V. Vale

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V. Vale
Born (1944-02-04) 4 February 1944 (age 79)
Jerome War Relocation Center, Arkansas, United States
OccupationWriter, Independent Publisher
NationalityJapanese American
Alma materUC Berkeley
GenreArt, Music, Culture
Literary movementPunk Rock Movement, Industrial Music
Notable worksModern Primitives, Industrial Culture Handbook, Incredibly Strange Films
SpouseMarian Wallace
ChildrenValentine Marquesa Wallace

V. "Valhalla" Vale (born February 4, 1944) is an American editor, writer, interviewer, musician and, as Vale Hamanaka, was keyboardist for the initial configuration of Blue Cheer, before it became famous as a power trio.[1] He is the publisher and primary contributor to books and magazines published by his company, RE/Search Publications.[2] Vale is the host of the television talk show Counter Culture Hour[3] on Public-access television cable TV channel 29 in San Francisco. The show is edited by his partner Marian Wallace. Vale is Japanese American.

Early life[edit]

A third-generation Japanese American, Vale was born on February 4, 1944 at the Jerome War Relocation Center to actor Kiyoshi Conrad Hamanaka and Mary Takaoka[4][5] of the Vaudeville group Taka Sisters (Myrtle, Mary, Midi).[6][7] The Taka Sisters broke up after the murder of Vale's aunt Midi Taka in 1936.[8] Vale has two younger half-sisters; musician/singer Lionelle Hamanaka, and children's author and illustrator Sheila Hamanaka.[9]

By 1966 Vale received a bachelor's degree in English Literature at University of California, Berkeley and moved to Haight-Ashbury.[10] In 1970, he moved to an apartment in North Beach, where he continues to live today.[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, influenced by and well read in cultural anthropology, 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]


As of 2017, both artist and musician Florian-Ayala Fauna and science fiction author Bruce Sterling are sponsors for V. Vale's RE/Search newsletter.[14][15][16][17][18][19]


During the coronavirus pandemic, Vale began to record songs with his wife, Marian Wallace. He played the Yamaha spinet piano. Wallace sang and produced the songs. This resulted in a 12-track digital album, Lockdown Lullabies, was released in 2020. The album production was covered by the San Francisco Chronicle.[11]


  • Vale is featured in the 2016 nerd culture documentary Traceroute by Johannes Grenzfurthner, a frequent collaborator of RE/Search.
  • Vale is one of the interview subjects in William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.[20]


  1. ^ See Portrait of Vale Hamanaka/V. Vale Archived 2016-12-01 at the Wayback Machine at www.brautigan.net.
  2. ^ Kenneth Goldsmith, Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb, Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 256-260
  3. ^ George Kuchar on The Counter Culture Hour. Vimeo. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Person Details for Mary Takaoka, "United States Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II, 1942-1946"". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Mary Hamanaka (born Takaoka (Taka))". Worldvitalrecords.com. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  6. ^ "A Life Lived: Her story had plenty of drama, Hollywood-style ~ K.P.Kollenborn". Kpkollenborn.blogspot.com. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  7. ^ onioneye. "The 'Double Life' of Journalist-Turned-Actor Conrad Yama (Hamanaka) « Writing & Democracy". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  8. ^ "The Shamrock Texan (Shamrock, Tex.), Vol. 33, No. 86, Ed. 1 Monday, August 17, 1936, Sequence: 2 - The Portal to Texas History". Texashistory.unt.edu. 17 August 1936. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  9. ^ onioneye. "The 'Double Life' of Journalist-Turned-Actor Conrad Yama (Hamanaka) « Writing & Democracy". Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  10. ^ V. Vale of RE/Search Publications, interviewed by Henry Rollins. Vimeo. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  11. ^ a b Silvers, Emma (May 21, 2020). "Punk publisher V. Vale looks to post-pandemic world in 'Lockdown Lullabies'". Datebook. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  12. ^ "V. Vale Interview". Chuckpalahniuk.net. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Videos from LAZF's V. Vale interview by Henry Rollins". Lazinefest.com. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  14. ^ Sterling, Bruce (September 30, 2017). "V. Vale's RE/Search newsletter #165". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  15. ^ Sterling, Bruce (October 12, 2017). "Welcome to V. Vale's RE/SearchNewsletter #166". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  16. ^ Sterling, Bruce (October 18, 2017). "V. Vale's RE/Search Newsletter #167, October 2017 Part 2". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  17. ^ Sterling, Bruce (November 10, 2017). "V. Vale's RE/Search Newsletter #168". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  18. ^ Sterling, Bruce (November 17, 2017). "V. Vale's RE/Search Newsletter #169, Part Two". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  19. ^ Sterling, Bruce (December 2, 2017). "WELCOME TO V. VALE's RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #170, December 2017". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  20. ^ "William S. Burroughs: A Man Within | Our Films | Independent Lens | PBS". Independent Lens. Retrieved 2020-05-24.

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