Who and What We Are
Saturday, December 27, 2008
1) Xerography Debt will remain in print and is partnering with Microcosm Publishing for distribution! #25 will be out in the spring.
2) I have started a new zine devoted to zombies, Rigor Mortis.
3) I had a bunch of debris on the site that simply needed to be cleaned up.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Sixteen pages, halfsheet.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 2E7
$3 Cash, trade for letter, zine, letter of comment
No stamps or checks.
Dear Reader, at last, I can provide some insights into the enigma that is Dale Spiers. This dude is an ecclectic, amazing intellect, but I often wondered what he did for a living. How could his enormous reading habit be supported in both his professional and personal lives in modern times?
Apparently, he is a hybrid of Kerouac and MacGyver who works for the Calgary Parks Department as a Trouble Calls Supervisor. How cool is that? A man who is literate in economics, history and popular mechanics, who drives an enormous truck, helping those in distress! A modern Superhero! Okay, enough editorializing and onto an actual review....
Topics in this edition of Opuntia, Letters to the Editor, issue are split between the price and future of oil and Dale's highly entertaining job.
The oil discussion is lively, although out of date; oil has dropped through the floor. Gloat no more, Ye Northern Sheiks.
Dale describes his job in scenarios. At the conclusion of each troubleshooting scene, he punctuates with a great catch phrase: no further action required. I think I'll end as many emails, in my professional life, this way as possible.
It's Fuchi, No?
Author of this hilarious thing, please contact Leeking Inc with price and contact info and we'll gladly amend this review.
This is everything I wish for in a zine – a totally bizarre experience that is somewhat crude and very funny. In my envelope of delights containing It's Fuchi, No? there is a 2008 calendar, which features a creature-a-month, pleasantly mooning the reader. The drawings are so hilarious in their expressivness and artful crappiness. In fact, crap makes an appearance in August!
Also included were Kappa cards (sized and styled sort of like Tarot Cards): amusing factoids and illustrations, describing a mythical, child-eating, sometimes charming, but mostly murderous creature. Here is a sample:
“Kappas are mischievous. Sometimes they like to engage in harmless pranks like loudly breaking wind (There's a Japanese phrase, Kappa no he, which means 'just a kappa fart'. It means much ado about nothing.) or looking up ladies' kimonos. But don't be fooled into thinking that Kappa's just one of the guys. He will kill you given the chance. He prefers to eat children, but he will eat an adult.”
On the verso of the card is a great and crude drawing of a farting, turtle-like creature with a wild, monk-like hairdo.
The third goody in the envelope of delights is a small zine collection of cartoons aimed at being less funny than Ziggy. The author admits it was an ambitious, but self-proclaimed failure. I agree, for as un-funny as some of the cartoons aim to be, they are still damn funny. Much funnier than Ziggy. The author sums it up best, “...I think I failed. I think my comics are actually funnier. That's not to say they're funny: they're not. They're just no Ziggy.”
The Divine and Breaking Wind has touched the author of It's Fuchi, No? and I rejoice.
The final item is a collection of chinese cookie fortunes, stapled together. The fortunes caused me to guffaw aloud. Here are a few:
“You will be engulfed in thighs.”
“Don't shave, it'll make your head look small.”
“Must you constantly deal in chicanery?”
“Your friends value your loyalty and your manipulability.”
The Juniper #10.5 – Summer of Slow
P.O. Box 3154
Moscow, ID 83843
Send a stamp, first class mail.
Likes letters to the editor, needs help with distribution.
A delicious Black and White minizine: photos of Dan Murphy's gorgeous garden, even in B&W, you can smell the Earth, and taste the sweet, soft summer air as it caresses the vegetation.
It's cold out where I am, and there is a dusting of snow, now getting to be more than just dust. I am feeling sorry for myself so even this scrap of summer provides succor to a suffering soul.
Carrots and Condoms, Winter 2008
P.O. Box 163327
Sacramento, CA 95816
$3 well-concealed cash
On a personal note, this zine struck a chord of memory with me: that feeling I had just after college, where the working world was so repugnant, so horrible, it drove me mad with despair.
I didn't discover the desire to farm or to somehow create a Portland, OR where I was; I went down in flames of defeat.
So, to you, Coco, you go girl! Keep the passion alive and change the world because NOW is the time. Korporate Amerika is on the run; we are going to have to re-invent the American dream; and you, my dear, young soul, are just where you need to be.
This zine, to me, examines our connection to Nature, and what we can do to heal the dysfunctional relationship that agribusiness and modern life have caused us. As a species, we suffer from a gross separation from the Earth.
Coco describes the Permaculture movement and relates her excellent time spent with this new wave of hippies and Kerouac-inspired hobos.
What Permaculture aims to do is to create a lifestyle that has as close to zero impact on the environment. Recycling on steroids. Think composting, sod huts, heirloom seeds, companion planting, any sort of technique to allow us the bounty of Nature without causing her pain.
The zine itself is a great resource for learning more about Permaculture and organic farms that employ work-traders (highly-educated-itinerant farmers). Two organizations, of the many listed, are Mountain Homestead Community in Oregon and Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri.
The zine has an exhaustive listing of organizations and is chock full of ideas for those who would like to participate in the Permaculture movement.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
marck and heather bacontowne
bacontowne records///sinkhole zine
po box 1063
tallevast, fl 34270
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Potential topics/perspectives of interest include, but are not limited to: mass transit (including bus, MARC, subway, air travel, etc.); automobile (including commuting, taxis, etc.); bicycle (including city, rural, etc.); and pedestrian ventures. Articles (100 - 2,000 words) are preferably received via e-mail (email@example.com) as attached Word documents. Image files should be at least 5” x 7”, 300+ dpi (. TIF , .JPG, or .PDF format). All contributors will receive a byline/artistic credit for their work as well as two (2) complimentary copies of the issue in which their work appears. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2008 .
SMILE, HON , YOU’RE IN BALTIMORE ! is an Eight-Stone Press production, available locally for purchase at Atomic Books (Hampden); Baltimore Chop Books, Music & Coffee House (Ridgley’s Delight); Harbor News (Harbor East) and Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse ( Mt. Vernon ). SMILE, HON is also shelved for loan as part of the Baltimore County Public Library’s Zine Collection (Cockeysville Branch).
For more information, contact:
William P. Tandy, Editor
P.O. Box 11064
Baltimore , Maryland 21212
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
OPUNTIA 65.1- Sixty five issues. That’s a whole lot of issues, man. Props for Dale Speirs for making it that far. Since this issue is 65.1 that means it’s a review issue. Apparently the format of Dale’s zine revolves every 4 issues. It goes from a review zine to a per zine to an index to an APA zine. The bulk of this zine features a few in depth book reviews, several pages of zine listings that give a nice overview as to the zine’s contents, excerpts of various things Dale has read (which quite frankly went over my head.) an interesting bit on running a club zine and a bit on the state of zinedom where dale gives a year by year comparison of how many zines he’s received for said year. This is a nice, low key zine and Dale seems like an interesting guy worth getting to know. 5.5 x 8.5 16 pages. Send $3, a trade or a letter of comment to Dale Speirs Box 6830, Calgary Alberta Canada, T2P 2E7
MARAUDER #1 and 2- These are auto bio comix with some fiction thrown in. Truth is I enjoyed the auto bio stuff, many of which revolve around his old fast food job, getting high and sometimes both. The fictional stories revolve around the author traveling through time with a talking parrot which just didn’t do it for me. They were sort of a framing device, but I would have been perfectly happy with for auto-bio stuff. I did really like the drawing style and overall it was pretty entertaining. The good parts were very good and the bad parts weren’t that bad. 28 pages 8.5 x 11. Send $3 or maybe a trade to J. Sumii PO Box 140696 Boise ID 83714 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.jimsumii.com/
HIGH MAINTENANCE MACHINE #21- This is one I got at the Boston Zine Fair and it has actually become something of a favorite of mine, having read exactly 2 of the 21 issues. These are diary comics mostly revolving around Matthew, his wife, and his cats. These comics kind of remind me of James Kolchaka’s though I’m not sure if there are any real similarities or if it’s just the fact that they both do diary comics and have a slightly similar drawing style. It can’t be easy doing a new comic strip every day and having it be both funnier and more insightful than pretty much anything you’ll se in your newspaper comics section, but Matt pulls it off beautifully. 36 pages half sized. Send $3 to Matthew Reidsma 31 Walnut St Somerville MA 02143 http://www.reidsma.com/
GERANIUMS & BACON #5- Another favorite from the Boston Zine Fair. More mostly auto bio comics by Cathy Leamy (I say mostly because while I can’t be sure I’m fairly certain the story about digging up a medieval mecha battle suit in her grandfather’s garden may not have really happened. ) I particularly enjoyed the story about Cathy going to the Filene’s Basement bridal sale just to see what it’s like. It’s an annual event and ever since I was a wee sprat I’d see clips of this on the news and I never understood the point of it all. It always just looked to me like a bunch of crazy woman literally tackling each other to get cheap dresses. It seems to me like it’s about as far away from fun as you can possibly get, but these maniacal mobs of women always seem to be smiling as they pummel each other for wedding dresses so what do I know? But thanks to Cathy I now know what it’s like so I have no more lingering curiosity about it. I like when people experience things I’m curious about but will never do and really never want to do. At any rate I like this zine a lot and you should too. for info e mail email@example.com comics.metrokitty.com
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I received this issue just before I went to Germany for a work trip. I decided to save it, figuring it would heighten the reading experience of reading about an ex-pat returning home for a visit while visiting a foreign country myself. I was not disappointed. Kris has lived away from the US for some time now and in many respects the ways of “modern” American life are now as foreign to him as I’m sure Spain once was. He noticed the plethora of electronic goods in his parents’ home, but chooses not to own a TV at home in Spain. He is overwhelmed by the supermarket, which is more like a department store, as well as all the stomach medicines needed for the gluttonous. He takes Lola to places of his youth, as well as places offering “a true American experience” – at least as far as Pennsylvania goes – a gun and outdoors MEGA-mart. They also spend an idyllic week in the Virgin Islands. It was definitely interesting hearing Kris’s take on the US from a now outsiders perspective.
Trade or donation/Digest/28 pages
Kris & Lola, Calle Obispo 4B, Plasencia 10600, Caceres, Spain
PO Box 877, Lansdowne, PA 19050
224 Moraine St., Brockton, MA 02301
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
PO Box 330156, Murfreesboro, TN 37133
$1-2?/Mini/52 pgs (#1), 24 pgs (#2)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Funny thing: My PO Box is always jammed full of stuff, but there're fewer and fewer actual zines. Weird. I get a lot of correspondence from folks, and I still get a fair amount of single-issue orders or subs through the mail, but fewer and fewer zines.
Still, the ones i do get are generally excellent:
- "SMile, Hon You're in Baltimore" #10 ($3, William P. Tandy, Eight Stone Press, POB 11064, Baltimore, MD 21212; www.eightstonepress.com). Sturdy, good-looking zine from the somewhat brilliant Bill Tandy. Without reading a wiord I know it's gonna be cool.
- The Ken Chronicles #9 ($2, Ken Bausert, 2140 Erma Drive, East MEadow, NY 11554-1120; firstname.lastname@example.org) Further entry in the new(ish) perzine from the former editor of Passions. Ken mentions the drying-up of printed zines as well, and is adjusting his print run downward so that only trades and people he knows want a copy get one, so if you're interested, request one directly.
And that was it for actual issues. My office has become a wasteland of disorganization, so I have this creepy feeling I had a load of thing to add in here that have been lost. Wouldn't surprise me. What with the drinking and all.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
$3, including shipping (out-of-US add $2)
2 inches wide by 2.75 tall (1/16 size)
I love this concept so much I didn't want to screw up the description, so I'm borrowing their website's words: "an alien here is the first book in our series of Pocket Protector books. Pocket Protectors are a continuing anthology of pint-sized 1/16-page-size, charming chapbooks, containing 15-30 poems each (depending on length), that are part of an ongoing series showcasing a different poet each month. an alien here, the first in the series, contains 18 previously unpublished poems and cover artwork by award-winning underground author leah angstman."
Seriously. These books are tiny and fantastic. I believe there have been two others published (check out their website & blog for details) and though I haven't read those other books yet I imagine they're of the same caliber of angstman's work. They're published every month, and "poets are chosen by invitation only" (which I have to confess I kind of love). angstman's work is vivid; always the right word for the right moment, emphasis precisely placed, graphic by turns but always very compassionate. Even when responding "i have nothing to say / but/ yeah" to post-coital odd phrasings from one's lover, angstman's context evokes real feeling in the reader. They're passionate and daring (other reviewers have used this word as well; I repeat it because it's apt). Her poetry shows a precision that's sometimes hard to find, and this volume showcases 16 of her pieces, ranging from a longer piece like the sprawling "1926" through to shorter pieces like "on the level." My favorite, the terse "i don't respond to hey baby" is vivid and gives the reader concrete, precise images all pearls and carnivals and Pepsi. Highly recommended, especially if you're interested in poetry.
c/o Angie P
P.O. Box 42123
Portland, OR 97242
angie97202 [at] gmail.com
$2 USD, trades OK, 1/4 page size, 49 (?) pages
How exciting! I reviewed Below Noon #2 by Angie P. a while back and now I've got #3, published in May, in front of me. It's still a small zine with a mighty lot of wallop: I'm eager to see #4 when it's finished. The form is the same, listed out on a lovely contents page (the design elements in this issue seem much stronger than in #2). Remember, we're reading what Angie called in issue #2 "experimental story-telling" with "2 main sections: one with somewhat structured stories...and another section that's more improv." The structure holds, here; it's still an engaging read, the design/aesthetics are very strong, and the cover's particularly cool.
The section "postcards to some kids i knew in elementary school" is evocative and fascinating: it's something I liked in #2, that sense of brevity (well, you're forced into it because of the space on a postcard) but with the feeling that there's a much larger story behind the one you're getting. It's captivating. There's a lot happening here, and in such a small space, that the tight organization really helps move it forward. I'm waiting for the next one...
754 Washington Ave #4R
Brooklyn, NY 11238
redguard [at] gmail [dot] com
$3 US, $3 Can/Mex, contact first for everywhere else, +1$ for shipping
trades yes, 8 1/2 x 11, color cover, 44 pages
"Explore the dark side with Absent Cause: underground cultures, hidden histories, feminist and queer sexualities; chosen families and radical politics; vampirism; the gothic and horror; surviving abuse, coping with mental illness, self-harm and suicide. Through writing, art work, photos + comics, we explore the myriad ways they intersect."
Sounds like a pretty wide range, no? But that's a pretty accurate description of the things you're going to see in this issue. It's a first issue, which often is interesting, exciting, and a little messy, and Absent Cause #1 holds to that. This arrived with "Sometimes Things Get Confusing When You're Mentally Ill" (a half-size 8-page zine for $1). Both are pretty heady stuff, about the author's struggles with depression, PTSD, being a father and with being married. "Triggers abound," redguard states in the introduction to the mini, and that's an apt statement to keep in mind for BOTH of these zines.
Absent Cause is an anthology with a huge range of contributors. There are some fascinating interviews surrounding race, gender, and culture, and there are some incredibly disturbing full-color pictures included in this issue (it's bloody, eye-catching, and might freak you out even if those are not your particular triggers. If they are, you might want to approach this issue with caution). They're well-done and evocative, and not included for shock value, but they did shock me. The zine is well-crafted and uses a sharp, crisp layout and design; what I wanted to know more about was if there was an overriding theme to it. I couldn't in the end decide what that theme might be, and though the focus seems a little undecided in places I'm not sorry that I read it. In future issues, I'd be interested to see if themes do develop. The next issue is due out in January, so in time I suppose we'll see.
Invincible Summer --an anthology
Nicole J. Georges
many illustrated pages--fancy book bound
ISBN:0-97269967-6-8 Microcosm #76053)
222 S. Rogers St Bloomington IN. 47404
jessie [at] microcosmpublishing[dot] com
(cost? not sure. email for details)
Reprinted in October 2007, this collection covers the first 8 issues of Nicole's zine, started in 2000 when she first moved to Portland. This second edition (the first was printed in 2004) includes more material--more drawings of dogs, material that wasn't published before, other new bits. Not having the first edition to compare with the later one, all I can say on that is that the book is pretty substantial and there are an awful lot of very cute dog drawings.
It's sort of like sifting through old letters; by the end I felt as if I'd caught up on five or so years of an old friend's life. There's an easy familiarity to her work and it's an enchanting kind of read. Highly recommended.
with help from: Jedediah Berry, Michael DeLuca, and Annabel Link
available for purchase online (see below) or at
Small Beer Press, 150 Pleasant Street #306, Easthampton, MA 01027
$5, 60 pgs, totally worth it.
This volume is in the stack I've been meaning to get through; I've been so slow on this that this twice-a-year volume actually lapped me (they're on to #22, which you can see at the website listed above). It's odd, because when I opened the package of zines, it was the first one where I went "Whoohoo!" (I do that sometimes) and wanted to get to it first. And then a thousand small things got in the way (and one slightly more major thing. I started a business: mymonsterhat.com).
But for the first time pretty much ever, I'm actually glad that I waited. Weirdly, I have two work-related connections to this volume; the one I can tell you about (remember, I work with test secure material) involves someone handing me a copy of Carol Emshwiller's Carmen Dog, which I quite literally only finished earlier this week (fantastic read, by the way). And, of course, Gavin J. Grant is a long-term, frequent XD contributor. And, as if all this wasn't enough, they're also based in Easthampton in a building very near to where I'm spending the afternoon.
I love these kinds of overlaps. So often I receive zines where there is none of this stuff, where it's arrived almost entirely out of the blue, which is fine but sometimes feels totally impersonal (even if that zine is a perzine full of exactly that sort of information). I very much enjoyed reading LCRW #21; it's primarily fiction but also includes poetry, nonfiction, and comics. The layout and design is impeccable: crisp, clean, beautifully formatted. Carol Emshwiller is a regular contributor and the material itself covers a wide range, from odd boarding schools to a strange co-worker writing code (I don't want to say much more for fear of giving it away), and there isn't a single wrong note in here. Literary zines are sometimes a tough sell, but this one shouldn't be--it's well worth the time and money. (And there are even subscription options which include chocolate...)
Friday, October 31, 2008
BAMBOOZLED: THE JOEY TORREY STORY- “If the police ask for help, just say no! If the FBI comes knockin, do not answer the door! When you read ‘Former boxer Joey Torrey has died’ you can remember ‘Oh snap, I just read his zine‘...I am 47 years old in 2008 and not as quick as I was 20 years ago. I will be assassinated by the hand of someone you read about in this story. Thank you for your time.” Thus concludes the zine BAMBOOZLED, the story of former boxer Joey Torrey. I always enjoy zines by people who are not your typical zinesters and Joey, a former boxer currently in prison for murder, is definitely not a typical zinester. This zine actually featured something you don’t see a lot of in zines and I hadn’t realized I’d been missing- action and adventure. There’s definitely more to the zine than that, but at it’s core this zine has the makings of a good crime novel. Joey is a pretty impressive guy. After getting sent to prison for murder while working for the mob and having the government back out of their promise to get him out by the time he’s 25 he manages to make 6 figures a year while behind bars selling sports memorabilia and even producing a TV show. All the while he’s studying law diligently trying to find a way to get himself released from prison. Which he actually does, but that’s only the beginning of what can only be described as a huge shit storm. He agrees to help the FBI with an investigation on the corruption of boxing (which according to Joey is really, really corrupt. It’s kind of hard to believe that the mainstream media has no idea about this so I can only assume they don’t care) and...well, it ends with the quote I started the review with so you can figure that all does not end well for Joey. The writing is a tad choppy in that 5 years will pass without being noted, but Joey is an interesting guy with a fascinating story to tell. I’m kind of surprised it’s being told in a zine because it has the makings of a best selling book/
64 illustrated pages, 5.5 x 8.5 send $5 to Microcosm Publishing 222 S. Rogers St Bloomington IN. 47404
FRESH BREATH OF MINT #9- I don’t know if this is really a zine, but they sent it to XD so I may as well review it. This is a free magazine produced by Mint Records that you find for free in indy record stores. It’s one of the better free magazines I’ve seen and has some good stuff in here. It also has articles on bands I’ve never beard of and tons of ads for even more bands I’ve never heard of. If nothing else it certainly highlights the fact that there are a lot of bands I’ve never heard of. It also came with a Mint Records Sampler CD that I liked, but I have no idea how you can acquire that. This is worth picking up for free and since it’s free I guess that means this is a good review. In my local record store this is in a little display by the door with all the other free newspapers. I don’t know where they keep in your local store but I bet it’s in roughly the same area.
Mint Records Inc. PO Box 3613, Vancouver BC Canada V6B 3Y6 www.mintrecs.com www,myspace.com/mintrecords
IZZY CHALLENGE #5- Hey, this is pretty cute. It’s a jam comic called “Izzy Tours America” featuring 50 artists from every state in the USA. The originator of this comic, JB White drew Izzy the mouse in 50 different poses and then sent them to one artist in each state to draw a specific scene for Izzy to be participating in. It’s definitely nothing Earth shattering in it’s brilliance, but it’s a fun idea well executed.
16 pages 5.5 x 8.5, e-mail before trading, send $1 to JB Winter PO Box 1814 Columbia, MO 65205 info@JBwinter.com
NUNS I’VE KNOWN- I picked this up at the Boston Zine Fair. It’s always been a goal of mine to review each and every zine I acquire at the fair, but even I know I’ll never do that. Quite frankly it’s an accomplishment if I even read ‘em all. Anyhow, as I read this it occurred to me that never in my life have I heard anyone say anything nice about a nun. Priests certainly get their share of bad publicity, but by the same token at least people recognize the good that some priests do. With nuns people just seem to dislike them. Not for anything illegal or horribly abusive, it just seems like nuns have a casual meanness and cruelty about them. If you really wanna hear some anti-nun talk you should ask my grandmother. She hates ‘em. “Nun is the Loneliest Number” as the Pope once said. At any rate, the author of this zine, Pruella Vulgaris, went to Catholic school and writes this zine about nuns she has known and dealt with. Good stuff. I liked it a lot. Very funny and believe it or not once of the nuns actually seems like a nice woman. The rest of ‘em, though, are typically mean nuns. But they’re still fun to read about.
12 pages, some kinda wacky size. I’d say 5.5 x 5. e mail email@example.com www.myspace.com/prunellavulgaris
I’ll get some more reviews posted here on Saturday.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Reviews of Mostly True, ETC, Dwelling Portably, Hell's Half-Acre Herald and Exit 63 from Fred Argoff
Well, I kept telling myself that I was going to save the best for last, but all my resolve just melted away. So let's begin with Mostly True. There's very little question that Davida only sent this one to me because she knew I was going to love it! Right there on the cover of Vol. 19, No. 7 it says, "The West's Most Popular Hobo Graffiti Magazine," and for anyone who's even vaguely interested in railroads, this one is the jackpot! Railroading adventures, hobos, loads of photos, even old ads. Featured in this issue, the search for Bozo Texino, and the Colossus of Roads. It's really more of a magazine than a zine, but why be a nitpicker? Don't waste another minute, and get your $6.95 in the mail right away, to Bill Daniel at Microcosm Publishing, 222 S. Rogers St., Bloomington IN 47404.
And yet more creativity, this time in ETC (that stands for, Everybody That Creates). The premise is simple: people create things--that is, things like artwork and short stories, and this zine presents them. Issue #2 has a story about bees (watch out! Somebody is going to get stung) and some comics. I, personally, liked the "Real Life for Real" panels, maybe because I relate to stick figures as about the only type of drawings I can manage. It's fun to check in and see what other people are creating, so I say, go for it. $2 from Chris Almond, P.O. Box 678421, Orlando FL 32867-8421.
Dwelling Portably has been around a long time. And the way things are going lately, it appears more and more relevant with each passing day. The premise is that you don't necessarily have to live within the grid. The issue at hand has tips for dealing with dirt floors, various (and very creative) uses for free water barrels, the merits of vitamin D, solar cooking, and plenty more. Also has a summary of past issues--many of which are still available--and a listing of unusual sources, many of which are zines. $1 per issue (6 back issues for $5 or 12 for $10) from P.O. Box 190-L, Philomath OR 97370-0190.
Remember the old sci-fi movie "Day of the Triffids?" Well, don't look now, but... Hell's Half-Acre Herald presents the Texas Triffid Ranch. Did you guess that the subject is carnivorous plants? Congratulations! Featured in the first issue, feeding P. Americana (the good old American cockroach) to your pitcher plant, and the coming of the dragonfruit. There's also a listing of resources. I didn't know that there was an International Carnivorous Plant Society, but there is. Do they sell Venus' flytrap T-shirts, I wonder? In any case, no price listed, so "the usual" will have to do, from Paul Riddell, 5930 E. Royal Lane (#140), Dallas TX 75230.
Next up, we have Exit 63. At least, I think that's the title. The cover of #8 also has Blues in big letters, so I can't say for sure which one is the title. That, by the way, is a demerit, if we have to guess what the zine is called. Anyway, this is the Lust for Lists issue. Our friendly local editor lists the things he did every day, from June 1 through August 17. For example, the list for July 4, representative of the zine: 1--worked most of the day. 2--tried to call Liz. 3--skated a lot. 4--listened to some baseball on the radio. Liz is definitely important to the zine, as she shows up in most of the lists. I hope we're dealing with genuine youth here, or something is terribly wrong. No price listed (pun unavoidable) but if you like reading lists of things, you might want to give this a try, from Matthew Bodette, 6466 Rt. 125, Vergennes VT 05491.
...And they all lived happily ever after. There! We got back to the fairytale theme just in time for my closing.
Monday, October 27, 2008
ART BUREAU #15 & #16:
($3 each from: ART BUREAU, PO Box 1823, Portland, OR 97207, USA. Or try artbureau.etsy.com)
This publication´s mission statement goes as follows: "Art Bureau publishes artists from around the globe, giving them ample space to display & write about their work. This is done by creating online portfolio pages & printing limited-edition publications like the one you now hold. Between issues, keep yourself art-fed at artbureau.org."
Issue #15 exposed me to the work of:
-Julio Rölle & Sebastian Bagge of the zine 44flavours
-Roz Foster & Gabe Marihugh of Holograph Magazine
-"Someguy" from the 1000 Journals Project
-the graphic insanity of Inksecticid (Canada) & Topsi (France)
Issue #16 contains the inspiring art & words of:
-Chinese artist Bubi Au Yeung Kit Ying (aka: milkjar)
-Dom Hall of Computer Arts Projects (The In-depth Guide for Digital Creatives)
-Venezuelan illustrator Amaranta (aka: Piktorama)
-Eyeformation´s "City Birds" project
Art Bureau is a beautiful little package. The printing is amazing, the content is top notch, but the price seems a bit low if you ask me. The two issues I received came with various stickers & postcards - only $3.00? One thing I should mention (because zinesters are touchy about these things) is that there are ads in Art Bureau. But, they are all for independent projects & magazines & comics, etc. Art Bureau even has an ISSN number, but this little publication has zine written all over it. Recommended.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
By Dale Speirs
$3.00 Cash (no checks or stamps for US readers)
Trades for zines and letters of comment
Alberta, Canada T2P 2E7
Dale reviews some cool alternative history books and stories. Some may be hard to track down, so if you run into trouble, PLEASE ask your local public librarian about Interlibrary Loan to get a hold of this stuff. It looks excellent. Where the heck does he find his reading stash? Here are some titles and synopsis to give you the gist of the kind of materials he's into:
Lest Darkness Fall – Dude time travels to 6th century and discovers how easy we have it in the 20th century.
Pasquales Angel – What would happen if Da Vinci's drawings had all actually worked? Read about the possible world we'd live in if the Renaissance had happened 325 years early.
Not by Sea – (this is in the 1966 issue of IF, and you might need a librarian to help track this one down via interlibrary loan) What would have happened if Napoleon had won the battle for Britain?
But wait, there's more! In this issue, Dale reviews 43 zines and also has letters to the editor.
He also has this cool column called “Seen in the literature” where he quotes an article and then provides really insightful commentary. His scope of reading is broad and deep. Golly, to spend an afternoon in this guy's head would be a total trip. Anyhoo, there is this one clip that is creepily foreboding of our current crash, which he predicted 8 long months ago. Here is one citation that I will give you: The hunt for Black October. The American, 1 (6): 46-54, 104-110.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
First up: Worry Stone #1 (August 2008) by Jerianne
(P.O. Box 330156, Murfreesboro, TN 37133, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org).
This 28 page mini details the difficulties of living with a partner who has diabetes.
And I quote: "As I´ve gotten older, I have developed an increasing number of anxieties. Life isn´t simple anymore: I have a marriage-like relationship with a diabetic man. We have a young child. I am a homeowner. I have a career. I have debt."
This isn´t a light-hearted read. Jerianne gives the reader a heavy dose of the daily struggles of living with her partner, Denny, who has some very serious health issues which are a direct result of diabetes. There is also a lot of information & statistics regarding the disease reprinted here, as well as plenty of clip art & a list of sources. Recommended.
Apparently Jerianne´s been busy, because not that long ago I also received from her the new issue of Zine World: A Reader´s Guide to the Underground Press #26 (Summer 2008). Now, if you aren´t already reading Zine World: ARG then I don´t really know what to tell you other than YOU NEED TO GET THIS! Every issue contains articles, news & columns about censorship issues, tons of enlightening letters, classifieds & events listings, & hundreds of zine reviews. This is essential reading for anybody who is passionate about independent publishing. And the new issue contains an enormous updated international listing of zine libraries & infoshops.
To get your copy send $4 (USA), $5 (Canada/Mexico), $7 (elsewhere). To subscribe send $10 for 3 issues (USA), $13 (Canada/Mexico), $18 (elsewhere).
Here´s the address:
PO Box 330156
Murfreesboro, TN 37133-0156
And that´s it for now. Adios!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Edited by Bert and Holly Davis
Paperback ½ size, 178 p.
With the imminent collapse of the Western financial world looming, we all need a copy of this resource favored by hikers, campers, hobos, dumpster diving hipsters, and armchair travelers.
This zine is what MacGyver would read on his day off. Need to make a knife holster out of scrap leather? Get some sketches. Hypothermia worries? Gotcha covered. Need a review of Primitive Life Skills video? (Where can I get a copy on DVD?) It's in there. From building a fire to pest prevention to waterproofing matches, improve your current hobo lifestyle or prep for doomsday with this handy book.
P.O. Box 170271
San Francisco, CA 94122
$5.00 US, $6.00 world
4.25” X 5.5”
Email contact: email@example.com
Library geeks, and any other folks pondering the meaning of our disposable, isolating culture, will love this sophisticated, extremely appealing zine. It's scrap-booky in feel, but slick in production values. Layout is really tight, well done, and engaging. The content is self-questioning and a thinking-person's eye candy.
I'd start a revolution but I don't have time by Jolie Noggle
Riot Grrrl by Hannah Neurotica
655 Martin St.
Greenville, OH 45331
No Price given
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to the old, tried and true, copy-machine-generated, angst-filled collection of essays on being a girl, liking music and the whole She-Power of the late 90s and early 2000s. It is amazing how much has changed in just a few years! But it is fun; full of heart and spunk; and takes you back nearly a decade.
Inner Swine, Vol. 14, issue 2, June 2008
Subscribe for only $5.00 per year in the US, $6.00 in Canada
½ size, 60 p.
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Email contact: email@example.com
Well, what more can I say about the Inner Swine: a veritable institution of zineland, with the focus being on what it means to be a guy. This issue is true to form, and my favorite bit is the Refusal to Twitter. In this hilarious commentary on the egotism involved in the whole Twitter movement, I found myself in total agreement (once again) with Jeff and his near-Luddite view of the whole technology-driven social scene and how it continuously erodes our humanity and communication abilities with each new “breakthrough.”
A sad note, please send Jeff encouraging email as he noted he feels kind of tapped out with the whole zine thing. His next issue is called No Future. He has covered a LOT of ground in the 200 years he's been writing, and it's only natural to do a “best-of” issue. Let's hope that he'll sharpen the saw, do some sort of retreat and recharge the creative battery. He didn't actually say he was tapped out, but with a title like No Future, what other conclusions can one jump to?
The CIA makes Science Fiction Unexciting #5: the things you may not know about Iran/Contra
No name given
$1.50 postage paid
222 S. Rogers St.
Bloomington, IN 47404
This little zine is for a conspiracy theorist with only minutes to live or with ADHD. The author has a gift for summary that is astounding. You'll read this and feel like you actually understand the Iran/Contra affair. In this day and age, it is both enlightening and depressing to see that our government has been remarkably consistent: bad for years.
The author goes into the history of our meddling in oil-related foreign affairs, which started innocently enough at the end of WWII, when we were the last English-speaking empire standing. It pretty much goes downhill from there. As time passes, it becomes less obvious when we are aiding friends across the sea and when we are bungling in the jungle or desert.
In order to continue this meddling once it gets on a scale large enough to be detected by the press, our gummint decides to tamper with the Constitution. Iran/Contra was a glaring example of how the folks in charge clearly ignored the foundation of what makes this country tick. Their violations, and the lack of repercussions for the transgressors haunt us to this day.
The founding Fathers would be absolutely furious if they could see us now.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
by Nia Diaspora
50 cents, no trades, 1/4 size, 12 pgs, FTP.
Nia describes this zine as about her "progressive disillusionment with punk activist communities as I began to better understand their failure to live up to anti-racist, anti-sexist, and pro-queer ideals." It's a sage, succinct statement that both hits the main points and also, I think, doesn't say enough. It's a powerful zine, kind of heartbreaking and important to read, and what I thought was kind of beautiful about it was that at its center--quite literally--activism remains. There's a pull-out sheet titled 'check yrself' with some questions on it designed to get people thinking and talking. It's worth reading, even if you're not into punk--because while Nia's writing about a couple of different punk communities, those points are vital to think about in a broader context too.
isbn: 978-1-934620-038 (Microcosm #76063)
Yes, this too is a book, but before it was a book it was a zine and an awfully good one at that. Following the lives of a group of teenagers who are punks and queer, Baillie's work chronicles a range of things from friendship, abuse, falling in love, heartbreak, religion; I don't want to say too much and ruin the tension of how the narrative unfolds, but it's interesting to see how much stronger Baillie's work becomes as it goes on. The collection is of the first five issues of the series, and just glancing at the beginning and the end of the book will show you how far she's come. The early panels are crammed with images and words that sometimes don't all fit, but by about two issues in you can really see the change in her layout work alone. Her characters are always compelling and the tension you feel as the story progresses is authentic and true. There's also an extras section in the back, including paper dolls (they're really cute) and guest art. Baillie includes a resource section with information about shelters and resources for LGBTQ youth, which I thought was a particularly good thing and worthy of note. Highly recommended.
Friday, October 10, 2008
by Mickey Hess
This is a book, not a zine, but it is the zinest book I’ve read in a long time. And for the record the author did his tour of duty in zineland. Technically it is memoir, but it is also a look at jobs, decisions, dreams, influences and how to find meaning. The period this book covers is approximately 2000-2002, where Mickey finds himself in his post-college days with part-time teaching jobs, but also random gigs as an ice cream truck driver, stand-up comedian, and arcade attendant. He pokes fun at the colleges he works at, just as he does the “ridiculous” jobs. He is caught between a job he almost seems afraid to care about and those that amuse him. For our generation, and I am going to assume Mickey and I are almost exactly the same age, work has a different place in our lives. We know that bad things happen to good employees and that most people change jobs (and careers) repeatedly these days. We’ve watched jobs shipped overseas, fear layoffs, and seen how corporations have kept the minimum wage ridiculously low. We are a generation of cynics, but what happens when cynics find jobs with meaning? What happens when you find that you can’t keep up the façade of youth and irresponsibility forever? The book is insightful, but also funny as hell. The scene where they are housesitting and a friend breaks the toilet tank in the middle of the night made me laugh out loud. Mickey has great comedic timing with a deadpan delivery. Highly recommended.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Putting the Zine Back in Lazyness
I am going to out myself here - I am a big fan of all things Degrassi. It all started back in high school when PBS first aired this Canadian teen drama. While my peers watched "90210", I watched Joey and his loud shirts, Catlin's idealism, and Spike's teen motherhood. I was a fan until the show ended in the early 90's. When we moved into our current house two things happened: 1) I got knocked up and 2) we got better cable. Suddenly I was able to watch the new series, Degrassi: The Next Generation - often in 3-4 hour marathons since I was in love with the couch during the gestation period.
So what that all means is that Degrassi Digest is the zine I have been waiting since I was 16 to read. It is obsessive, snarky, ziney, funny, offers commentary, and will appeal to anyone who has wondered where are they now? and are Pat Mastroianni/Joey Jeremiah the same person (the answer appears to be yes)? In some cases it is an MST3K version of Degrassi. Oh, and there are cats involved in the production of the zine, which can only make it better.
One of my favorite zine finds this year.
$10 (perfect bound, 297 pages - compilation of the first 5 issues)
PO Box 56551
Portland, OR 97238
The Health and Recreation Issue
Reading about Liz's misdiagnosis ordeals and medical issues triggered a great deal of empathy. I read this after I learned she had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which isn't covered in this issue. She was still in the dark as of publication. This issue is all about the pain, medications, and treatments (traditional and non-traditional) that she suffered through because of the unspecified pain she was experiencing. Doctors eventually decide on fybromyalgia. This all went on for many months before she was correctly diagnosed and received treatment (she is now in remission, yay!). There were lots of other articles, many of them informative or entertaining, but the whole time I couldn't help thinking how lucky Patrick was to have been diagnosed so quickly.
Available from Quimby's Bookstore (www.quimbys.com)
Today I received a packet of zines from Dave Roche (On Subbing) that included two issues of About My Disappearance and some comix from his brother. I lost touch with Dave a few years ago, so the zines and accompanying letter were a postal treat. Should you want to get a copy of what I presume is his new issue email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also received the new Extranjero. It looks like Kris and Lola take a trip to the US in this text-packed issue. I am going to save this one for my trip to Germany next week because I see the humor in reading a zine by a US expat wholives in Europe, but writing about traveling in the US while traveling in Europe myself. I never said I had a developed sense of humor....
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
has discontinued Bound Printed Matter as an option for folks like us. I
mean, they really discontinued it this time (not just telling us
it wasn’t available like they have in the past). Here’s info from the USPS
website (emphasis mine):
DMM Revision: Postage Payment for Bound Printed
Matter Limited to Permit Imprint
In March, we filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission
for a classification change requiring all mailings of Bound Printed
Matter be paid by permit only. The Commission agreed, and we are moving
forward with the change.
Effective September 11, 2008, the Postal Service™ is
revising the Mailing Standards of the United States
Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 363, 364, 365, 366, 463, 464, 465, 466, and
604 for all Bound Printed Matter (BPM). Postage payment for all
BPM mailings: carrier route, presorted, and nonpresorted
(single-piece) flats and parcels, regardless of volume, are
limited to permit imprint. Mailers can no longer affix
postage by adhesive stamps, postage meter, or PC Postage®. BPM will not be accepted at retail counters,
in collection boxes, or by carriers and must be deposited and
accepted at the Post Office™ facility that issued the
In other words, you can no longer, as an individual, use Bound
Printed Matter for individual mailings sent with stamps or printed
postage. I have more information about how to use Bound Printed Matter,
with permit, posted at the Zine World
Much like the changes made last year for discount mailings for
periodicals (see Zine World
#25 for details), these changes raise barriers for small publishers,
and therefore inhibit dissemination of information by mail. If this
ticks you off as much as it does me, I hope you will contact the Postal
Service and complain:
1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) — select More Options
Policy and Program Development, USPS Headquarters
Postmaster General Jack Potter
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington DC 20260-0010
We will be updating our U.S. Postal
Rates sheet and the Zinester’s Guide to
U.S. Mail within the next few days.
Zine World: A Reader's Guide to the
PO Box 330156 * Murfreesboro TN 37133
World #26 now available! $4 US, $5 Canada
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I like that the reporter calls my zine funny and insightful even though they've read it. I told them it was funny and I guess they just made up the insighful part.
anyhow, I am fianly, finished with Fw/L #12 (expect an official plug in a few days) and hopefully now I'll be able to get some more reviews posted instead of just posting shit about myself.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The Best of Issue
I began reading Junie in Georgia around issue #11, where Julie becomes obsessed with a fictional bounty hunter. I was hooked. I was glad she decided to do a best of issue because I was treated to early issues. I particularly liked her failed attempt at airport seduction, her hair hall of shame, attempts at waitressing at the cult of Outback Steakhouse, and her battles with the weevils. There are many other good bits, but these were all new to me and rather funny. Follow her as she goes from being Junie in Georgia to Junie in Africa and then Junie in Minnesota.
3455 Blaisdell Ave S #13
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Friday, September 5, 2008
See the dude in the wacky hat hanging around reading a zine? My hand to God, he was there reading my zine for 15 minutes and he didn't buy a god damned thing. And the guy I chat with at about the 6 minute mark? He was what we like to call an eccentric in these politically correct times. I actually enjoyed chatting with the guy, which is rare, but he sure was eccentric to say the least. And at some point you see a cute girl just waltz on by my table like I'm not eve there. Which is the story of my life. And you should probably listen to the dude talking instead of just focusing on me in the background because even the non-Eric portions are interesting.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Oh, and the returned issues of my zine.
This vexes me. I am quite vexed. The Inner Swine mailing list is ancient and sanctified by time—there are people on that list who have been getting the zine for thirteen years, dammit. Not always voluntarily, but still. The mailing list has expanded and shrunk over the years—sometimes people buy a subscription and then don't have any burning desire to buy another subscription, which is fine. Sometimes, out of the blue someone who's been buying the zine for years sends me a note that they don't want to see it any more, which is also fine. But then there are the folks who, after receiving TIS for years, move away to some new address and never bother informing me. The zine gets forwarded to them a few times, and then Bam! I get one back with the Yellow Sticker of Fuck You on it.
I hate the Yellow Sticker of Fuck You.
The YSoFU, loosely translated, means the person on the other end thinks so little of you they don't really care if you waste the money it cost to create and mail their issue to them. They think so little of the zine they've been receiving for years they can't be bothered to send me an email or a postcard announcing their change of address or their desire to never see my zine again. I am not, in other words, worth twenty-seven cents and thirty seconds of their time.
Now, there are, of course, other explanations. Death, certainly, can result in some returned mail. Incarceration. Dementia. Kidnapping. Alien abduction. There's also the tasty possibility that they actually started tossing your zine into the garbage six years ago, unread, envelope unopened, and as a result had a better chance of solving the unified field theory than remembering to alert you to their sudden move. After all, the Post Office provides a nice, impersonal service for those of us stupid enough to mail our wares to the reading public: that's right, the YELLOW STICKER OF FUCK YOU.
Sometimes, certainly, the YSoFU is my own damn fault, sure. I'm a man who can't remember to wear pants half the time, kids, I sure do send out my share of misaddressed zines. We are not, after all, a corporation with employees, unless the imaginary Rat in a Smoking Jacket and the imaginary Leprechaun named McEgo that I regularly hallucinate after drinking anything in the house that might contain alcohol count as employees. Which I don't think they do. Though I will make a note here to have my legal team—comprised of two monkeys wearing superman outfits that may, possibly, also be imaginary—look into it. So yes, often the appearance of a YSoFU is pretty much my own damn fault, especially when I notice I've addressed the zine to “President, Washington” or “Pope, Italy”.
But soooo many of them come from folks who just couldn't be bothered to tip me off that they didn't want the damn zine any more. Or who thought so little of the zine that it never entered their minds. Either way, I get the Yellow Sticker, and all I can do is making tiny fists of rage in the post office, which means I'll be followed by the Postal Police for a few weeks. Again.
Please, when you move, please alert your zine publishers to the fact. Or someone might start tracking you to your new location and mailing you monkey feces. I'm just sayin'.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
A Charles Bronson impersonator "singing" about "Punk Rock Creeps." It just makes me laugh. Also, on the weekend of Sept. 20-21 I will be attending the Boston Zine Fair along with the debuting Fish with Legs #12. For info check http://www.bostonzinefair.org/
Anyhow, some reviews
SKIN DEEP- I sort of admire people with tattoos. To think that somebody could walk into a tattoo parlor, show the tattoo artist the design they want and say "Yes, I want this design on my body until the day I die. Through all the sags and wrinkles and fading and weight gains and weight losses and changes in my tastes and everything else that could happen in my life I am confident that this design is something I want to take with me on all my life's journeys." It's quite a decision when you think about it. And a lot of people don't seem to put much thought into the whole thing. For Christ's sake, man, of all the designs in the universe you could pick and you end up with a god damn "tribal symbol"? Or an Asian character? If something is going to be so closely identified with you don't you want it to at least be a little creative? Do you really wanna go through life looking like a tool who got a tattoo just for the sake of getting a tattoo? Is the sheer thrill of having colored ink in your skin so great that you'd be willing to get any old thing? Me, I know this is a decision worth taking seriously and I also know it's not one I could make. I have a way of deciding something is funny and brilliant for a couple of days and then all of a sudden realizing it was never all that funny to begin with. Any tattoo I got I know I would soon regret. At any rate, if you haven't figured it out by now, this is a zine full of tattoo stories. Not so much the boring "How I got my tattoo" stories but stories about why they got their tattoos and what they mean along with some sidebars on the history of tattooing and photos of tattoos (including 4 color pages. J. Gavin Heck's little alligator over the nipple is exactly the sort of tattoo I would get thinking it was the funniest thing ever only to get sick of it in a week or 2. But it's small so what the Hell? And William P Tandy's is pretty awesome looking and I'm not superstitious enough to think it is anything more than a cool looking tattoo) I really enjoyed this one. Worth reading if you're into tattoos or are even just interested in knowing about other's ink. And regarding Rahne Alexander's bio- the myth that tattoo ink being magnetic and causing you great harm if you go through an MRI has been debunked by the Mythbusters. That really doesn't have anything to do with anything, but I take great pleasure in using something I learned watching Mythbusters in everyday conversation. 5.5 x 8.5 60 pages. Send $3 to Eight-Stone Press PO Box 11064 Baltimore MD 21212 http://www.eightstonepress.com/ email@example.com
BIPEDAL, BY PEDAL- Bikers are another group of people I admire. I don't mean motorcyclists, who I have no opinion of one way or the other, but people who ride bikes. Riding your bike to and from work every day? That shit's exhausting, yo. I attempted to do this for a little while (the full story of that one will be in the next Fish with Legs. Unless I forget or it's too boring to wrote about) and I'd see people cruising on their bikes like it was nothing while my legs would feel like rubber after riding halfway down the block. I haven't given up on biking, but for now I'm walking. At any rate, this zine covers the Critical Mass movement. What is Critical Mass? Basically it's a huge (or not huge. It all depends on who shows up) bike ride (or skateboard ride or roller blade ride or a walk. Any form of self propelled transportation is accepted but it seems mostly for bikers) that takes place at 5:30 on the last Friday of the month. The basic goal is to fuck things up for people trying to drive home from work by clogging the streets with a critical (and legal) mass of bikes and the like. Kinda sucks for the semi responsible folks who take the bus, but them's the breaks I guess. This is a surprisingly even handed look at the whole movement. It's obviously pro bike, but it doesn't shy away from mentioning some of the more negative aspects of the ride. I was expecting this to just be "Critical Mass! Critical Mass ! Rah rah rah!" propaganda but it was actually a fair look at the whole thing. I enjoyed this zine more than I expected to. 4.25 x 5.5 40 pages no price listed Joe Biel 222 S. Rogers St Bloomington IL47404 http://www.microcosmpublishing.com/
PICARESQUE #10 This is what I like to call a great short attention span zine. As the author describes it this is a zine of "some stories. some funny, some not" which nicely sums it up. For the most part the ones meant to be funny are funny and the ones that are not aren't. They're all short personal stories about girlfriends and drinking and working as a teacher and a high school reunion and all kinds of things. And if you don't like one the next one is no more than half a page away. The stories are loosely connected, but for the most part you can flip anywhere and read anything and enjoy it. The perfect zine to leave next to the toilet. 20 pages ("some blank") 5.5 x 8.5 Brendan Rocks 9-17 Mayes St. Stawell, Victoria/ Australia 3380 firstname.lastname@example.org
More reviews very soon
Friday, August 29, 2008
As zine makers never tire to state, making a zine is in itself an awesome thing, and every person who takes the time to write, put together and share his or her creation with other people deserves to be praised. This said, it’s also true that too many zines are not all that interesting. Between poorly chosen subjects, navel-gazing perziners, and just plain bad writers, I sometimes wonder why I waste my time reading so-so stuff instead of a good book. Luckily once in a while I discover something truly different that manages to both entertain and inform. American Gun Culture Report goes even beyond that, as editor Ross Eliot tackles a controversial subject in an original, thought-provoking way. The subject, of course, is gun control; the role firearms play within society and culture; and how they relate to power, violence, and politics. More importantly, Ross wants to show that not all gun owners are your stereotypical supporters of the status quo or racist paranoiacs. As he writes in the premiere issue of AGCR, “there should be no contradiction between advocating for human rights as well as gun rights.” (To get the idea, you only have to check his web site out and have a look at the photo gallery, featuring a seemingly out of place bunch of gays, Goths, and other strangely clothed people at a shooting range in Portland).
I was born and raised in Italy, and Europe has been for years an anti-gun environment. My father was a police officer, and in my family we all knew where he kept his pistol, but the place was strictly off-limits and I never even dreamed of touching it. For the last 16 years, then, I have lived in Japan, a country where firearm ownership is severely restricted. They put you in prison even if you own a modified toy gun. Indeed, the general opinion here is that the strict national laws must be thanked for the very low rate of violent deaths. With such a background, you can imagine the attitude with which I approached this zine (let’s say “open but skeptical”). Also, I keep thinking that the USA is in many respects an extreme country with extreme social conditions, and what can be considered acceptable and even necessary for people living there – “we have a moral right and responsibility to defend ourselves and our families against harm” (Wild West style) – is a little out of place in our countries. But Ross really does a very fine job of balancing all the different points of views. Another thing I noticed is that in the span of three issues, he has somewhat expanded the scope of AGCR from a strictly-gun-talk zine to a place where social and political issues are thoroughly explored. And of course there is the writing: AGCR currently boasts some of the most interesting, articulate, wickedly funny writers in zinedom. And no, Ross didn’t have to point a gun to my head to make me write such a good review. Order AGCR and find for yourself.
American Gun Culture Report, issues #1-3, $3.00, $10.00 for a 4-issue subscription, 52 pages www.myspace.com/agcr308
Saturday, August 23, 2008
What's shaking? I have a new novel,Blog Love Omega Glee, now being serialized on my blog, http://wredfright.blogspot.com It's not as cool as a doing it as a zine like Emus, but it's a lot cheaper (I think for the cost of putting out seven issues of Emus as a zine, I could have just published it as a book--but of course that wouldn't have been as much fun). Anyway enough about that novel, this novel's set in 2012 and about two bloggers who fall in love while the world falls apart, but the plot is mainly just the skeleton to hang the silliness on. I'll also let you in on a secret, the novel was supposed to be about two zine publishers, but I changed my mind at the last minute and made them bloggers instead because being bloggers in 2012 seemed retro enough.
Friday, August 22, 2008
240 pages, 7x9.25", paperback (11 oz)
"Microcosm is sending off 2007's Zine Yearbook to the printer! We stepped up the effort this year to include relevant articles about the year in zines - super fun zine fests, life changing experiences, amazing pen pal connections, and stories from people who hold zines dear to their hearts. We are trying to create a representative collection of not only reprints from zines published in 2007 but also a pulse of what 2007 was like for zines! Twice the size of previous zine yearbooks with mostly preserved original layouts! Our neighbor Rchrd designed the cover."
send a copy to:
360 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
I guess it wouldn't hurt if it said Attention: Zine Reviews Column on
there somewhere, as well.
The zine reviews column appears in print and online 4 times a year on the
1st of the month in March, May, September, and November.
Submitted zines should be zines (e.g. not newsletters, self-published
books, chapbooks, anything with a spine, most anything with a masthead,
etc.). Low end artist's books and minicomics will be considered.
Jenna Freedman, MLIS
Coordinator of Reference Services
and Zine Librarian
Barnard College Library
AIM, Google Talk & Yahoo: BarnardLibJenna
Back to the Roots
I’m a hardcore townie and could never live in the countryside, let alone engage in such activities as gardening or growing my own vegetables. This of course does not mean that I don’t enjoy reading about people who lead that kind of life and more generally embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. I actually envy them because I’m conscious that they are fundamentally right and it is people like me who are ruining our dead old planet.
Enter Dan Murphy and Trace Ramsey, two nice guys who like to get their hands dirty and rant about their life choices. Dan describes himself as a “gentleman farmer” (“but just because it sounds cool,” he adds) and his zine The Juniper as 1) the journal of a budding horticulturist; 2) a flippant response to the Man’s agenda; and 3) a heartfelt attempt at knocking some sense into society. The two issues I have (#9 and #10) are rather slim but they are very worth reading. In issue #9, for example, he writes about his experience working as the assistant farm manager of an organic farm near the
Even Trace is actively engaged in supporting local and organic farms. He has been putting out his zine Quitter since 2005. After publishing five issues, he has decided to collect the whole lot into a 40-page hand-made book and he was kind enough to send me copy #35 (I know because each copy is numbered). The object itself is a little jewel, with a great color cover and color and b/w illustrations throughout. And then there’s the writing, of course. Put it simply, I believe that the best writing is the kind that 1) manages to be engaging regardless of the subject; 2) makes me think; and most of all 3) makes me feel like I want to take highlighter and pen and cover the pages with comments and orange marks. Quitter managed to do all these things.
Trace writes what he calls creative non fiction, and through the years has developed the ability to put common words together in original combinations. He manages to be sophisticated in a natural, unassuming way. At the same time, he anchors his rants with stories taken from his memories. Sometimes he will write something like “I was born with an extra pair of ribs” and the reader (or at least a dumb reader, such as myself) will search for hidden meanings until he realizes that is the plain truth. Apart from the autobiographical notes, the common theme that returns in all the five issues is Trace’s decision to “quit” the kind of world that humankind has turned into a huge pile of garbage. Quitting a job he hates and translates into “someone else’s hopes and mortgage and car payments;” quitting unconscious consumption; temporarily quitting the civilized world in order to live for three months in “solitary confinement” in a forest and study the breeding habits of a small songbird… What he will not quit is fighting to “preserve the history of (…) an idea that would often be considered irrelevant by the dominant culture,” and writing “for an audience that is resilient in its opposition of being taken for granted.” What can you ask more from a zine?
Back to Dan, he publishes another zine, Elephant Mess, that couldn’t be more different from The Juniper. I’ve got issue #19 that is supposed to be a kind of celebration (it is subtitled “Nice Things – The Ten Year Anniversary”) but the general mood is rather gloomy. As much as The Juniper is a call to go out and do stuff, this one is the occasion to explore darker places. It’s all about things that hurt, old wounds that never heal, and longing for solitude. As Dan himself admits, “I enjoy the reactions I receive when I routinely embody pessimism.” Luckily Dan doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, and the overall effect is often amusing. Another major difference is the writing: The Juniper’s plain, direct style is replaced here by a more convoluted prose, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Even though Dan thinks he often sounds like an imbecile, I find this a rewarding reading experience. If you want to know 101 more things about Dan, you can have a look at his blog (listed below)
The Juniper and Elephant Mess, $2 each, Dan Murphy, P.O. Box 3154, Moskow, ID 83843, USA,
Quitter, $15 plus shipping. Trace Ramsey,
Thursday, August 21, 2008
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