WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, also known as WET Magazine, or simply WET, was originally published between 1976-81 in Venice, California by Leonard Koren. The story behind the making of WET is the subject of Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.
WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing was a publication of the 1970s and early 80s. Founded by Leonard Koren in 1976 it ran thirty-four issues before closing in 1981. The idea for the magazine grew out of the artwork Leonard Koren was doing at the time—what he termed ‘bath art’—and followed on the heels of a party he threw at the Pico-Burnside Baths.
As Kristine McKenna, music editor for WET from 1979 until 1981, wrote: “The world wasn’t crying out for a periodical on bathing when Leonard Koren introduced Wet magazine in 1976. However, Koren had the imagination and audacity to create his own world, and that’s exactly what he did with Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.”
WET covered a range of cultural issues and was widely known for its use of graphic art. Started as a simple one-man operation that included artwork and text solicited from friends and acquaintances, the production, team, and circulation of the magazine would grow over the years. Its content also evolved to cover a wider expanse of stories that captured a Los Angeles attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but with its own distinct aesthetic. As design problems arose, solutions were often improvised on the spot. Its layout and design helped to catalyze the graphic styles later known as New Wave and Postmodern. In a letter he wrote on August 25, 1988, Tibor Kalman, president of M&Co. wrote that WET “is one of the most important and well-designed magazines in U.S. design history.”
Throughout its production, WET continued to draw from a variety of artists and contributors. Contributing photographers included Eric Blum, Moshe Brakha, Guy Fery, Jim Ganzer, Brian Hagiwara, Brian Leatart, Jacques-Henri Latrigue, Dana Levy, Claude Mougin, Beverly Parker, Lisa Powers, Herb Ritts, Matthew Rolston, Raul Vega, Guy Webster, and Penny Wolin. WET also included artwork by Rip Georges, April Greiman, Matt Groening, Jim Heimann, Thomas Ingalls, Kim Jones, Jayme Odgers, Taki Ono, Futzie Nutzle, Gary Panter, Peter Shire, John Van Hamersveld, Teruhiko Yumura, and Bob Zoell . The 1980’s January/February edition of WET featured a photo Richard Gere by Larry Williams on its cover.
In April of 2012, Leonard Koren released Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing. Published by Imperfect Publishing, it tells the story of WET
James [St James] at 17. Early, early looks. I’d just moved to New York, found that old circus cape at a thrift store on Ave B, and wore it EVERYWHERE. I might still have it somewhere in storage, but it was molting and moth-eaten and just plain filthy in 1984, I’d be terrified to see it now.
Awww. My first (and favorite) boyfriend, Colin. It’s a shame I was such a spoiled brat and ruined everything. We were actually pretty happy for a while. I should call him, see how he is. This was taken on 42nd Street BACK IN THE DAY when it was still pretty rough, boy. I remember it caused quite an uproar when we asked to have the picture in the heart “frame” lol.
My favorite dress ever. Usually worn with a studded jockstrap so I could flash taxi drivers. This picture was taken at Rudolf’s club Quick, which had formerly been Area and NASA.
With Garth in Danceteria basement, 1985
My 19th birthday party at the Palladium, 1985
“Respectfully dedicated to LIBERACE, America’s favorite performer”, “When Liberace Winks at Me” is just as catchy. I found it here in this “Liberace Medley”. The song begins at 6:49, but you’ll want to see the whole thing. via The Dusty Bookcase
Classic 1965 film made by Chuck Renslow for Kris Studios. This poetic film is an extension of Renslow’s male physique photography of the period. By today’s standards this film is quite tame, however in 1965 films like this reminded in a legal gray area, barely escaping obscenity laws. The film stars Steve Kotis as the Grecian shepherd lad, and Ralph Kleiner (who is enchanted by the blue rose). Running time approx. 12 minutes; color w/ sound.