was to give many creative people exposure, as evidenced by the list of contributors for each issue.

Like Allen Ginsberg, all members of the Fits Collective attended Columbia University in the mid to late '60s and contributed to the school's literary journal, The Columbia Review. Along with Less Gottesman, they published a hardcover book of excerpts from The Columbia Review in 1970. Soon afterwards, the collective moved to San Francisco and began working on a literary magazine that would be unfettered by institutional constrictions (Columbia University once cancelled an entire issue of The Columbia Review because one poem contained the word "shit").

The two issues of Fits are certainly representative of the counterculture of its time, which included anti-war and civil rights protests, freedom of speech and personal expression, feminism and environmentalism. The inclusion of comics from underground comic artists was a natural extension of the belief system of the collective.

Though they never published more than two comic magazines (and Fits barely qualifies as that, but because of its comic content it will always be included as an underground), members of the Fits Collective went on to achieve their mark in society. Hilton Obenzinger became an essayist and novelist and currently teaches writing at Stanford University, where he earned his PhD in Modern Thought and Literature in 1997. Alan Senauke became a Buddhist and joined the Berkeley Zen Center in the 1980s, where he is now Vice-Abbott and in line to become the Dharma of the Center. He provided an interesting interview about Buddhism to in 2010.