Sex & Guts #4: Edited by Gene Gregorits and Lydia Lunch, $20, 280 pages By Jimmy

Despite an unimaginatively exploitative title and an unfortunate attempt to blur the line between magazine and book, Sex & Guts is, surprisingly, a good read. Helmed by Gene Gregorits and Lydia Lunch, Issue 4 features twenty-nine interviews with denizens from all corners of the underground, as well as fiction and articles from literary luminaries like Hubert Selby, Jr., Jerry Stahl, Bibbe Hansen, Nick Tosches and others. While the fiction pieces are interesting at worst, the real strength here lies in the interviews. Unlike those you might find in “real” magazines, many of the interviews, such as those with filmmakers John Waters, Larry Weasel and Laila Nabulsi, are presented with such a casual tone that it almost feels like you’re eavesdropping on a private conversation at your favorite watering hole between two friends who happen to be discussing snuff films, Mexican death magazines, and the agony of getting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made into a film. All of the interviews featured in this issue are chock full of weird, interesting bits of trivia (who’d have figured Margaret Cho would even know who Jim Goad is, let alone consider herself a fan?), and often veer away from the interviewees’ work in favor of finding out what excites them. Every time I put Sex & Guts down, I found myself picking it up again and getting sucked into conversations about what Chris D., Johnette Napolitano or Jim Foetus were doing these days. To be honest, the only gripes I have with Sex & Guts are with the cover price and the advertisements throughout. I can’t see myself paying 20 bucks for a magazine, no matter how good, and I sure as hell don’t like to see the latest Guided By Voices disc being hawked in my books. –Jimmy Alvarado (Phony Lid Books, PO Box 29066, LA, CA 90029)