Who and What We Are

Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reviews from Julie Dorn

MIRANDA #18
Kate Haas
3510 SE Alder Street
Portland, OR 97214
oceanreader@gmail.com
www.mirandazine.com
$2, 28 pages, digest

Continually ranking in my top ten zines of all time, MIRANDA delivers another fabulous read. I usually read this zine aloud to my husband, but this time we devoured it together, hunched in a barely-lit room while waiting for a concert to start. Kate’s opening story about watching Obama win on election night with her two sons nearly made me cry. We’re on the cusp of starting to have children, and I’m thinking about the world in a new way. Knowing that the Bush administration’s eight-year plague of war and fiscal irresponsibility and divisiveness is about to end sends me into a happy dance. I finally can support the man that will soon be running our country. What a relief. Kate’s zine strikes a deeper chord in me now, because I not only admire her parenting style but the way she can retain her identity as a woman, a traveler, a storyteller, an activist, a writer—with being a mother.
In #18, Kate compares The Austins by Madeleine L’Engle to the reality of her family, shares homegrown rituals (all three of which are FABULOUS), describes her attempts to memorize “Kubla Khan” one steamy week in Morocco, and her always amazing list of book suggestions. My favorite part is “The Motel of Lost Companions,” where Kate shares a story of a long lost friend and their adventures together. Highly recommended.


RE:PRODUCTIVE v.1
Christa Donner
PO Box 6571
Chicago, IL 60680-6571
http://www.christadonner.com/print/reproductivezine1.html
$5, 48 pages, digest

Christa writes LADYFRIEND, another stellar zine, but RE:PRODUCTIVE is a companion piece to a visual art show from 2008. She collected narratives from twenty seven diverse women on topics related to how reproduction and fertility shape identity (or don’t) and accompany them with drawings similar to those featured in the show. These stories run the gamut from motherhood, labor, midwifery, lesbian parenting, body image, hysterectomies, adoption, egg donation, infertility, miscarriages, abortions, the pressure to procreate and opting out of parenthood. It was particularly interesting for me to read these different perspectives and see how my views of this topic have changed over the years, shifting from my original desires of spinsterhood to my current state of married and ready for kids. Smart, compelling and pro-woman (as always). Highly recommended.


MAN UP
Sarah Morean
PO Box 3629
Minneapolis, MN 55403
$2?, 36 pages, half-size

This compilation zine is about one of the most reviled, misunderstood and polarizing phenomenon in the world: the moustache. Love it or hate it, MAN UP covers the spectrum of commentary—the moustache as indicator of villainy, defense of the humble patch of upper lip fur, knitting patterns to make your own moustache, instructions on how to grow a fab ‘stache, and an interview with local Minneapolis artist Scott Seekins. Each copy of MAN UP includes your very own adhesive moustache (mine was “The Rogue,” a tan stripe of what looked like carpeting). I believe that only certain people can successfully pull off a moustache without looking smarmy or ridiculous, but I have new respect for this underdog of the hair world.


LISTY #3
Maria Goodman
PO Box 303, 2000 NE 42nd Street Suite D
Portland, OR 97213
mariasoapy@yahoo.com
$2, 38 pages, digest

As always, Maria has created a charming zine full of stories and whimsical fun. She and her partner, Andrew Robinson, trade off with list-related topics like the top five awkward moments, literary pet peeves, people currently in a ten-foot radius of her at the public library, the largest amounts of found money (Andrew once found $100!) and displeasing desserts. Delaine Derry Green makes a guest appearance with one of the most organized, detailed list/monthly planners I’ve ever seen. Highly recommended.


POETS ESPRESSO Sept. 2008
Donald R. Anderson and Nikki Quismondo, editors
1426 Telegraph Avenue #4
Stockton, CA 95204
poetsespresso@gmail.com
http://poetsespresso.com
Free locally, $7 for 6 mailed issues, 24 pages, digest

I feel inept when I try to critique poetry. Many times, I have no idea what the poem is really about, but I can appreciate the flow, the rhythm of the words and the way it sounds in my head as I read it. As a reviewer, I get a lot of poetry and fiction. A lot of it is bad, and I don’t write a blurb for XEROGRAPHY DEBT. Sometimes, like in the case of POETS ESPRESSO, it’s good and I’m happy to share my limited opinion with you.
Three poems in particular stood out for me: “Tribute to David Humphreys” by Marie J. Ross and “One Last Farewell” by Patricia Ann Mayorga, both about their late poet and friend, and the delicious “Fig” by Chantel C. Guidry. All were moving, melodic and lingering. This issue also includes Bruce Crawford’s “Variant Pressure,” the first place winner in Scott’s Valley Poetry Contest.


LITERAL CHAOS no.1: the water issue
Amanda Wells
10156 Sakura Drive
St. Louis, MO 63128
editor@literalchaos.com
www.literalchaos.com
$7, 24 pages, digest

Another fiction/poetry zine, LITERAL CHAOS offers enjoyable, solid writing around the theme of water. I especially liked Mister Ben’s silly and fun to read “Wetter Tales : Once Told, Twice Forgotten” and Lisa Ebert’s short story “Mississippi.” Even with the pretty color cover, I’m cheap and would be hard pressed to pay $7 for any zine unless I knew I would love nearly every page of it. I wish this zine well—it’s hard to find a market for poetry/fiction zines (reviewers seem to avoid them like the Ebola virus), especially at that price.


DO-IT-YOURSELF SCREENPRINTING : How to turn your home into a t-shirt factory
John Isaacson
Microcosm Publishing
POB 14332
Portland, OR 97293
www.microcosmpublishing.com
www.unlay.com
$9, 160 pages, paperback (ISBN 0-9770557-4-4)

Can I just say how thrilled I was when Davida sent this to me to review? I took my first class in printmaking in spring 2008 and loved it, but I needed to push aside my free studio art classes to make room for the library science ones instead. I’d dreamed of doing woodcuts at home, mostly because they’re pretty cheap, easy and require only a few items (piece of class, oil based ink, brayer, paper, wooden spoon and ink cleaner). Now, thanks to this wonderful comic book, I can make screen prints at home, too! It’s a bit more complicated, especially if you want more than one color, but John breaks down the process into easy-to-understand steps. He shares his experiences selling his work, moving out of his house and into mass-production and gives helpful hints to DIY printers along the way. John has been a screenprinter, cartoonist and musician for over ten years. Currently living in Berkeley, he’s traveled to Ireland, Chile, China and Peru. Check out the second website to see samples of his work.


BOOTY #21
Anne Thalheimer
8 Clark Street #2
Holyoke, MA 01040
motes@simons-rock.edu
$2?, 16 pages, digest

After a year hiatus, Anne returns with another great comic depiction of her life. After getting a new job that uses her Ph.D., joining the roller derby and launching her very own monster hat venture (check out https://mymonsterhat.com/home.php), Anne’s got a lot to write about! My favorite pages were “100 random facts about me” and her drawings for “All I Need” by Radiohead. I always find Anne inspiring because no matter how busy she is, she incorporates art into her life. (My distractible and procrastinating self is jealous.) I’m grateful I can read about it in BOOTY and hopefully inject the same sense of fun and creativity in my own life amidst the chaos and laziness. Yay, BOOTY!


ZINE WORLD #26: A reader’s guide to the underground press
POB 330156
Murfreesboro, TN 37133-0156
www.undergroundpress.org
$4 US, $5 Canada/Mexico, $6 Everywhere else, 62 pages, full size

ZINE WORLD, like XEROGRAPHY DEBT, is a review zine. Chock full of suggestions for fabulous independent media, this is a wonderful resource (200+ zine reviews plus books). Extra marvelous treats are Heath Row’s article “Censoring news: from Redding to Russia” and the letters to the editor. This is a must-have for those who are new, addicted or curious about the world of zines.


CRANES
Kyt Dotson
http://www.millvexations.com/
Free-$2, printed version pages vary, digest

Dotson writes a serial novella about Vex Harrow, a tough goth in the Mill Avenue area of Tempe, AZ who delves in the supernatural. The story itself currently has nine volumes, and CRANES is a stand-alone “tribute fiction” involving some of the same characters. There is no summary of the story in CRANES, so you’ll have to go to the website to figure out who who’s and what’s happening. By itself, I didn’t have enough context to thoroughly enjoy and understand the story in CRANES but I was impressed by Dotson’s writing abilities and her website, which includes free full-text version of every volume of this story, a discussion forum, links to Mill Avenue business, gothic subculture information and related fiction suggestions. There’s a dedicated following—she has a link to the first fan fiction story related to Mill Avenue Vexations. Dotson also has two published fantasy/paranormal books (one through amazon and the other a free e-book).


POTENTIALLY HEARTWRENCHING DISTRACTIONS AND OTHER WONDERFUL POSSIBILITIES
Bucket D. Siler
POB 10192
Santa Fe, NM 87504
yournamehere@hush.com
myspace.com/bucketsiler
$2/2.50/3, 28 pages, digest

PWDaOWP is a tight, satisfying perzine about Bucket’s travels across the country, breaking up, coming out, friends, love and life. Text heavy with a few drawings.


WATCH THE CLOSING DOORS #44
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11230-4060
$10 for four quarterly issues, 20 pages, digest

I’ve heard about WATCH THE CLOSING DOORS for years but have never read it. Thanks to Davida, I finally got one in my review envelope. Fred writes about all things subway, mostly encompassing NYC but also including Guadalajara, Shanghai, Paris and Buenos Aires. I LOVED the photo of the Underground Catwalk in Berlin (the model was wearing leather and pasties) and the detailed description of the no. 4 (Lexington Avenue express) line in New York. This zine is well worth the hype!!!

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