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AltVarietyMagazine_20140220Alt Variety began as an online magazine that grew out of the internet’s earliest alternative Usenet newsgroups and one of its great provocateurs, Luke Walker, AKA Lee Wong. By the time it hit the stands as a free magazine Alt Variety was already notorious for printing the most outlandish albeit true stories of the demimondaine. Walker had put together a group of desperate gonzo investigative journalists and unleashed them onto fringe culture like a pack of hungry dogs. Because they were online they could push the boundaries that tabloid television journalism could not yet cross. Tony Sokol was one of Walker’s lead media mercenaries. Together, they and a team of reporters with a taste for the extreme and no fear of reprisals set out to challenge the system. And they challenged it so well that the system eventually fought back.

They did savagely satiric interviews with artists, freaks and geeks, porn players and self-AltVarietyMagazineNewsstandpowered superheroes. They fought over who would who get cell-side for Charlie Manson, or race-bait David Duke, or pick up Robin Williams in a taxi with a tape deck for an ambush interview. And then one day the shit hit the fan. In the summer when everyone was afraid of bath salt zombies, one of the star writers traveled across the country giving the faithful his home-made chemical mash-ups. Too toxic for mainstream press, their original content was pilfered by the New York Times and watered down for public consumption. After that the media monster that was Alt Variety was brought down by the attrition of the aggregate community who were akin to villagers with torches chasing this brilliant new creature through the woods to an untimely death.

concept-18290__180But like all creatures of night, this lifelong denizen of the dark underground happily that happily advocated for the fringiest fiends has lain in wait to rise again … undead and magnificent in another medium.  These people are still out there and their stories belong on cable TV, the new media ghetto. Reformatted as a television news magazine that caters to the most “off the beaten path” characters with one foot firmly planted in the gutter, Alt Variety TV promises to reincarnate as a new Hard Copy with a decidedly freakish nature. Put us on TV or we will find you and we will expose you to your own most personal demons as is our duty as miscreant representatives of the Fifth Estate.

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