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Xerography Debt #10

Table of Contents

Xerography Debt
Issue #10
February 2003


Davida Gypsy Breier, Editor


Fred Argoff, Androo Robinson, Donny Smith, Eric Lyden, & Bobby Tran Dale, Founding Reviewers

Mark Hain, Matt Fagan, Christoph Meyer, Erin Quinlan, Eric Lyden, Gavin J. Grant, Dan Taylor, Brooke Young, Maria Goodman, Rick Bradford, Kate Haas, Kathy Moseley, Ted Mangano, & William P. Tandy, Reviewers


Androo Robinson and Matt Fagan, Artists

Xerography Debt is a Leeking Inc., publication. It is scheduled to appear 3 times a year. Issues are $3. Send cash/stamps, zines, and correspondence to: Xerography Debt
Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
E-mail: davida@leekinginc.com
Website: www.leekinginc.com
© February 2003

#11 Due out June 2003. You can pre-order today!
XEROGRAPHY DEBT #10 COVER
  • Cover by Androo Robinson
  • Back cover and interior art by Matt Fagan

To order a paper copy of this issue, please send $3 (cash, stamps, money order, or check) to Davida Gypsy Breier, PO Box 11064, Baltimore, MD 21212

Distribution: Atomic Books, Quimby’s, SoberBrothers.com, Stickfigure Distro, & Tower Records


  • Introduction
  • Basic Stuff You Should Know
  • Announcements
  • Submissions
The Columns
  • “Hey, You with the Zine” by Benn Ray
  • “Font Use 101” By Davida Gypsy Breier
  • “It Means its Wank” By Jeff Somers
The Reviews
  • Reviews by Dan Taylor
  • Reviews by Erin Quinlan
  • Reviews by Donny Smith
  • Reviews by Mark Hain
  • Reviews by Fred Argoff
  • Reviews by Androo Robinson (only available in print version)
  • Reviews by Brooke Young
  • Reviews by Christoph Meyer
  • Reviews by Eric Lyden
  • Reviews by Maria Goodman
  • Reviews by Kathy Moseley
  • Reviews by Kate Haas
  • Reviews by Rick Bradford
  • Reviews by Matt Fagan
  • Reviews by Bobby Tran Dale
  • Reviews by Ted Mangano
  • Reviews by Josh Bowron
  • Reviews by Gavin J. Grant
  • Reviews by William P. Tandy
  • Reviews by Davida Gypsy Breier

Introduction

Strange…in this issue many of the reviewers out themselves as poetry fans. I guess we are living in a new era where people can admit this without fear of social ostracism and political repercussions.

I would like to thank Mother Nature for the 27 inches of snow she dumped on the Baltimore area, which enabled me to miss two days of work and finally get caught up.

Donny Smith and I decided that The Home of Zineland Security had seen enough ink. It is now available online at: www.leekinginc.com/xeroxdebt/zineland.htm. I will also gladly send reprints upon request. Donny has also started a comprehensive index of all the zines that have been reviewed in XEROGRAPHY DEBT. It is a work in process with over 1000 entries and 5 issues indexed. You can view it online at: www.leekinginc.com/xeroxdebt/xdindex.htm.

I keep trying to refine and enhance each issue, so let me know what you like or don't like. Also, I apologize for the small type size. I was faced with the dilemma of reducing the font size, cutting a large amount of material, or increasing the page count. I couldn't afford the extra page and I didn't have the heart to cut more than I had already, so hopefully the smaller size will work for everyone.

Enjoy!
Davida Gypsy Breier
February 2003


Basic stuff you should know

If this is your first issue, XEROGRAPHY DEBT is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers. It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine. XEROGRAPHY DEBT has its own freestyle approach. It is all about communication, so each reviewer has used the format or style most comfortable to him or her. Also, each reviewer "owns" the zine in a completely communal, non-possessive sense. We are individual artists and writers coming together to collaborate and help keep zineland flourishing. It is a communal experience from start to finish. Do your part by ordering a few zines from the many reviewed here and, if you self-publish, please consider including a few reviews in your zine.

XEROGRAPHY DEBT's reviews are selective. To explain the "system." Some reviewers choose to review zines they have bought or traded with, some review zines that are sent to XEROGRAPHY DEBT for review, and some do both. Also, I buy zines at Atomic Books, my local zine store, and zine events, so if you see your zine reviewed and you didn't send it in, that might be where I found it. Generally the only reviews you will read in here are "good reviews." Constructive criticism is given, but basically we don't have the time or money to print bad reviews. If you sent your zine in for review and don't see it listed, wait a few months and see if it appears in the following issue. I read and then distribute the zines to the reviewers about two months before the print date. If the reviewer passed on reviewing you zine, it will be sent out again for the next issue. So, each zine gets two shots with two different reviewers. Ultimately, many of the review copies stay in the XD archives, but some are donated to zine libraries. Occasionally mistakes happen, postal or otherwise, so if you have a question about a zine you sent in for review, please contact Davida at PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078 or davida@leekinginc.com.

XEROGRAPHY DEBT is receiving more and more zines for review. Until issue #6 complimentary copies were sent all of the zines reviewed. That just isn’t feasible any more. If I have your e-mail address, I’ll try and email a copy of the review and a link to the new issue on the website. If I can afford the time and postage I’ll send a postcard or letter with the review. If I am unable to do this, please bear with me, I’m doing the best I can.

It is available for free online (some reviews and artwork will only be available in print) or paper copies can be ordered for $3.

If you have an event, announcement, or project you would like to share, please get in touch.

The lack of paid advertising within these pages is deliberate. Despite reviewing our friends and lovers, we try to be somewhat objective and free to do as we please. Needless to say, this brings up the point of needing some help to stay afloat...


Sponsors

I see Xerography Debt as the PBS of review zines. It is by us, for us, with no financial incentive, just a dedication to small press. If you have a few spare stamps or dollar bills to help support us and the zine community, it would be most appreciated. Also, let me know if you wish to remain anonymous. This issue's sponsors are:

Janette, Patrick, Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman, Dar Veverka, Jeannie McStay, Rhonda Baker, AJ Michel, Scout, Josh Bowron, Tracy Pickle, DB Pedlar, Al Cene, Owen Thomas, Lisa Falour, Ted Mangano, Christoph Meyer, Anne Thalheimer, Matt Fagan, and a few anonymous benefactors.


We love letters…

My p.o. box is actually 617547 not 647547. It is such a treat to be included in this community. (Ed. - Sorry!)

Dan & I have begun a new (and equally less rewarding) campaign of pitching bottles into the Chicago River stuffed with our work and instructions on how to contact us. New books from each of us are imminent.

Zebulun
Chicago, IL

This latest Xerography was quite a fun read...better & better might be a natural course regardless considering the diversity in reviewers that you've assembled, as well as the fact that you keep collecting said reviewers like people collect postage stamps, so diversity in content is inevitable. I think this issue is the most fully realized of what I think, as an outside observer, of what your vision of the zine is sposed be...I hafta say, I really enjoyed Jeff Somers' piece on bad reviews. It was a crafty, well veiled "fuck you" to bad reviews which had just the right amount of tongue in cheekiness backed with some solid points and accountability. A very good addition.

Your comments on Factsheet 5 were definitely on the mark. So much so, I had to really....and I mean this....I really had to think back to how many times I might have cried in my beer to you about the publication's demise if I did at all...bwahahahah. That's wrong. But it's true.

Botda
Oakland, CA


Announcements

NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE ZINE NOW FOR ZINE YEARBOOK
Zine Yearbook is currently accepting nominations for the newest edition. Volume 7 will feature excerpts from zines printed in 2002. Zines must have been printed in 2002 and have circulations of less than 5,000 copies per issue. All you need to do is photocopy the article or artwork that you want nominate, and include the zine's name and address with your entry. Please send your nominations to:
The Zine Yearbook
PO Box 1225
Bowling Green, OH 43402
All entries must be received by February 28, 2003. For more information, email: zineyearbook@yahoo.com.

The bATL collective needs zines for their NEW library
"Right now we have a space in a warehouse in the west end of Atlanta. We have couches, chairs, etc, and probably close to 1000 zines and 100 books. Stickfigure Distro has donated a lot of older zines and books so we started off with a good number of them. The library is open on saturday's from 12pm - 6pm. It is across from Stickfigure Distro so kids have an excuse to be down there and can walk across the street to us. It's open to everybody. We don't have checkout or anything right now. We just have a great collection so people can feel free to read and hang out. In the future we want to have computer access and set up some space to encourage people to start their own projects as well. “
Send your zines to:
Chris Ware
641 Rosalia St. Apt. C
Atlanta, GA 30312-3446
bATL@doityourself.com

Call for Submissions
"Hi! I'm Julie from Junie in Georgia. I'm calling for submissions on a separate zine I want to make about personal tragedies or experiences. If anyone wishes to share their stories through text, drawings, collage or other means, I would love to include them in my zine. The only requirement is that it can be adapted to fit on an 8 1/2 by 11 page. The deadline is August 1st, 2003. Your stories can include anything that has affected you -- an accident, losing a loved one, an injury, getting fired, a natural disaster, whatever. Send to either junieingeorgia@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 438, Avondale Estates, GA 30002. Thanks!”

Salt Lake City Zine Library Moves
“I had no idea that this whole moving the library thing would be such a huge pain in the ass. I really should have known better but, I have spent every moment in the old empty library doing the strangest things and I think a nervous breakdown for the entire library is coming fairly soon. I have no idea how we are going to open on Saturday but they assure me it is going to happen. I have been skipping class to make sure all seven huge boxes of zines will be taken care of. Right now I am alone in the sub basement of the old library, whose phones have been shut off, surrounded by angry looking microfilm machines. If this were the Twilight Zone I would so fall victim to the possessed machines.

“I will admit that the new building is right next door to the old building so Julie and I will still receive mail sent to the old address for the next 50 years or so. So, send all your zines and zine related stuff to: Brooke Young or Julie Bartel (just pick one of us, we read each other's mail anyway)”
Salt Lake City Public Library
210 E 400 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

New Jersey Zinefest
Do you make zines? Read zines? Love zines? Then come out to Rutgers University on Sunday April 13th, 2003 for a zining good time! A bunch of local zine kids are putting together the Garden State's first zinefest, and it will be open to people from all over. If you want to attend or help out in anyway, please get in touch. And tell everyone you know about it!”
Website - http://www.njzinefest.com
Email - njzinefest@yahoo.com
Address - P.O. Box 5754, Parsippany, NJ 07054 (Ed.- At present Leeking Inc. and Eight Stone Press hope to attend.)

POOPSHEET Website Relaunch
“I'm pleased to announce that I am relaunching the Poopsheet website: www.angelfire.com/zine/poopsheet “A couple of changes come with this relaunching. First, the Reviews section will now be produced as a blog. Also, for those unaware, the News page is now here. The beauty of these two changes is that the News and Reviews sections can be updated on a more regular basis (which is to say, as often as possible). So check those pages frequently for updates. Also, anybody who so desires has the freedom to add their news to the News page whenever they wish. Simply fill in the blanks and it's done (registration isn't necessary). This means there will no more formal "issues" of Poopsheet. Rather, it's become a continuously-updated entity. These changes are intended to both make Poopsheet more time-efficient for myself and encourage more interactivity from the readers. I urge you to begin posting your news at your convenience. I'm happy to do it, of course, but you do have that option. Also: Read any interesting zines or comix lately? Want to write a review? I'd like to encourage you to do so and I'll post it to the new Reviews blog.”

Calling all ZINESTERS South of the U.S.- Mexico Border & West of the Mississippi!
“We are building a Zine Archive in the Special Collections and University Archives at SDSU, a repository for fine, unique, and unusual books, periodicals, manuscripts, oral histories, and other documents. The Archive's aim is to provide a protected space for D.I.Y. collections while advancing public access to these important works. Immortalize your creations forever! Zines won't circulate but anyone can use the Archive. Allow someone 100 years from now to read what life was like for YOU and have your publication live on indefinitely. Have extra zines just collecting dust where few people can enjoy? Send us those too!
“Expand access to D.I.Y. publications and promote their preservation!
“We are collecting all zines related to: Feminism, Gender, and Trans Issues, Women/Girls/Trans, Local Music, Local Politics & Activism, and Border issues.”
Please send your inquiries and donations to:
Attn: Elke Zobl
Special Collections & University Archives
Malcolm A. Love Library
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-8050
ezobl@mail.sdsu.edu
http://infodome.sdsu.edu/about/depts/spcollections/


The Columns

HEY, YOU WITH THE ZINE!

By Benn Ray, Atomic Books
1100 W. 36th St., Baltimore, MD 21211
benn@atomicbooks.com
www.atomicbooks.com

Do you want people to read your zine? By people, I mean more than just your immediate family and friends. I mean strangers; people you don’t know who will purchase a copy of your hand-crafted publication and read with great interest your inner-most thoughts and feelings and then send you money for more issues, or even better, a letter telling you how much they love your zine and maybe they’ll even include a copy of their own zine which you may sorta like but will pretend to adore?

Since you’re making a zine, you most likely would like this to happen right? Otherwise you’d just be writing in a diary or something and keeping all those unique thoughts to yourself.

Here are some pointers, from a store owner, on how to get your zine into the hands of readers.

1. CHECK YOUR LOCAL STORES

The very first step (and easiest) to getting your zine out there is to look around the town you live in. Don’t bother with larger chain bookstores, most likely they won’t be too into consigning your zines. Check with any independently owned bookstores (even the used book stores), and inquire if they would be interested in carrying your zine. (If you do a comics zine, check with any local comic shops; they might be willing to give your zine a shot. Please keep in mind though, that if they are a mainstream super-hero comics store, you are most likely not going to sell too many copies of your comics zine-even if it deals with superhero fare. The average mainstream comics reader has little interest for things outside the Marvel & DC Universes). But local area independent stores are always worth trying, and many like to support local writers/artists.

2. FIND STORES LOCATED IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY THAT ARE KNOWN FOR CARRYING ZINES

To find stores outside of your immediate area that carry zines, your best bet is to check with other people who do zines. Most zinesters love getting any kind of mail, so an email asking their advice will most likely always be welcome. There are a handful of stores that carry a selection of zines throughout the country, Atomic Books (of course), Quimby’s, See Hear, and probably some others that I can’t think of right now (Tower Records even carries some zines). Stores have varying reputations in the zine world in terms of how easy they are to deal with, how easy it is to get them to pay for copies of your zine they’ve sold, etc. So by checking with other zinesters (make sure you get multiple opinions because one person may have had a bad experience with a store, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has), you’ll at least know what to expect when dealing with the stores.

3. CONSIGNING YOUR ZINE TO STORES

Most stores that carry zines do so on a consignment basis. That means if your zine sells, you get paid.

Shelf-space is limited. Some might say there are actually more zines than customers for zines. So, in order to get a store to pick up your zine, you need to send them a copy of your zine with a cover letter introducing yourself, your zine and containing all the pertinent zine info and your contact info. I know of many zines that I’d like to carry at Atomic Books, but the zine makers have never contacted us, and my efforts to contact them have turned up nothing.

If you are concerned with shifty retailers selling the review copy you submit to them, write REVIEW COPY in marker somewhere on the front of the zine. But also keep in mind that if a retailer does put your review copy out for sale on their shelves, if that zine sells, that helps you because they may be more interested in carrying your zine.

The key here is that if you send out your zine and hear nothing back from the store, don’t take it personally. Zine submissions are constantly coming in to Atomic Books, and keeping up with them is a full-time job itself. After waiting a few weeks, shoot the store an email or call them “just to make sure they got the zine and to see if they were interested in carrying it.”

4. WHAT KIND OF ZINES DO STORES LOOK FOR?

In terms of what kind of zines stores might pick up, well, I can’t speak for all stores. But I know that in our case, you could be Allen Ginsberg himself, back from the dead, delivering a hand-written copy of HOWL for consignment and we’d think twice about carrying it. I’ve heard some people say that the only people who read zines are people who make zines, that may be true. But the only people who read poetry zines are a very small fraction of the people who make poetry zines. We generally don’t carry them (the same goes for fiction).

Content is key. A unique angle, someone with something to say is just as important as how good your zine looks. We’ve had zines that look like utter shit but have the best content in the world sit on our shelves, and we’ve had zines that look fantastic but really say nothing new or interesting also sit on the shelves.

The world has enough music review zines. There are plenty of women doing zines about motherhood, and some of them are quite good. There’s no need for more unless you have a BRAND NEW TAKE on it. I understand you may be a 24 year old who wants to write about what’s going on in your life. But try to look at your life objectively. Is this something you’d pay $2.00 to read? If not, then you might want to keep a journal instead of creating another per-zine. A good zine is one that has a unique theme, offers a new perspective on an old theme or one that is written incredibly well.

There seems to be a lo-fi faction in zinedom that states as part of its doctrine that if it doesn’t have a black and white collage cover, isn’t photocopied and stapled, it’s not a true zine. Remember, the crappier your zine looks, the least likely a reader is to pick it up. If a reader doesn’t buy it, it’s more than likely that a store will end up returning all your zines unsold in a few months and stop carrying your title altogether (that’s if they even decided to carry the zine in the fist place). For those lo-fi purists out there, it’s the 21st century; zines don’t have to look like they were made in 1986 to be good.

5 PEOPLE JUDGE A ZINE BY ITS COVER

Zines will also usually not be displayed in the best space in many stores. This is not a slight, but a necessity of business from the store’s perspective. If a store is selling a $2.00 zine, the chances are that they’re only going to make 80 cents off of each zine sold. However, if that store has a $30 book for sale, the store will stand to make (at best) $12.00. The store will have to sell 15 copies of a $2.00 zine to make the same about of money as they do off of one $30.00 book. Stores have to pay the rent too.

Color on a cover always makes a zine stand out. Whether you use colored paper for the cover, or use highlighters and markers to color in your cover or you use a color printer to print your covers or you hand silkscreen your covers, any amount of color makes your zine stand out in the sea of other zines.

Keeping in mind how zines are shelved when making your covers will also help. In an ideal world, a store would have the shelf space to display every zine front out, with no overlap; but that’s just not realistic. In many cases, zines are displayed on some sort of incline, with one zine sitting in front of another with only the top portion of the cover visible. Placing the title of your zine at the top of the cover will help readers easily find your zine. (Mag Sabo, an employee at Atomic Books, also recommends against affixing anything to the cover of your zine that may flake off or tear. There are few things as hateful as a zine that flakes more than someone with a bad case of dandruff.)

You may also want to list some of the highlights from inside the zine on your cover. Zines that clue potential readers in to what’s inside the pages get picked up and thumbed through more often than zines that don’t. Yeah, magazines do this, but they do so for a reason. Getting a potential reader to pick up and browse through your zine is the first step in selling it.

6. GET REVIEWED

People like to pick up something they’ve heard about. Make sure you send your zine out to websites and magazines that review them, like, say XEROGRAPHY DEBT. This will clue people in that your zine exists, and lets them know what it’s about. Don’t be afraid of a bad review, there are many places that will not level critical analysis or simply won’t review it if they don’t like it. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I picked up a zine about zines that really ripped apart another zine (even if they did deserve it). The zine community can be surprisingly nurturing.

Plus, many store employees who handle consignment read zines about zines, so if you get reviewed in there, your name has a better chance at being familiar. Plus, you may even have stores and potential readers contact you directly.

7. PRICING

Keep your price affordable. A regular photocopied 24 page, stapled zine sells for between $1.00 - $2.00 dollars. People who go to stores looking to buy zines like to buy a stack of things to read for very little money. They are expecting to pay a certain price for zines, and anything outside of that price range they’ll skip.

But this does not mean you should under-price your zine and lose money every time you come out with a new issue. Make sure your publishing venture is worth the hassle so you can keep your zines chugging along.

8. CATALOGS AND THE INTERNET

Many stores have either print or online catalogs. When we get a new zine in, and I add it to our catalog, I look for 2 things. Since I don’t have time to read every zine that we carry, I look for a description of the zine. We have this space on our consignment forms, but many zinesters do not take advantage of this. For example, when the zine comes back and the description the creator filled out says, “A per-zine from Utah with heart,” that’s often exactly what goes into our catalog. If you are looking at a catalog and you see a zine called MILKY LAXATIVE with that kind of description, the chances are good you’re not going to drop $2.00 to order it.

The second thing is a cover image. People who update store websites may not have time to scan everything in, but if you have any form of website whatsoever, put a cover image of your current issue (and back issues) up on your website before you even send your zine out. That way stores with online shopping carts have no excuse not to show a cover image of your zine on their site.

9. WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ISSUE, SEND IT

If a store has accepted your zine on consignment, when you come out with a new issue of that zine, send the store copies. You may want to double check with stores about their consignment policy, but when most agree to carry your zine, it’s not on an issue by issue basis, but as a title. That means when you come out with a new issue, package up as many issues as that store usually asks for and ship them out.

10. GETTING PAID

You may think that stores have some automated software that immediately alerts an employee when it’s time for them to contact you for payment, but most don’t. Most stores handle consignment by hand, and if they carry one zine, they may carry hundreds. That means there are hundreds of consignment forms to keep track of. If you haven’t heard from a store in a 90 day period about payment for your zine, you should contact them.

Just call the store or shoot them an email and say you want to find out how well your zine’s doing. If they say they sold some copies, ask them for a payment. If you don’t hear from a store, don’t’ assume that the responsibility is theirs alone to contact you. They are selling your property, so you should contact them to make sure you get paid.

Including an invoice (even if it’s handwritten) with each shipment of zines helps the stores better track your merchandise.

Also, the best time to contact stores for payment is in the third or forth week of January. This is the time when stores are still flush with money from the holiday shopping season (but not so busy with holiday shoppers that they can’t take the time to pay out), so they’re more likely to pay you.

Now, you may think most of these pointers are just plain common sense, but you’d be surprised at the submissions stores get. There’s no guarantee a store will pick up your zine to carry or a reader will purchase it, but these pointers will greatly increase your odds.


FONT USE 101
or Stop Font Abuse!

Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
davida@leekinginc.com
www.leekinginc.com

I read about 600 zines a year of every size and topic. Now, between you and me, there is something that we in the zine community need to address…font abuse. There is a school of thought that says a zine must look like a zine to be a zine. Now that “zine look” is messy, homegrown, and often described as vaguely “punk,” but there’s nothing saying that you’ve sold out if people are able to actually read your manifesto to Hello Kitty Dildos.

Recently I received a zine for review that used about 20 different fonts. That would be fun, free-spirited and all, but I couldn’t read a full page of the text. The person used “display fonts” (decorative fonts most often used for headlines) for body copy (the wordy part of the article). The review was affected because I couldn’t read what the writer was trying to convey.

When I started my zine I was computer-less and either used a typewriter, handwrote, or borrowed friends’ computers to type my articles. I realized early on that handwriting the text was downright stupid for me to do. I have dreadful handwriting. Typewriters and computers were made for people like me who fail penmanship everyday like a supernatural reverberation from the 3rd grade. For headlines I kicked it old-school; I used old type books which showed hundreds of different font faces and enlarged them on a photocopier then cut and pasted the individual letters down. Tedious yes, but it worked.

The font abuse I wanted to address here isn’t of the handwritten/cut and paste variety – it is the computer variety. Just because you have 100 fonts at your disposal doesn’t mean you should try and use them all at once. Repeat that over and over again until it is seared on your brain. Since MS Word is one of the most commonly used word processing programs I will use its features for example below.

Here are some basic guidelines and definitions:

Serif: This is a typeface that has counterstrokes projecting from the letterform. For example, Times New Roman and Bodoni are serif faces. As a rule, serif faces are easier to read in large blocks of text than sans serif. A word of caution, some serifed fonts are more delicate than others. Some have excessively thick and thin strokes and once the text is photocopied, it can begin to break down, becoming illegible.

Sans serif: These typefaces do not have counterstrokes and are often clean or sleek looking. Arial and Helvetica are two examples. These typefaces are easier to read in larger sizes or small quantities.

Point sizes: This refers to the vertical size of the type. There are 72 points in an inch, so 72 point type is 1 inch tall, thus 36 point = ½ inch, 18 = ¼, etc.

Body copy: This refers to the main body of text in the article. Generally speaking, body copy should be between 9 point to 14 point. (Note: This issue is the highly legible 8pt Palatino Linotype.)

Display type: large and/or decorative type used for headlines or titles. Common sizes are 14, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, and 72 point.

Leading: the space between lines of type. You can adjust this in MS Word by going to Format, then to Paragraph.

Kerning: This is how you manually adjust the space in between letters. You can compress or expand the spacing in Word by going to Format, then Font, then Character Spacing. Also under the Character Spacing tab you can scale the letters to be taller or shorter.

The example provided below, shows the variations that can be made by using just one font (10 pt. Helvetica, in this case), by adjusting the formatting and style.

font samples

Widows and orphans: these are words or short phrases at the beginning or end of a paragraph, or that sit alone at the top or bottom of a column. They just dangle there looking forlorn. The easiest way to deal with them is to tighten the kerning to bring the word up onto the previous line or expand the kerning and give it another word or two for company.

Reverse out: to use white or light-colored type on a dark background. This can be an effective eye catcher, but shouldn’t be overused (note the bottom row of type above).

I love display fonts and have damned near 1500 fonts installed on my computer, but they should be used sparingly. The right display font can compliment your ideas visually. If you are going to mix two fonts on a page, try and come up with a nice contrast. However, mixing 3 or more can be tricky and can easily look like sloppy font salad. If you are printing a full size zine (8.5x5.5), consider using two columns to ease readability.

Okay, now that we’ve had this little chat, go out and explore a few free font websites and download (responsibly) to your heart’s content:

www.maryforrest.com/fonts/fonts.html
www.coolarchive.com/fonts.cfm
www.free-typewriter-fonts.com
www.chank.com/freefonts.html
www.disturbed.com/fonts.html
www.astigmatic.com
www.fontfreak.com
www.pcfonts.com
www.fontface.com

One last thing, always proofread. I saw a personal ad the other day that noted that the person was decease-free and a job ad for a pubic relations manager.


IT MEANS IT’S WANK

By Jeff Somers
P.O. Box 3024, Hoboken NJ 07030
mreditor@innerswine.com
www.innerswine.com

“So what does that mean? It means it’s wank.”- Vic Flange, www.fleshmouth.co.uk, describing my zine.

PERSONA NON GRATA
...in which Jeff Somers ruminates on people believing anything he writes in his zine to be the total, unadulterated truth.

Friends, I’ve written a lot of crazy shit in my zine. It’s my zine, and I have fun with it, and the people who actually come back for a second issue usually enjoy at least some of the shenanigans. I’ve written about being paid billions of dollars by Microsoft for the rights to my zine. I’ve written about forming a worldwide Organization of Evil modeled on James Bond villains, with me securely running the show from a secret underground bunker. I’ve often exaggerated my boozing to truly heroic levels that would have left me dead long ago if they were true. From pretty much page one of every issue, with a few shining exceptions, I am piling on bullshit in a breathtakingly brazen manner. I’d think it would be obvious.

And yet, people believe a lot of it.

Not the Organization of Evil, of course. Even the dimmest people reviewing my zine ignore those sorts of things, often with thinly-disguised contempt. People often believe the binge-drinking, the loss of my pants on a regular basis, the arrests for public urination or lewdness. Certainly if I had any pride to speak of I’d be insulted that people so readily believe that I spend all my time passing out from liquor and wetting myself. That’s supposed to be funny, damn your eyes. While it’s true that I enjoy the occasional dignified entire bottle of Jack Daniels in one sitting, and it’s also true that once or twice I’ve lost my pants under mysterious circumstances while out living the high life with The Inner Swine Inner Circle (TISIC), neither happens as often or as egregiously as I pretend in my zine.

And yet...

I get reviews sometimes that take everything said in the zine WAY too seriously. Now, I’m not upset that people don’t appreciate the humor. Every zine is a unique snowflake and not everyone is going to like it, and I’ve already discussed how I love bad reviews (see It Means it’s Wank #1, XD#9). What bothers me is that I can write the most ridiculous bullshit and people just take it seriously. And what really bothers me is when they chastize me for the Error of My Ways.

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite emails on the subject:

“You “May not” live long enough.... although you should. Alcohol is wonderful for slowing down your never ending thoughts of the moment as well as the next 20 years. The best relaxer ever invented for the thinking man. Especially at night when your brain will not shut off and let you sleep...It’s not so much a crutch for you as a tool, however it can get out of control and will during your youth....Pay attention to your body signs and read up on the subject... it is a life and death matter! I did not have blackouts till I was close to 40 yrs old, lots of tolerance over my 20 years of Harley riding and non stop drinking in the Navy. It was an accepted way of life at the time.”

Wasn’t that fun? The incoherency aside, I really enjoyed the fact that he completely missed the joke. Now, I know that it’s almost a cliche in zinedom (and other artistic cliques) to write about being a hard drinker, living on the razor’s edge, punishing yourself for your brilliance, yada yada. I often have reviewers mention that fact that I write about being drunk in dismissive, been-there-done-that tones. This bugs me, because it should be the effectiveness of the joke, or the quality of the writing that gets judged, not whether or not I’m the millionth zine writer to delightedly describe his puking habits in public toilets. The question should be, do I describe my public-toilet puking habits more entertainingly than the rest of you bozos.

In my zine, Your Humble Editor is a persona. Many, if not most, perzines are pretty raw and honest, and you can usually assume that there is minimal filtering. If they’re writing about being beat up in school, or dying slowly at their day job, or drinking too much and yakking on a public bus, you can usually assume that events and feelings described are pretty true to what really happened. This may be where the trouble starts: lazy readers assume certain things about all zines, and certain things about all perzines–like you can believe everything in it 100% because, heck, it’s a perzine. While my zine is often described as a perzine, you don’t get much honesty from it. A lot of times there are true, actual events and honest feelings at the base of the essays in each issue, but it’s all buried under layers of sweet, thick bullshit. To get to Your Humble Editor, you have to imagine me, then take away any sense of responsibility or restraint, pickle in booze, and come up with a special effects budget. It’s about as far away from me as you can get and still be recognizable.

I guess if someone isn’t amused by the persona, it’s natural that they give me a bad review, and that’s fair, and fine with me. All I really ask is that people realize there is, in fact, a persona. If it amuses you to imagine that I lose my pants on a regular basis, fine; I’m only here to amuse you, anyway. Bastards.


The Reviews

Dan Taylor
PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094
www.dantenet.com; dante@dantenet.com


He’s been called “exploitation film maven,” “junkmonger,” “food trends expert” and lots worse through the years. His mom calls him “the miracle baby” but you can call him The Hungover Gourmet. Check out the journal of food, drink, travel and fun at www.hungovergourmet.com or send a SASE to PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094-5531 for more info.

AZMACOURT #8 (c/o Mr. Parker, 1012 Townhouse Circle, Norman, OK 73069, no price listed but send a couple bucks; 44 pages, digest-sized)
Thanks to a brother who chose to reside there, I have been to Oklahoma more times than I can remember. During those trips I’ve seen drunken Shriners chasing their little hats, bullets in my motel parking lot and signs that read: “Give Satan an inch and he’ll become a ruler.” But, in all those trips, I have never seen anybody that I thought was producing a zine. Then again, many of those trips are conducted in a haze of cheap beer, good steaks, and highly irresponsible gambling, so maybe I’m not the best judge of character. AZMACOURT is an interesting comic journal/perzine that gets high marks thanks to the creator’s confessional, self-effacing style. Highlights include an amusing letter written to the makers of an asthma inhaler and workplace tales from the world of telemarketing call centers. While I found the frequent mentions and visual representations of bowel movements a little disturbing and totally disagree with his enthusiasm about the flick MEMENTO it won’t keep me from recommending this to open-minded readers.

SECRET MYSTERY LOVE SHOES #2 (Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman, 2000 NE 42nd, PMB 303, Portland, OR 97213, $2, trades welcome; 44 pages, mini-digest)
My girlfriend and I met in high school and then spent the next 17 years falling in and out of love with other people while fate, a higher power, whatever you want to call it, kept intertwining our paths until we got our acts - and ourselves - together. So I dug Androo’s opening cartoon telling us how he and Maria ended up together after meeting one another several years ago at a zine conference in Chicago. I also dig the hell out of his varied illustrative styles, so I knew I was in for a treat. SMLS is a great collaboration between the two creative souls, and packs its pages with interesting and unusual info (I now know how to make my only household cleaners AND dye fabric), charming cartoons and illustrations, and fun facts about the creators that you would never have known. Androo won me over with the choices for the soundtrack of the movie based on his life: Goblin, Archies, 1910 Fruitgum Company, and Tom Waits. Rock on!

BLEEDING FROM THE WALL: A CD by Filmmaker Steve Balderson (Available from www.dikenga.com)
There aren’t a whole lot of filmmakers who get intimately involved in the music that accompanies their cinematic works. Frankly, I’ve always loved John Carpenter’s scores, especially the memorable work he did on HALLOWEEN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and the underrated THEY LIVE. Italian horror master Dario Argento often collaborated with the light-metal thunder of Goblin and it always added an interesting audio counterpart to his frequently over-the-top visuals. Steve Balderson is an “award-winning film director” that I’ve never heard of, but he’s apparently directed something called FIRECRACKER which stars a diverse cast including Dennis Hopper, Debbie Harry, Karen Black and Jane Wiedlin. I will let you soak in that cast and draw your own conclusions. This disc was apparently inspired by his work on the film, though it differs greatly from the songs I might’ve come up with. If I was on the set with those people all day I would’ve written stuff like, “Did You Get to Keep the Zuni Fetish Doll?,” “When Hot Chicks Get Old” and “Do You Remember Making OC AND STIGGS?” Balderson is apparently much smarter than I am, ‘cause he came up with ten haunting and hypnotic tracks that definitely owe a debt to such bands as Japan, Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Dalis Car as well as David Lynch’s work with Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise. These days, I prefer to rock, but if that gaggle of influences sections your grapefruit you could do much worse.

PSYCHIC X: Psychic Voice for the Lost Generation DVD (www.psychicshoppingclub.com)
Back in the early days of the video revolution, the cable airwaves were cluttered with great shows like ‘Night Flight,’ ‘The Cutting Edge’ and ‘120 Minutes’ that mixed music videos with comedy bits. Somewhere along the line those shows either disappeared or morphed into shills for whatever alternative bands had been signed to major labels. Which leaves us with cable access - the video equivalent of the zine. This DVD compiles the best from ‘Psychic Shopping Club,’ a cable access show that’s been bringing low-fi videos and comedy bits to lucky viewers in Cleveland for more than five years. While it’s not the kind of disc you’d normally slap in and watch from start to finish, there’s a lot here to dig. Tunes from Floyd Band, Sosumi and Public Display of Infection would’ve all been at home on college radio in the 90s and I distinctly remember playing The Pink Holes and their version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” A variety of comedy bits and short films break up the videos, and they’re as hit and miss as you might expect with a certain “insider” feel to them. That said this’d be the perfect disc to slap in during a late night beer fest.


Erin Quinlan
71 Storm St., Apt 2C, Tarrytown, NY 10591
DanAndErinQ@aol.com

September Coming Soon #2
30 pages, mini, $1, trade or nice letter
September Coming Soon is a melancholy, pensive cut ‘n’ paste zine written by a Washington State native attending college in California. In essays the size of Polaroid snapshots, Ellen longs for the closeness she once had with old friends, the summers she spent at camp, and the unique lurch of seasons in Spokane. Ellen may take a shining to California yet, though: She writes that she recently noticed the pepper tree outside her dormitory window and wonders what else in California she hasn’t stopped to see. Also, I enjoyed the item about a gas leak in her building and her efforts to gather her prized possessions before evacuating (a scenario people often wonder about, but rarely are forced to participate in). S.C.S. is an odd, affecting little zine, with an eerie power to remind this reader, at least, of when her life was ambling in a similar place.
Ellen Adams, 5025 Thacher Road, Ojai, CA 93023; save_ronnie@yahoo.com

Rabid Transit – New Fiction by the Ratbastards
42 pages, digest, $5
To be honest, I am not enthusiastic about fiction in general, and I am conspicuously less so regarding fiction of a surrealist/science fiction bent. My apologies to the authors for not being more liberal with my embrace. If I were, though, I’d likely investigate the material in Rabid Transit, which showcases one story apiece by the four Ratbastards, all of whom make sporting attempts to broaden the definition (and appeal) of genre writing. My favorite stories were those with more mainstream structures and settings. The first, for instance, called “The Blue Egg” chronicles the strange, spouse-like symbiosis between a lonely office temp and an expanding egg, which arrives at her home mysteriously, in a foil package. The tale unfolds slowly, with a swelling intensity I found completely spellbinding. On the other hand, I struggled with “The Psalm of Big Galahad,” because it was written with use of a jargon I found amateurish, clunky and exhausting. In all, the presentation is nice – cleanly photocopied pages with few typos – but the five-dollar cost is deeply, deeply unreasonable.
Velocity Press, 124 Illinois Ave., Youngstown, OH 44505
www.taverners-koans.com/ratbastards

Zen Baby #9
48 pages, digest, $1or trade for single issue; $5 or Black Jack gum for lifetime subscription
Zen Baby’s editor, Christopher Robin, describes his publication as being one of “random stories.” That summary is perhaps too generous and not elaborate enough. Stories – ones with discernible English sentences, anyway – are somewhat scarce, but the intrepid reader may choose from a throbbing cornucopia of collage art, freeform poetry, newspaper clippings, letters to the editor, and unexplained doodles. The material was mostly submitted by others, and its quality swings with a kind of hectic volatility. The patchwork presentation may appeal to those craving thumbnail glimpses at many lives, but I failed to find much sustenance in this issue. While personal zines usually leave me feeling as though I’ve gotten to know someone, Zen Baby made me feel more like I had taken a sprint down a crowded city street with sunglasses on – all I got was a dull smear of the gamut. But that’s just me.
Christopher Robin, P.O. Box 1611, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1611

Infiltration #19
30 pages, digest, $2
I have heard of Infiltration, the zine about exploring buildings and locales off-limits to the general public, and I always figured it was overseen by bad-mannered punk-rock cartoons – ugly teenagers who visit residential construction sites, for instance, and punch holes in the Sheetrock. My impressions were inaccurate. The writers of Infiltration are inquisitive, funny, thoughtful adults. I suppose in the wake of an automobile break-in, I find it difficult to believe that anyone would enter a restricted area for something other than vandalism or theft. In any case, this issue is one focusing on “houses of the holy.” Readers are steered through written and photographic tours of churches and cathedrals (and one former church now serving as headquarters for a small theater group) in Michigan, Paris and Toronto. The accounts of each infiltration are not merely accounts, either – the writers strive to include some historical information about the structures, such as dates of construction, et al. Whatever the status of your faith, it is refreshing to learn about the buildings without suffering through any of the sniggering anti-religious commentary some might expect from the zine community.
Infiltration, P.O. Box 13, Station E, Toronto, ON M6H 4E1, Canada
ninj@infiltration.org; www.infiltration.org

Do the Siamese Twins Make Love?
28 pages, digest, $2
At first glance, I thought I was contending with the limited charms of an all-poetry zine. Why? Because the content looks like poetry. This is due to Davida Gypsy Breier’s airy typography and graphic design, and William P. Tandy’s lithe, terse writing style, a collaboration that leaves readers suspended in a swirl of gargoyle imagery and punchy filaments of prose. Davida was judicious when she gave each item, no matter the length, its own page and the dignity of a title, providing readers a sober, built-in pause between pieces. (My favorite story, “The Importance of Cleanliness” was only about 85 words, but it pulsed and resonated in the white space beneath it.) I also enjoyed the longer account, “Drydock,” about the author’s father, newly separated from his wife, visiting the battered Tamaroa, an ocean tug he served aboard in the 1960s. I should note, too, that Tandy is particularly talented at ending stories. You know how in professional magazines there’s a dingbat indicating the conclusion of a piece? His essays and poems don’t need them. Once he’s finished a story, though, his readers will not necessarily be finished thinking about it.
Eight-Stone Press, P.O. Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078;
esp@leekinginc.com

The East Village Inky #16
38 pages, mini, $2
When she isn’t busy shaping and sustaining the virtues of contemporary urban motherhood, Ayun Halliday manages to filch a few moments to scribble this zine, the photocopied sensation that set the big ball rolling. If you haven’t read the E.V.I. before, you must brace yourself. The entire thing is rotten with a kind of effortless, perfect, literary charisma. The author is most well known for her illustrated tales of her funny, offbeat children, but she is not overly reliant on such stories, as some have jealously implied. I suspect that even if Ayun Halliday were childless, and even if she were not married to a Tony Award-winning playwright, and even if she had settled in her home state of Indiana rather than settle in a Brooklyn brownstone, she would still be producing some of today’s more captivating writing, because she could write riveting copy about a tube sock. In this issue: an account of the Tony Awards (including an inset of her husband’s acceptance speech), attending a Broadway premiere (where she struggled to conjure “possible proletarian salutations” to Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, who were seated behind her), hawking her book at a publishing expo in Manhattan, attending a sex toys workshop, butcher-shop gore, Greg’s “Advice to the Fathers,” and more. If you pass this by, you are an everlasting fool.
Ayun Halliday, P.O. Box 22754, Brooklyn, NY 11202;
inky@erols.com; www.ayunhalliday.com


Donny Smith
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081
dwanzine@hotmail.com; www.geocities.com/dwanzine

Please don’t think I didn’t like your zine if you don’t see it below. This time around I tried to review only zines I’ve never reviewed before. My own zine, as featured in Utne Review, is Dwan, available from me, Donny Smith, PO Box 411, Swarthmore PA 19081 USA, for $4 cash (free to prisoners; some trades accepted).
Our leaders continue to drum their chests. Here’s what Rubén Darío had to say to one of them about a hundred years ago: Crees que la vida es incendio, / que el progreso es erupción, / que en donde pones la bala / el porvenir pones. / No. (You believe that life is incineration, / that progress is eruption, / that where you put a bullet / there you put the future. / No.) I hope this is for a different future:



Cinemad #6 (2001)
available from Mike Plante, PO Box 360695, Los Angeles CA 90036 USA, for $3.95 ($5.95, Canada) or from Tower Records; http://www.cinemadmag.com/
on the cover: John Cassavetes
inside: Informative interviews with George Kuchar, Karen Black, Jonas Mekas, Albert Maysles, Cassavetes’s cameraman, and an itinerant projectionist. Reviews of independent films and independent festivals. “I Was a Soap Opera Slave,” an article on being an intern at a daytime drama. A clear-minded interview with a Cassavetes scholar.
quote: The meanings in [Citizen] Kane are simple, obvious, and clear-cut, right on the surface. They tumble into your lap in the movie theater. … The experiences in [THE KILLING OF A CHINESE] BOOKIE never attain this degree of clarity. They are mysterious, multivalent, and elusive. What does it mean when the “bookie” shakes his head squints his eyes, and mutters something the moment before he is shot? … The result is scenes that don’t have the clarity of ideas but the turbulence of experiences. Why do we want to get ideas from works of art anyway? Experiencing is a far richer, more exciting way of encountering life than understanding. —Ray Carney
overall: An amazing collection, worthy of a magazine with a much bigger staff and budget. It will make you excited about the cinema (if you aren’t already).

Clamor Issue 16 (September/October 2002)
available from Clamor, PO Box 1225, Bowling Green OH 43402 USA, 6 issues for $18 (US addresses) or $25 (non-US addresses); info@clamormagazine.org
on the cover: an old woman in her living room
inside: articles about activists and ordinary people, plus lots of book reviews
overall: A really good progressive magazine. The book reviews are the best; I ordered many items for the library where I work.

Dirt and Sky (fall 2002)
available from Mark Hain, Box 411, Swarthmore PA 19081 USA, for $4
Giant_turu@hotmail.com
on the cover: two boys stand side by side on a vast plain
inside: Mark’s journals from before and after his dad’s death. A gossipy email exchange with one of Mark’s high school friends. A lovely drawing of Mark’s dad.
quote: We went to see the latest Zhang Yimou film, the unfortunately mistitled Happy Times. In one scene the main character, a middle aged man, buys a popsicle for the blind teenage girl to whom he’s inadvertently become a foster father. She asks to touch his face to find out what he looks like, and I found myself thinking “What a shockingly manipulative use of sappy music!” even as I slid way down in my seat because I knew bawling was inevitable. … I was doing my best to hold it in, because the theater was sort of crowded and I was ashamed to cry. I managed to keep my weeping sounds down to one loud snort and one stifled “glurb!” noise while Don stroked my hand.
overall: It took me a couple weeks to get through this zine because I’d start crying every few pages and have to put it away for a few days. I know all the people involved, so I can’t give an objective review. I can give my own account of the events Mark describes (though Mark’s account makes better reading). I wrote this is my diary when I got home from Nebraska after the funeral:

About 2:30 the morning Ben died I had a terrifying vision of heaven opening up before me in a dream. Like a door into the sun. Then I woke up. Then sleep again. Waking again. And so on.
I never really believed he would die. It’s still not entirely real to me. I felt numb most of the week. I just wanted to be there for Mark and [his mom] and not break down or make a scene.
I first met Ben during a very troubled time in my life, almost 11 years ago. I think he probably had trouble dealing with Mark’s gayness, but he always made me feel welcome. [Other memories of Ben:]
sleeping with his glasses on his forehead
playing with [Mark’s nephew and niece]
starting a fire in the fireplace
playing The Messiah in the car
telling stories about his childhood or Mark’s
his goodness and his fun
always working but still there for the kids
his funny Czech words for things
more than anything the loving memories Mark has of him

L’horreur est humaine No 4 (2001?)
available from Sylvain Gérand, 26 rue du Tapis Vert, 79500 Melle FRANCE; email for price: horreurhumaine@hotmail.com
on the cover: a very explicit collage involving what I guess is prostate surgery
inside: It’s subtitled Nouvelle encyclopédie pratique d’hygiène et de médecine pour tous. According to Sylvain, “It’s a fake medical dictionnary. Each drawer [drawing?] corresponds to a health name.” Each drawing or collage faces a page of medical text in French (and each text has a little secret).
overall: mostly disturbing

Ingleside news numéro neuf (early 2002)
available from IsaBelle Bourret, 460 de la Couronne #410, Québec QC G1K 6G2 CANADA, for $3 Canadian in Canada or $3 US in USA or $6 US elsewhere
ingleside_news@perseide.zzn.com; www.geocities.com/ingleside_news/
on the cover: collage, “30% plus de fromage”
inside: all in French: how she changed her zine from an English-language band fanzine to a French-language perzine; her journals from the protests against the Summit of the Americas; tips on dealing with tear gas; her vacation in Vancouver; an interview with her cat; how she became a fingernail model for Elle Canada; Christmas 2001; New Year’s 2002; a helpful definition of “well-concealed cash”; recipes; restaurant, book, zine, and shampoo reviews quote: … eh bien imaginez pour moi!! Imaginez la sensation pour le Joe Bleau bien ordinaire (bon c’est vrai que je passe rarement inaperçue et que j’irais sûrement pas jusqu’à me qualifier d’ordinaire, loin de là mais bon … je ne fais quand même pas la manchette d’Entertainment Tonight tous les soirs quoi!!), bref de quelqu’un qui n’est pas (… encore … hehe) une vedette et qui, feuilletant tranquillement une revue de mode d’ampleur nationale, tombe sur … sa propre main!! C’tait pas la crise d’apoplexie, mais pas loin. [… well imagine how I felt!! Imagine how the average Joe Blow felt (though it’s true that I rarely pass unnoticed and I would surely not qualify as merely ordinary, far from it but anyway … I don’t despite the headline on Entertainment Tonight every evening though!!), in short someone who is not (… again … hehe) a star and who, leafing peacefully through a national fashion magazine, fell on … her own hand!! I didn’t have a stroke, but not far from it.]
overall: I confess that I didn’t read the whole thing (my excuse being that it’s full of page after page of tiny type—and in French after all (you can see from the translation above what difficulties I have)). But it seems like a good, entertaining zine.

El laberinto de Ariadna No 3 (verano-otoño 2002)
available from Laberinto de Ariadna, Apdo de Correos 7, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona) SPAIN; no price, but they do accept trades; http://ariadna.sitio.net/; laberintodeariadna@hotmail.com
on the cover: a labyrinth
inside: poems in Spanish and Catalan
quote: Como las hojas caídas en la lluvia / el silencio derrama su zumo / sobre la boca de la noche. [Like leaves fallen in the rain / silence spurts its juices / over the mouth of night.] —Carmen Busmayor
overall: It’s just an oversized trifold pamphlet, but each one has at least two really good poems, and that’s a lot better than most literary publications.

Mujinga numero twenty twenty (2002?)
available from Mujinga, Na Kobylue 102, Vsenory, 252 31 CZECH REPUBLIC, for trade; email to check address: mujinga@volny.cz; www.volny.cz/mujinga/
on the cover: a bug in fancy boots naps under a mushroom
inside: all in English: thoughts on the roots of war, on being vegan in Prague and in general, on star signs and New Age ideas about health, and on cat’s food; notes on shiatsu; an article about a vegan activist’s time in prison; pictures of kitties; a short story about two unhappy men, a cat named Hitler, and a poodle
quote: I told her I had something important to discuss with her as we sat on a bench outside the Tate Modern. The look in her eyes kinda baffled me at the time, now I can see it as the hope that we’d get back together again. We went back to her place and I stripped off, lay down and asked to check whether I had a clitoris. I didn’t and she never seemed so close to me again.
overall: readable and more clear-headed than I expected (meaning I don’t expect much from someone who takes star signs seriously); also introduced me to the concept of freeganism, which seems to be a form of veganism allowing the scavenging of animal products cast off by others and possibly allowing hunting in some cases

Object Lesson issue one: the playing card (summer 2002)
available from M. DesPairagus, PO Box 4803, Baltimore MD 21211 USA, for $2
mdesharn@yahoo.com
on the cover: a girl with paint (or blood) on her hands looks at the eight of spades
inside: according to M.’s description: “What I did on my summer vacation, organized by the suits of a deck of cards. Yard sales! A break up! Reviews! Public libraries!”
quote: Time for bed. Pleased with new knick knacks in home, also with new catch phrase: I see your heinie! It’s pink and shiny! Best hollered at top volume out of your car at tough looking teen boys.
overall: Made me remember the joy of librarianship (which is so easy to forget as I drudge away with my electronic projects), like the surprising things patrons say, their amazing thoughts, the obscure questions they ask—and of course the chance to order all kinds of books (and someone else pays). Loved her book reviews too.

Republicanazi: What a Fucking Asshole! (fall 2002)
possibly available from A. Coward, PO Box 1241, Santa Cruz CA 95061 USA; email for price or trade: aliciathecatpress@yahoo.com
on the cover: Bush II with Hitler mustache
inside: Lots of newspaper articles detailing the evil deeds of the Bush administration, a few pages of advice on activism, and some other musings.
quote: Republicanazis value hard work. Who knows if they actually do it. But it’s still a good ideal.
overall: A good place to start if you haven’t read a newspaper for the last few years—but has only about 10 pages of original content if you have. Nevertheless, it’s bound in signatures using staples, ribbon, and electrical tape in very DIY fashion, so obviously a labor of love—or hate, depending on how you look at it.

splicing tape & bulletproof teeth (2002)
available from Andrew Daniel Saleem Penland a.k.a. Andrew Octopus, 149 Newfound St, Canton NC 28716 USA, for $1? or trade
DrFrankn1@aol.com
inside: drawings, collages, and poems
quote: newspaper’s erasure. (ideas, / swallowed at 45 rpm // being vomited at 33 1/3) out onto / a spiderwebyarn bridge, where pigfaced
overall: More literate and more socially aware than most zine poets. Charming drawings like children’s art. Musical and definitely worthwhile.

Zines de mail art y poesía visual (continually updated)
available at http://boek861.com/zines_galeria.htm
maintained by César Reglero Campos, Taller del Sol, Apdo 861, 43080 Tarragona ESPAÑA
inside: a huge number of listings for mail art, alternative art projects, and literary zines all over the world


Mark Hain
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081

Loathe as I am to come across as a crotchety old man (actually, I don’t care,) I’m compelled to preface my reviews with a scolding about a little matter of legibility. This latest dispatch of review copies from Davida was one big ol’ mass of brain piercing eyestrain. One zine (10 jam-packed pages of 4-point type) actually contained these words: “FOR SMALL PRINT: Have a good light. Read only a little at a time. Check dollar stores for reading glasses/magnifiers. Or, make enlarged copies.” Come on now — any zine that’s physically painful to read, or suggests I spend additional money in order to struggle through, is not acceptable. One zine contained a missive about how it was illegible because it was so punk that it had been produced on a broken typewriter salvaged from a dumpster, and that this made it “real” and “PUNK AS FUCK” and was all about “FUCKIN’ SHIT UP”, etc. (actually, I think that it might have been ironic, but I still couldn’t read it.) I can respect and understand political beliefs and financial conditions that prevent people from creating their zines on computers, but why is it so damned difficult (or bourgeois or assimilationist or whatever) to write out your text in a clear, legible hand? And I must confess I’ve never understood nor appreciated the zine aesthetic I call “the ransom note”— typically seen as sliced-up single lines of text pasted semi-randomly across a dark photocopied background. It almost always compromises coherence for the same old design cliché — and looks like it’d be a really laborious task on top of it. The bottom line is, if you’ve got ideas to share, why purposefully make the forum so difficult that it essentially silences you?

All of this has been said already, with more panache in Xerography Debt #9 by Bobby Tran Dale and Sue Donimh, but I guess I just lost patience this time around. As long as I’m alienating everyone, let me just add that there’s nothing more tedious than the endless fawning interview with the local obscure, self-important band. OK, now that that’s off my chest, on to the reviews! Don’t be mad! Peace and love and happiness to you all!

Cuckoo, Issue #13
24 pages
Madison Clell’s comic depicts “one woman’s true stories of living with multiple personality disorder.” In this issue, the protagonist must confront one of her personalities, a seven-year old girl, and reveal her condition to her ultimately supportive boyfriend. My reaction to Cuckoo is sort of tepid; it handles a difficult subject courageously, but the artwork is rather off-putting. I guess I just didn’t find Cuckoo very compelling, although I know it has been received much more enthusiastically by many others, as the extremely passionate endorsements on the cover attest, including one from Dr. “Patch” Adams (now if I could just purge my mind of the image of Robin Williams in a clown nose, moist-eyed with head cocked like a mentally retarded Labrador Retriever, his smile simultaneously smug and repulsively saccharine— ugh!!!). According to the inner cover, there is now a compilation in book form of issues 1-13.
$3 U.S.; $3.75 Canada; Green Door Studios, [temporary address] 1705 Church St. #101, San Francisco, CA 94131
madclell@teleport.com; www.cuckoocomic.com

Eating Sensibly: What, When, How Much, for Health, Pep, Joy.
10 pages (marked as 36, but I don’t get how…)
This is the four-point type zine. The cover features a nicely done cartoon of a person indulging in “Delusion Dessert”, feeling sick and guilty, and realizing that “the REAL choice is between feeling low at times even if I eat sensibly, or eating junk food and feeling MORE depressed.” The gist of this publication seems to be the relation between dietary choices and a satisfying lifestyle, with “insights, tactics, book reviews” (loads of book reviews) and poetry. That’s as far as I got before I started feeling like red-hot knitting needles were being driven into my cerebral cortex through my eyeballs. I suspect there’s insight, interesting ideas and good resources within, but the presentation just makes Eating Sensibly as daunting and incomprehensible as a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic 18-in-1 Pure Castille Soap (“All One! All One!”). I appreciate the dilemma of having more ideas than space, but I also found it ironic that a publication promoting “Health, Pep, Joy” made my poor peepers feel so unhealthy, sluggish and miserable.
$2 cash; Julia Summers, P.O. Box 190, Philomath, OR 97370

Lethal Bubblegum, Issue #1 (“Growin’ Up Dysfunctional”)
16 pages
There are some publications that make you feel like a voyeur, that make you feel invasive, decidedly uncomfortable, even a little dirty, because of the depth of what’s revealed and the sincerity with which it’s related (these zines are among my favorites). Lethal Bubblegum is such a zine. As the subtitle implies, Star offers several anecdotes of “family drama”, centered around her alcoholic father and violent, bipolar older brother. The cutesy stick figure illustrations only heighten the disturbing mood and sense of immediacy. Star describes this new zine as a “Personal history project in which each issue is about a different subject of my life that made me who I am,” and writes that the next issue will be about “why my trust is now earned.” Star’s writing is as blunt and forceful as a blow to the head. Lethal Bubblegum is a small zine, but with a powerful impact.
$1.50; Star Morris; contact via e-mail until funds are raised for a P.O. Box:
LethalBubblegum@livejournal.com
Trades: “Maybe”

Off the Hook: The Newsletter of the Missouri Prison Labor Union, Issue #4, Fall 2002
12 pages
It’s easy to feel really bad about the state of affairs in the U.S. of A. right now, isn’t it? Well, the introductory essay by Jerome White-Bey makes it clear how much worse things are for those in prison post-September 11, and reminds us how easy it would be for virtually anyone to end up in the same place these days. That prospect is made more horrifying by this issue’s focus on women in prison, and the extremely powerful writing by Gretchen Schumacher and Barrilee Banister: “I was taken to solitary confinement. A rumor started that I was pregnant. Three officers (a male and two females) came in my cell and beat me down and maced me. They told me if I was pregnant they would make me abort, and so they kicked me in the stomach, while I was on the ground. I never had any sexual relations with any officers (except being coerced to perform head in order to be fed.)” (from Banister’s article “What Happened in Arizona?”) The Missouri Prison Labor Union is a non-profit organization “set up to act as a guardian of prisoners’ civil and human rights,” and their publication also gives ways people on “the outside” can help. This publication made me scared and angry, like virtually everything else in America now.
No price listed— $2-3?; Available from South Chicago ABC Zine Distro, P.O. Box 721, Homewood, IL 60430

Secret Mystery Love Shoes, Issue #2
40 pages
Another good issue, full of charming comics and illustrations, that’s like an engaging conversation with sprightly, creative, fun friends. Includes a short comic on how Andy and Maria met; more tips from Maria (who seems destined to be the Heloise of the zine world) on making your own natural cleaning products and dyeing at home; a tribute to Lynda Barry; “Meet Our Bikes”; a history of Maria’s hair; cute pictures of otters, and much more. The cover features a silkscreen of an octopus! Andy and Maria make quite a team.
$2; Maria Goodman & Androo Robinson, 2000 NE 42 Ave, PMB 303, Portland, OR 97213

The Special People’s Club, Issue #3
44 pages of various awkward sizes
There are many projects of this sort out there in Zineland, a young woman’s soul searching and self-analysis on paper, but I found The Special People’s Club to be more intelligent and well-written than many (although the use of the words “hella” and “that rocks” made me cringe— but I’m a crabby old man, remember?) Jasmine presents, in a stream of consciousness format, musings on gender identity and sexuality, relationships and longing for sex, pondering how to make ethics and theory an active part of life, memories of a trip to the British Isles, an on-and-off interest in Tori Amos, and an account of vaginal cutting that made me wince. This issue also includes “The Infamous Mini Zine”, comprised of literary quotations.
No price listed— $1-2?;
Jasmine L. Hoover, 5700 N. Tamiami Tr., Box 13, Sarasota, FL 34243
rylla@yahoo.com (there was also a web-address, but I couldn’t read it!)

Table Crumbs, Issue #1
32 pages
Table Crumbs, a political punk zine, states “this zine ain’t personal, it’s about CLASS + what’s left of it, it’s about the leftovers we get and create and digest….” This first issue features a selection of Soviet-era political/propaganda posters; an article making a distinction between censorship and calling punk and hardcore bands on offensive misogynistic/homophobic/racist lyrics, and a much appreciated parody of “punks” who are all self-righteous about dumpstering and “keeping it real,” yet manage to have cell phones and thousands of dollars’ worth of tattoos and piercings (I have to admit, though, I got a little confused sometimes about what was satire and what was sincere.) Although Adas states this is not a “personal” zine, the highpoint for me was a piece about her youth in Communist Poland, and a reprinted article on destitute farming villages in Northeast Poland with her own commentary. Overall, Adas’s stream of consciousness writing style is a bit meandering, but what’s said is worthwhile— I just wish the handwritten scrawl was easier to read! Margins, please! I may sound like a fourth grade teacher, but so what? Teaching fourth grade is a noble profession!
Price unlisted ($1-2?); Adas Wrdblewski, 308 N. Prairie #403, Champaign, IL 61820


Fred Argoff
1800 Ocean Pkwy. #B-12, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Completely unfazed by last issue’s disaster—wherein my whole package of zine reviews got lost in a Post Orifice maelstrom—I told Davida that of course I was on board for this new issue. If at first you don’t succeed, complain, complain, complain! And so it’s time to kick off the new year with an entirely fresh selection of zines. Got your seat belts on? OK, here we go...

Once upon a time, zinedom was a tidy little community of people whose main interests were independence, freedom of expression, and good old-fashioned fun in zine production. But, as in so many other aspects of life, an insidious element crept into the proceedings—that being crass commercialism. Fortunately, all is not lost. Standing tall in favor of freedom of the press (and in opposition to “electronic publications”) is THE FREE PRESS DEATH SHIP. Chock full of well-reasoned communications from readers as well as literate and fair zine reviews. Why anyone would still be grasping at straws and hoping for a return of Factsheet 5 is beyond me. There’s no price listed, so your donation to the Death Ship definitely keeps the torch of free press burning. Send for your copy right now, from Violet Jones, P.O. Box 55336, Hayward, CA 94545.

If you live in a big city, or maybe even if you don’t, there are probably buskers around. In New York, where I live, there are so many of them in the subways alone, it makes you wonder why none of them has ever tried keeping an account of their adventures in zine form. Well, wonder no more, because now there’s PLATFORM. Elizabeth keeps a running record of the stations where she’s played and the day’s take, as well as unusual sightings—and if you’ve ever experienced our mass transit system, you know there’s no shortage of unusual sightings! $2 lands you a copy of this wonderful new zine, from Elizabeth Genco, P.O. Box 22722, Brooklyn, NY 11202.

Do you know what the word “moxie” means? Well, maybe it’s time you cracked open that dictionary sitting there collecting dust on your shelf, and then you’ll know. And you’ll realize just how appropriately MOXIE! is titled. Put briefly: Suzie says what she thinks. In issue #20, for example, she tells us why she isn’t a big music buff, lets a couple of celebrities have what they deserve, and rants on about Mike Love of the Beach Boys. All this, and zine reviews, too. So do the right thing, and stuff a buck or two into an envelope and send it to Suzie Davis, 330 Reed St. (112F), Philadelphia, PA 19147. Make sure to tell her you got the tip here.

Feeling a little hot and bothered lately? That could be a sign that you need to see the latest issue of HOT AND BOTHERED. Each page is nothing less than a cornucopia of adventure. Issue #3 contains such unexpected gems as seeing Joan Jett in concert for the first time (...rather see her hump a guitar than watch Britney strip any day!), a quick list of things that are pointy—and you might not guess ‘any of these items on your own, praises sung to the hot glue gun, and bobble head dolls. Fun? You bet, so a buck or two to Malena Barnhart, 524 Daisy Dr., Taneytown , MD 21787 is a good idea right about now.

I’ve been trading zines with Mark Strickert for some time now, and I am frankly amazed that a person who always complains of a money shortage does the amount of traveling he does. He keeps a running list of the counties throughout the United States that he’s been through, for heaven’s sake! Where has he been lately? Aha—you don’t think I’m going to give the whole store away, do you? No, you’ll just have to send away for the current issue of the somewhat mysteriously titled FORTY TWO and find out. Look up “peripatetic,” and surely his picture is there. From Mark at P.O. Box 6753, Fullerton, CA 92834.

You may be familiar with my zine Brooklyn! Occasionally, people wonder why nobody else seems to think their own hometowns are worthy of a zine. Now, though, a brand-new zine called SUNSHINE CAPITAL uses the editor’s hometown as a starting point for all sorts of writing. The premier issue features true stories of teens & police, working & television, and a quick history of Tucson. Everyone ought to rally around and support a new addition to the zine community, and for $2, you can do your part. Travis Klein, P.O. Box 12171, Tucson, AZ 85732.

Poetry. There; I’ve used the dirty word. It’s all that’s necessary to send most of you scattering as you scream in terror, right? Still, that doesn’t change the bottom line, which is the good stuff you’ll discover in BLIND MAN’S RAINBOW. Sure, breaking down and sending away for a poetry zine is a major barrier to overcome. But give it a try. You didn’t die the first time your mother made you eat broccoli, did you? This won’t kill you either, and hey, you might even enjoy yourself. $3 lands you a copy of the current issue, from Melody Sherosky, P.O. Box 1557, Erie, PA 16507.


Brooke Young
c/o SLC Zine Library, 209 E 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
byoung@mail.slcpl.lib.ut.us


Hey Everybody! So this is my second attempt to write these reviews and I’m so late that it just isn’t funny anymore. Davida, Goddess of all things Zines, has given me a reprieve just this once, and only because I made her feel bad for me. I have spent the last month in a darkened basement trying to bring some sort of order to the massive zine collection at the Salt Lake City Public Library. That didn’t really happen, but I kind of faked it so half of the collection is now on display and looks great and the other half is still in boxes in various degrees of readiness. Anyway, everything looks nice and the zine collection is in a much-improved spot from the sub basement of the old library. Thanks for reading my reviews. Email me at byoung@slcpl.lib.ut.us

Hart Wheel #2
It is the duty of the Salt Lake City Public Library to do whatever we can to foster the zine culture in Utah, whatever there is of it. If that means hiring every zinester in the state, well then that’s just what we will have to do. I am not just reviewing this zine because I work with Moey, I am reviewing Hart Wheel because it is really, really good. This is the second issue of Hart Wheel and it reads like a love letter to zines. She recounts the time she read Doris and how that changed the way she looked at the world of zines (I just love that). Reading her zine is like reminder to take a new look at the things you love. The zine also explores all the excitement of being young and discovering what you actually stand for with a grace and enthusiasm that appeals to all. I like her piece about her flirtations with the Utah straightedge scene just because I understood her frustration, not just with that particular movement, but also with organized cliques of any kind. E-mail Moey at hartwheelzine@yahoo.com

The True Modern
I have to admit to sometimes not giving zines like the True Modern much of a chance. The True Modern is a zine of short fiction pieces written by Christian Zappone with no images or introduction. I tend to dismiss zines like this in the short attention span fog that I seem to live in. What surprised me was how much I liked the stories told here and that they grabbed my full attention right away. Christian writes with a personal style that has little of that annoying literary stuff that makes me wince. (I have really bad taste in fiction generally, this being the exception of course.) Most of the pieces have a political theme but they weren’t militant or overly preachy. They were pieces about searching for something more and finding simple ways to make differences, which were things I could identify with. I read the entire zine straight through, and was startled by how much I thought about it after I was done. If that’s not a recommendation then I don’t know what is. Send $3 to Christian Zappone, PO Box 2338, Astoria, NY 11102; wwmi@mindspring.com

Swing Set Girl #3
Sarah consistently makes zines that I really admire. Swing Set Girl is the perfect blend of the visual image and the written word. The range of emotions found in this one issue is astounding. Sarah goes from heartbreak to the euphoria of love, from righteous indignation to the bottomless pit of suicide. As I try and write this review the word that keeps flowing from my fingers to the keyboard is HEART. I feel like I have to work it into every sentence just because this zine is Sarah’s heart laid bare for the world to see. To write a zine full of that much truth is pretty intense, not just for the creator, but for the reader as well. I think my favorite selection was a letter to her grandmother, which just struck me as the most personal piece in a zine full of personal information. She does include an insert about female genital mutilation, which was interesting to read. I think it was my least favorite part, but it stayed with me the longest and had me up at night trying to argue with her position. As my partner in all library related crimes, Julie, put it, “I’m willing to go out on a limb and say female genital mutilation is bad, but I have taken enough Anthropology classes to be truly confused about how I feel about Africa and what should get fixed first. I think people have to not be dying of starvation and wars before basic human rights can be addressed, but maybe not.” Sarah makes a convincing argument. Send $1 to Sarah, PO Box 5754, Parsippany, NJ 07054; gwudistro@yahoo.com; http://girlwakesup.i85.net

The East Village Inky #17
I feel wholly unprepared to review this bastion of zine child rearing literature. I’m just a snot nosed kid who still shivers and says, “Ewww, children.” With that warning said, I like the East Village Inky. I like moms and good moms are worth more then the Hope Diamond. If every mother in America could find Ayun’s balance of what is important in the whole child rearing scheme of things and what a mom should just let go, then the country would be much better off. Ayun is a good mother and she produces a fabulous zine. Everyone should order this copy because I laughed a lot while reading it. Send $2 for just one issue or $8 for an annual subscription (cheap skate, you should order a subscription) to PO Box 22754, Brooklyn, NY 1120; inky@erols.com; www.ayunhalliday.com

Miranda #9
Kate Haas is also a mother who writes a zine. Miranda is so much more then a zine about being a mother. This is a perzine in the classical sense. She writes a cool piece on getting a tattoo in Morocco, which made me so jealous because Morocco is on my places to visit before I die list. Plus, I really liked her tattoo. There is a recurring theme to Miranda in that Kate seems to be trying to be a person and not just a mother and I really admire that. I like that fact that she worries about finding time to read grown-up books and that she joins a writing group. I also like the fact that she worries about being pregnant and raising her kids. This zine is a great read and a nice little peek into the psyche of young mothers. Send $2 to Kate Haas, 3510 SE Alder St, Portland, OR 97214, www.mirandazine.com; bruceandkate@juno.com;

Burnt #5
When we put zines in basic categories we often just don’t know where to put them. We try to limit our categories to a basic few, which means that some are jammed packed and some are looking for more entries. I would have to put Burnt in the Compilation/Variety section just because there are so many different things going on in this zine. There are poetry, stories, music reviews, and all sorts of goodies. The reviews are really good, which is nice because I find writing reviews to be kind of hard sometimes. I think that some of the ideas are kind of half realized, but that could be the point. I mean if you can’t try out ideas in a zine like this, then where can you try out stuff? Send $1 to Franco Ortega, PO Box 5757, Parsippany, NJ 07054; burntzine@yahoo.com; http://burntzine.i85.net


Christoph Meyer
PO Box 106, Danville, OH 43014


Hello, my name is Christoph Meyer and I publish a little fanzine entitled Twenty-eight Pages Lovingly Bound with Twine. What follows are a few reviews of independently produced publications that I have recently enjoyed reading* and all of the following reviews are thus positive reviews. I don’t want to waste your time or mine bashing other people’s work. Some of these are things that I bought or traded for and some were sent to me by Davida. Many of the ones Davida sent to me I had to send right back because I didn’t want to write a dishonest review full of praise or an honest review panning someone’s work. I just want to share with others the fanzines that I enjoy reading. Some of these reviews may seem a bit self-indulgent since I discuss myself as much as the publications being reviewed. My justification for this is that I think writing about how a fanzine makes me feel reveals more about it than just describing it’s contents. But then again, it’s probably just my ego run amok. *There is one exception; I reviewed one fanzine that I didn’t read.

Poetry! Yay Poetry! [sic]

Assemblage with Crow: Poems for discussion and activity
$5 Gregory Hischak, Post Office Box 2151, Seattle, WA 98111-2151
Why are so many fanzine reviewers against poetry? Well, you know what? I like poetry! I like reading it and I like writing it and I ain’t ashamed to admit it. So there.
This is a beautifully constructed chapbook of poetry. It’s printed on high quality paper and laid out nicely with interesting little illustrations here and there. Oh yeah, and the poems aren’t half-bad either. In fact, they’re half-good, nay! - more than half-good! Although I’m enthusiastic about these poems, I know that even among poetry lovers, tastes vary widely. Allow me to quote two bits I really liked from poems that I really liked so you can get a little taste and see if your tastes are similar to mine. This is from a poem entitled “Keyboard Commands (for Macintosh)”:

By hitting Command/Shift/W or Command/ option/W
I could either save the whales or free Tibet-this becomes very high tech-remember it’s a Mac and while we like to believe that it is intuitive, deep down we know that it isn’t.
I once tried to free Tibet but mere]y ended up italicizing everyone there. As if living under foreign oppressors wasn’t bad enough without being ruthlessly italicized.


And from a poem entitled “Poor India”:

Two thirds of a human body is composed of water. Two thirds of the earth is covered by water. Over two third of an iceberg lies beneath the water. Iceberg lettuce is two thirds water and if you throw it into water-and some people do this-two thirds of that lettuce will float beneath the surface of the water that’s why they call it iceberg lettuce.
Two thirds water.


I’m so happy when I read the first few poems in a poetry chapbook and I’m hooked in. There are so many books of poetry that are okay and have a few bright spots but aren’t exceptional, so it’s exciting to enjoy a book from beginning to end. These poems, or so I’m guessing, are the work of someone who has been developing their poetic skills for some time. If you were interested in the quotes I’ve pulled and want to read some more, send Mr. Hischak 5 bucks and get your own copy of this beautifully constructed chapbook full of beautifully constructed poems.

The Future Tense of Ash by Miram Sagan.
A Modest Proposal Chapbook.
$2 ppd (checks payable to Don Wentworth) Contact: The Lilliput Review, 282 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201.
Do you want to read some poetry by this woman:
I know that her picture has nothing to do with the quality of her verse but it was on the back cover of her chapbook and I really really really like when people put pictures of themselves on the back of their publications. It’s better if they have their chin resting on their fist but I guess I should be happy with what I get.
The highlight of this chapbook is the first and longest poem entitled “A Widow in Korea”. I enjoyed most of the other poems too, but this one was particularly well done. There was one poem entitled “Genji” which seemed rushed and lacking in poetic oomph, but poetry is a personal thing and it’s rare to read a chapbook and like every single poem. All of the poems have Asian themes and that ties the entire book together nicely.

A Fanzine that I VERY Highly Recommend

The Secret Life of Snakes #2 by Cullen Carter.
News: Cullen Carter was seriously injured in early April. Read more about the accident and how to help on Asha Anderson's website: http://www.ashabot.com/misc/cullen.htm
for now Clint Johns of Tower Records is stepping in to fill orders for Cullen's zines:
Clint Johns
Magazine Division
Tower Records
2550 Del Monte St.
W. Sacramento CA 95691
attn: CULLEN

1403 N. 52nd St., Milwaukee, WI 53208.
$2 U.S./$3 everywhere else.
When I read Burn Collector # 11 a few weeks ago I was very happy to have found a fanzine with good writing that could stand above most mainstream publications. But since I had read many glowing reviews of Burn Collector I was expecting that it might be good. The Secret Life Of Snakes, however, was an unknown; just one of many fanzines that Davida had sent to me for review. I read the first piece, a tale of car-troubles which is actually about being a father, and it was pretty good. Next was a short piece of fiction with a funny O. Henry style ending. I was enjoying TSLoS but it wasn’t until the third piece that I realized that this guy is a really good writer. That piece was just a scene from his life but it was told in the form of a short play and it was very very well done.
Wow, a good writer. I started the next piece, a longer short story, with some hesitation; although I was really enjoying this fanzine, I was afraid that I had already read the best parts. I love discovering new, good fanzine writers but I don’t find really good ones often enough. After I read the next story, which was the highlight of the issue, I knew that this guy could write. The story is based on a not too original science fiction premise and the ending is foreshadowed and you see it coming a mile away. But what made this story so good was that even with the unoriginal genre idea and the predictable ending, the polished writing carried the story brilliantly.
And after this great story, I read the three following book reviews as a kind of afterthought only to discover that they too are well done and interesting. This is a good fanzine by a serious writer. Get it.

3 Fanzines That Don’t Have a Common Thread That Would Make For A Catchy Heading

Untitled Mini Comic by Missy Kulik.
460 Sunset Dr., Athens GA 30606 (Missy runs Starting Small Distro)
When I received this little wordless mini-comic I quickly “read” through it, then cast it aside, not giving it much of a chance. Luckily, my son Herbie (age 21 months) saw the elephant on it’s cover and said, “Book! Little book! El-phant!” So I sat down and “read” it to him a couple times and I’m glad I did. The story of a boy going to sleep with his stuffed elephant is told through simple drawings and only takes a minute or two to look through. It’s very very cute- probably too cute for most people’s taste but I really liked it once I gave it a chance. Thanks Herbie.

Passions: A Cooperative Press Association. #24
$3.50 (checks payable to Ken Bausert) 2140 Erma Drive, East Meadow, NY 11554-1120.
This is an interesting concept. Everyone in the Passions Cooperative shares the costs of printing and postage and sends their works to Ken Bausert who acts as an editor/assembler/mailer. As with any collection by various authors, the quality between various pieces varies but the parts that I enjoyed might be the parts that bore you and vice verse. One person’s trash...etc. The interesting thing about Passions is that the pieces are so diverse. Usually, a collection has a theme or unifying principle but with Passions, the only unifying principle is that everyone writes about what they are passionate about. There’s an odd assortment of passions which range from a tribute to Joey Ramone to nostalgia for long-lost sugar-encrusted breakfast cereals to comments on old, popular comic strips. Passions makes for a pleasant reading experience mostly because it’s so very, very unpredictable and odd.

Derogatory Reference #101 by Arthur D. Hlavaty
206 Valentine Street, Yonkers, NY 10704-1814; $1 in U.S./$2 outside U.S. arranged trade or letter of comment.
Wow, issue #101 This may be the last issue of DR but Mr. Hlavaty writes that if he does cease publishing DR, he will start a new fanzine possibly entitled Equal-Opportunity Crone. I really enjoyed DR and here’s a quote to show you why: “I’m over 60, I’m getting crankier, I’ve reached the age where even the grown-up oppressor music of my adolescence sounds better than the noise these kids listen to, and I like to talk about the Good Old Days.” I do like reading rambling, slap-dash fanzines by teenagers who can barely put two sentences together before their ADD- MTV hyper-active mind jumps to an unrelated subject. But I see those often enough and I rarely see a publication from the older generation of self-publishers. Hell, I’m an old crank at 28 so I feel more in tune with 60 year olds than people my own age or younger. Mr. Hlavaty has an idiosyncratic writing- style and sense of humor that I enjoyed. Give him a try.

3 Fanzines That Should Be Given A Medal For Publishing Often & Regularly

Atomic Blue Ribbon FLyer
$1 or trade/$10 for a 1-year sub.
1305 Green Street, Durham NC 27705
Well, this one already received the blue ribbon’ but I guess it can have a medal too. This is January 2002 issue. I guess that it’s monthly but I’m not sure. That would be very cool though if a fanzine were monthly. I actually don’t know if ABRF fits under the above heading at all but let’s pretend. I’ve had this fanzine forever and I should have just written the publisher and asked but now it’s too late; these reviews were due 3 days ago.
ABRF is constructed from 2 letter-sized pages folded and held together with a single staple. Each of the three pieces is interesting and well-written and the entire issue can be read in fifteen minutes. There are also a few short fanzine reviews. I was pleasantly surprised to see an article about an artist named Henry Darger whose work I once saw at an exhibit and admired greatly.

Out of the Blue
$3/ $18 for a 1 year sub of 6 issues
Larned Justin, Post Office Box 471, House Springs, MO 63051
Larned puts OOTB out as regular as clockwork every two months - that’s bimonthly. If bimonthly means once every two months then why does biannually mean twice a year instead of once every two years? Where’s the consistency?
Every issue contains pieces by the regular columnists along with lots of submitted comics, writing and art OOTB is open to submissions). There are also plenty of fanzine and comics reviews. I really enjoy OOTB’ s format. The reviews are usually accompanied by images from the publication itself so you can get a good idea of whether or not you’d enjoy it. OOTB is just fun to read because of the variety in each issue and the variety from issue to issue, since besides the regular columnists, everything is just submitted works. Oh, and when you check it out, be sure to read the writings of a particular columnist named Christoph Meyer. Yeah, this review was just leading up to a dumb self-promotion. Sorry.

NeuFutur
$1 or trade UB Box 6074
408 S. Locust St. Greencastle, IN 46135
This fanzine is published bimonthly during the school year and monthly during the summer months. I have to make a confession: I haven’t actually read anything in it except for the inside cover and that’s where I gleaned the first sentence. If you read the review of Atomic Blue Ribbon Flyer above, you’ll know that I’m late getting these reviews to Davida. It’s like I’m back in high school or college and I have a report due and I put the damn thing off until past the last minute. I’d really like to apologize to the publisher of NeuFutur for how terrible this review is. It’s really the worst review that I’ve ever written but I felt that I had to include it because it fit so nicely under the heading. How can I review something I’ve never read? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m gonna print out these reviews and mail them to Davida this morning with a note of apology for their tardiness and hope that she’ll give me a grade, any grade, even if it’s just a D or an F. I think my previous reviews were good enough to bring up my average so that I could pass. If I get a 0 on this though, it’ll bring my semester’s grade for Fanzines 101 way down. I’ll probably fail. Please Davida don’t let me fail! I promise that I’ll do all my assigned reading and turn in my reports on time from now on. Please Davida, for the love of God, don’t let me fail! My parents’ll kill me if get another F.


Eric Lyden
224 Moraine St., Brockton MA 02301
Ericfishlegs@aol.com


Funny thing about me - no matter how long I have to do something I almost always wait until the last minute. I had a whole month to finish these reviews and now here it is the day before the deadline and I’m just finishing them now. Now I always get them done when I say they’ll be done and I don’t think they’d be any better if I did them earlier, but just once it’d be nice to not be doing these at the very last minute.

Mr. Peebody’s Soiled Trousers and Other Delights #16
This zine here is one of my favorite per-zines. First of all, it’s one of the only personal zines out there (besides my own) done by a fellow male and that’s almost enough of a reason to recommend it right there. Plus is usually makes me laugh. The basic idea of the zine is this - Jay lives his life, then every day he writes a short journal entry about what happened that day, then takes a months worth of entries and publishes it in zine form. This issue covers the month of Sept. 2001 and to tell the truth I wasn’t looking all that forward to reading it because the idea of reading one more person’s thoughts on 9/11 was enough to make me want to smash my head against the wall. Yes, we all have our own individual thoughts and feeling regarding what happened and everyone’s thoughts are valid and to be respected, but I’m just sick of the whole damn topic and wasn’t especially excited about reading a zine about it more than a year after the fact. However, I’m happy to report that Jay keeps the 9/11 stuff to a minimum and at no point is there any danger of it becoming the focus of the whole zine. Despite 9/11 it still managed to be a fairly lighthearted read. Swank cover, too. Send $2 or a trade to Jay Koivu, PO Box 931333, Los Angeles, CA 90093; JayKoivu@yahoo.com

Hillbilly Ghetto #2
Y’know, every so often you’ll read a zine and think to yourself “This is just such a perfect idea for a zine. Why has no one done it before?” This is one of those zines. Basically it’s a zine about, as the cover puts it, “True tales of Neighbor Nastiness.” Just such a perfect idea because we’ve all, at one point or another, had awful neighbors (when I was in high school we lived next to an extremely paranoid racist. He used to claim that people would break into his house when he wasn’t home. They never stole anything, but sometimes things wouldn’t be where he left them so obviously someone must’ve broken in. Then sometimes he’d see people on their porch smoking pot, which I grant you isn’t the brightest move, and he’d sit in his house with his shotgun aimed at them debating whether or not to shoot. At least that’s what he’d tell us. But this is all neither here nor there...) so this is a topic we can all relate to on some level and in my mind anything we can all relate to makes for good reading. Very good zine that, with some more good contributors, has the potential to be great. No price listed, but $1 or $2 sounds good. Mandy Willeford, PO Box 412, Greensburg, IN 47240; www.hillbillyghetto.com

Greenzine #12
A while back I was reading a zine called Platform (a fine zine I reviewed here last issue and if you haven’t checked it out by now you really should) and in this zine the author mentions how several people have told her that her zine reminds them of Cometbus. This annoyed me beyond belief because Platform in no way resembles Cometbus. Cometbus and Platform are both fine and wonderful zines, but they are completely different in both tone and content. Then I figured out what was happening - Cometbus is probably the most popular zine out there and is read by a lot of people who aren’t necessarily well versed in zines. So when people who aren’t that familiar with zines, but have read an issue or two of Cometbus, see another zine they enjoy they say, “It reminds me of Cometbus” because from their point of view they’re both zines, and they enjoy both of them, hence they must resemble each other. There’s some logic there if you look hard enough. Not a lot of logic, but some. Anyhow, after I noticed this I thought to myself “Well, from here on out when I am writing reviews I will completely abstain from using the phrase “It’s like Cometbus” because using such a phrase usually just conveys ignorance and makes it look like the only zine you read is Cometbus so as a result people will take your opinions with a grain of salt.” Not every zine is like Cometbus anymore than every band is like the Doodletown Pipers. Anyhow, to get on with the point of this review, I read Greenzine and my first thought was “Wow, this zine really reminds me of Cometbus.” In tone and in content and even in the design, this zine has a lot in common with Cometbus. I tried to think of something new and original to say about this zine without comparing it to Cometbus, but I just couldn’t do it. Because, dammit, some zines really are like Cometbus. So I guess if a zine really is like Cometbus it’s OK to say it reminds you of Cometbus. This issue is “a six part narrative on travel” and it features... umm... yeah, that’s what it is. All of which is very well written and accompanied by some beautiful illustrations and a few comics, which are nice touches. But y’know, I did notice that in many of the illustrations people are doing odd things with their hands. Either pointing or making odd gestures or... whatever. It just struck me as odd once I noticed it. Send a couple bucks (I guess) or a trade to Cristy C Road, 14222 SW 83 St., Miami FL 33183; croadcore@yahoo.com; http://croadcore.cjb.net

Hitch #32 Winter 2002
Man, y’know, this zine reminds me a lot of Cometbus. Nah, I’m just kidding with you. If ever there was a zine that was nothing like Cometbus it would have to be this one. Depending on your POV this may not even be a zine. It’s very magaziney looking with paid ads and a glossy cover. But I guess it’d still be considered a zine because it doesn’t have a bar code and it’s all in black and white, even the glossy cover. Truth is, I don’t really care whether you consider it a zine or a magazine, I like it and am going to review it. Hitch is, as it states on the cover, “the journal of pop culture absurdity” and that’s a pretty good basic description. Although not all articles in here are pop culture related, if you have little or no interest in pop culture you might be better off spending your $5 elsewhere. Issue to issue I think my favorite section would be Hitch-bits, where Rod prints any stray and random bits that can’t be stretched into a full length article, including the continuing serial (I guess you’d call it a serial) “The Paper” in which Rod writes about his experiences working on an Oklahoma City newspaper, pranks he pulled on his innocent children and other good stuff (and a few lamer bits, like the checkers article and that gossip column on celebrities in heaven, but most of it is funny.). Special notice goes to Louis Fowler’s “TV Party Tonite” column simply because he confirms that the TV show “What a Dummy!” did really exist and wasn’t just some bizarre fever dream I had once. The main cover stories this issue is a good interview with Bruce Campbell, an update on the “Country Life” girls (who I had never seen or heard of until then. Sorry.), and a funny piece on Star Wars musical knock offs. It also features a lot of music, movie, and print reviews, all of which are well written and some of which are quite funny (doesn’t hurt that they seem to mirror my taste for the most part, either.) and a few pages of comics which range from really funny, to a tad lame though not totally unfunny. Recommended. Send $5; Hitch PO Box 23621 Oklahoma City OK 73123-2621; rlott@aol.com www.hitchmagazine.com

Rich Mackin’s Book of Letters #16 and 17
This zine is a little more like Cometbus than Hitch, but that’s like saying that the band Pavement is more like the Doodletown Pipers than the Ramones are because it still is nothing like Cometbus. I’ve noticed that Book of Letters has actually become on of those zines that’s become so popular that it’s becoming cool to not like it. So I should give this zine a lousy review so I can look cool and ahead of the curve. Because y’know, there’s nothing people like more than people who hate and mock what others love. But I just can’t bring myself to do it because this has always been one of my favorite zines. The basic concept is this - Rich writes funny letters, mostly to big corporations questioning their business practices or ad campaigns, sometimes to politicians like Al Gore or GW Bush, and one to a couple guys who arrested for molesting plastic reindeers. Some of the letters are just plain silly, but most actually have serious points behind them so you actually learn, as you’re entertained. Funny = good. Funny + thought-provoking = even better. He also prints the responses he gets from the letters, which are almost always form letters, but you gotta give props to the companies that actually do give a real reply. I have 2 new issues here, 16 and 17. I ‘d recommend you order both, but if you can only afford one I’d go with 17, which is just a smidgen funnier in my opinion. One of my favorite zines. Oh, and Rich also goes on tour reading his letters, so if he comes to your town you should check it out. Or don’t. I don’t care what you do with your free time. Also, if you live in the northeast you oughta try to make it to Beantown Zinetown Mar. 29 at Mass Art College. I’ll be there and I really don’t think you need any more incentive to show up than that. Anyhow, send $3 per issue (or selective trades) to Rich Mackin, PO Box 890, Allston MA 02134; Richmackin@earthlink.net www.richmackin.org

Adult Ramblings #12
One annoying thing about this zine I have to mention before I get started - in it Anastacia (the author) refers to herself as her cat’s mother. Ummm... no. I know you love you cat and take care of it and that’s wonderful, but your cat is a cat and you are a human so therefore you can never have a mother-child relationship with your cat. Sorry. Anyhow, what we have here is a nice, solid, basic personal zine. Everything in here is good (in particular a story about a car accident and about the death of her great grandmother) but nothing really stands out as being great. Still, for a buck you could do a lot worse than ordering this zine. She kind of goes font crazy, though, but that’s something you gotta deal with in zines. I think I may be the only zine person out there who couldn’t care less about fonts. Anyhow, send $1 or a trade to Anastacia Zittel, PO Box 365, Douglas MA 01516; adultramblings@therapids.net

Drunken Master #6
I wasn’t gonna review this zine because I had a letter printed in here and it somehow seemed like a conflict of interests. But then I figured it would be silly for anyone to think I’m recommending they read a zine just so they could read a letter I wrote, esp. when the bulk of the letter in question pertains to the name of the pro wrestler who wore the mask of Tiger Mask. And I think the letter isn’t even totally accurate - there was a third Tiger Mask I forgot about. Funny, I’d be willing to bet I know at least twice as much about pro wrestling as anyone reading this review, yet compared to the hardcore fans I don’t know shit. Anyhow, I like this zine a lot. This is another one of those zines with amazing production values - glossy color cover, fancy lay-out, tons of pictures. Good stuff along with an eclectic mix of articles including some comics, an interview with a phone psychic, an interview with Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys (may be the first time a zine has ever had an interview with a punk musician I’ve actually cared about), punchlines to jokes that the author never got around to writing, and some other stuff. A sort of hard to describe mix, but trust me when I tell you it’s an entertaining mix. Send $3 to Drunken Master c/o Shino Arihara, PO Box 51033 Pasadena, CA 91115-1033

For the Clerisy Nov. 2002.
Well, form the high production values of Drunken Master to the lo-fi look of For the Clerisy. I like the lo-fi look so there’s no problem there. No fancy layout, very few graphics, and one staple in the upper left corner. Nice basic look. This zine refers to itself as “Good Words for Readers” and that’s pretty much what it is - some long book reviews, a page of interesting quotes, some movie and zine reviews, and a fairly and an in depth letters column of which a good portion of is used to discuss Star Wars Episode 2 of all things, which at once struck me as fairly odd and somewhat charming. It made me really wish I’d seen or read anything he discussed this issue so I could take part in the letters column of a future issue, but other than the zines, I haven’t so as a result I just feel left out. Damn. But this zine also features a recipe for fried Twinkies, which I mention just because I feel like it. For some reason even though I can’t really cook I still enjoy zines that feature recipes. Send a trade or a letter or something to: For the Clerisy c/o Brent Kresovich, PO Box 404, Getzville, NY 14068-0404; kresovich@hotmail.com


Maria Goodman
2000 NE 42nd Ave. #303, Portland, OR 97213


Aren’t some zines awesome & some zines super awesome? Yes is the answer to these zines listed below. You also might find Secret Mystery Love Shoes awesome, once you try it. Androo Robinson and I do it together. OFTEN. Write to Maria Goodman and Andrew Robinson at the address above.

Doble Sentido
poems by Fabian O. Iriarte
translations by Donny Smith
digest, 40 pages, $4.00; Donny Smith: Box 411, Swarthmore PA 19081 USA
Fabian Iriarte: Almafuerte 3449 B7602FRQ, Mar del Plata, Argentina
One of the trademarks of Dwan, Donny Smith’s publications, is simple, beautiful presentation. “Ohh,” I said when I pulled this book out of its envelope and saw the calm blue paper, the delicately drawn face on the cover, and the transparent sheet, also inked, bound around it all.
And then Donny beautifully presents these short, dreamy poems. He says, in his preface, “There’s a place where one language no longer suffices and a second one bursts in, where the first is about the break under the weight of emotion and the second arrives to prop it up (or vice versa).”
I wish I knew Spanish. I wish I was fluent in another language and had more words at my disposal to express myself. Imagine the vocabulary Donny must have to choose the precise adjectives and verbs to translate POETRY, the most scientific of all literature. One false step, and the sentiment is ruined.
A lot of people don’t like to read poetry because it is layered and takes some time to digest. I will confess that I get impatient, too. But these are poems you can take little ‘bites of— some of them are little bites themselves—and see and feel for awhile afterward. Quite filling. One of my favorites:

the swimming pool

secretly at night
under the coolness of the tall trees
under the time/whispering old secrets
it simply is
suggesting nothing/not even a metaphor


At the end of the book there is an “intraducible postface” in Spanish that, in my ignorance, I could not read.

Junie in Georgia #11
by Julie Dorn
digest, $4 pages, $2.00 ;
junieingeorgia@hotmail.com
Good god, this is fun. It’s so much fun that I’m sorry out you will not be able to do laundry or get to bed on time because whenever you think you’ve reached a stopping point you’ll glance ahead for just a SECOND and see something like bad resume critiques or napkin drawings and before you can decide “All right, I’ll read one more page,” you already did.
This is the chattiest zine ever. I love it. Junie is funny and hyper and draws the craziest little pictures. Listen to what’s in this issue and tell me you aren’t dying to hang around with her: her obsession with becoming a bounty hunter (for real!), including a criminal catalog she mace with her sister when they were little kids, INCLUDING actual little kid illustrations, handwriting, and spelling; the results of a tarot reading to see whether she shou1d pursue this career path or not; her ride along with a police officer; her trip to a gun show (and the humiliating story of going hunting with her dad when she was twelve and had a bad perm—I tell you, her honesty is relentless); reviews of bounty-hunter novels and an interview with one author, Janet Evanovich; annoying customer cartoons (the aforementioned napkin drawings) drawn by her and her fellow waiters; the saga of hiring a new ,waiter, with actual weird letters and resumes she got back; sex toy reviews; the tale of moving to Africa with her boyfriend (the article’s title, “Africaaaaaaaa!” tells you a little about her frazzled frame of mind); and zine reviews! Whew! Whee! I am a fan for life. The only sad thing is that since Junie is now in Africa and has no mailbox, you can’t write to her unless you have access to a computer. But she says there will be a Junie in Ghana zine, so whoever hears something, please tell me, and I’ll do the same. (ed - She now has a PO Box in GA! P.O. Box 438, Avondale Estates, GA 30002).

Dirt and Sky
by Mark Hain
digest, 76 pages, $4.00; PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081
giant_turu@hotmai1.com
The way Mark writes is so converationa1, and his topics so personal, you forget you’re reading— you feel like you’re listening. This is the story of the death of Mark’s dad, written only a few months later. The pain is sharp. This is obviously written as therapy, and only when writing is this necessary can it be this touching. It hurts to read, but it’s a privilege to be let inside.
Mark is generous, brave, and entirely without sappiness. He tells the sweet and the ugly: the traits of his father that he admired, the ones that bothered him, the ones he tries to embody today because he respects them so much. Mark is not too proud, also, to talk about those gritty details that may seem too discourteous to admit during mourning, out which exist nonetheless because we are human—he describes frustrating relatives, lust for the neighbor, having a temper at the zoo. It seems strange, but this zine is actually fun to read—you’ll cry but you will also laugh and get mad and find yourself reacting to his writing invo1untari1y, which is pretty invigorating to experience. At the end Mark includes an emai1 correspondence with a friend of his from high schoo1—it’s bitchy and gossipy and hilarious.
Mark is also an artist, and drew the cover picture of his father and his father’s twin brother as children. Combined with the title, it’s perfect.

One Fine Mess
By Erin and Dan Quinlan
half-legal, 36 pages, 2 stamps or trade (!)
71 Storm Street, Apt 2C, Tarrytown NY 10591; dananderinq@aol.com
Oh Ooy! This is the zine I always hope for...I dream about...oh, I’ll never do it justice. My review will have to be an eight tier cake decorated with cherries and Godiva chocolate shavings.
All I can say with words is: 1. thank you for existing 2. thank you for being so pretty and having perfect grammar and spelling and 3. if Erin doesn’t turn out to be the next David Sedaris, I owe everyone five dollars. Man, I laughed out loud while I read this, and I also swooned. Writing this good is rarer than a fresh moon pie. Erin talks about her cute little brother coming out of the closet and their mother “getting used to it”. She prints her actual employee review from her magazine job. She tells the story of how she and her husband met and fell in love (the last line is like a movie), how she doesn’t like wearing bathing suits, how they’re thinking of moving to NYC. She writes about writing, and nails the pride of a successful day: “The whole thing leaves me talkative and sweaty and adrenalized, as if I’ve just won an expensive cut of meat in a county fair raffle or pulled an unconscious motorist from under a burning Volkswagon.”
But before you start thinking “that sounds good”, there’s more! Meet Dan, Erin’s equally talented husband. Hear his story of attending a claustrophobic job fair for teachers: “At some point, I realized the same questions were being asked of the man to my right, who was also interviewing for a social studies position, with whom I was also rubbing elbows. At one point in our interviews, we simultaneously said the word ‘standardization’.” He writes about the fun he has helping Erin go bridal-gown shopping: “I was using terms like ‘A-line’ and ‘bodice’ as though I’d used them all my life.” What fun these two must have! They’d probably kick Andrew and my asses in the zine couple tug of war, too, bless their hearts. When’s the next issue coming out??? When?????

Contrivance
by Benedict Lumley
quarter-sized, 16 pages, $?; 4 Swarthmore Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 4JR United Kingdom; btl_is@hotmail.com
Though small, Benedict’s zine is packed with big ideas and great illustrations—“I can’t draw,” he claims, but it’s a lie. The “nice ideas” page is full of cute little pictures of macaroons, skipping ropes, and wind-up radios, and there are more scientific drawings for the pages devoted to his inventions: the circular high rise hotel, a model of modern efficiency with buttons to press, monorails to ride, and “lots of lovely sparkling gold things on wheels everywhere”; the conveyor belt street-system. (“People need to go places. Fact. What people really need is a big conveyor belt. Fact.”) There’s also a very logical plan for a car park for the homeless, using abandoned vehicles, that would provide shelter and an address to people need “temporary accommodation from which they can get some standard of living back”. This is an extremely charming zine, thoughtful and humorous, neatly executed. It makes me hungry for LOTS MORE, and fortunately Benedict is working on a personal zine which I can’t wait to see. In the meantime I’m opting for the third of Benedict’s suggestions as to what to do with contrivance (the first two are “recycle” and “pass on”): “treasure — find a special place and store it. take out and read periodically to relive the good times. shoe boxes are good, but make sure you cut out small breathing holes.”


KATHY MOSELEY
1573 N. Milwaukee Ave, #403, Chicago, IL 60622
SemiBold@aol.com


My procrastinating self put off the actual writing of these reviews until February 1st, the day they were due! So of course, on the day when I must do this writing, I wake up to a phone call from Tricia telling me that the space shuttle Columbia blew up. Shit. I was in college when the Challenger exploded. I remember standing in a towel, fresh out of the shower, watching it on the TV, thinking “Hmm, that doesn’t look right.” And now here we are again, more or less. The endless video loops, speculation, press conferences, analysis and the bottomless silence of that final moment. I’m going to try and write some reviews now, maybe it will make me feel better.

Watch the Closing Doors #20
If I had to describe Fred’s zines in one word, I would have to choose “enthusiastic.” Fred so loves Brooklyn, and the New York Subway system, that he can’t help telling everyone everything he knows about them! “Watch the Closing Doors” focuses on the New York subway, and this issue is about the Bronx in particular. He provides historical facts, little-known items of interest, and his own personal experiences on the subway and elevated trains. His knowledge is unparalleled, and the city of New York would do well to hire Fred to give walking tours of Brooklyn and sightseeing tours via subway. He would be the best cultural ambassador ever! My only complaint about WCD (and Brooklyn!, Fred’s other zine) is the photo reproduction. Please, Fred, take advantage of a scanner, or the halftoning function on the copy machine you use. I would love to be able to really see what’s in your photos. Most of the time they’re so dark they are lacking a lot of detail that I know is there. I think it would really benefit the look of the zine, not to mention allow readers to better understand what Fred is talking about. He’s a good writer, with a friendly and engaging style, and I’m always left wanting more at the end of every issue. Luckily, Fred publishes like clockwork, and I know it will only be a few months (if even that long) before the next issue lands in my mailbox. If you’re a dedicated public transportationist, love New York, or just like learning about new things, then WCD is for you.
Digest size, 24 pages. He doesn’t list a single-issue price, but I’m sure $2, or $1 and some stamps would suffice. A 4-issue subscription is available for $10 (cash preferred). Write to: Fred Argoff, 1800 Ocean Parkway (#B-12), Brooklyn, NY 11223-3037

Sugar Needle #21
This is the “Candy Crafts” issue, where you will learn how to make a gum wrapper chain, how to make an actual whip from licorice whips (yowch!), how to make tiny books from candy wrappers, and so much more! (I don’t want to give it all away here.) There’s also an interview with Varlita, who works at the Toys R Us “Candyland” in Times Square, and a review of “Edo” which is an edible Sculpy-type product. Cool! Sugar Needle is a super-cute, handwritten, hand-colored zine that made me feel like I needed to brush my teeth when I was done. There’s also cover art by the prolific Androo Robinson.
It’s 16 pages, (letter-size paper folded the long way), and will only cost you $1 plus 1 first class stamp. They will also trade for interesting candy or your own zine. Write to: Corina Fastwolf, PO Box 300152, Minneapolis, MN 55403
—or—
Phlox Icona, 1174 Briarcliff, Suite 2, Atlanta, GA 30306

In Your Room #5
I was immediately intrigued by this zine because of this cover line: “This is the one with the Sleater-Kinney interview.” All right! I love Sleater-Kinney! But I was patient and read through the zine from the beginning, instead of immediately going to the interview. (It’s a weird thing I have, reading things from beginning to end, regardless of what I may find most interesting in a zine.) Serene provides us with the basic goings-on in her life, including her trip to Hawaii with friends, a “tour journal of a band that never leaves town,” brief portraits of friends, and a quick trip to Portland. It’s all put together in a basic cut & paste typewritten style with little drawings here and there. Oh, yeah, and the Sleater-Kinney interview. It’s actually just with Carrie Brownstein, and it’s really good! So much better than most of the dopey band interviews I read. Thoughtful questions, and thoughtful answers. Carrie talks about studying sociolinguistics, the songwriting process, and the benefits of being on an independent label. The only drawback for me was the typos. Someone needs to buy Serene some correction tape! There are way too many “strikeouts” in her typed pieces. She’s a good writer with good stories to tell, but sometimes the excessive typos were a little distracting. But overall it’s everything a good personal zine should be: a window into someone else’s life.
Digest size, 32 pages. There’s no price listed, but I’d say it’s definitely worth a buck and/or a few stamps. Write to: Serene aka “the heartbreak cowboy” New address: 2111 W. Chase, Pensacola, FL 32501; www.yourheartbreaks.com

Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore! #2
Before reading this, the extent of my knowledge of Baltimore came from John Waters movies and whatever I gleaned from reading the zines of our editrix, Ms. Breier. One thing is clear, however, and that is that Baltimore residents have a strange, fierce pride about their strange hometown. In “Smile, Hon,” William P. Tandy offers several short Baltimore slices of life, and one longer story about an alcohol-soaked St. Patrick’s Day odyssey. “Charm City” comes across as a little worn around the edges, a little rough-and-tumble, but home nonetheless. The thing that intrigues me most about these stories is wondering how literally true they are, and how much is embellishment. I guess ultimately it doesn’t really matter, but it’s always something I want to know. They definitely have the ring of true life experiences, but they also have a more “literary” quality that I usually associate with fiction. I definitely want to read more of Mr. Tandy’s work.
Digest size, 52 pages. $3 postage paid. Write to: William P. Tandy, Eight-Stone Press, PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078; esp@leekinginc.com; www.leekinginc.com/esp

Skunk’s Life #21
I’ve been reading DB’s zine for years, and I think his writing has really improved in that time. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I find it a lot more enjoyable to read than I used to. DB publishes a mix of short fiction and nonfiction essays, most in this issue revolving around the topic of “Courting.” But the regular features are also here, including “Skunk Stuff,” an advice column on how to best take care of your pet skunk; and Musty & Dusty Book Chat, wherein DB reviews selections from the Book of the Month Club circa 1943. I think that’s one of my favorite parts of Skunk’s Life. He provides short reviews, the book’s original price, whether or not it’s still in print, and what you might expect to pay for it now, either new or used. His short fiction is getting better, too. Two of his semi-regular characters appear in this issue: time traveler Max Candler, and chubby-chaser Tye Chesterman looks like he’s found true love. Kiel Stuart (or is it Stewart? it’s spelled 2 different ways in the zine) also contributes a cute story about finding love and saving the world through the magic of catalog shopping. Digest size, 44 pages. $2 postage paid, cash or check.
Write to: DB Pedlar, 25727 Cherry Hill Rd., Cambridge Springs, PA 16403; dbpedlar@toolcity.net

Friction Magazine #1
In all honesty, I really expected not to like this, based on nothing but the cover. I pulled a classic “judging a book by the cover,” and I was wrong! My initial impression was, “Oh, it’s going to be one of those annoying bad fiction magazines.” What I discovered instead was a wide assortment of essays on political, social and cultural topics, kind of an independent media version of Salon.com. The web analogy fits in more than one way, since this magazine is a print compilation of articles from frictionmagazine.com. The website has been running for almost two years now, and they intend for this printed version to be an annual occurrence. Essays run the gamut from the art of street stenciling; how recent court cases about gay rights have affected the Boy Scouts of America; and a discussion of post-September 11 literature and newspaper/magazine coverage. Peppered throughout the book is a series of one-page interviews with independent musicians and record-label entrepreneurs called “Not Your Average Rock Star,” in which they discuss their influences, what they do for a “day job,” and why they do what they do. The publishers of “Friction” also remember that there is a world outside the U.S. — included is a personal essay about people in Cuernavaca, Mexico, who actually LIVE IN a garbage dump; an interview with the director of a documentary about the people of Jamaica and how they are affected by the IMF; and an essay about growing political unrest among the working class in Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia. It’s a good magazine, professionally produced, but I think the $7.00 cover price is a little steep for most zine people. If you’ve got internet access, you’d probably be better off to bookmark the site and visit it regularly, because the writing is good, and deserves to be read. If you don’t have internet access, or prefer the printed word to the pixelated one, and can afford the $7.00 (or $9.00 if ordering by mail), I say go for it. It also came with a little mini-zine supplement containing short interviews with many of the contributors.
It’s 6-3/4”x9”, 160 pages, perfect bound. $9.00 postage paid, check or money order. Write to: Friction Magazine, 277 Luedella Ct., Akron, OH 44310 www.frictionmagazine.com; info@frictionmagazine.com


RICK BRADFORD
PO Box 2235, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
azure.bbboy.net/poopsheetnews; www.angelfire.com/freak/ricko/myzines.html; rickbradford@msn.com


TRIGGER #1-3
($2.00 each from Mike Bertino / 3060 Suncrest Dr. #9 / San Diego, CA / 92116) E-mail: triggercomics@hotmail.com) I like these a lot. Although it’s hardly a straight genre comic, Trigger is essentially a mystery starring a detective who’s also a superhero. Someone has discovered that Nigel Fox, P.I. is the secret identity of superhero Everyman. But who are they and what do they want? Fox is regularly given what seem to be clues, but most turn out to be bogus and not everything is as it seems. Lots of bizarre plot twists help keep the story interesting. On top of that, Bertino’s artwork is really nice, in my opinion. I recommend you check this out. I think Mike Bertino is somebody we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future.

ZADZ
(send a few stamps to Rachael Joan / 2116 Coronado Dr. SE / Grand Rapids, MI / 49506 USA) Zadz is a 28-page collection of ads for zines and other DIY projects. I think it’s a great idea and I hope Rachael can keep it up for a long time. Send your ad for the next issue and send some stamps or $$ to support the cause.

FANZINE FANATIQUE Fall 2002
(send a trade to Keith & Rosemary Walker / 6 Vine St. / Lancaster / LA1 4UF / ENGLAND) Conversational review sheet that reads a lot like corresponsdence to the reviewees. Covers a variety of stuff, but seems to be more focused on SF, mail art and literary zines. They’ve been at it for 30 years thus far.

HOT DOG HOLIDAY
(buy it at USS Catastrophe or send $2.00 to Chris Cilla / 1225 N. Emerson / Portland, OR / 97217 USA. E-mail: cccilla@hotmail.com) Chris Cilla’s work is fairly new to me, but you may have caught his stuff in such places as Madburger, Bogus Dead or Proper Gander. This is fun stuff. He has a nice cartoony style that makes it clear he’s having fun. Hot Dog Holiday is a collection of one-page gags and strips that center around a theme of – you guessed it – hot dogs. Chris also sent Stun Nuts #2, an eight-page collection of random drawings and comix – maybe straight out of the sketchbook? Anyhow, the thoughts don’t run too deep in these two books, but they’re a lot of fun and nice to look at. Check ‘em out.

BEZANGO, WA 985 #7 & 8
(Steve Willis / PO Box 390 / McCleary, WA / 98557-0390 USA) I’ve really been enjoying this series. Steve Willis, best known as the cartoonist/creator/victim of Morty the Dog (and a multitude of other great characters), is doing something a little different these days. In each issue of Bezango, WA 985 Steve writes about the peculiar residents of this fictional (or is it?) town. I may have said this before, but it’s something akin to Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone stories, only much more outlandish and entertaining. As a bonus, there are also drawings of each Bezangoan (Bezangite?) profiled. I hope Steve one day turns these stories into comix, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the heck out of these small stories.

FAMILY PORTRAITS
($5.00 from Alan Rankin / PO Box 200846 / Arlington, TX / 76006 USA. E-mail: alanrankin23@yahoo.com) This is a collection of photos Alan Rankin has taken of Rennies (people active in the Renaissance Faire circuit), most in non-period garb. An interesting glimpse into one of America’s lesser-known communities. Unfortunately, this may be out of print by the time you read this, but Alan has similar projects in the works, including postcards, photo sets and zines. Write him to find out what’s available.

HEADHUNTER #3 & 4
(Marc van Elburg / Postbus 68 / 7700AB Dedemsvaart / NETHERLANDS) These are collections of insane drawings by Marc van Elburg, most featuring wildly mutated heads. Good old-fashioned art brut just like Grandma used to make. #3 has a couple of guest pages by Rael and #4 also comes with a noise CD that’s a perfect accompaniment to the drawings. Marc’s got lots more noise available (audio and otherwise), so send him something along these lines and you’ll no doubt get something fun in return.

IT LIVES #1
($2.00 from Ted May / 1115 Louisville #2N / St. Louis, MO / 63139 USA or from www.usscatastrophe.com) This thing fuckin’ rocks. Seriously. Under a beautiful color cover full of monsters, Ted May gives us several stories, all of which are a whole lotta fun and nice to look at. “Help Me Understand Your World” is something like a TV drama that takes place in a 1960s Marvel comic, only it’s much better than that makes it sound. What’s probably my favorite piece in the book, “Toilet Battle”, is also the one with the least substance. It’s sort of a weird-ass conglomeration of good ol’ American machismo, video games, action figures and kung fu movies. What’s more, it’s one long battle royale that takes place on (then in) a toilet. Must be seen to be believed. I’m gushingly in love with Ted’s work and I can’t wait for his next issue. Recommended.


Matt Fagan
1573 N Milwaukee Ave, PMB #464, Chicago, IL 60622
hadmatter@hotmail.com; www.geocities.com/depotdevoid/meniscus/inside.html


My name is Matt Fagan, and I am in zine heaven! That’s right, I’ve died and moved on to the place where Factsheet 5 and Murder Can Be Fun are published like daily papers, where photocopies are free, and the edges are always justified. It’s pretty great here. But there’s some nifty zines down there on earth too, so here are a few things to keep you busy, until you make your way to that great consignment shop in the sky.

Her #5
¼ size, 20 pp., $.50
available from Loop Distro, 1357 W. Augusta #1, Chicago, IL 60622
Like a public love letter, Her is a devotional pamphlet on desire, infatuation, and romance. This is the “While You Were Away” issue, taking place while the object of our narrator’s affections is at school across the sea.. Composed of diary entries, emails, letters, and the midnight typings of a soul in the throes of a most delicious heartache, this is a zinester’s love primer, and too charming to miss. At only fifty cents, how could you go wrong?

Two Wee Comix by Suzanne Baumann
P.O. Box 12096, Hamtramck, MI 48212
ww.fridge-mag.net
You, Only You: A little poem comic about a fella who loves a girl, and only this girl, and hates everything else (“I can’t stand your Mom and Dad, I detest your uncle Brad. I love you, dear, only you...”) It’s short and sweet and funny, and you oughta check it out.
Serious Workout: Wordless mini that begins with a woman enjoying an exercise video, and slowly sucks everyone around her into the fun. I thought I got it, until the last panel, which appears to be a horrified raccoon staring in disgust from beneath the dining room table.
Serious Workout has no price on it, and You, Only You declares that it is free, but you should send a little something to Suzanne for her troubles. I know she has other titles too, so just slip her a couple of bucks and see where the wheel of fortune lands!

Dirt and Sky
Digest-sized, 76 pp., $4
Mark Hain, P.O. Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081; Giant_turu@hotmail.com
Mark Hain’s chronicle of the death of his father is one of the most difficult things I have read all year. Out of the stack Davida sent to me, Dirt and Sky is the first zine I started to read, and the last one I finished. Each time I picked up this story, I would get so caught up in his grief and confusion that I had to take a break (something I’m sure he wishes he could have done, in the moment. As readers, we are lucky that way).
Mark writes with prose that is almost stripped bare, setting into sharp relief those few flourishes he wields. He isn’t trying to impress anyone, only to document and understand the events and feelings that were set into motion by his father’s death. Step by step, he leads us from the big city to sweet home Nebraska, from panicking phone calls to funeral planning. Sketching in the family dynamics and petty dramas, Mark never strays far from his father as the center of attention; as a reader, I was completely under Mark’s skin, viewing the proceedings as though I was steeped in personal history. I felt all the pangs of old memory, of dark clouds gathering over my childhood home, of a solemn event tainted by the homophobia of relatives. Pulling no punches, Mark walks us through every unpleasant detail, beyond the wake, the redistribution of the family, and the eventual nagging phone calls from the insurance companies.
Every word kept me hanging, despite the horror story I was being told.
Because it took me so long to finish Dirt and Sky, something very strange happened. While I was reading it, my ex-boyfriend died in a terrible car accident. And this wasn’t just any boyfriend, this was the big one, my first love, the one that began so beautifully and ended so painfully, the one that was never quite resolved.
As his circles of friends began to converge, and I found myself on the phone with his parents, I was comforted by Mark’s story. The emotions have been complicated, but at least not unprecedented.
This made Dirt and Sky even harder to finish, but the trip has been well worth it.

Crimewave U.S.A. #14
Full-size, 50 pp., $3
P.O. Box 980301, Ypsilanti, MI 48198
The mythically infrequent Crime-wave is back, reporting to you live from Ypsilanti. Mark and Linette, the avenging disco godfathers of the Underground Press, serve up stories about Foxey the dog, an Italian getaway, and a mysterious memo that has been circulating for ten years. Regular correspondent Jeff Kay turns in a great story about his adolescent stockboy job (“Grocery Story”) and Matt Krizowsky gives his version of the 9/11 tragedy (which he could see from his window at work).
Having read each lousy stinking issue of Crimewave I can say with confidence that every one is an unpredictable grab-bag of fun. Revealing the excruciating minutiae of their lives, Mark and Linette will write about anything, and it’s always a good time. Even though Mark is kind of a jerk and likes to pick on me, you should still read their magazine.
This particular issue features an interview with David Cross of Mr. Show, and an interview with the band Pylon, which I have never heard but I still really enjoyed their dialogue. You’ll also find more of Mark’s crudely-rendered comics, and personal stories from all sorts of people you’ve never met. At only three bucks for all this entertainment, this is a stone cold bargain!

Dead Tree Books
140 S. Buena Vista, Ste. K, Burbank CA 91505; various publications, $2 each
Dead Tree is composed of Steven Redd, Patrick Williams, Matthew Carver, Edwin Ushiro and Anthony Ianiro. Most of their projects are collaborative, which is an interesting tactic since their artistic styles are very different, but it does make for a unique end product. They aren’t smooth, but I like them.

Ninja
Featuring work by all five members of Dead Tree, this digest-size comic compendium deals with its title subject in several different ways. Williams reminisces about how the idea of ninjas influenced his drawing when he was a kid. Ed delivers a richly-illustrated and atmospheric short story, a little hard to follow but beautiful to look at. Matt creates an “illuminated manuscript” style textbook, in false Olde English, describing the Ninja as peculiar creatures of the Orient and detailing their various powers. It doesn’t really hold together as a whole, but the parts are fairly interesting, and any boy who went through junior high in the eighties will probably find something fun here.

The American Funeral Home
Another intriguing, if somewhat disjointed effort from four of the charter members at Dead Tree. Williams has a funny comic about the extreme lengths to which the government will go for the protection of its citizens. Ed contributed some curious architectural drawings. My favorite part was the phony ad section at the end They seemed like the classified ads for a funeral home magazine, if it was the sort of magazine that would feature a bleach-blonde in a string bikini straddling a coffin on its glossy cover.

Crazy
This one is quarter-sized with a full-color shiny cover, and interior art by our five friends at Dead Tree. Williams gives us “Jazz”, a text-free, nonlinear experiment that I liked a lot. “Wolverine”, by Tony, is an explication on that animal’s ferocious behavior (seems that a chemical imbalance causes wolverines to believe that all living creatures owe them a dollar...) If you’re looking for a truly representative example of what Dead Tree has to offer, Crazy shows a little bit of everything, and it’s pretty funny.

P. Williams
I guess that’s the title, since those are the only words that appear on the cover, and searching inside turned up no alternatives. Anyway, it’s a nicely-packaged quarter-sized deal with a lot of Williams’ very short comics, many of them about hobos. Overall, the comics in this volume are a little more straightforward and accessible, so if you’re afraid to tread on the fringes, this might be the Dead Tree for you.

The True Modern
Digest-sized, 48 pp., $3
Christian Zappone, P.O. Box 2338, Astoria, NY 11102
Examining political differences from a very personal standpoint, Christian has crafted a document that gently insinuates its belief system through a policy of tolerance. The bulk of The True Modern tells the story of a political interloper. With Christian’s wife away, his old college friend Pedro comes to stay for a few days, and the great philosophical rift that has grown between them is almost like a third character. The author explains and examines his own politics in the light of Pedro, whose views conflict sharply, but also represent Christian’s own past. And since the climax is set against the backdrop of a rally (the Rolling Thunder Downhome Democracy Tour) it’s almost too perfect to be true.
Christian never waves his beliefs around like an unassailable ideal, and never condemns a dissenter without backing up his argument. This is a story (an entertaining story) but also a well-reasoned presentation of the author’s ideas, an author who would seemingly never hold a belief unless he could rationally explain why. And the love he has for Pedro is very evident throughout; Christian does not shy from tearing into Pedro’s point of view, but never allows an ad hominem attack, any more than he would accept one against himself.
Rounding out the zine are a handful of more “newsy” items by other authors dealing with the subject of poverty. Not abject, Christian-Children’s-Fund poverty, but the softly crushing and inescapable poverty that is experienced by almost everyone I know. Nothing new here, but they’re well-written pieces and they left the proper flavor in my mouth. At the end, it was just the sort of thing I wanted to roll around in my mind, to contemplate my own circumstances, and those of so many others.

Rated Rookie #3
Full-size, 36 pp., $2.50;
28-07 38th Street, ste. 4L, Astoria, NY 11103
rated_rookie@hotmail.com
www.rated_rookie.com
On the title page, editor-in-chief Josh Bernstein admits that this entire issue was funded by having the staff of Rated Rookie give blowjobs for twenty bucks a pop. How do they follow that ultra-sexy claim? Pretty successfully. Rated Rookie is chock full of incredibly true-life stories, from karaoke biology projects, to a step-by-step guide for autistic guys who want to take a girl to the movies. There is an interview with comic artist Dave Bryson, who is also responsible for hilariously forlorn paintings of things like quadruple-amputee circus clowns trying to commit suicide. Dave discusses his paintings and his involvement with Combover Comics, and why he hates clowns. In another interview, RR talks with a former producer of golden shower pornography, in which we get to learn the legal snags of filming fetish stuff, and the importance of choosing a location that’s easy to hose down when you finish. The whole zine offers a fun mix of stories, and a great many of them have at least something to do with blowjobs. You like blowjobs, don’t you?

Do the Siamese Twins Make Love?
Digest-size, 30pp, $2
William P. Tandy, Eight-Stone Press, P.O. Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
From the eccentric genius who brought you Smile Hon, You’re in Baltimore comes another steaming hot load of truth, justice, and the American way. In many respects, this zine seems born out of the same frustration as Christian Zappone’s The True Modern, a personal-political take on the current trend of inescapable poverty, and all the attendant unhappiness. To be sure, our Mr. Tandy speaks directly on the subject, but his responses also come in other forms. His poetry, nonfiction, and prose fragments all have a lively and engaging energy, and more than once I found myself teetering between laughter and horror. Do the Siamese Twins Make Love? is a state-of-the-union address from the proletariat, and one of the best Eight-Stone Press offerings so far.

The War Against the Idiots #23
Digest-size, 60pp. $1
Liam Idiot, 1731 Cleveland St., Evanston, IL 60202
I wish I wasn’t so lazy, because then I would haul my ass to Evanston and make my copies where Liam does. I pay about five times as much, because I am a sucker. But then, that’s just one of the many things that sets me apart from Liam. He’s way more hard-core than me.
Whenever I read War Against the Idiots, I feel like Liam is living life a lot harder than I am. Every issue sparkles with the immediacy and lust for life that attracted me to zines in the first place, and the reason I keep coming back is because Liam is always such a wonderful host. In this issue (the yellow one with the car on the cover), Liam writes about cooking, busking in New York, and reviews all the red line stops in Chicago. There’s also a rare piece of fiction, a weird letter from Ben Marcus, and tons of other stuff, so don’t be lazy like me! Get up! Get out! Get down to the post office and write Liam a nice long letter, and get a copy of his zine too.

Scout #6
Digest-size, 24 pp., $1
by Scout Finnegan, P.O. Box 48522, Sarasota, FL 34230; scout@liquidbutter.com
I can’t imagine that Scout has a single enemy in all the world. She seems so nice and sincere, such an unpretentious person that anybody with a grudge against Scout must be out of their mind.
Take, for example, Scout #6. This issue is all about cooking and eating, and kicks off with a nice long comic called – what else? - “Scout’s Life with Food”. She goes on to tell us the unusual circumstances that got her started cooking in the first place, shares some of her favorite recipes and food preparation ideas. There are some funny lists (and I’m sad to say I currently possess two of the items on Scout’s list of things that drive her to the brink of insanity, foodwise). All this plus cookbook and zine reviews too!
I love Scout. She’s probably even as cute as she draws herself to be.

Cryptozoa #5
¼ size, 16pp., no listed prize
by Androo Robinson, Ped Xing Comics, 2000 NE 42nd Ave. #303, Portland, OR 97213
You know, I used to live in Portland, and the other day one of my Chicago friends was talking about how great Portland is, and all the wonderful things the city has to offer. For some reason, the first thing out of my mouth was “My favorite comic artist lives in Portland.”
My friend started naming these famous artists that I had never heard of. “No,” I told him, “I mean Androo Robinson of Ped Xing Comics!”
In this fifth installment of Androo’s rapidly-multiplying Cryptozoa series, his “odd little picture fictions” have taken on the quality of zen parables. The vaguely-defined individuals who populate these one-panel cartoons are all balanced on the brink of precarious emotions. In one story after another they bravely cope with loss, invent new reasons to be alive, and celebrate their tiniest victories. We see only slices of their narratives, exactly enough to mull about and savor. Some are just very funny, others are like Buddhist teachings from an alternate universe, and all of them might well be true stories. You can never tell with that Androo.
He doesn’t list a price, but mark my words: Cryptozoa would be worth fifty tons of gold bouillon, worth that and more! You would be stealing to offer less. This comic is fully guaranteed to provide minutes of entertainment, and you don’t even have to hide it when your mom comes over! And yet I know that Androo would gladly relinquish a copy for the price of a trade, perhaps some stamps, or a few kind words. But be a dear and slip him a dollar, okay? Or some homemade cinnamon bread? He’s looking skinny these days.


Bobby Tran Dale
7932 Winthrope St., Oakland, CA 94605
botda@aol.com; www.homoeroticon.com


Howdee podnah’z,
It’s Botda here, ridin’ in with my bag o’ reviews! These are troublin’ times dear peeples, so why not take a lil’ gander at the following joints and see if they’re worth saddlin’ up to while ya idle away time in your underground bunkers? And an update for some of ya’ll out there: I’m not killing the archive for Homoeroticon.com, no, it’s just no longer at the top of my priority list due to time restraints, so what you get is what you’ll see for awhile. Homoe’ #7 is still yet to be published as well as the Binky compilation - both of which suffered immensely due to the loss of my harddrive mid-last year as well as a large financial issue that reared it’s head. The jury is still out on the “Persecution” joint that was affected as well. My apologies to any who were wondering what in the hell was going on, that I failed to tell - my address book was lost in the drama as well. In the meantime, you can find me lurking here, or with comix in the latest issue of Demi’s Strange Bedfellows (demicomix.com), some Binky strips at “Suspectthoughts.com” and likely a coupla TBA joints later this year such as the Trueporn.com collection. I can be contacted at: botda@aol.com.

And now-BOOM! The reviews...

FLAGWAIVER by Edna Lifenshurnz
24pp mini, color covers; $2.00 (US), $2.75 (Them); Contact c/o: Ben T. Steckler, POB 7273, York, PA 17404 Email: bsteckler@suscom.net
How appropriate in these days, that we start off our reviews with a mini comic that is fueled by politics. In FLAGWAIVER, the story...or should I say, the storyboards (as this is all told minus dialogue), begins with a nameless, pessimistic character watching the Twin Tower incident on TV. Finally, after watching hours of news around the matter, he passes out only to awake into a new world of blind super-patriotism, complete with everything but american flag toilet paper.
Our little friend goes thru his day being bombarded with “god bless america’s” and questions everyone on their beliefs (and no one seems to be able to explain them). And so it goes until the end when...well...ya’ll know, I never tell the endings to anyone’s anything that I review, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Flagwaiver is a cute little endeavor. It’s credited to Edna Lifenshurnz (hehe)...but the artwork looks remarkably similar to Ben T. Steckler’s, so if you’re familiar with Ben’s work, then use that as your visual reference point. In fact, if you want to know what Ben looks like, you’ll find him in there cameo-ing in some panels as well.
Overall, the piece flows pretty well. The artwork is simple and not particularly clouded with obsessive details though some may want a bit more refinement in the execution. Personally, I’d have liked a little more clarity with some of the visual cues/icons since it was at times a little confusing and I lingered on some panels wondering what was meant by this or that which was represented, which then interrupted the flow of the whole mini. But overall, not a bad little piece.

RESIDENT ALIEN #1
Mini/Pamphlet (One sheet that folds into a mini); $1, or trade.
To: ajc, 1810 Sealy, Galveston, TX 77550
Email: minkeyshines@aol.com
(Yes, it’s “mInkey...”, NOT “mOnkey...”)
Before I blather on about how much I’d enjoyed the two stories contained within this mini/pamphlet thingy, I hafta say, I hated the annoying fold-up , road map presentation. It’s a cute idea for maybe comix, but totally detracts from the flow of the fine work inside which is primarily text. Davida...you have some refolding to do back there at headquarters.
That said, there are two untitled stories that are BOTH just fucking excellent. Both pieces revolve around the twisted, and racist perceptions that come from inside and outside of one’s own community. In this case, these are the experiences of the author as an American of Hispanic descent. In the first story, ajc is at a party and is approached by a Latina who addresses him in Spanish...he has to apologize for not being able to speak Spanish. She then proclaims him to be a “coconut”, “brown on the outside, white on the inside”.
What follows is a great observance of the twisted expectations that can and have occurred to the author within his own community, ethnic and otherwise. If you are an American but of another...uh...ethnic/minority background, you’ll likely identify with what is said here. I did.
In the second...the B-side, there is a queer narrative that pits the Hispanic author in a bathroom fuck scene with a Skinhead who he’d met online. Yet one more example of how society fucks up its own, splits us up, then brings us all right back together. Here the author is banging a neo-nazi...”friend” that he’d found online...the (the nazi dude) fantasizes about being booty-called not only by a “darkie”, but bareback as well.
Don’t try to figure it out folks...it is as it is. And things can be hot and crazy all at once.
But then too, the world is a messed up place and you just need to not give a fuck sometimes and just do shit. Just read the last line of the piece, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Bravo.
RESIDENT ALIEN is excellent but I wanted more and you all know, if I like a zine a lot, then more often than not, there’s never enough of it. Luckily, the author is working on a follow up to this short but great starter issue. This is one of the rare zines that I’ve seen that’d touched on, with any depth, the ethnic-American (or so called in RI#1: the hyphenated American) experience. It’s not non-existent...but it’s definitely not common in the more widely circulated zine scene. It’s a refreshing effort.

THIS BUD’S FOR YOU
$1.00, 12pp Digest; John Q. Adams, c/o cryin’ shark studio, 92 Vine St., Lockport, NY 14094-3031;
Website: www.jqadams.com
Email: johnq@jqadams.com
This is the fourth comic from Cryin’ Shark Studios and probably their best effort so far if one were counting. Whereas the previous sojourns included their Silverfish characters attending a geek-con resulting in rather goofy shenanigans, and another less fanciful tale of a friend’s old druggie times, this one strikes me a bit stronger in content than either of those combined.
In THIS BUD’S FOR YOU, the story just feels a bit more naturally flowing and the artwork a bit more in tune with what was being written. Granted, I think there is still room for visual improvement like the addition of thicker lines, a little more work on perspective shots and composition on the pages, but this is still an interesting albeit short read.
John Q. provides the inks and his wife provides the autobio narrative about her growing up years living with an abusive father. But the inside front cover reads: “This is a collection of ‘interactions’ between her and her father...while they may appear to be a buncha strips showing what a shitty dad he was, they are actually intended to provide a humorous look at growing up...with a grouch”.
Uh...yea...ok folks...you say Tomato, I say To-MAH-to, but hey, it wasn’t my life, right?
There are passages like the one where ol’ dad gets into a drunken stupor and is unable to get his recliner to work so he tosses it onto the lawn or the one where dear ol’ dad give his chittlens lumps of coal for xmas while chugging his ever present brewski. Nope...nuthin’ shitty there...everybody’s dads did that right? hee hee. Err...yea. Well...at least he didn’t go for the no-more-wire -hangers act, right?
But seriously, this could have easily become yet one more comic/ perzine/autobio-whatever, that just stayed focused on the shittier sides of these actions. But luckily, with resolve, hindsight and some light, humorous narrative, it doesn’t. So I guess it really IS a humorous look at growing up, eh?

THE GULPER #3
32pp Mini, Price: ?
Shoshanna, 618 NW 22nd, Portland, OR 97210
Email: foodling@angelfire.com
THE GULPER #3 is a perzine with a medley of stuff within. There are comix, recipes and of course, autobio joints that keep things going. Aesthetically, it’s pretty rough, but what the hell, this is DIY. And because it’s really not pretentious, it works fine.
In the comic strip “Niteclubs? Feh!” Shoshanna expounds on her early experiences with apartments, independent living and how she pretty much had the “funds of a punk but the tastes of a yuppie” to get by. It was a cute little aside from her more straightforward journal entries, though it could have worked fine without any scratchy visuals. The journal entries themselves are fairly standard perzine fare but enjoyable reads nonetheless: Her lack of luck with hot rock boys, her slowly becoming disinterested with the allure of the party scene, and bike riding with coworkers amongst other bits are chronicled here. Included as well are recipes for such munchables as “Bitchen Beans,” “Greasy Sandwiches” and Gingersnaps, all in that healthy, vegetarian kinda vein.
As stated earlier, THE GULPER #3 is a medley, so the length of the pieces don’t require lotsa time, so it’s a pretty ok pocket stuffer.

NOT MY SMALL DIARY #10 (In two volumes: A & B)
Digest, Vol. A-46pp, Vol. B-44pp, $4 for the set; Delaine Derry Green, 1204 Cresthill Road, Birmingham, AL 35213 Email: delangel3@hotmail.com
Website: www.mysmallwebpage.com
Info on joining the Small Diary E-group can be had by emailing Delaine.
Ooooooooh...it’s biiiiig...reeeeealllly...biiiiiig! No dear ones, I’m not talking about some guy in a porno here (though that wouldn’t be half bad, eh?), no....this here’s the 10th installment in the NMSD anthologies. But it’s still a sizeable offering and Delaine has been so kind as to divide it up into two volumes so we can take it all in easily.
NMSD is a collection of autobio strips by artists from across the zine & comix spectrum. They’re mostly about a coupla pages in length so within these two volumes you are able to easily sample a myriad of creators without feeling too bogged down on one style. And because they’re all rather short, Delaine has managed to cram in 50 creators! Ouch. It’ll be impossible to include all of the cool shit in these two volumes, so here are a coupla few highlights: Drew Boynton clocks in with an interesting reunion experience. Thien Pham, who is always a cool read anywhere, revisits his first day in America. Mike Tolento starts his piece off with a bit on his birthday then slides into stream of consciousness snapshots that end with a german guy closing out the piece in...uhm...german. That for some reason, was my favorite closing of all the pieces.
NMSD contains a ton of other small and not-so-small press notables as well as their contact info alongside their work: Donna Barr, F.C. Brandt, Buzz Buzzizyk, Ian Carney, Steve Skeates, Joh Porcellino...I mean, the list seems endless. This and past issues have been almost like having a who’s-who directory of comic artists in the scene—no bullshit, and for 4 bucks, it’s really worth it folks.

CHILDLIKE PORNSLUTS FROM HELL #12
Digest, 32pp, $2.00 or Rough Trade
Don Chowannit, 6969 Lickenphur Lane,
Las Vegas, NV 606660-69696
Email: Isthisfereal@hotmeal.com
Boy! Was this zine a big disappointment. After all these years, I’d never heard of “childlike pornsluts from hell”, and I was ready to just peek...not totally walk into, but PEEK into this rather sordid sounding issue.
I mean, Davida, your editor here at XD, and I have had years of enjoyment recounting our personal visions of perversity to one another in our entirely hush-hush (“X-File”) emails. Gloating amongst each other that no one truly knows what big freaks we both are so I was hoping to be shocked and amazed by what I might have seen or read in CPFS#12. I mean, after hearing long and rather detailed accounts of how Mz. Breier lusts after half full, hot bottles of printing ink to be poured all over her while being wrapped only in roll after roll of stolen office tape...and not just any ol’ office tape mind you, but that big fat translucent type that breaks off on its own every coupla inches if you don’t have a tape gun, all the while having a hot UPS man dollying her in circles while proclaiming humiliating phrases like: “Insufficient postage! Bad girl! You must be punished!! RETURN TO SENDER!!!” I mean, these are big shoes to fill.
So I got the issue, eagerly stretched my hands, readied my fingers and settled down with my biggest bottle of lube that I could find...so that I could...oil the wheels on my rollerblades while I read. I opened the first page, and immediately...I could feel the heat rising within me...the sweat began to come to the surface of my skin and I began to squirm uncomfortably. Something began to slowly rise, I had felt this feeling before...higher...hotter...I couldn’t help it...but managed to get my lazy ass up and turned down the heater that I’d left on by accident....I mean...you know them heating bills get pretty high up there if you don’t watch out.
Heee heee.
Just kitten.
And this KONGcludes my review segment for this issue. I will now go smoke some crack, worship Satan and shop for more bling bling that I can’t afford.


Kate Haas
3510 SE Alder St., Portland, OR 97214
bruceandkate@juno.com; www.mirandazine.com


While my toddler slumbers, I regroup from the toughest job I’ll ever love (and let me tell you, being in the Peace Corps was a breeze compared to parenthood) by writing Miranda, a zine about motherhood and other adventures. ($2 to the address above). Please indulge me while I jump on the self-promotional soapbox and let the world know that #9 is hot off the press. Among other things, it’s got my Moroccan tattoo tale, confessions of a mother/reader, notes from the PDX zine symposium, one very bad day in mama-land, book reviews, a recipe and the alternately grumpy, carefree, and apprehensive countdown to -yikes!- a second baby. Which is why, though it’s always an honor to be here, and I’ll miss it, I will be taking a hiatus from these pages for the next few issues.

Transom #5
Transom is simply one of the best zines out there. Literate, intelligent, quirky, always interesting and well-researched; really, its only flaw is that it appears so infrequently. The theme of #5 is libraries (editor Jackie is a librarian), and readers are given the inside scoop with an article about “those wacky patrons” (like the folks who, in the middle of the recent Seattle earthquake, demanded that their books be checked out while the librarians were still taking cover under the desks). She also dispels some commonly held library myths (“If you have overdue materials, your fines accumulate and accumulate and it’s better to never enter the library again as the library police will kill and eat you”). There’s an in-depth look at “Storm Center,” a 1956 film starring Bette Davis as a librarian, reviews of books about libraries, library zine reviews, and a survey in which seven zinesters answer questions related to libraries. Highly recommended!
$1, stamps, or trade; Jackie Campbell, P.O. Box 77716, Seattle, WA 98177-0716

Moonlight Chronicles #31
“Sketches, sightings, serendipity” reads the back of Moonlight Chronicles. D. Price is a talented artist, and the detailed drawings of stuff that catches his eye are the best thing about this zine. The sketch of a cozy room with wood-burning stove, plants, and a cushioned chair made me want to jump right in there with my book. And when Price writes about his love of drawing, it’s with a passion that clearly comes from the heart. I suppose that the “serendipity” refers to the rest of the writing, which jumps randomly from topic to topic in a haphazard fashion which makes for a wearying read. Moonlight Chronicles is also liberally sprinkled with lengthy quotations from Robert Pirsig; if you find Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance deep and meaningful (as opposed to excessively self-absorbed and insufferably irritating), this may be just the zine for you.
$5; D. Price, Box 109, Joseph, OR 97846

Inkling #4
In “Big Trash Night,” one of the seven stories which make up Inkling, a young couple comes across a box of discarded records. What could have been simply a lucky find turns into much more when they meet the box’s owner and hear his story. It’s a moving, haunting piece of writing - certainly the best piece of zine fiction I’ve ever read. Elsewhere, there are tales of a father walking out on his family, siblings dealing with each other and their parents in the summer’s heat, the interior monologue of a young addict on her way to visit a dying lover, and more. Melissa’s writing takes you deep inside her characters, and it’s a trip well worth taking.
$1 (a serious bargain); Melissa Klein, 3288 21st St. #79, San Francisco, CA 94110

28 Pages Lovingly Bound with Twine #5
It’s no secret that I think the zine community needs more input from parents, and 28 Pages delivers the goods. In this issue, Christoph reveals his addiction to every-six-weekly sessions with the Wal-Mart photography studio. Now, in three years of parenthood, I have not once succumbed to the pressure to have a “professional” portrait done of my child, so it was a vicarious thrill to read his account of navigating the pressure-filled sales pitches, and dealing with the guilt of patronizing the evil W-M. Included are 23 delightful photos of young Herbie from birth to age one (though I’ll pass on the obligatory, “boy baby clutching football” one). Elsewhere are other anecdotes of parenthood, an account of the Small Press and Comics Expo, zine reviews, and an opportunity to impress your pals with the explanation of why “sincere” means “without wax.”
$2, Christoph Meyer, P.O. Box 106, Danville, OH 43014

For the Clerisy 9/02
I’ve been hearing about this zine for years, and the reviews don’t lie; it’s a thoughtful, literary publication. This “Life on the Margins” issue features various down and out characters in literature. There’s an essay about the 1940s-50’s crime novels of Chester Himes and Patrick Hamilton, an account of the life and work of revolutionary Victor Serge (1890-1947), and best of all, a discussion of the Victorian novelist George Gissing’s writing. I’d read his The Odd Women, and was intrigued by the in-depth account of the themes in his other novels (poverty, the importance of money, artistic pretentiousness, distance between spouses). There’s also a review of movies about the South, zine reviews, hobo secret code signs, and reader letters.
$?, Brant Kresovich, POB 404, Getzville, NY 14068; kresovich@hotmail.com

Zuzu and the Babycatcher #2
Subtitled, “a midwife meets motherhood,” Zuzu’s got good, often very funny writing, lovely, detailed illustrations, and a honest, yet honored take on both motherhood and birth. Issue #2 is packed with stories from both aspects of Rhonda’s life. There’s the account of how she got “the call” to midwifery (rubber stamps can lead to amazing things, it seems.), the story of a homebirth in the boonies where everything came out fine despite some scary moments, and some excellent suggestions for alternate use of the truly awful What to Expect When You’re Expecting (my favorite: birdcage liner) - as well as some far better pregnancy book recommendations. Among the many other fine tales to be found in #2 there’s also a rueful listing of baby stuff “you think you’ll never buy,” which every would-be groovy, organic-baby food, wooden-toys-only parent will surely relate to.
$2; Rhonda Baker, 2535 NE 46th Ave., Portland, OR 97213; www.emeraldgiant.com/babycatcher

Esperanza #2
2002 saw the birth of a bunch of mother-made zines, and like all zine debuts, some were fantastic, some so-so, and most showed promise of things to come. I liked the first issue of Esperanza, put out by a young Baltimore mother of twins and Ph.D applicant. But #2 really knocked my socks off. The writing in Esperanza is articulate, intelligent and deeply personal, yet strikes a universal chord. In this issue, Jackie explores the conflict between wanting to be an activist and the realities of parenthood which frustrate those desires, arriving at some meaningful solutions. There’s an essay on food and how it shapes family traditions, a regular feature on life with twins (as the mother of a singleton, I find this especially fascinating), suggestions for fun places to go in Baltimore, the hilarious account of a trying maternal moment when, burdened with the twins and far from the nearest restroom, nature called most urgently, and a moving and powerful meditation on motherhood, sparked by thoughts of Andrea Yates. Highly recommended.
$2, Esperanza, PO Box 33441, Baltimore, MD 21218; esperanzaIne@yahoo.com


Ted Mangano
#50157 TCC, PCB 8045, Tonopah, NV 89049


Greetings from the pen. That is, the penitentiary, the Big House, the joint—that dark caveish deep place where the bad guys are buried—prison. Davida kindly invited me to contribute some zine reviews here. Naturally, I’m honored. So what’s my story? Why am I in the dark place? Briefly, I conned and connived and stole things to support my dope habit. And got caught. It’s a story I share with over 70% of America’s prisoners. Recently, after almost seven years on the “Big Yard,” I was transferred to this minimum-security “camp,” where I’m privileged to work beyond the fence as a clerk for the Nevada Division of Forestry. But my true home, for twenty-two years, is a converted double decker bus in Puna, Hawaii. I will return there one day. Now, I’m pleased to announce that my new zine, DOUBLE UNDERGROUND, “A celebration of personal sovereignty,” will be up for release in February 2003. It’ll be free to all—trades, letters, gratefully accepted (cash/ checks will be returned to sender; prison rules.) Write: Ted Mangano #50157, TCC, POB 8045, Tonopah, NV 89049 (please do not write “Double Underground” on the envelope). Thanks. Oh, wait, I have a message for you “hipsters” out there still chasing the dope bag: You’re unoriginal, man. You’re boring. You’re a walking cliché. Get over it and get with it! Okay, right. Whatever. Time for the zines.

SLUG & LETTUCE #73: “A zine supporting the do-it-yourself ethics of the punk community.” How many ways can you say punk rock? Punk music reviews are by far this giant zine’s biggest regular feature. There are close to 200 of them, written by only six hyper-dedicated punks. “Abrasive,” “pummeling,” “sludgey,” “snotty,” “emo-screamo,” and “bluurrggy” are just samples of the two dozen or so mix & match words used to describe the many good bands. The surprisingly few bad reviews read, “kinda on the melodic side,” “lots of notes,” “kinda sing-songy,” and “I’m not going crazy.” I’m awed by anyone who can listen to scores of DIY punk rock recordings and then proceed to fire off a stack of positive reviews. If I had to do it? I’d probably be tempted to list the band names and contact info and just -say, “Kinda on the punk side.” Okay, music reviews aside, there’s lots of excellent reading here for punks or for anyone who wants learn more about punk lifestyles. Regular columns include “Ecopunk,” “Vegan action,” “The Radical Mother,” “Madness and Manic d,” and several others. There’s also cool (crusty?) punk art, 11 comprehensive book reviews, 123 damn good zine reviews, free classifieds, and many many display ads, mostly for punk bands. This is a professional looking tabloid but somehow retains a homespun feel. The writing is at once thrashy, rhythmic, and raw without being overly melodic or bluurrggy. A must for punks.
c/o Christine, P.O. Box 26632, Richmond, VA 23261-6632
60c stamp/20pp./tabloid


WOMEN ARE IN PRISON: So what? That the US incarcerates women isn’t exactly breaking news. Sure, there are some serious problems with the American justice system, and yes we need to do something about it. But all this hollering about “fat white male lawyers,” “Amerikkkan Himmlerites,” and “authoritarian bondage” seems a bit on the counterproductive side. It doesn’t help matters that these imprisoned female essayists are only marginally literate. Their cause might be better served if they spent less time whining about how unpleasant prison is and more time learning to construct a coherent sentence. On the upside, there’s a wicked sci-fi story in back by prisoner Phillip S. Barcia: Space aliens invade America and hold some women captive in a supermarket, then the women are impregnated and forced to give birth to metallic babies that seem to resemble small versions of Edward Scissorhands. Almost makes this fat white zine worth owning. South Chicago ABC Zine Distro, P.o. Box 721, Homewood, IL 60430
$2/free to prisoners/60pp./half standard

THE NEW GLASS CURRENCY STANDARD: Eight well-crafted and passionate poems by James Tracy, apparently all penned at the approach of the millennium. Despite the seemingly outdated topic, this one-shot poetry zine stands as a timeless record of one man’s hopes and fears in the face of Y2K end-of-civilization predictions. “After the end of the world,/let’s walk, maybe hungover, together/ in a city which still has possibilities in it.” An excellent choice for the archives. Twenty years from now I’d like to be able to read this again, in a world which still has possibilities...
James Tracy C/o CRP, 3131 Ellis St., Berkeley, CA 94703
$1/12pp./half standard

THE WHIZZBANGER GUIDE TO ZINE DISTRIBUTORS #6: “Self descriptions of 80 distributors from 18 countries.” (Way cool. 18 zine countries!) “Includes zine libraries, zine stores, dozens of zine friendly websites, and many other valuable zine resources.” (True. Plus it’s highly organized and accessible.) “I [Shannon Colebank, Editor] have written to 1701 distributors, libraries, and stores. The ones who bothered to write back are listed here in their own words.” (Yes, and in true WHIZZBANGER form, this review is in Shannon’s own words, quoted from her-his zine.) “Reviewers, please send me a copy of your reviews of my publications; you will thus get on the enclosed list of ‘Dependable Reviewers. ‘” (Excellent. Think this review will get me on the list?) “Trembling infants, egoless worms, whimpering victims, and self-hating whiners who have nothing better to do with their pointless existence than to write hate mail, please do the gene pool a favor and drop dead.” (Whew! I’m just thankful she-he didn’t include bored convicts on her-his Drop Dead list—so many do, y’know.) “Long live the alternative press!” (Right on, babe-dude!)
Shannon Colebank, P.O. Box 5591, Portland, OR 97228
$4/36pp./full standard

THE LUMMOX JOURNAL v8 #8: “Summer Fiction.” A superbly produced monthly litzine. The layout is easy on the eyes, the printing is I crisp and error free, even the illustrations are sharp. But best of all, the short stories, all seven of them, are well written and engaging. Though it would be difficult to choose a favorite, two of them stand out as especially touching. “’M’ is for:” by Dianne Payne, about a Special Ed teacher who longs to escape the chaos’ , of her career by becoming autistic. And “Rats Playing Poker” by Bradly Hamlin, about a young artist who draws pictures of rats engaged in human activities for his alcoholic mother. There are some ads for books and zines scattered throughout, and the “rid Bits” section lists art shows, readings, and related events happening around L.A. and in the Bay Area. Bukowski appears to be this pub’s patron saint.
Lummox c/o P.O. Box 5301, San Pedro, CA 90733-5301
$2/20pp./half standard
http//home.earthlink.net/-lumoxFaindog/

WORDS BREAK BARS: “A zine editor’s prison resource guide.” Ironically, this one was intercepted in the prison mailroom before I got a chance to read it. According to the editor, though, it lists mail restrictions for various prisons throughout the country and offers tips on how to slip-one-by-them if your zine is rejected.. .?, update later. According to prison officials here, the zine “Discusses how to successfully circumvent mailroom procedure.” And “Encourages inmates to break the rules. “ Whatever. A prison guide for zinesters is a great idea. Every-one should own a copy. Many thanks to Janice Flux for taking on this difficult and noble project. Janice Flux, Cutlass Publishing, P.O. Box 1607, Santa Cruz, CA 65060-1607
$?/?pp./?

THE FREE PRESS DEATH SHIP #2: Yes, Violet Jones comes through again, with Issue Two of this great big new “fanzine.” “...dedicated to the continuous advocacy and exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of the press for everyday people, and to human freedom in general.” That’s right. Violet said all that. And Violet is dead serious. With passion and punch and seemingly limitless energy, Violet pens page after page of commentary, zine reviews, articles, letters, and more, never straying far from the free-press focus. Sometimes Violet sweet, gushingly sweet. But woe is the errant zinester who incurs Violet’s wrath. In this issue, for instance, Violet bestows lavish tribute upon much touted anarcho-hippie Fred Woodworth; by the time Violet’s done, you’ll be fairly sure Fred is God. In the opposite corner, there’s dark anarchist Anthony Rayson. Violet pretty much rips him a new—Wait. Did I call the venerable Fred Woodworth a hippie? That’s odd. Could it be I’m jealous of Fred? Nah. My wise mother taught me that a balanced personality is one third silly, one third sexy, and one third serious. Same goes for literature. DEATH SHIP is double serious. And, I’ll concede, it’s also kind of sexy. It is, after all, lovingly assembled and pleasing to the eye, and passionate. Definitely do read it, but chase it with something silly. For balance. Violet Jones, P.O. Box 55336, Hayward, CA 94545
free/donate please/44pp./full legal

THE NEWSLETTER: “The Best Of Issue.” A compilation of perverted juvenile-humor from the pub’s first four years. Nothing is sacred to these twisted young writers—Doktor Rev. Shaw, Killer D, Huggy Bear, The Hesher—except perhaps their true Identities. Contains posthumous Princess Di bashing, a blurb about an unhip girl who is cursed with an “asshole the size of a mason jar,” and interview with God in which God says stuff like “[I’m] just about to bust a fuckin’ cap in those [Mormon] bitches asses.” Plus over 50 more short articles and interviews ideal for those with thirty second attention spans and a taste for the outrageously disgusting. Now having said all that, I must confess (Father?) I caught myself chuckling more than once. Funnier than a truckload of dead baby jokes, but not by much. Doktor Rev. Shaw, 621 S. Elder St., Anaheim, CA 92805
$1/28pp./half legal
doktorrevshaw@hotmail.com

DODOBOBO #21: Okay, this thing is really really cool. It’s a straightforward litzine with a spirited intro, three stories, black & white photo art, and an interview. Brian Green, the editor, interviews Sean O’Hagan of the High Lamas’, a band I’ve never heard. Brian does have superb taste when it comes to selecting stories for his zine, so I’m guessing his musical tastes are excellent as well. “Tommy,” also by Brian, is a strange but amusing tale about a socially inept young man who “gets everything backwards.” Brian’s masterful meshing of humor, sex. and drama will keep you reading until the end. “Complicated Game” is an excerpt from Michael K. White’s Novel. Sweet. a single edgy chapter about a guy. a gal. and a meteorite. And last but not least. there’s a bone tingling story packed with vivid imagery and insightful details about a prison and a storm, the metaphors they evoke, and a kind of escape; written by. well. me. Okay. Right. But consider this: would I submit my own stuff. subject my very own babies to a zine I didn’t think was really really cool? Naturally, no. If you enjoy a good story. you’ll love DODOBOBO. Brian Green. Box 57214. Washington. DC 20037
$2/3 back issues $5/18pp./half standard

SUPREME NOTHING #13: This is a perzine about Denny. She’s been publishing it since July 2000. She’s twenty-four and suffers from bipolar disorder. Writing this zine helps ease her depression. This zine and herb. Denny loves her family, her friends, her boyfriend, her dog. She wants them to be happy. But sometimes families are distant and friends are cruel. Sometimes boyfriends and dogs runaway. Then Denny is sad. She’s strong, though, and doesn’t give up. Pretty soon, her family is close again. She forgives her friends and finds a nice boy. Then everything is puppies and roses and rainbows. It sounds simple, I know, but somehow it’s not. You have to read it. There’s something about NOTHING that can’t be described. Denny tells us her story in short, precise sentences. Pristine little thoughts on paper unfold to reveal a complex and wonderful young woman. When Denny’s not sad, she’s fun and loving and thoughtful. She strives always to be kind, to keep an open heart despite the hurt. She gets better everyday. If there were more people like Denny, the world would be a better place. Denell Lewalk, P.O. Box 211, Burton, OH 44021
$1/34pp./quarter standard
http://supremenothing.tripod.com for zine reviews


Gavin J. Grant
176 Prospect Ave. Northampton, MA 01060
www.lcrw.net; info@lcrw.net


Gavin J. Grant freelances and runs Small Beer Press (www.lcrw.net) in Northampton, MA. Right now he should be typesetting or designing either Trampoline (edited by Kelly Link) or Kalpa Imperial, by Argentinean writer Angelica Gorodischer (translated by Ursula K. Le Guin). He can’t believe that the “president” is getting away with it.

St. Cosmo, I Come to Adore You
The urge to do a zine comes from various places: Jake’s comes from his dislike of “smug, chump-ass literary journals.” Everyone to their own, right? But Jake’s impulse has led him to put together a pretty high quality collection of literature. Production values aren’t going to be great for a buck, so don’t worry about that, but the art throughout by Don Baker is well reproduced. There are three poems by Dale Jensen, one of which, “Civilization Makes the Man” (“instead of wigs/we wear small cats on our heads...”)I loved. Of the three prose pieces, Liz Bly’s “My Aunt” is the strongest. Her aunt was bad — and a great role model. Sure is hard getting old, though. The other stories are by Christoph Meyer, zine-maker extraordinaire, and Dave Megenhardt.
No.4, $1/trade, half-letter, 67pp.
Jacob Snodgrass, 6648 Eastland Court, Worthington, OH, 43085
jake.snodgrass@wabutler.com

SemiBold
An “I Love New York” issue, with all that now implies. Essays and lots of photos, some from before September 11, 2001, some from after. Kathy’s work took her to New York in January 2000 for a six-week stay that extended to four months. For her first and last months she stayed at the Paramount Hotel, a place everyone should stay. Not that I have, yet, I just want to. Odd elevators, odd decor, one-of-a-kind furniture, what’s not to like? On other trips to New York, Kathy went to the horses, the Poconos, had a celeb-sighting (I’m not telling you who), found some great restaurants. She even provides a soundtrack. It’s like a $2 vacation.
No.8, $2, half-legal, 38pp., Kathy Mosely, SemiBold, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., #403, Chicago, IL 60622
SemiBold@aol.com

Sobaka
A good zine to have lying around for when you want something with more body to read. Writers from all around the world give Sobaka a truly international flavor. Ten issues into their run they’ve decided to make “one of those trite little lists that fill the pages of our glossier genre-mates” — that genre being more Harperr’s than Maxim. The hotspot (and how to get there!) list is made up of Iran, Haiti, Georgia (the country), Xinjiang (“the most dangerous powderkeg in Central Asia”), and Albania. That last being not-so-serious. Really nicely put together, really scary true stories.
No.10, $4 (4/$15), half-legal, 54pp.
Cali Ruchala, 100 E. Walton, #31H, Chicago, IL 60611
www.diacritica.com

The Kiss of the Tiger Woman: A Selection of the Erotic Poetry by Deborah M. Priestly
The beauty of the world is that it’s different strokes, as it were, for different folks. What’s erotica to some is weak poetry to others, and here I’m in the latter group. Maybe it’s the cold weather, but “Soothing, cold, cruising waves/slapping our legs and backs without restraint” is not warming any of my regions, nether, erogenous, or otherwise. So maybe it works for you, so send them five of your American dollars.
$5, half-letter, 36pp.
Out of the Blue Gallery, 106 Prospect St., Cambridge, MA 02139
www.outoftheblueartgallery.com

Do the Siamese Twins Make Love?
By William P. Tandy
Tandy’s voice and thoughts come through clearly in this mini-collection of vignettes and poetry surrounded by very strong images. The poems tend to be short and punchy, such as “His Master’s Voice” — “Truth is/A/Mutt/Who/Once found/Is not/ Easily/Disowned.” Tandy enjoys living in Baltimore, the disparate people he meets, and the irony of stories from today’s politicians being so similar to those from the News of the Weird column. (If only they were more similar to the Darwin Awards....)
$2, half-letter, 28pp
Eight-Stone Press, William Tandy, PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
esp@leekinginc.com


William P. Tandy
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
esp@leekinginc.com; www.leekinginc.com/esp


Nice words don't come cheaply these days; a dozen bad words will cost you less than a box of rocks. Eight-Stone Press (ESP), purveyor of such questionable titles as Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!, Do the Siamese Twins Make Love?, Practicing for Solitude, and Star Thirty-eight maintains equal guilt on both counts in what ESP Editor William P. Tandy describes as "a continuing, often single-handed effort to stabilize the economy."

BURPING SEVENTEN BISHOP
“I’m a streetwalkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm,” hissed a young Iggy Pop in the opening verse of the Stooges’ anthem “Search and Destroy”. “I’m the runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb.”
And there it was, on acetate. An aural testament to the inevitability of broken dishes, to the toll taken on a world with the power to end everything in its next heartbeat and knew it. No more apple pie, Ma. We’re stuffed. Thanks.
But the world didn’t end – yet – and the reality of those kids has (d)evolved into that of their own kids. Enter SevenTen Bishop.
“Nothing represents SevenTen Bishop but SevenTen Bishop,” Daniel Joshua Nagelberg throws down in the “Mission Statement” which opens THE AUTOCAUST (Digest; 48 pages; www.seventenbishop.com), a poetic collaboration between Nagelberg and SevenTen crony Zebulun. “Waking up in the dark, asking the floor if we were invited to stay there.
The floor just smirks and shrugs.”
“What are we supposed to do but write?” comes the plea, when the floor finds no answer.
What else, indeed, though there must be something – the boys of SevenTen Bishop can smell it. But be careful what you think of; you just might get it.
“Well son/Grab some wall/I smell some illegal/Ideas on you,” Nagelberg writes in “Stung by a Swarm”. “Lieutenant Hoffs/Get the probe/This guy says he saw something/There ain’t nothing to see here/Or anywhere.”
“Damn that voice,” Zebulun grumbles in “What We Need Here”. “Damn that sensation/Damn those maddening fingers/That long independently to create/When there is only time enough to/Make a living/Plow that field/Plant them seeds/Pull dem weeds/Fill dat sack right quick/Present yo comins to de boss when de sun go down.” He’s looking hard for an end to the day that will never come from a clock running widdershins.
THE AUTOCAUST pulsates with intangible feeling that might drive into the hills those who returned from the Tropic of Cancer laden with wonder of just what the whole trip was about. Or worse, those without any wonder at all. Which is fine, in a sense, as Zebulun suggests in “He Stuck Out”: “He asked every question we had no interest in/We tried to close our eyes when he spoke/To demonstrate that we had had enough.”
Though it’s sometimes life’s darkest hours in its most foreign lands one must visit to remember what is good, to laugh at what’s funny, THE AUTOCAUST makes more than one pit-stop of threadbare sunshine. As Dan Nagelberg notes in the holiday-themed “Apple Pie Full of Grandma’s Eyes”: “Ain’t it great that we can all/Be together/Alone.” Amen. Now go read.

HERE TODAY – GONE TOMORROW?
“The waves wash in against the cliffs, practicing their own form of quiet destruction,” HERE Editor Neil deMause observes “from the top of a cliff on the coast of Maine” in his opening editorial for issue #6 (HERE, P.O. Box 310281, Red Hook Station, Brooklyn, NY 11231; www.heremagazine.com; $3). “Soon we’ll drive back to our room and turn on CNN, to find out whether we’re living in a country at war. But of course we already know the answer.” And because of that answer, HERE (“The Stories Behind Where You Are”) is perhaps more timely than ever, a friendly nudge toward having another appreciative look around what we’ve got.
Not simply arguments to “love the one you’re with,” the pieces in HERE reflect a genuine interest on the part of their authors in their surroundings. From Jeremy Hart’s “Eulogy for the Hazard Street Bridge,” in which the author laments the destruction of a childhood hangout, to Michael Rogner’s outstanding “The Lord God Bird,” a tribute to one man’s search for an elusive (extinct?) woodpecker, HERE celebrates the scenes behind the scenes behind the scenes. There is a bit more contrivance than “conversation” to “The Frontiersmen,” a discussion of neighborhood gentrification that might have been a spot shorter, though the three collaborators make some interesting points. But the magazine’s highs and lows only accentuate the “local” flavor of its contents, rendering the experience of reading HERE that much more genuine, the places that much more accessible. Every open field and dead-end alley pitching the same prevailing argument: wherever you are, make the most of it – while it’s still here.

BOTH FEET ON THE PLATFORM
It’s no small venture paying homage in one medium to something entirely unique to another, particularly when the honoree is no better grounded than some lilting half-forgotten sentiment carried by the draft of a passing uptown train. The honoree in this case being traditional Irish fiddle music. The place of worship, a 48-page temple called PLATFORM [#2] (Elizabeth Genco, P.O. Box 22722, Brooklyn, NY 11202-2722).
But damned if Elizabeth Genco – a New York fiddler obsessed with the music of Eire – doesn’t pull it off. From her tales of busking on the dirty subway platforms of the Big Apple to a brief character study of Harry Houdini, Genco doesn’t miss a beat. The balance is sound, laid upon a foundation of the music’s history, structure, and place in popular culture, to say nothing of people’s reactions to a woman with a dream and a fiddle and the cojones to do something about it.
PLATFORM #2 is in essence a continuation of the first issue, which as the author points out in her opening editorial, received accolades from the world of underground publishing last year. Well deserved, indeed, though calling attention to them oneself might appear a trifle “self-absorbed.”
Bottom line, PLATFORM is a ride well worth the fare. So toss a buck or two into Genco’s hat and stay for the music. Or the stories.
Just don’t ask her to play any jazz.


Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
davida@leekinginc.com; www.leekinginc.com


True confession: sometimes I leave work a few minutes early, just so I can read.
Reading is more of an experience than I think non-readers realize. Where and when I read is as much a part of the experience as what I read. If there is one overriding theme to my reviews it’s that these are zines I read in some of my favorite places: extremely hot baths, in the sun, waiting in public, and while traveling.

Reviewing the Reviewers


The Hungover Gourmet #6 (Fall/Winter 2002)
I was in NYC for work, so I decided to walk 27 blocks to my favorite restaurant to have dinner. I was dining alone so I selected The Hungover Gourmet as my companion reading material for the meal. Now let me say right here that I had initially made a conscious decision not to review HG, because I am a contributor for this issue. However, as you will read, for me not to review the issue would have been foolish, since reading it ended up being such an HG moment.
So I’m sitting there, enjoying the words, sandwich, and fresh-cut fries when the guy who’s spent the last 20 minutes on his cell phone at the juice bar approaches the woman at the table next to me. She was also reading, but made a big show about getting a sheet of paper earlier so she could record her thoughts immediately. She had the aura of someone who describes herself as a writer or artist, but has never actually produced anything.
They start an inane flow of “Oh, what do you do…?” “Blah, blah.” “I’m a public speaker.” It is disrupting my reading, but the public speaker thing catches my ear. She asks what he speaks about and he says “singularity.” Huh? Now, in the weeks since this incident happened I’ve learned about singularity from an article in Clamor. I want to point out that although this concept exists it is nothing like what I heard from the table next door. He starts to explain to her, “You know, like in the ‘Matrix.’” Whoa, this guy is a public speaker based on a concept he derived from a movie! There is hope for me yet! I am torn between reading an excellent zine and eavesdropping for more of the conversation. And then he starts describing the concept as it pertains to Keanu Reeves. He mentions Keanu Reeves repeatedly. I am fascinated by the rest of their conversation wherein he tries to convince her that nothing is real, even her beloved “brook and tree.” He even goes so far as to say that he was in NYC on 9/11 and was going to pray for the people that were in the buildings, but then he realized that they weren’t really dead because they never really existed.
Some other choice quotes included, “Sometimes the best thing to help you realize that nothing is real is trauma, especially incest,” “That is so deep,” and “I don’t think having money means you can’t also have integrity.” They are still deep in conversation and well on their way to fornication as I pay my check and leave. As I step outside I am struck with the guy’s similarity to Patrick Swayze’s character in “Donnie Darko” and actually start laughing out loud.
So why did I include this with my review? Because I had a quintessential Hungover Gourmet moment while actually reading The Hungover Gourmet, “The Journal of Food, Drink, Travel, and Fun.”
Editor Dan Taylor is witty font of pop culture trivia and knows how to write and edit a fine magazine. His trip to Cabo San Lucas is hysterical in parts. This is the snack issue, with well-known contributors from all over zinedom. Take a copy with you to dinner and see what happens. Recommended.
$3/full-size/47 pages
Dan Taylor, PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094
www.hungovergourmet.com
gourmet@dantenet.com

One Fine Mess
There aren’t official zine awards, but if I were to award them the statue would be a little tub filled with tepid bath water. That is the highest award I can honor a zine with and I’d like to present One Fine Mess with this imaginary award. Personally I think a painfully hot bath is one of the greatest achievements of civilization and I like decent reading material while I soak. Seldom is a zine good enough to make my water turn cold and my skin look diseased, but this one did. It was interesting to read of someone who was obviously smart, but couldn’t deal with school. I almost quit in 10th grade, but then I ended up graduating near the top of my class. I could have gone either way and don’t see either path as right or wrong. Guidance counselors were clueless how do deal with me, so they didn’t. I think Erin posed an even bigger challenge. She is several years out of high school, but relives her past as her younger brother graduates and also comes out of the closet. She and her husband Dan also recollect their recent wedding, deal with writer’s block, and feed the strays in their neighborhood. A very well-written, sardonic per-zine. Recommended.
2 stamps or a trade/half-legal/34 pages
Erin and Dan Q., 71 Storm Street, Apt 2C, Tarrytown, NY 10591; dananderinq@aol.com

Meniscus #10
When Matt told me that he had gotten fired and wouldn’t be able to print this issue I wondered how I could help. And then I realized that I was unemployed and could offer about as much help as health insurance for a Christian Scientist. Thankfully Matt was able to find a way to print it, further elevating Meniscus on my personal pedestal of great zines. I can appreciate his employment woes and angst and his problems keeping his mouth shut. He writes about the loss of his grandfather, who had helped raise him and also being a vicious cyclist. His video store job (located in the heart of Chicago’s gay ghetto) means purveying, and inevitably watching, porn for a living. His views on this aspect of his daily life are hysterical. He can do it all, so in addition to autobiographical pieces there are comics and well-written fiction. Highly recommended.
$3/digest/48 pgs
Matt Fagan, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., PMB 464, Chicago, IL 60622
hadmatter@hotmail.com; www.geocities.com/depotdevoid/meniscus/ inside.html

Dirt and Sky
Death has been a frequent visitor for my friends and family this year. It is hard to watch as the ones you love grieve. Two people I know died in the last few months. Mark’s father died from leukemia, and he chronicles the weeks and months prior to and following his death. I consider Mark a friend and reading of his pain and loss was difficult for me. In fact, I found myself needing to take a break from it one day until I felt balanced again. The only other writer I need to do that with, that can affect me similarly, is Anne Tyler. Mark is one hell of a writer and when I settled myself in for a hot bath this evening with the hopes of finishing it I became so engrossed that I ignored the fact that Emilio had stolen my undies. By the time I left Mark’s world and rejoined mine the crotch was completely gone. I’m not sure if there is a lesson or a recommendation in that, but there you have it. Highest recommendation. $4/digest/74 pages
Mark Hain, PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081; Giant_turu@hotmail.com

Fish with Legs #7
This is like a trip inside Eric Lyden’s head. It’s a neurotic, funny, and surprisingly comfortable place to visit. Go with Eric to Beantown Zinetown and help hawk his zines, interact with fellow zinesters, and ride the train to and from the event. His fun facts have inspired other zinesters to create lists of their own, and now Eric is planning a spin-off Fun Facts zine.
$1/trade/full-size/26 pages
Eric Lyden, 224 Moraine St., Brockton, MD 02301; ericfishlegs@aol.com

A Bunch of Good Readin’

Junie in Georgia #11
I was sitting in the car, after dark, at the train station reading this issue when it hit me. Julie’s desire and quest to figure out what to do with her life and her resultant quest to become a bounty hunter sounded like something I would do. It is easy to be discontent with your life, but rather hard to figure out what it is you could be or are supposed to be doing. While the bounty hunter thing is far too law-and-order for me, I did wonder how to join a human circus last year and even went to far as to look up the classes and schooling offered in Coney Island. The idea to become a bounty hunter was instigated by a fictional character. Been there too. Oh, and when she shared her scrapbooked plans for a private investigation business circa 1982, even referencing Remington Steele, I realized that we must have both taken the same wrong path as kids. She also includes some choice lines from resumes her company has received as they look for a replacement for her. I found myself in a similar spot last week, wondering how someone could possibly misspell her own name in a cover letter! I found a great deal of connection with Julie in this issue, being at a similar point in my life. Recommended. Note: Julie is in Africa right now, but is able fulfill trades and orders via her interim zine keeper in GA. She can also be reached by email. $2/digest/43 pages
Junie in Georgia, P.O. Box 438, Avondale Estates, GA 30002
junieingeorgia@hotmail.com

The Inner Swine Vol 8, #4
Jeff rites good.
$2/trade/digest/60 pages
Jeff Somers, PO Box 3024, Hoboken, NJ 07030, mreditor@innerswine.com; www.innerswine.com

Transom #5
The Library Issue
Came home early from work yesterday sick. I was sick with what would later be recognized as mono. I took a hot bath and read the first ½ of Transom. Today I didn’t even make it to near closing time when I went home and again took a super hot bath and read the second half. Reading a zine about books and libraries when you are sick is a pleasant comfort. Editor Jackie Campbell is a librarian and she dishes the inside dirt on library myths, library movies, library books, patrons, and library zines. She also has a library survey which includes responses from Brant (For the Clerisy), Grieg (IPRC and Clutch), Kate (Miranda), Kathy (SemiBold), Owen (Ten Page News), Sean (Thoughtworm) and me. So what’s your dream library?
$1/stamps/trade
Jackie Campbell, PO Box 77716, Seattle, WA 98177

Pick Your Poison #3
There are a ton of stories in this per-zine, almost too many. Nate obviously loves to write and shows some talent, but he needs to work on the editing. Each story is inspired by a word he picked out of the dictionary, which is a clever way to get the creative juices flowing. However, it is like he went to the grocery store and bought a week’s worth of food and tried to make a single meal using everything he bought. There are some first-rate stories, both funny and well-told, like the time he was temping and tried to go unnoticed by the CEO and ended up with two 40s falling out in front of him. Work on fine-tuning those pieces and perhaps weed out the weaker pieces. Drinking/drug stories are kinda like dream stories; when told at face value they tend only to be interesting to the people having them.
Nate also published You Idiot #1 ($1/digest/ 27 pages), which is an entertaining look at video games designed to help kids “Just Say No,” religious video games (which I didn’t even know existed), a book devoted to finding every ounce of Satan in popular music, and “The Sorry Saga of Nick Carter.” Good start to what could be a very funny series.
$2/digest/63 pages
Nate Gangelhoff, PO Box 8995, Minneapolis, MN 55408; PickYourPoison@beer.com

These are the Days #6
The Honeymoon Issue
Kyle and Jenny got married and while they were on their honeymoon they sent hand-drawn postcards to friends and family. This issue is a collection of those postcards and tells of their wedding and trip to Seattle and Portland to celebrate the union.
$2/mini/76 pages
Kyle Bravo, PO Box 788, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; hotironpress@hotmail.com

Modern Women
Sketches of Gertrude Stein and Kiki of Montparnasse
This arty comic offers glimpses into the lives of Gertrude Stein and Kiki, enticing readers to learn more on their own. Sean quotes from biographical sources and includes the tidbit, “The only arguments ever witnessed between (Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas) were sparked by Gertrude’s efforts to park the truck.” Short, but very well presented, beautifully rendered, and intriguing.
?$/digest/12 pages
Sean Bieri, 1028 Vinewood, Detroit, MI 48216

Retail Whore
This is a sharp, sarcastic, well-written per-zine by Kat Raz. The theme of this issue of mixed tapes, but she delves deep beneath the surface to the moods, boys, and feeling conveyed and instilled in those tapes. She also exposes her retail whoring for Virgin Records. Very entertaining.
$1/digest/44 pages;
Kat Raz, PO Box 688, Evanston, IL 60204; Retailwho_re@hotmail.com

Out of the Blue #12
Out of the Blue is a monthly zine devoted to “Promoting the talented artists, cartoonists, writers, and self publishers of the ‘small press’ revolution.” Each issue offers comics, short stories, news, and reviews. His contributors are a remarkable lot. I’m impressed with Larned’s commitment to small press and the zine community. $3/digest/48 pages
Larned Justin, PO Box 471, House Springs, MO 63051; Candidcartoons@yahoo.com

Train Related Zines

Watch the Closing Doors #21
Are you a commuter? A train-lover? Enjoy the muffled “next stop mpphhhggppp” of the conductor? Then this is for you. Fred tells you about the NYC subway system as only an insider can. No longer content to just ride the trains, now he is a conductor too. I always try and read my copy at the station or on the train.
$10 for 4 issues/digest/24 pages
Fred Argoff, 1800 Ocean Pkwy. #B-12, Brooklyn, NY 11223

The Constant Rider
Stories from the Public Transportation Front
I once read a suggestion that if you wanted to be a writer you should ride public transportation. I would agree. I almost wish more of my fellow bus and train riders were writers so I could read more zines like this. In issue #1 she take a big trip from Portland to Wisconsin and back again. In #3 she travels around Portland on her commute to and from work. On one trip she faints and on another she helps a stranded motorist. She and her sister also deal with a passed-out bus driver in Spain.
$1 or stamps/trade/digest/20 pages
Kate Lopresti, PO Box 6753, Portland, OR 97228; depesto@earthlink.net

Lessons in Traveling
The train in question this time is Amtrak as Lex heads home for the holidays. She is traveling from Chicago to California and records her travels and encounters with both words and images. Upon arriving she says, “I’m sad, excited, refreshed, happy, hopeful, relaxed, intrigued, glad to be here, wishing I were home…a vicious emotional cocktail to kick off the next 12 days with my family.” She misses her girlfriend back in Chicago, but seems to have a better visit than expected.
$3pp/selective trades/digest/62 pages
Lex McQuilkin, PO Box 387, Glenview, IL 60025; Dedicated_flash@yahoo.com

Books

Cuckoo, by Madison Clell
I’ve reviewed Madison’s comic Cuckoo a number of times before in Xerography Debt. If you’ve been curious, but haven’t picked a copy up yet, this is the perfect opportunity. Madison has collected and bound the issues together. She explains her struggles with Dissociative Identity Disorder, how she got it, and how she is recovering from it. You could call it a graphic novel, but it is that and more. $13.95/291 pages
Green Door Studio, 1705 Church St. #101
San Francisco, CA 94131 (temp. address); madisoncuckoo@yahoo.com; www.cuckoocomic.com

Valencia, by Michelle Tea
This is a book published by Seal Press, but I thought I would include it because Michelle mentions her zines and open-mic poetry in this seemingly autobiographic tome. She vividly paints her life as a young dyke punk in the SF Bay area in the early-nineties. She falls in and out of love with a number of women, and experiments with love, sex, and drugs. What makes this work is that she captures a time, culture, place, and an honest feeling of youth, but is writing with present-day wisdom and experience. I read this on the flights to and from New Orleans and I didn’t even realize we were about to land, I was so into the text.
$13/ 202 pages
Seal Press, 3131 Western Ave., Suite 410, Seattle, WA 98121; www.sealpress.com


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