All You Need Is a Spark

Why suburbia really is Manic

As he sets forth into Manic's second year, Pedroza has re-examined the magazine's roots and recommitted himself to them. "If this thing is going to get big," he says, "it's going to happen organically."

The anniversary issue is testament to that. There are reports from the finals of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Quiksilver Winter Snowboard and Surf Classic, and the Speedway Cycle races, where the motorbikes "accelerate fast enough to pull the riders' arms out of their sockets." There is a story about how to keep your boyfriend, which compares the days when getting pregnant would get you married with this comment from a modern-day dude: "I want a woman who loves me, allows me to be myself, and if she has nymphomaniac tendencies, that certainly sweetens the deal." There is a how-to-be-a-Chicano car-show review that concludes, "Chicanos have great cars, hefty attitudes and white girlfriends named Debbie. If you wanna know more about Chicanos, see Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke." There are CD and concert reviews. There is a fashion spread. And there is an editorial in favor of more skate parks.

"I like that we're still underground," Pedroza says. "It keeps us cool. As much as I would like to have a big publisher for Manic, I know there would be a lot of restrictions. I know I'd have to fight to keep it edgy."

As he speaks, Pedroza surveys the cradle of talent and insanity that produces Manic magazine—an office landscape of spotless white carpet, dustless walls and tables, a pair of solemn computer screens, and a crisply ordered filing cabinet. And then he answers the telephone. "You're coming?" Pedroza asks the caller, who turns out to be one of Manic's ad salesmen. "Good. I hope you're bringing money because we've still got to pay the printer."

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