Location unknown: Ill-Vis Rules Productions, date unknown.
Altered hardcover. 5 4/16” x 7 9/16”.
Hand-made “stash book”, which used a novel by Anatole France with endpapers bearing Aubrey Beardsley designs as a substrate, featuring hand-applied photographs, rubber-stamps, stickers and stencil art. Part of the middle of the book has been removed to make room for a lighter which is secured by metal wire and a place to store something between a metal plate and cotton gauze. My initial thought was marijuana, others suggest- ed heroin because of the cotton gauze, and a local ex-con took a look at it and immediately said it’s from prison and was used to hide a cell phone or something like that. Though the immovability of the lighter suggests an other than practical intent behind the creation of this object. The cover bears an original Polaroid photograph of Manuel Lezcano smoking a joint, likely from the 1980s. The front free endpaper bears his signature under his “Dr. Nein” pseudonym on an Ill-Vis Rules Productions sticker that also bears the “RX” skull face logo that he used for various endeavors over the years. The book’s back has been stenciled with a demon face that has also been used on the street.
An excellent example of a, perhaps quotidian, genre of altered book.
Manuel “Manny” Lezcano is a former 1970s/1980s New York City graffiti writer and poet affiliated with the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. He original- ly wrote the tag “Cloud 9” and was Chris Pape a.k.a Freedom’s first graffiti partner (70s graffiti writer who painted in New York City’s Freedom Tunnel, see The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jenni- fer Toth.) before switching his tag to “Nein”. He was involved in the publica- tion of a zine “Conceptual Vandalism” that bridged the worlds of graffiti and poetry publishing the likes of Miguel Algarin, Miguel Pinero (both co-found- ers of the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe), Danny Shot (co-publisher of Longshot magazine), Freedom, Martin Wong, Vaughn Bode, etc. Lezcano also pub- lished two books of Miguel Pinero’s writings among others and a 7” 45rpm record of original music.