Xerography Debt #10
Table of Contents
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
© February 2003
#11 Due out June 2003. You can pre-order today!
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
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.
Davida Gypsy Breier
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
XEROGRAPHY DEBT is receiving more and more zines for review. Until issue #6 complimentary copies were sent all of the zines reviewed. That just isnt feasible any more. If I have your e-mail address, Ill 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 Ill send a postcard or letter with the review. If I am unable to do this, please bear with me, Im 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...
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.
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.
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: email@example.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:
641 Rosalia St. Apt. C
Atlanta, GA 30312-3446
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 - email@example.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
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
HEY, YOU WITH THE ZINE!
By Benn Ray, Atomic Books
1100 W. 36th St., Baltimore, MD 21211
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 dont 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 theyll even include a copy of their own zine which you may sorta like but will pretend to adore?
Since youre making a zine, you most likely would like this to happen right? Otherwise youd 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. Dont bother with larger chain bookstores, most likely they wont 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), Quimbys, See Hear, and probably some others that I cant 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 theyve 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 doesnt necessarily mean everyone has), youll 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 Id 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, dont 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 cant 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 wed think twice about carrying it. Ive 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 dont 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. Weve had zines that look like utter shit but have the best content in the world sit on our shelves, and weve 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. Theres 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 whats going on in your life. But try to look at your life objectively. Is this something youd 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 doesnt have a black and white collage cover, isnt photocopied and stapled, its not a true zine. Remember, the crappier your zine looks, the least likely a reader is to pick it up. If a reader doesnt buy it, its more than likely that a store will end up returning all your zines unsold in a few months and stop carrying your title altogether (thats if they even decided to carry the zine in the fist place). For those lo-fi purists out there, its the 21st century; zines dont 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 stores perspective. If a store is selling a $2.00 zine, the chances are that theyre 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 thats 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 whats inside the pages get picked up and thumbed through more often than zines that dont. 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 theyve 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 its about. Dont be afraid of a bad review, there are many places that will not level critical analysis or simply wont review it if they dont like it. In fact, I cant 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.
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 theyll 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 dont 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, thats 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 youre 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, its 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 its time for them to contact you for payment, but most dont. 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 havent 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 zines doing. If they say they sold some copies, ask them for a payment. If you dont hear from a store, dont 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 its 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 cant take the time to pay out), so theyre more likely to pay you.
Now, you may think most of these pointers are just plain common sense, but youd be surprised at the submissions stores get. Theres 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
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 theres nothing saying that youve 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 couldnt 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 couldnt 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 isnt of the handwritten/cut and paste variety it is the computer variety. Just because you have 100 fonts at your disposal doesnt 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.
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 shouldnt 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 weve had this little chat, go out and explore a few free font websites and download (responsibly) to your hearts content:
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 ITS WANK
By Jeff Somers
P.O. Box 3024, Hoboken NJ 07030
So what does that mean? It means its 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, Ive written a lot of crazy shit in my zine. Its 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. Ive written about being paid billions of dollars by Microsoft for the rights to my zine. Ive written about forming a worldwide Organization of Evil modeled on James Bond villains, with me securely running the show from a secret underground bunker. Ive 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. Id 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 Id be insulted that people so readily believe that I spend all my time passing out from liquor and wetting myself. Thats supposed to be funny, damn your eyes. While its true that I enjoy the occasional dignified entire bottle of Jack Daniels in one sitting, and its also true that once or twice Ive 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.
I get reviews sometimes that take everything said in the zine WAY too seriously. Now, Im not upset that people dont appreciate the humor. Every zine is a unique snowflake and not everyone is going to like it, and Ive already discussed how I love bad reviews (see It Means its 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.
Heres 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...Its 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.
Wasnt that fun? The incoherency aside, I really enjoyed the fact that he completely missed the joke. Now, I know that its almost a cliche in zinedom (and other artistic cliques) to write about being a hard drinker, living on the razors 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 Im 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 theyre 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 perzineslike you can believe everything in it 100% because, heck, its a perzine. While my zine is often described as a perzine, you dont 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 its 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. Its about as far away from me as you can get and still be recognizable.
I guess if someone isnt amused by the persona, its natural that they give me a bad review, and thats 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; Im only here to amuse you, anyway. Bastards.
PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094
Hes 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 Ive seen drunken Shriners chasing their little hats, bullets in my motel parking lot and signs that read: Give Satan an inch and hell 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 Im not the best judge of character. AZMACOURT is an interesting comic journal/perzine that gets high marks thanks to the creators 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 wont 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,
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 Androos 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 arent a whole lot of filmmakers who get intimately involved in the music that accompanies their cinematic works. Frankly, Ive always loved John Carpenters 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 Ive never heard of, but hes 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 mightve come up with. If I was on the set with those people all day I wouldve 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 Lynchs 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
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 thats been bringing low-fi videos and comedy bits to lucky viewers in Cleveland for more than five years. While its not the kind of disc youd normally slap in and watch from start to finish, theres a lot here to dig. Tunes from Floyd Band, Sosumi and Public Display of Infection wouldve 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 theyre as hit and miss as you might expect with a certain insider feel to them. That said thisd be the perfect disc to slap in during a late night beer fest.
71 Storm St., Apt 2C, Tarrytown, NY 10591
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 hasnt 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
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, Id 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
Zen Baby #9
48 pages, digest, $1or trade for single issue; $5 or Black Jack gum for lifetime subscription
Zen Babys 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 Ive 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 thats just me.
Christopher Robin, P.O. Box 1611, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1611
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
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 Breiers airy typography and graphic design, and William P. Tandys 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 authors 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 theres a dingbat indicating the conclusion of a piece? His essays and poems dont need them. Once hes 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;
The East Village Inky #16
38 pages, mini, $2
When she isnt 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 havent 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 todays 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 husbands 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, Gregs 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;
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081
Please dont think I didnt like your zine if you dont
see it below. This time around I tried to review only zines Ive 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. Heres 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, Cassavetess 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 dont 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 arent 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); email@example.com
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
on the cover: two boys stand side by side on a vast plain
inside: Marks journals from before and after his dads death. A gossipy email exchange with one of Marks high school friends. A lovely drawing of Marks 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 hes 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 Id start crying every few pages and have to put it away for a few days. I know all the people involved, so I cant give an objective review. I can give my own account of the events Mark describes (though Marks 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. Its 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 Marks gayness, but he always made me feel welcome. [Other memories of Ben:]
sleeping with his glasses on his forehead
playing with [Marks nephew and niece]
starting a fire in the fireplace
playing The Messiah in the car
telling stories about his childhood or Marks
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
Lhorreur est humaine No 4 (2001?)
available from Sylvain Gérand, 26 rue du Tapis Vert, 79500 Melle FRANCE; email for price: firstname.lastname@example.org
on the cover: a very explicit collage involving what I guess is prostate surgery
inside: Its subtitled Nouvelle encyclopédie pratique dhygiène et de médecine pour tous. According to Sylvain, Its 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
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 Years 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 cest vrai que je passe rarement inaperçue et que jirais sûrement pas jusquà me qualifier dordinaire, loin de là mais bon je ne fais quand même pas la manchette dEntertainment Tonight tous les soirs quoi!!), bref de quelquun qui nest pas ( encore hehe) une vedette et qui, feuilletant tranquillement une revue de mode dampleur nationale, tombe sur sa propre main!! Ctait pas la crise dapoplexie, mais pas loin. [ well imagine how I felt!! Imagine how the average Joe Blow felt (though its true that I rarely pass unnoticed and I would surely not qualify as merely ordinary, far from it but anyway I dont 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 didnt have a stroke, but not far from it.]
overall: I confess that I didnt read the whole thing (my excuse being that its full of page after page of tiny typeand 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/; email@example.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: Its just an oversized trifold pamphlet, but each one has at least two really good poems, and thats 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 cats food; notes on shiatsu; an article about a vegan activists 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 wed 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 didnt and she never seemed so close to me again.
overall: readable and more clear-headed than I expected (meaning I dont 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
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! Its 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 askand 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: email@example.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 its still a good ideal.
overall: A good place to start if you havent read a newspaper for the last few yearsbut has only about 10 pages of original content if you have. Nevertheless, its bound in signatures using staples, ribbon, and electrical tape in very DIY fashion, so obviously a labor of loveor 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
inside: drawings, collages, and poems
quote: newspapers 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 childrens 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
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081
Loathe as I am to come across as a crotchety old man (actually, I
dont care,) Im 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 thats 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 couldnt 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 Ive 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 itd be a really laborious task on top of it. The
bottom line is, if youve 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 Im alienating everyone, let me just add that theres nothing more tedious than the endless fawning interview with the local obscure, self-important band. OK, now that thats off my chest, on to the reviews! Dont be mad! Peace and love and happiness to you all!
Cuckoo, Issue #13
Madison Clells comic depicts one womans 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 didnt 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
Eating Sensibly: What, When, How Much, for Health, Pep, Joy.
10 pages (marked as 36, but I dont 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. Thats 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 theres insight, interesting ideas and good resources within, but the presentation just makes Eating Sensibly as daunting and incomprehensible as a bottle of Dr. Bronners 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)
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 whats revealed and the sincerity with which its 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. Stars 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:
Off the Hook: The Newsletter of the Missouri Prison Labor Union, Issue #4, Fall 2002
Its easy to feel really bad about the state of affairs in the U.S. of A. right now, isnt 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 issues 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 Banisters 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
Another good issue, full of charming comics and illustrations, thats 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 Marias 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 Peoples Club, Issue #3
44 pages of various awkward sizes
There are many projects of this sort out there in Zineland, a young womans soul searching and self-analysis on paper, but I found The Special Peoples Club to be more intelligent and well-written than many (although the use of the words hella and that rocks made me cringe but Im 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
firstname.lastname@example.org (there was also a web-address, but I couldnt read it!)
Table Crumbs, Issue #1
Table Crumbs, a political punk zine, states this zine aint personal, its about CLASS + whats left of it, its 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, Adass stream of consciousness writing style is a bit meandering, but whats 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
1800 Ocean Pkwy. #B-12, Brooklyn, NY 11223
Completely unfazed by last issues disasterwherein my whole
package of zine reviews got lost in a Post Orifice maelstromI told Davida
that of course I was on board for this new issue. If at first you dont
succeed, complain, complain, complain! And so its 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 proceedingsthat 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. Theres 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 dont, 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 theres PLATFORM. Elizabeth keeps a running record of the stations where shes played and the days take, as well as unusual sightingsand if youve ever experienced our mass transit system, you know theres 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 its time you cracked open that dictionary sitting there collecting dust on your shelf, and then youll know. And youll realize just how appropriately MOXIE! is titled. Put briefly: Suzie says what she thinks. In issue #20, for example, she tells us why she isnt 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 pointyand 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.
Ive 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 hes been through, for heavens sake! Where has he been lately? Ahayou dont think Im going to give the whole store away, do you? No, youll 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 editors 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; Ive used the dirty word. Its all thats necessary to send most of you scattering as you scream in terror, right? Still, that doesnt change the bottom line, which is the good stuff youll discover in BLIND MANS RAINBOW. Sure, breaking down and sending away for a poetry zine is a major barrier to overcome. But give it a try. You didnt die the first time your mother made you eat broccoli, did you? This wont 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.
c/o SLC Zine Library, 209 E 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Hey Everybody! So this is my second attempt to write these reviews and Im so late that it just isnt 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 didnt 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 email@example.com
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 thats 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 werent 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 thats not a recommendation then I dont know what is. Send $3 to Christian Zappone, PO Box 2338, Astoria, NY 11102; email@example.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 Sarahs 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, Im 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://girlwakesup.i85.net
The East Village Inky #17
I feel wholly unprepared to review this bastion of zine child rearing literature. Im 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 Ayuns 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; email@example.com; www.ayunhalliday.com
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; firstname.lastname@example.org;
When we put zines in basic categories we often just dont 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 cant 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; email@example.com; http://burntzine.i85.net
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 dont want to waste your time or mine bashing other peoples 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 didnt want to write a dishonest review full of praise or an honest review panning someones 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 its contents. But then again, its probably just my ego run amok. *There is one exception; I reviewed one fanzine that I didnt 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 aint ashamed to admit it. So there.
This is a beautifully constructed chapbook of poetry. Its printed on high quality paper and laid out nicely with interesting little illustrations here and there. Oh yeah, and the poems arent half-bad either. In fact, theyre half-good, nay! - more than half-good! Although Im 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 its a Mac and while we like to believe that it is intuitive, deep down we know that it isnt.
I once tried to free Tibet but mere]y ended up italicizing everyone there. As if living under foreign oppressors wasnt 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 thats why they call it iceberg lettuce.
Two thirds water.
Im so happy when I read the first few poems in a poetry chapbook and Im hooked in. There are so many books of poetry that are okay and have a few bright spots but arent exceptional, so its exciting to enjoy a book from beginning to end. These poems, or so Im guessing, are the work of someone who has been developing their poetic skills for some time. If you were interested in the quotes Ive 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. Its 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 its 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:
2550 Del Monte St.
W. Sacramento CA 95691
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 wasnt 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 dont 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 Dont 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 its cover and said, Book! Little book! El-phant! So I sat down and read it to him a couple times and Im 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. Its very very cute- probably too cute for most peoples 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 persons 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. Theres 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 its 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 heres a quote to show you why: Im over 60, Im getting crankier, Ive 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, Im 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 its monthly but Im not sure. That would be very cool though if a fanzine were monthly. I actually dont know if ABRF fits under the above heading at all but lets pretend. Ive had this fanzine forever and I should have just written the publisher and asked but now its 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 - thats bimonthly. If bimonthly means once every two months then why does biannually mean twice a year instead of once every two years? Wheres 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 youd 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.
$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 havent actually read anything in it except for the inside cover and thats where I gleaned the first sentence. If you read the review of Atomic Blue Ribbon Flyer above, youll know that Im late getting these reviews to Davida. Its like Im back in high school or college and I have a report due and I put the damn thing off until past the last minute. Id really like to apologize to the publisher of NeuFutur for how terrible this review is. Its really the worst review that Ive ever written but I felt that I had to include it because it fit so nicely under the heading. How can I review something Ive never read? I dont know. All I know is that Im gonna print out these reviews and mail them to Davida this morning with a note of apology for their tardiness and hope that shell give me a grade, any grade, even if its 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, itll bring my semesters grade for Fanzines 101 way down. Ill probably fail. Please Davida dont let me fail! I promise that Ill do all my assigned reading and turn in my reports on time from now on. Please Davida, for the love of God, dont let me fail! My parentsll kill me if get another F.
224 Moraine St., Brockton MA 02301
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 Im just finishing them now. Now I always get them done when I say theyll be done and I dont think theyd be any better if I did them earlier, but just once itd be nice to not be doing these at the very last minute.
Mr. Peebodys Soiled Trousers and Other Delights #16
This zine here is one of my favorite per-zines. First of all, its one of the only personal zines out there (besides my own) done by a fellow male and thats 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 wasnt looking all that forward to reading it because the idea of reading one more persons 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 everyones thoughts are valid and to be respected, but Im just sick of the whole damn topic and wasnt especially excited about reading a zine about it more than a year after the fact. However, Im 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
Yknow, every so often youll 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 its a zine about, as the cover puts it, True tales of Neighbor Nastiness. Just such a perfect idea because weve 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 wasnt home. They never stole anything, but sometimes things wouldnt be where he left them so obviously someone mustve broken in. Then sometimes hed see people on their porch smoking pot, which I grant you isnt the brightest move, and hed sit in his house with his shotgun aimed at them debating whether or not to shoot. At least thats what hed 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
A while back I was reading a zine called Platform (a fine zine I reviewed here last issue and if you havent 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 arent necessarily well versed in zines. So when people who arent 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 theyre both zines, and they enjoy both of them, hence they must resemble each other. Theres 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 Its 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 couldnt do it. Because, dammit, some zines really are like Cometbus. So I guess if a zine really is like Cometbus its OK to say it reminds you of Cometbus. This issue is a six part narrative on travel and it features... umm... yeah, thats 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 yknow, 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://croadcore.cjb.net
Hitch #32 Winter 2002
Man, yknow, this zine reminds me a lot of Cometbus. Nah, Im 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. Its very magaziney looking with paid ads and a glossy cover. But I guess itd still be considered a zine because it doesnt have a bar code and its all in black and white, even the glossy cover. Truth is, I dont 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 thats 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 cant be stretched into a full length article, including the continuing serial (I guess youd 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 Fowlers TV Party Tonite column simply because he confirms that the TV show What a Dummy! did really exist and wasnt 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 (doesnt 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; email@example.com www.hitchmagazine.com
Rich Mackins Book of Letters #16 and 17
This zine is a little more like Cometbus than Hitch, but thats like saying that the band Pavement is more like the Doodletown Pipers than the Ramones are because it still is nothing like Cometbus. Ive noticed that Book of Letters has actually become on of those zines thats become so popular that its 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 yknow, theres nothing people like more than people who hate and mock what others love. But I just cant 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 youre 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 Id 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 dont. I dont 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. Ill be there and I really dont 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 cats mother. Ummm... no. I know you love you cat and take care of it and thats 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 thats something you gotta deal with in zines. I think I may be the only zine person out there who couldnt care less about fonts. Anyhow, send $1 or a trade to Anastacia Zittel, PO Box 365, Douglas MA 01516; firstname.lastname@example.org
Drunken Master #6
I wasnt 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 Im 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 isnt even totally accurate - there was a third Tiger Mask I forgot about. Funny, Id 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 dont 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 Ive 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 its 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 theres 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 thats 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 Id 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 havent 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 cant 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; email@example.com
2000 NE 42nd Ave. #303, Portland, OR 97213
Arent 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.
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 Smiths 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, Theres 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 dont 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 themselvesand 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 ;
Good god, this is fun. Its so much fun that Im sorry out you will not be able to do laundry or get to bed on time because whenever you think youve reached a stopping point youll glance ahead for just a SECOND and see something like bad resume critiques or napkin drawings and before you can decide All right, Ill 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 whats in this issue and tell me you arent 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 permI 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 articles 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 cant 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 Ill 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
The way Mark writes is so converationa1, and his topics so personal, you forget youre reading you feel like youre listening. This is the story of the death of Marks 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 its 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 humanhe describes frustrating relatives, lust for the neighbor, having a temper at the zoo. It seems strange, but this zine is actually fun to readyoull 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 schoo1its bitchy and gossipy and hilarious.
Mark is also an artist, and drew the cover picture of his father and his fathers twin brother as children. Combined with the title, its 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh Ooy! This is the zine I always hope for...I dream about...oh, Ill 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 doesnt 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 doesnt like wearing bathing suits, how theyre 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 Ive 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, theres more! Meet Dan, Erins 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 Id used them all my life. What fun these two must have! Theyd probably kick Andrew and my asses in the zine couple tug of war, too, bless their hearts. Whens the next issue coming out??? When?????
by Benedict Lumley
quarter-sized, 16 pages, $?; 4 Swarthmore Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 4JR United Kingdom; email@example.com
Though small, Benedicts zine is packed with big ideas and great illustrationsI cant draw, he claims, but its 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.) Theres 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 cant wait to see. In the meantime Im opting for the third of Benedicts 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.
1573 N. Milwaukee Ave, #403, Chicago, IL 60622
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 doesnt 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. Im 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 Freds zines in one word, I would have to choose enthusiastic. Fred so loves Brooklyn, and the New York Subway system, that he cant 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!, Freds 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 whats in your photos. Most of the time theyre 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. Hes a good writer, with a friendly and engaging style, and Im 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 youre a dedicated public transportationist, love New York, or just like learning about new things, then WCD is for you.
Digest size, 24 pages. He doesnt list a single-issue price, but Im 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 dont want to give it all away here.) Theres 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. Theres also cover art by the prolific Androo Robinson.
Its 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
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. (Its 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. Its all put together in a basic cut & paste typewritten style with little drawings here and there. Oh, yeah, and the Sleater-Kinney interview. Its actually just with Carrie Brownstein, and its 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. Shes a good writer with good stories to tell, but sometimes the excessive typos were a little distracting. But overall its everything a good personal zine should be: a window into someone elses life.
Digest size, 32 pages. Theres no price listed, but Id say its 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, Youre 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. Patricks 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 doesnt really matter, but its 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. Tandys work.
Digest size, 52 pages. $3 postage paid. Write to: William P. Tandy, Eight-Stone Press, PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.leekinginc.com/esp
Skunks Life #21
Ive been reading DBs zine for years, and I think his writing has really improved in that time. I cant 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 thats one of my favorite parts of Skunks Life. He provides short reviews, the books original price, whether or not its 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 hes found true love. Kiel Stuart (or is it Stewart? its 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; email@example.com
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, its 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. Its a good magazine, professionally produced, but I think the $7.00 cover price is a little steep for most zine people. If youve got internet access, youd probably be better off to bookmark the site and visit it regularly, because the writing is good, and deserves to be read. If you dont 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.
Its 6-3/4x9, 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 2235, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
azure.bbboy.net/poopsheetnews; www.angelfire.com/freak/ricko/myzines.html; email@example.com
($2.00 each from Mike Bertino / 3060 Suncrest Dr. #9 / San Diego, CA / 92116) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) I like these a lot. Although its hardly a straight genre comic, Trigger is essentially a mystery starring a detective whos 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, Bertinos artwork is really nice, in my opinion. I recommend you check this out. I think Mike Bertino is somebody well be hearing a lot more of in the future.
(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 its 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. Theyve 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: email@example.com) Chris Cillas 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 hes 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 dont run too deep in these two books, but theyre 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) Ive 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 its something akin to Garrison Keillors 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 Im enjoying the heck out of these small stories.
($5.00 from Alan Rankin / PO Box 200846 / Arlington, TX / 76006 USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 Americas 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 whats 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 thats a perfect accompaniment to the drawings. Marcs got lots more noise available (audio and otherwise), so send him something along these lines and youll 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 its much better than that makes it sound. Whats probably my favorite piece in the book, Toilet Battle, is also the one with the least substance. Its sort of a weird-ass conglomeration of good ol American machismo, video games, action figures and kung fu movies. Whats more, its one long battle royale that takes place on (then in) a toilet. Must be seen to be believed. Im gushingly in love with Teds work and I cant wait for his next issue. Recommended.
1573 N Milwaukee Ave, PMB #464, Chicago, IL 60622
My name is Matt Fagan, and I am in zine heaven! Thats right, Ive 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. Its pretty great here. But theres 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.
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 narrators 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 zinesters 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
You, Only You: A little poem comic about a fella who loves a girl, and only this girl, and hates everything else (I cant stand your Mom and Dad, I detest your uncle Brad. I love you, dear, only you...) Its 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 Hains 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 Im 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 isnt trying to impress anyone, only to document and understand the events and feelings that were set into motion by his fathers 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 Marks 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 wasnt 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 Marks 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 its 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. Youll also find more of Marks crudely-rendered comics, and personal stories from all sorts of people youve 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 arent smooth, but I like them.
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 doesnt 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.
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 animals ferocious behavior (seems that a chemical imbalance causes wolverines to believe that all living creatures owe them a dollar...) If youre looking for a truly representative example of what Dead Tree has to offer, Crazy shows a little bit of everything, and its pretty funny.
I guess thats the title, since those are the only words that appear on the cover, and searching inside turned up no alternatives. Anyway, its 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 youre 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 Christians 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 Christians own past. And since the climax is set against the backdrop of a rally (the Rolling Thunder Downhome Democracy Tour) its 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 authors 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 Pedros 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-Childrens-Fund poverty, but the softly crushing and inescapable poverty that is experienced by almost everyone I know. Nothing new here, but theyre 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
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 thats 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, dont 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, Youre 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 Zappones 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 wasnt 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, thats just one of the many things that sets me apart from Liam. Hes 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. Theres also a rare piece of fiction, a weird letter from Ben Marcus, and tons of other stuff, so dont 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.
Digest-size, 24 pp., $1
by Scout Finnegan, P.O. Box 48522, Sarasota, FL 34230; email@example.com
I cant 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? - Scouts 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 Im sad to say I currently possess two of the items on Scouts list of things that drive her to the brink of insanity, foodwise). All this plus cookbook and zine reviews too!
I love Scout. Shes probably even as cute as she draws herself to be.
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 Androos 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 doesnt 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 dont 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? Hes looking skinny these days.
Bobby Tran Dale
7932 Winthrope St., Oakland, CA 94605
Its 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 theyre worth saddlin up to while ya idle away time in your underground bunkers? And an update for some of yall out there: Im not killing the archive for Homoeroticon.com, no, its just no longer at the top of my priority list due to time restraints, so what you get is what youll 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 its 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 Demis 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com
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 americas 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...yall know, I never tell the endings to anyones anything that I review, so Ill just leave it at that.
Flagwaiver is a cute little endeavor. Its credited to Edna Lifenshurnz (hehe)...but the artwork looks remarkably similar to Ben T. Stecklers, so if youre familiar with Bens work, then use that as your visual reference point. In fact, if you want to know what Ben looks like, youll 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, Id 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
(Yes, its mInkey..., NOT mOnkey...)
Before I blather on about how much Id enjoyed the two stories contained within this mini/pamphlet thingy, I hafta say, I hated the annoying fold-up , road map presentation. Its 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 ones 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, youll 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 hed 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 hed found online...the (the nazi dude) fantasizes about being booty-called not only by a darkie, but bareback as well.
Dont 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 youll 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, theres 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 Ive seen thatd touched on, with any depth, the ethnic-American (or so called in RI#1: the hyphenated American) experience. Its not non-existent...but its definitely not common in the more widely circulated zine scene. Its a refreshing effort.
THIS BUDS FOR YOU
$1.00, 12pp Digest; John Q. Adams, c/o cryin shark studio, 92 Vine St., Lockport, NY 14094-3031;
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 friends old druggie times, this one strikes me a bit stronger in content than either of those combined.
In THIS BUDS 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 wasnt 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...everybodys dads did that right? hee hee. Err...yea. Well...at least he didnt 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 doesnt. 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
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, its pretty rough, but what the hell, this is DIY. And because its 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 dont require lotsa time, so its 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Info on joining the Small Diary E-group can be had by emailing Delaine.
Ooooooooh...its biiiiig...reeeeealllly...biiiiiig! No dear ones, Im not talking about some guy in a porno here (though that wouldnt be half bad, eh?), no....this heres the 10th installment in the NMSD anthologies. But its 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. Theyre 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 theyre all rather short, Delaine has managed to cram in 50 creators! Ouch. Itll 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 whos-who directory of comic artists in the sceneno bullshit, and for 4 bucks, its 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
Boy! Was this zine a big disappointment. After all these years, Id 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 dont 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 couldnt help it...but managed to get my lazy ass up and turned down the heater that Id left on by accident....I mean...you know them heating bills get pretty high up there if you dont watch out.
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 cant afford.
3510 SE Alder St., Portland, OR 97214
While my toddler slumbers, I regroup from the toughest job Ill 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, its 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 its always an honor to be here, and Ill miss it, I will be taking a hiatus from these pages for the next few issues.
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 its better to never enter the library again as the library police will kill and eat you). Theres 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, its 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
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 boxs owner and hear his story. Its a moving, haunting piece of writing - certainly the best piece of zine fiction Ive ever read. Elsewhere, there are tales of a father walking out on his family, siblings dealing with each other and their parents in the summers heat, the interior monologue of a young addict on her way to visit a dying lover, and more. Melissas writing takes you deep inside her characters, and its 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
Its 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 Ill 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
Ive been hearing about this zine for years, and the reviews dont lie; its a thoughtful, literary publication. This Life on the Margins issue features various down and out characters in literature. Theres an essay about the 1940s-50s 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 Gissings writing. Id 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). Theres also a review of movies about the South, zine reviews, hobo secret code signs, and reader letters.
$?, Brant Kresovich, POB 404, Getzville, NY 14068; email@example.com
Zuzu and the Babycatcher #2
Subtitled, a midwife meets motherhood, Zuzus 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 Rhondas life. Theres 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 Youre 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 theres also a rueful listing of baby stuff you think youll 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
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. Theres 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
#50157 TCC, PCB 8045, Tonopah, NV 89049
Greetings from the pen. That is, the penitentiary, the Big House, the jointthat dark caveish deep place where the bad guys are buriedprison. Davida kindly invited me to contribute some zine reviews here. Naturally, Im honored. So whats 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. Its a story I share with over 70% of Americas prisoners. Recently, after almost seven years on the Big Yard, I was transferred to this minimum-security camp, where Im 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, Im pleased to announce that my new zine, DOUBLE UNDERGROUND, A celebration of personal sovereignty, will be up for release in February 2003. Itll be free to alltrades, 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: Youre unoriginal, man. Youre boring. Youre 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 zines 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 Im not going crazy. Im 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? Id probably be tempted to list the band names and contact info and just -say, Kinda on the punk side. Okay, music reviews aside, theres 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. Theres 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
WOMEN ARE IN PRISON: So what? That the US incarcerates women isnt 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 doesnt 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, theres 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 mans hopes and fears in the face of Y2K end-of-civilization predictions. After the end of the world,/lets walk, maybe hungover, together/ in a city which still has possibilities in it. An excellent choice for the archives. Twenty years from now Id 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
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 its 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 Shannons 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! Im just thankful she-he didnt include bored convicts on her-his Drop Dead listso many do, yknow.) Long live the alternative press! (Right on, babe-dude!)
Shannon Colebank, P.O. Box 5591, Portland, OR 97228
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 pubs patron saint.
Lummox c/o P.O. Box 5301, San Pedro, CA 90733-5301
WORDS BREAK BARS: A zine editors 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
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. Thats 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 Violets wrath. In this issue, for instance, Violet bestows lavish tribute upon much touted anarcho-hippie Fred Woodworth; by the time Violets done, youll be fairly sure Fred is God. In the opposite corner, theres dark anarchist Anthony Rayson. Violet pretty much rips him a newWait. Did I call the venerable Fred Woodworth a hippie? Thats odd. Could it be Im 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, Ill concede, its 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 pubs first four years. Nothing is sacred to these twisted young writersDoktor Rev. Shaw, Killer D, Huggy Bear, The Hesherexcept 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 [Im] 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
DODOBOBO #21: Okay, this thing is really really cool. Its a straightforward litzine with a spirited intro, three stories, black & white photo art, and an interview. Brian Green, the editor, interviews Sean OHagan of the High Lamas, a band Ive never heard. Brian does have superb taste when it comes to selecting stories for his zine, so Im 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. Brians masterful meshing of humor, sex. and drama will keep you reading until the end. Complicated Game is an excerpt from Michael K. Whites Novel. Sweet. a single edgy chapter about a guy. a gal. and a meteorite. And last but not least. theres 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 didnt think was really really cool? Naturally, no. If you enjoy a good story. youll 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. Shes been publishing it since July 2000. Shes 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. Shes strong, though, and doesnt 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 its not. You have to read it. Theres something about NOTHING that cant 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 Dennys not sad, shes 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
http://supremenothing.tripod.com for zine reviews
Gavin J. Grant
176 Prospect Ave. Northampton, MA 01060
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 cant 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: Jakes comes from his dislike of smug, chump-ass literary journals. Everyone to their own, right? But Jakes impulse has led him to put together a pretty high quality collection of literature. Production values arent going to be great for a buck, so dont 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 Blys 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
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. Kathys 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, whats not to like? On other trips to New York, Kathy went to the horses, the Poconos, had a celeb-sighting (Im not telling you who), found some great restaurants. She even provides a soundtrack. Its like a $2 vacation.
No.8, $2, half-legal, 38pp., Kathy Mosely, SemiBold, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., #403, Chicago, IL 60622
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 theyve decided to make one of those trite little lists that fill the pages of our glossier genre-mates that genre being more Harperrs 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
The Kiss of the Tiger Woman: A Selection of the Erotic Poetry by Deborah M. Priestly
The beauty of the world is that its different strokes, as it were, for different folks. Whats erotica to some is weak poetry to others, and here Im in the latter group. Maybe its 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
Do the Siamese Twins Make Love?
By William P. Tandy
Tandys 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 Masters 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 todays 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
William P. Tandy
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
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
Im 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. Im 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. Were stuffed. Thanks.
But the world didnt 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 aint 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. Hes 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 its sometimes lifes darkest hours in its most foreign lands one must visit to remember what is good, to laugh at whats funny, THE AUTOCAUST makes more than one pit-stop of threadbare sunshine. As Dan Nagelberg notes in the holiday-themed Apple Pie Full of Grandmas Eyes: Aint 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 well drive back to our room and turn on CNN, to find out whether were 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 weve got.
Not simply arguments to love the one youre with, the pieces in HERE reflect a genuine interest on the part of their authors in their surroundings. From Jeremy Harts Eulogy for the Hazard Street Bridge, in which the author laments the destruction of a childhood hangout, to Michael Rogners outstanding The Lord God Bird, a tribute to one mans 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 magazines 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 its still here.
BOTH FEET ON THE PLATFORM
Its 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 doesnt 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 doesnt miss a beat. The balance is sound, laid upon a foundation of the musics history, structure, and place in popular culture, to say nothing of peoples 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 Gencos hat and stay for the music. Or the stories.
Just dont ask her to play any jazz.
Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
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 its 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 Im sitting there, enjoying the words, sandwich, and fresh-cut fries when the guy whos 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. Im 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 Ive 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 werent 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 dont think having money means you cant 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 guys similarity to Patrick Swayzes 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.
Dan Taylor, PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094
One Fine Mess
There arent 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 Id 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 couldnt 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 dont see either path as right or wrong. Guidance counselors were clueless how do deal with me, so they didnt. 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 writers 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
When Matt told me that he had gotten fired and wouldnt 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 Chicagos 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.
Matt Fagan, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., PMB 464, Chicago, IL 60622
email@example.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. Marks 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 Marks world and rejoined mine the crotch was completely gone. Im 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 Lydens head. Its 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.
Eric Lyden, 224 Moraine St., Brockton, MD 02301; firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Julies 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
The Inner Swine Vol 8, #4
Jeff rites good.
Jeff Somers, PO Box 3024, Hoboken, NJ 07030, email@example.com; www.innerswine.com
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 didnt 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 whats your dream library?
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 weeks 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 didnt 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.
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.
Kyle Bravo, PO Box 788, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Gertrudes efforts to park the truck. Short, but very well presented, beautifully rendered, and intriguing.
Sean Bieri, 1028 Vinewood, Detroit, MI 48216
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.
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. Im impressed with Larneds 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; email@example.com
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, Im 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
Cuckoo, by Madison Clell
Ive reviewed Madisons comic Cuckoo a number of times before in Xerography Debt. If youve been curious, but havent 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); firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 didnt 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