First published in 1992, Fanorama emerged as part of the queercore movement, largely inspired by the zine J.D.s (edited by G.B. Jones and Bruce LaBruce), and the Toronto scene from which J.D.s came. Initially a punk-edged collage of gay porn and commentary, REB soon added a strong, anti-assimilationist political voice to the mix, turning the zine into an artful version of the weekly "Queerbeat" column he contributed to Rhode Island's alternative arts rag, The NicePaper. The Fanorama tag line at the time became, "For those who want a little smut with their politics, or a little politics with their smut."
As REB's political leanings grew heated, Fanorama began to generate controversy, particularly as it addressed racism and sexism in the gay mainstream establishment; one detractor in the media called REB a "kiddie pornographer-turned-moral watchdog". During this period, REB was instrumental in leading protests against a local gay bar over a management-led racist incident - a battle which would take center stage in the gay politics of Rhode Island for the better part of a year. Despite what he began to call his "infamy," REB's popularity as a personality grew, and he was invited to emcee a mid-90'S Rhode Island Gay Pride celebration; though accepting the position, he would take its organizers to task in later years for the increasing commercialism of the event.
Over the course of its publication, Fanorama ran interviews and photo essays with such queer counter-culture heroes as comic book artist Robert Kirby, punk rockers Pansy Division, filmmaker and zine editor Scott Treleaven, and Tommy Ace of the controversial AIDS humor zine, Diseased Pariah News. It has been dubbed "the Grandaddy of Queerzines" by Factsheet 5. After publishing an issue in which REB mourned his break-up with future Juha frontman Collin Clay, Fanorama took a turn towards pagan spirituality, influenced greatly by his work with the Radical Faeries.
The current incarnation of Fanorama is essentially a prisoners' rights magazine (though it retains the porn and spiritual angles), influenced initially by the stories prisoners sent to its "Letters" section. The relationships REB developed with prisoners over time, particularly zine editor Neil Edgar, were also the impetus for Fanorama to become a publisher of prisoner-authored works. This has led to its constituency expanding from its queer following to include an anarcho-punk/activist readership, particularly since having caught the attention of Maximum Rock 'N' Roll and Punk Planet, and more recently gaining the praises of headbanger favorite, Metal Maniac. REB told Punk Planet in 2005: "After doing my zine for over 12 years, after publishing and distributing countless inmate-produced publications, after corresponding with literally hundreds of prisoners, the only folks who ever made me feel 'unsafe' were folks in the free world."
The film division of Fanorama has included REB's documentary Queer Rage (chronicling events leading up to and coming out of a riot at the RI State House) and art films Nocturne In E Flat, Jerk Off, Waltz of the Flowers, and the upcoming 13 Boys. Shot mostly on Super-8 film or video, they have been played at queer indie film festivals across the United States. REB also facilitates workshops and is a speaker on the issues of zine making, queer rights, and prisoners' rights. Excerpts from Fanorama have been published in the gay-oriented encyclopedia Out In All Directions (Warner Books), That's Revolting: Queer Strategies For Resisting Assimilation (Suspect Thoughts), and Afterwords: Real Sex From Gay Men's Diaries.
Zine'ography Ambiguous Ambrosia by Paul Moore Birdland by a Soledad State Prison collective Chairman Of The Bored by a Folsom State Prison collective Fanorama by REB Flakes by Darren Hamby Flowers From The Grave by Walter James The Hated by William Wright Left Back by Chadd Beverlin One Woman's Story by Kebby Warner Punk Pagan by Michael Killeen Reflections by Frederick Fisher Solitary Existence by Travis "SK8" Harramen Thoughts Of My Liberation by Frederick Fisher Unheard Silence by Devin Baker Wiener Society by Neil "Wiener" Edgar Obscene Emission by Neil Edgar
External link [www.fanorama.tk] - Fanorama official website.