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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maynard Reviews some Zines (July 2009)

Allergies: how to deal, February 2009
Ali Thompson
$4.00 US, 16 pgs.
P.O. Box 95
Runnymeade, NJ

Allergy self-care zine for the lay person. Includes effective remedies and allergy prevention tips. Ironically, I have had direct experience with the material discussed and have used all the remedies mentioned. How weird is that?

Note to Ali: have you visited naet.org or read Ellen Cutler's excellent book, “The Food Allergy Cure”? I used both of these resources to resolve very serious allergies. I bet the authors of these resources would welcome your interest if you are going to expand that helpful little zine. This kind of info is very helpful, especially for uninsured folks suffering from allergies, as I was when I had to find alternative therapies.

Underworld Crawl, no. 6
R. Lee
$2.00, 27 pgs.
P.O. Box 1421
Oshkosh, WI, 54903

Wow! R. Lee's slice-of-life zine kicks major narrative ass. This writer has serious character and narrative chops. Anecdotes are tightly written, and show character with brevity and clarity, and as a bonus, are revelatory of the narrator.

Shows all of humanity (well, a gosh darn large swath) in a few, short, well-placed strokes. Leaves the reader wanting and dreading more.

The honest revelation of the ugliness, uselessness and negativity that goes with the human condition is tempered and curves back on itself; and ironically, after reading, one is left with an aftertaste of compassion. Genius.

No Conversation, #1
Free with trade or 3 or 4 US stamps
Likes mail, so send comments and letters
P.O. Box 793
Ruidoso, NM, 88355-0793

Great mini-travelogue that clearly and entertainingly depicts that author's travels in Malaysia. Astute, insightful, politically interesting, Dean takes you through everyday life in Indonesia. The sights, the smells, the effects of the sex trade on ordinary moments in life, all are described so the reader can grasp a sense of the chaotic, busy, frenetic pace of a part of the world that remains a mystery to most of us.

Dean captures souls well in his writing, and one feels one has met those that he describes. The details he puts in and leaves out are magic, poignant and downright shattering. His handling of the wealth gap is well done – not preachy or self-serving or even embarrassed. And most worrying is his relation of corruption in government and society. Imagine if the whole US were run by gangs and the mafia, you get an idea of what taking care of business is like in Malaysia. I hadn't considered the corrosive effects of corruption – how it enables poverty and grinds social progress to a standstill.

One of the Founding Fathers, Franklin, observed that we'd hang on to the Republic until the average citizen became corrupt.

Watch the Closing Doors, #46
Fred Argoff
$10.00, 4 quarterly issues, cash only
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY, 11230

What a joy! Mass transit all over the globe, this time a stop in Dubai, which looks alarmingly like LA. Really cool pictures from subway systems, and amusing, yet informative essays about the 225th Station and the Z Train in New York City.

Opuntia 67.1E, Victoria Day, 2009
Dale Speirs
$3.00 cash, trade for zine or letter of comment, no US stamps.
Box 6830
T2P 2E7

Steampunk! I would not have connected Speirs as a steampunk fan, as the willing suspension of disbelief for someone who is mechanically inclined would be steep (the reason lawyers hate law shows and doctors are allergic to medical dramas). He has reviewed a huge number of short stories from Extraordinary Engines (2008 mass market paperback edited by Nick Gevers). What bliss to steampunk freaks. This is a fascinating genre to me, what a hoot!

Also included is a rare music review, which Speirs likens to “dancing about architecture” because text and notes hardly are equivalents. Anyhoo, he has a million versions of Bolero, which I also found amusing. Issue also includes zine reviews and his eclectic gatherings of articles from various scientific journals.

Always a treat for a free-range intellect.

The Ken Chronicles , number 9, November 2008
Ken Bausert
2140 Erma Drive
East Meadow, NY, 11554-1120

Very sweet and personal zine about a really nice guy, Ken. Includes family anecdotes, vacation description, everyday issues (retirement and insurance) and his musical adventures with his kids.

This zine does a great job of showing the reader about Ken, and he seems to be a loving, interesting, older zinester. I thought I was old in zineland, but this guy is my Dad's age, and to a lot of you young-uns, he's grandpa! Scary thought.

The weird point of personal connection I had to this zine was the Tappan Zee Bridge. I spent a miserable 4 hours on that swaying, frozen thing when the family car died on it one bleak winter. Ken tells his tale of adventure on a road trip with his Garvin (GPS) in attempting to avoid the George Washington Bridge. My grandpappy and father were also fond of avoiding the GW Bridge. That was why we were stuck on the Tappan Zee!

Nothing is more annoying that using a GPS when you sort of know the way you want to go, but don't know enough to get there yourself. I recently drove around the Pentagon 80 times and probably got myself profiled for my troubles.

In My Mailbox 7-22-09


Another week, another trip to my PO Box. At least I'm not getting chastised by postal workers for leaving it for months and forcing them to pile my mail on the floor and scowl.

- Xerography Debt #25 ($3, Davida G. Breier, POB 11064, Baltimore, MD 21212; leekinginc.com) Don't worry, I have inspected this issue to make sure it contains my usual column and at least one review of TIS. It does. Safe for you to read!

XD seems to be getting better with age, actualy. This is a crisp, smoove-looking issue that invites you to read.

- WTF? #1 ("Jetset Analog Future"; $3, DJ Burnett, POB 131, Fryburg, PA 16326) digest-size BW zine is pretty funny, and I like the Letters FROM the Editor. Reminds me of me, which means it rocks.

- Carrots & Condoms #2 ($2/trade, Coco Negro, POB 163327, Sacramento, CA 95816; quothethecat@riseup.net) Apparently my zine made such an impression on Coco years and years ago. . .that it took them years and years to send me a trade. Oh well. It's well-dione and has a pretty cover, and lots of personal words and drawings inside - a classic perzine, methinks.

That was the goods this week! I feel like shit. Summer flu here I come!


Blog - http://www.jeffreysomers.com/blather/
The Inner Swine - http://www.innerswine.com

Sunday, July 12, 2009

OK, Eric's Month of Reviews Then...

My week of reviews was even more of a miserable failure than I anticipated. In my defense I did end up sleeping a lot last week. I'd intend to do some reviews, then I'd take a little nap not wake up until the next morning. But I still have zines right here and I'm gonna review 'em, by gum.

SUNDOGS #6, Nov./Dec. 2008 This is a good one. It's a zine with 3 panel diary comics about Adam's life as an American living in Japan with his wife and baby son. This issue more or less covering Halloween through Xmas. It's a very enjoyable read with brief snippets about pretty much all aspects of Adam's life including fatherhood, growing a mustache. teaching, odd Japanese customs (A Christmas cake? Seriously? This strikes me as wrong for some vaguely odd reason.) and watching THE WIRE (seriously, THE WIRE is fucking awesome. I could go on and on about THE WIRE. ) It's not quite laugh out loud funny, but most of it is pretty light hearted and will bring a smile to your face. 24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 Send $2, trade, or 200 yen to
Adam Pasion
1-42 Namiuchi-Cho, Kita-ku
Nagoya, Aichi, 462-0041

OH HO- This is a mini zine by Susan Boren who did (does?) the zine CLIP TART and it's basically a mini version of CLIP TART. Some really nice looking collages, some black & white, some full color and the full color ones are really beautiful. Like I've said before about Susan's work, I'm not sure what to make of it exactly, but I like it. 24 pages, 2.75 x 4.25 Send either a few bucks or trade to Susan Boren PO Box 66512, Austin TX 78766

BROOKLYN! #64- Sixty four issues? Holy shit. I feel like I'm not as familiar with Fred Argoff's work as I should be. Let's see, this zine is quarterly so that means he's been doing it for 16 years. Wow. Impressive. And it's a good zine though to honest even 16 years of a shit zine would be impressive in it's way. The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn. I've always liked zines about one certain topic that the author has a passion for. Even if I don't care about what's being written about I usually enjoy it just for the passion the author brings to it. This issue features a Brooklyn fable, photos of Brooklyn, (my personal favorite being of an SUV that fell into a giant sinkhole.) Brooklyn lexicon, Brooklyn signs and just a lot of info about Brooklyn. Good stuff here. 24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription to Fred Argoff Penthouse L 1170 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn NY 11230

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eric's Week of Reviews

You know what? I have not shaved since the death of Billy Mays. Is it a touching tribute to America's most beloved bearded pitchman? Is it sheer laziness and poor grooming habits? Or maybe just maybe is it a little bit of both? OK, it's mostly the second one, but I must confess a certain fondness for ol' Billy.

At any rate, every day this week I will be posting some reviews here until I either get through all the zines I have to review or I get bored. Oh, and I got me one of those fancy dan new facebook pages. It's www.facebook.com/ericfishlegs. Add me as a friend. Or don't. Either way.

INNER SWINE Vol.14 #4 December 2008. Josh Saitz who does the zine NEGATIVE CAPABILITY (www.negcap.com) told me that he recently had a dream that he, I, Jeff Somers of INNER SWINE) and R. Lee (UNDERWORLD CRAWL which is one of my favorites and you should be able to find a review of it somewhere on this site) went on a zine tour. He said it was a huge disaster because everywhere we went people to read people just thought "Who the hell are these assholes?" I mention this because this zine has just been reviewed so often that it's hard to come up with something new to say. The theme of this issue is "Kids" and he makes a convincing argument that kids do indeed suck and rule the world. There's a lot of good stuff in this issue. I even found Jeff's story about taking guitar lessons for the first time in his life at age 35 to be almost inspiring. he also wrote a brief anti-Kindle piece which reminded me of something- my Mom got a Kindle for Xmas she loves it and says she rarely even goes to the library anymore. because instead of reading books for free she can now pay $10 to read them on a little machine. I don't quite fathom how that makes any sense, but who am I to argue? 60 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, send either $2 or a trade to Jeff Somers PO Box 3024, Hoboken, NJ, 07030 mreditor@innerswine.com

SLICES- Hey, I just remembered I owed Jaime (the author of this zine) a trade. I'd better get on that. Jaime Crespo does a weekly comic strip called Slice O' Life and this zine collects what Jaime considers to be his 40 best cartoons. His strips are mainly about odd people Jaime has met over the years, many of whom seem to do a lot of drugs and die bizarre deaths. Some of the comics are funny, some were oddly touching, all are worth reading. Jaime also does a zine called TORTILLA that features more comics and stories by Jaime and like SLICES it's also worth reading. SLICES is 40 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, send $5 to Jaime Crespo, PO Box 112 San Anselmo, CA 94979 www.jaimecrespo.com

CRANKY BUDDHA #7- I like this kind of zine. It's basically a compendium of useless and bizarre information (one tid bit so useless and bizarre that I mentioned it way back in issue 7 of my own zine.) along with some reviews of books considered to be "hobo literature", the entire text of Calamity Jane's autobiography, a "stupid cop trick" that is truly stupid, kind of cruel, and I am ashamed to admit I would love to see somebody try and a review of a strange movie featuring a cameo by Col. Sanders. I enjoyed this one. 60 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, $2 or trade Danny Swank 2262 SE 39th Ave, Portland OR 97214 drdannyswank@gmail.com www.crankybuddah.com