In 1990 the artists Nayland Blake and D.L. Alvarez produced BRAINS: A Journal of Egghead Sexuality. Lasting a single issue, BRAINS combined a frank celebration of queer sexuality with tongue-in-cheek intellectualism. This project revisits BRAINS in a (re)publishing project that packages a reprint of issue one together with a facsimile edition of materials related to the never-produced second issue.
Drawing inspiration from the vibrant queer zine community and network, which flourished during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Alvarez and Blake set out to create a publication that would define the kind of guy that they were looking for. Soliciting contributions from friends, they coined the term “egg-chaser” (for someone who seeks out intellectually-endowed partners) and even inspired Kate Sorensen and friends to create a lesbian counterpart called “I.Q. The Sex-zine by Girls who like Girls who wear Glasses.”
After putting out a single issue and a spell of ads in various zines and magazines, starting to gather contributions for a second issue, and even laying out various materials, the project was curtailed, and boxed up until recently.
The new anthology Brains: The Journal of Egghead Sexuality includes a reprinted issue 1 and a copy of the compiled but unpublished issue 2, alongside a richly illustrated anthology of ephemera related to the project: reader-submitted correspondence and personals, unused collages and artwork, and an interview with artist and co-editor Nayland Blake.
Brains, like many other queer zines of the era, such as Bear, aimed to create a counter cultural community of queers. Many of these artists, writers, and readers congregated at A Different Light bookstores in San Francisco and New York in the 1990s. The zine’s perverse intelligence and distinct design pre-dates contemporary queer publications, such as Butt Magazine, which in recent years has defined the alternative gay sensibility.