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Short-Lived 70's Glam Rock Teen Magazine STAR Revived With New Website

Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2011 09:19am | Post a Comment

Web designer Ryan Richardson kicked off 2011 in retro style by taking it back to the glam rock year of 1973! On January 1st, 2011, he launched the website STAR 1973, a lovingly constructed homage to the short-lived controversial 1970's teen magazine STAR (not to be confused with the similarly titled current-day celebrity  news/gossip magazine) which lasted only five issues back in '73. With a web design whereby you can digitally turn the pages of the magazine, Richardson has painstakingly archived every square inch of each issue of the ill-fated monthly on his new site.

"The first issue of STAR hit the stands in February 1973. With its over-the-top advice and irreverent coverage of LA's teenage groupie scene, it wasn't long before Petersen Publishing was feeling the heat from "concerned citizens." Five issues and five months later, publication ceased,' writes Richardson on the site's introduction, further explaining,  "Such controversy along with coverage of'"new breed' Sunset Strip groupies (Shray Mecham, Sable Starr, Lori Lightning, Queenie Glam) and glam venues like Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco cemented the mag's later cult status among fans and collectors."

The magazine, which makes ample use of the words "fox" and "foxy," sold for 50 cents, had no advertising in its five published issues, and is reputed to have had its sixth issue all ready to go when the plug was pulled in mid 1973. Last week I caught up with the Austin, TX based Richardson, who had not quite reached his first birthday when STAR was being published, to ask him how he first discovered the magazine and what qualities attracted him to it.

"I first heard of STAR from Lisa Fancher of Frontier Records. My main interest was the coverage of Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco and, of course, the groupie girls. And I like hunting rare game," he told me. According to Richardson, tracking down hard copies of STAR is really difficult, and he had been on the lookout for a while. "I've seen two different issues surface on eBay, but it's few and very far between. Maybe once a year."

Not surprisingly, with its intriguingly fascinating content, STAR has previously been covered on other websites. "There was another site that was more a "social networking site" built around a shared affection for the mag," Richardson told me. "My approach is more archaeological." And exhaustive too, since it presents the entire life of this magazine, targeted at the time of publishing to teenage girls. "These days much of the interest comes from those same no-longer-teenage women who grew up in the 70's, music fiends interested in glam era stuff, fans of the incredibly strange, and I'm sure more than a few guys who like ogling tarted-up teenage groupies," said Richardson. One of his favorite over the top STAR advice column pieces is The Girl Who Fights Over Guys in issue #2. Its musical coverage included snappily written pieces on pop artists like Donny Osmond, Neil Diamond, Cat Stevens, Three Dog Night, and Carly Simon. Richardson cites "the Alice Cooper and David Bowie coverage" as among his favorite musical pieces. star magazineAnd his favorite photos in STAR? "Sunset Strip Groupies in issue #5!"

So what specifically was "the heat" that Peterson Publisher was getting from "concerned citizens" over its daring content at the time and what kind of pressure was thrust on the publisher? "The kind of pressure that gets results: the publisher's wife took exception to all things STAR," said Richardson, who has recently been in contact with both STAR staffers and contributors. Theirs, and everyone's, reaction to STAR1973.com, has been overwhelmingly positive, he said.

"The response has been positively bananas. I expected a few friends and aficionados to dig the content and my efforts, but the site has received far more online press and attention than I expected." So has he thought about perhaps approaching the publisher to put together a book of all five issues and other bonus bits, including that never published sixth issue? "No, I haven't really given much thought to that, but you're not the first person to suggest it." 

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Read all five existing issues of STAR on STAR1973.com and check out such other Ryan Richardson online archival adventures as StrangeSisters.com, BreakMyFace.com, FratCars.com, and GayOnTheRange.com.

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