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  • I think it was 1996. Me and three other guys had a Victorian in downtown Riverside we called “The House of Men” in all our macho posturing, until we had to add “and their redheaded stripper girlfriends” when two moved in. By then I had put out ten different publications with Budget Press, but they had all been people I knew. Then one day I received some poetry in the mail from someone who had picked up some Budget Press at a local used bookstore which I had always kept stocked. I was very excited, this was my confirmation that I was actually reaching someone outside of my circle.

    Kelly was an awkward late-teen lesbian girl who all at the house recognized immediately as a special type of Riverside freak who was looking for others like her, and we liked having a little lesbian girl around. She developed a little crush on Celeste, one of the girlfriends who became a wife while we all lived in the house. Celeste was a very very special freak of a girl who didn’t have much of a filter. And she blurted out something wrong and hurt Kelly’s feelings. I didn’t hear what it was, but I was told about this, so I went up to Kelly, who was visibly upset. We discussed and finally I just shrugged and looked at her like she was my daughter and said “In the end, that’s just Celeste. Either you get it or you don’t.” I don’t know how much of an impression it made on her, but it stuck with me. If you’re going to run with freaks, you can’t be surprised by their freakness.

    Kelly soon left Riverside, as was obvious to me what she was destined to do, and one night the house finally burned down. Years later I found her on myspace, and she was writing for a living in Chicago, and now she lives in Brooklyn and is the Music Editor for Vice, a big pop culture magazine/website. It is really cool to see someone go off and have the life they were absolutely meant to have, as I’ve said many times, one of the coolest things about getting old is seeing what people turn out like. When I decided to start up Budget Press again, I contacted Kelly and asked if she wanted to do something after all these years, and she replied enthusiastically. So she is in the Budget Press Review #5.

    When I told her I was going to try to raise money on Kickstarter, she sent me some interview questions, and said she would writ up something for her website, which was posted online today. Check it out if you want to read about the early days of Budget Press and some other stuff. Pretty cool, huh?
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