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Remembering Tuesday’s Child, L.A.’s Short-Lived Absurdist Guide to Life and Magic

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The story of how in the wake of the Manson murders, a bunch of local beat poets founded a not-so-family-friendly newspaper with a Satanic inclination.

Local occult publication Tuesday’s Child was born on Nov. 11, 1969 — three weeks after the Manson murders and a month and a half before the new decade. The newspaper — if it can even be called a newspaper; avant-garde magazine or cultural zinelet seems more appropriate — was assembled and curated by a bunch of angry beat poets and old L.A. Free Press writers, producing an “ecumenical, educational newspaper for the Los Angeles occult & underground.” They circulated the paper all over the city, selling it for 25 cents a copy.

Left: Tuesday’s Child inaugural issue published on Nov. 11, 1969. Right: A graphic comic from within the pages of the occult publication.

At the helm of Tuesday’s Child were founder Art Kunkin and editor Chester Anderson. Kunkin was a broke occult-and-labor-union-obsessed retired journalist. Anderson was a Haight-Ashbury zine-maker and musician who slept on a cot inside of the Tuesday’s Child offices in Hollywood. Together, their paper took shape: nonsense, “useful” witchcraft, political satire, riddles, socialist poetry, comics, countercultural sentiment and whatever else came into Kunkin’s head while he trolled the Sunset Strip.

Charles Manson on the cover of Tuesday’s Child as the “Man of the Year.”

Unsurprisingly, Tuesday’s Child’s favorite subject was Charles Manson, as he was the perfect intersection of crime, occultism, celebrity, class warfare and local news. One issue featured a crucified Manson on the cover, while another proclaimed he was “Man of the Year.” The timely coverage of the Manson murders through the absurdist lens of Tuesday’s Child was not only chilling, but it also predicted the rise of Manson’s notoriety and a cultish cynicism that would overtake the softer free-love ideologies of the 1960s. 

Tuesday’s Child inexplicably ceased publication in the mid-1970s. Though the reason it shut down remains unclear, the publication probably didn’t make many friends publishing essays like “The Universe as an Electric Train” or “Sympathy for the Devil.”

Still — and like the time it reflected — reading Tuesday’s Child, which can be found deep in the Los Angeles Public Library archives, is enjoyable in its confusion. It is darkly playful and politically provocative with prose that captures our lesser-known California magic.

To hear more about Tuesday’s Child and the hijinks that surrounded the publication, tune into Rebecca Leib and Jason Horton’s “Ghost Town” podcast.

Los Angeleno