V. Vale

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V. Vale
V.Vale at 24th & Florida - by jm3.jpg
Occupation Writer, Independent Publisher
Nationality Japanese American
Alma mater UC Berkeley
Period 1980 — present
Genre Art, Music, Culture
Literary movement Punk Rock Movement, Industrial Music
Notable works Modern Primitives, Industrial Culture Handbook, Incredibly Strange Films
Spouse Marian Wallace
Children Valentine Marquesa Wallace

V. "Valhalla"[1][2] Vale is a writer, keyboard player and, as Vale Hamanaka, was a member of the initial configuration of Blue Cheer, prior to that band becoming famous as a power trio.[3] He is the publisher and primary contributor to books and magazines published by his company, RE/Search Publications. Vale is the host of the television talk show Counter Culture Hour[4] on Public-access television cable TV channel 29 in San Francisco. The show is edited by his wife Marian Wallace. He studied English at UC Berkeley and is a Japanese-American.

Early life[edit]

Vale was born in 1944[5] at the Jerome War Relocation Center to actor Kiyoshi Conrad Hamanaka and Mary Takaoka[6][7] of the Vaudeville group Taka Sisters (Myrtle, Mary, Midi).[8][9] The Taka Sisters broke up after the murder of Vale's Aunt Midi Taka in 1936.[10]

By 1966 Vale received a bachelor's degree in English Literature at University of California, Berkeley and moved to Haight-Ashbury.[11]


In 1977, while working at City Lights Bookstore, with $100 donated each by Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, he began publication of Search and Destroy, a San Francisco-based zine documenting the then-current punk subculture. In 1980, he began publication of RE/Search, a tabloid format zine focusing on various counterculture and underground topics, with financial help from Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records and actress/film director Betty Thomas. At the same time he also started his own typesetting business, allowing for a day job to fund his publishing exploits and guaranteeing high quality typography and design for his magazines and books.

Indie publisher V. Vale (right) talks to fellow author Lorin Morgan-Richards (left), at ZineFest, Los Angeles, 2012.

The 1980s saw the expansion of RE/Search books from tabloid-formatted zines to academically-modeled books. Vale published and contributed to many books on the subjects of pranks, obscure music and films, industrial culture, authors J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs, modern primitives, and many other underground topics. In 1991, Vale sold his typography business to focus on publishing full-time.

Vale, who works like a cultural anthropologist, describes his focus for writing: (I have) "this weird theory that there’s only 1000 interesting people on this planet that I refer to as primary source thinkers. It’s my job to find them. I’m just after something that lasts longer, not “high sugar fluff” as Henry Rollins put it. I want something I don’t get right away. One of my favorite phrases, and I heard this from William Burroughs, is “belief is the enemy of knowledge."[12]

Along with writing and distributing, Vale tours nationally giving talks about his career and provides guidance to DIY and Indie artists about book publishing. In 2012, Henry Rollins interviewed Vale at LA ZineFest.[13]


V. "Valhalla" Vale is featured in the nerd culture documentary Traceroute.


External links[edit]