Propaganda (magazine)

Last updated
Two issues of Propaganda magazine.jpg
Propaganda magazine, issues 17 & 18. The background copy features Diamanda Galas on the cover.
Founder Fred H. Berger
Year founded 1982
Final issue 2002
Country United States
Based in New Hyde Park, New York
ISSN 0737-0776

Propaganda was an American gothic subculture magazine. It was founded in 1982 by Fred H. Berger, a photographer from New York City. Berger's photography was featured prominently in the magazine. Propaganda focused on all aspects of the goth culture, including fashion, sexuality, music, art and literature. Propaganda was, at the time of its final issue in 2002, the longest running and most popular gothic subculture magazine in the United States. [1]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.



Photographer and journalist Fred H. Berger was inspired to create Propaganda based on his interest in the gothic, industrial, darkwave, occult and fetish subcultures. Berger's official title was not editor-in-chief, but "Propaganda Minister". [2] Between 1991 and 1995 Propaganda produced three videos, The Trilogy, Blood Countess, and The Ritual. Blood Countess is about Elizabeth Bathory. [3] The magazine featured interviews and coverage of music acts such as Bauhaus, Xmal Deutschland, Laibach, Skinny Puppy, Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, Diamanda Galas, Jesus & Mary Chain, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Coil, Christian Death, Alien Sex Fiend, Swans, Legendary Pink Dots, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Shadow Project, Xymox, Death in June, Dead Can Dance, Front Line Assembly, The Cure, Danzig and Love & Rockets. [2] [4] [5] Other subjects included articles about the Salem Witch Trials, the Holy Lance, Nazi-fetish chic, the Masque of the Red Death, Oscar Wilde, the Haunted Summer with Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, and queer chic authors Jean Genet and Yukio Mishima. Interviews with favorite goth authors Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite were also featured, as well as travel pieces such as "Old Haunts In New Orleans." [2] [4]

Bauhaus Famous German art school that combined crafts and the fine arts

The Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known as the Bauhaus, was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught.

Xmal Deutschland, often written as X-Mal Deutschland, was a musical group from Hamburg, Germany. Founded in 1980 with a completely female line-up, they became successful outside their native country. The lead singer of the band was vocalist Anja Huwe. Xmal Deutschland's last album was released in 1989.

Skinny Puppy band

Skinny Puppy is a Canadian industrial music group formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1982. The group is widely considered to be one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre. Initially envisioned as an experimental side project by cEvin Key while he was in the new wave band Images in Vogue, Skinny Puppy evolved into a full-time project with the addition of vocalist Nivek Ogre. Over the course of a dozen studio albums and many live tours, Key and Ogre have been the only constant members. Other members have included Dwayne Goettel (1986–1995), Dave "Rave" Ogilvie, Mark Walk (2003–present), and a number of guests, including Bill Leeb, Al Jourgensen (1989), and many others.

Berger wrote most of the esoteric, historical and literary articles during the magazine's run. Music editors Paul Hart & Stephanie Young handled most of the music related aspects of the magazine from 1985 to 2002, interviewing bands and artists. Senior Editor George Petros wrote musical and artist features such as Genitorturers and H.R. Giger as well as news content for the Propaganda website from 2000 to 2005. [6] [7] (The Propaganda website closed three years after the print magazine's termination.)

George Petros American author

George Lawrence Petros is an American art designer, author, editor, interviewer and illustrator. From 1984 through 1992 he published and edited EXIT, a punk-inspired art and science fiction magazine he founded with Adam Parfrey and Kim Seltzer. From 1992 through 2000 he edited and art-directed Seconds, an all-interview music and culture magazine founded by Steven Blush. From 2000 through 2005 he was a contributing editor of Juxtapoz, the low-brow art magazine founded by Robert Williams, and the senior editor of Propaganda, a goth/industrial music and style magazine founded by Fred H. Berger. He is the author of Art That Kills: A Panoramic Portrait of Aesthetic Terrorism 1984-2001, The New Transsexuals: The Next Step In Human Evolution, and the editor of American Hardcore: A Tribal History. His art and writing have appeared in Heavy Metal, Thrasher, Paper, Screw, Apocalypse Culture 2, ArtSync, and on DEVO album covers.

Genitorturers American industrial metal band

The Genitorturers are an industrial metal band from the United States, with influences extending into the 1990s hardcore punk and electronic music. They proclaim themselves to be "The World's Sexiest Rock Band".


Berger's photography was a large focus for the magazine. Androgynous male models were commonly used. [1] [8] Propaganda Issue No. 25 (Winter 1999) featured a heroin chic cover story called "Anarchy in Moscow" with photo essay by Berger. It was about a junkie hustler in Moscow during the social collapse of Russia after the fall of communism, and it generated more international interest than any article ever featured in Propaganda.

Heroin chic

Heroin chic was a look popularized in mid-1990s fashion and characterized by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes, very skinny body, dark red lipstick and angular bone structure. The look, characterised by emaciated features and androgyny, was a reaction against the "healthy" and vibrant look of models such as Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer. A 1996 article in the Los Angeles Times stated that the fashion industry had "a nihilistic vision of beauty" that was reflective of drug addiction.


Dark fantasy and horror writer Nancy Kilpatrick called Propaganda "probably the only subculture publication known to just about every goth on the planet," in her 2004 book The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined. [9] And Rosemary Ellen Guiley described Berger as "a remarkable photographer who captures the eerie and macabre" in her 1994 book The Complete Vampire Companion. [10] Published by FIT in 2008, a particularly stylish and beautifully produced book is Gothic: Dark Glamour in which author Valerie Steele refers to Berger's photo shoots as "polymorphous perverse gothic fantasies." [11] Matt Riser, the publisher of Newgrave, another gothic subculture magazine, credited Propaganda as being an influence in him starting his own publication. [8]

Nancy Kilpatrick is a Canadian author who has written stories in the genres of dark fantasy, horror, mystery, erotic horror, and gothic subculture.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley is an American writer on topics related to spirituality, the occult, and the paranormal. She is also a radio show host, a certified hypnotist, a board director of the "National Museum of Mysteries and Research" and the "Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters", and a "Lifetime Achievement Award" winner from the Upper Peninsula Paranormal Research Society, Michigan. She has written more than 49 books, including ten encyclopedias.

Valerie Steele American writer

Valerie Fahnestock Steele is an American fashion historian, curator, and director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was appointed director of the museum in 2003.

Propaganda Magazine's Facebook page

The Propaganda Magazine Facebook page was launched in 2013, and by 2017 it surpassed 25,000 followers. The page primarily chronicles the history of Propaganda Magazine and the various bands, performers, artists, models, fashion, nightclubs, events, esoteric and historical subjects that it covered during its entire publishing run from 1982 to 2002. Occasionally the page also covers more contemporary subjects related to the goth, industrial and fetish genres including film, art, music, fashion and photography. The Facebook page has also featured advertisements for the sale of Propaganda Magazine back-issues, videos, calendars and T-shirts, as well as Propaganda film and photo-shoot wardrobe, props and accessories, plus band related items such as DVDs, CDs, publicity photos, postcards and posters. This merchandise was mostly leftover Propaganda inventory and items from Berger's personal archives, but some of it was provided by fans who commissioned him to sell their Propaganda collectibles. The page has attracted considerable interest, with online publications such as Dazed Magazine and Dangerous Minds doing interviews with Berger. It has also featured charity drives for LGBTQ and civil rights organizations.

Related Research Articles

Goth subculture Contemporary subculture

The goth subculture is a subculture that began in England during the early 1980s, where it developed from the audience of gothic rock, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The name, goth subculture, derived directly from the music genre. Notable post-punk groups that presaged that genre and helped develop and shape the subculture, include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus and The Cure. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify and spread throughout the world. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from 19th-century Gothic literature and gothic horror films. The scene is centered on music festivals, nightclubs and organized meetings, especially in Western Europe.

Gothic rock is a style of rock music that emerged from post-punk in the late 1970s. The first post-punk bands which shifted towards dark music with gothic overtones include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and the Cure.

Gothic fashion

Gothic fashion is a clothing style marked by conspicuously dark, mysterious, antiquated and homogeneous features. It is worn by members of the Goth subculture. A dark, sometimes morbid fashion and style of dress, typical gothic fashion includes a pale complexion with colored black hair, black lips and black clothes. Both male and female goths can wear dark eyeliner and dark fingernail polish most especially black. Styles are often borrowed from the punk fashion, Victorians and Elizabethans. Goth fashion is sometimes confused with heavy metal fashion and emo fashion.

Dark wave is a music genre that emerged from the new wave and post-punk movement of the late 1970s. Dark wave compositions are largely based on minor key tonality and introspective lyrics, and have been perceived as being dark, romantic, and bleak, with an undertone of sorrow. Common features include the use of chordophones such as electric and acoustic guitar, violin, and piano, as well as electronic instruments such as synthesizer, sampler, and drum machine. The genre embraces a range of styles including cold wave, ethereal wave, gothic rock, neoclassical dark wave, and neofolk.

Gothabilly music genre

Gothabilly is an offshoot of psychobilly influenced by the goth subculture. The name is a portmanteau word that combines gothic and rockabilly, first used by the Cramps in the late 1970s to describe their somber blend of rockabilly and punk rock. Since then the term has come to describe a fashion style influenced by gothic fashion, as seen in its use of black silks, satins, lace and velvet, corsets, top hats, antique jewellery, PVC, and leather.

A rivethead or rivet head is a person associated with the industrial dance music scene. In stark contrast to the original industrial culture, whose performers and heterogeneous audience were sometimes referred to as "industrialists", the rivethead scene is a coherent youth culture closely linked to a discernible fashion style. The scene and its dress code emerged in the late 1980s on the basis of electro-industrial, EBM, and industrial rock music. The associated dress style draws on military fashion and punk aesthetics with hints of fetish wear, mainly inspired by the scene's musical protagonists.

Cybergoth subculture that derives from elements of cyberpunk, goth, raver, and rivethead fashion

Cybergoth is a subculture that derives from elements of goth, raver, and rivethead fashion. Unlike traditional goths, Cybergoths primarily listen to electronic music more often than rock music.

Mick Mercer is a journalist and author best known for his photos and reviews of the goth, punk and indie music scenes.

Japanoise noise music scene of Japan

Japanoise, a portmanteau of "Japanese" and "noise", is the noise music scene of Japan.

The Island of Doctor Agor is a 1971 American short animated film written and directed by then-thirteen-year-old Tim Burton, who also starred in the title role of Doctor Agor. The short is one of Burton's first animated films, and was adapted by Burton from the H. G. Wells story The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Gothic belly dance

Gothic belly dance, also named and separated in substyles as Gothic fusion belly dance, dark fusion belly dance and Gothic tribal fusion, is a recently founded dance art movement, distilled from the influences of Middle Eastern dance, tribal fusion, Goth subculture, and Neopaganism. Originating in the United States in the 1990s, it has spread to be practiced by amateur and professional dancers around the world, and it is growing with the spread of tribal belly dance formats.

The Toronto goth scene, the cultural locus of the goth subculture in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the associated music and fashion scene, has distinct origins from goth scenes of other goth subcultural centres, such as the UK or Germany. Originally known as the "Batcavers", the term "goth" appeared only after 1988, when it was applied to the pre-existent subculture. Distinctive features included internationally recognized gothic and vampiric fashion store 'Siren', a goth-industrial bar named 'Sanctuary: The Vampire Sex Bar', and Forever Knight, a television series about an 800-year-old vampire living in Toronto. In Toronto, the goths did not seek to reject mainstream status, and achieved partial acceptance throughout the mid to late 1990s.

Rose Mortem is an American fashion designer. She is married to front man Ashton Nyte, of the gothic metal band The Awakening. Rose is most widely known for her dark romantic fashion stylings and her involvement with underground music.

Cauda Pavonis

Cauda Pavonis are a British deathrock band founded in 1998, by Su Farr and Dave Wainwright. Originally conceived as a 'dark romantic' experience, Cauda Pavonis broke onto the UK goth circuit supporting acts such as Star Industry and Inkubus Sukkubus. At the outset Cauda Pavonis were noted for their consciously-minimalist synthesized melodies and their use of live drums. They were described by Mick Mercer in his book 21st Century Goth as a "Dark duo from UK with a bright future" and by Starvox as "The most old school sounding goth since Rozz Williams hung himself". Since then the line-up has grown and the band have appeared twice at the Whitby Gothic Weekend and the Wave-Gotik-Treffen. In 2003 and again in 2007, Cauda Pavonis were the focus of the ITV television programme, Magick Eve.

Natasha Scharf is an author, disc jockey, presenter and journalist best known for her work publicising gothic, rock, metal and progressive metal music and subcultures. She currently writes for Metal Hammer, Classic Rock Presents: Prog and Artrocker Magazine on a freelance basis.

<i>Sonic Seducer</i> music magazine

Sonic Seducer is a German music magazine that covers gothic rock, new wave, EBM and other kinds of electronic music and culture. The magazine is noted for organizing the annual M'era Luna Festival. Since its inception in 1994, the Sonic Seducer has become one of the major publications of the dark culture in Germany.

Goliath Books is a publisher of art and photography books founded in 1997 by Miki Bunge in New York. Goliath’s objective is to publish diverse and daring photography and art books and to introduce controversial, erotic and fringe themes to a mainstream audience. Goliath continues to be noteworthy for their ongoing publication of artists who fall outside traditional practices. The publisher’s ongoing mission is to explore and transform the public’s approach to art, erotic themes, pornography and perspectives from a range of subcultures.

Orkus is a monthly German music and culture magazine published by the Zoomia Media Group. Despite its subtitle and its web tagline, it includes all popular music genres including metal, medieval rock, Neue Deutsche Härte, alternative rock, electro and futurepop. The gothic rock, dark wave and industrial music genres have had only a minor presence since the late 1990s.


  1. 1 2 Lauren M. E. Goodlad; Michael Bibby (21 March 2007). Goth: Undead Subculture. Duke University Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN   978-0-8223-8970-5 . Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Propaganda (18). Spring 1992.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. J. Gordon Melton (1 September 2010). The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Visible Ink Press. p. 483. ISBN   978-1-57859-350-7 . Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  4. 1 2 Propaganda (17). Fall 1991.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. "Oh my goth: Dark, cultural phenomenon thriving, scholars say". University of Illinois . Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  6. Propaganda Magazine No. 27, Fall 2002, pp. 3.
  7. George Petros, Wikipedia article
  8. 1 2 Nancy Kilpatrick (4 October 2004). The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined. Macmillan. pp. 17–18. ISBN   978-1-4299-7626-8 . Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  9. Nancy Kilpatrick. The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined (2004). Macmillan. pp. 17–18. ISBN   978-1-4299-7626-8.
  10. Rosemary Ellen Guiley. The Complete Vampire Companion (1994). Macmillan USA. pp. vi, Acknowledgements. ISBN   0-671-85024-5.
  11. Valerie Steele and Jennifer Park. Gothic: Dark Glamour (2008). Yale University Press and Fashion Institute of Technology. pp. 44. ISBN   978-0-300-13694-4.