Xerography Debt #16
Davida Gypsy Breier, Editor-in-Chief
Donny Smith, Editor
Fred Argoff, Eric Lyden, & Bobby Tran Dale, Founding Reviewers
Christine Douville, Noemi Martinez, Kathy Moseley, Bob Sheairs, Brooke Young, Matt Fagan, Gavin J. Grant, Dan Taylor, Rick Bradford, Julie Dorn, Anne Thailheimer, Fran McMillian, & Stephanie Holmes, Reviewers
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 347
Glen Arm, MD
© June 2004
#17 Due out July 2005. 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
Table of Contents
Back Cover by Bobby Tran Dale
I found myself trying to do too much at once when I was working on the last issue. The most horrifying aspect was realizing I had not only omitted a set of reviews by new reviewer Anne Thalheimer, who I was very happy to have had join us, but I also misspelled several names in the issue. Names I can ordinary spell no less!
So when this issue's contributor deadline came around and I was hit by the one-two-three punch of a trip to Ann Arbor for work, the annual trip Patrick and I take, followed by two weeks of flu misery and lethargy, I decided to embrace change instead of melting under pressure again. For the last several years Xerography Debt has adhered to a consistent schedule with issues going to the printer at the end of February, June, and October. February and June were tough for me last year because of the annual trip and a huge trade show I attend for my job in June.
So instead of making myself crazy to meet the February deadline I have decided to roll everything forward a month. Hopefully this means I remember all the reviews, spell names right, and generally keep the haphazardness at bay.
I hope you enjoy the issue!
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 communal sense. We are individual artists and writers coming together to collaborate and help keep small press flourishing.
Do your part by ordering a few zines from the many reviewed here and, if you self-publish, please consider including some 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), as well as 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 your 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 email@example.com.
XD 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 keep the machine running...
We 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:
Darlene Veverka, Asha Anderson, A.j. Michel, Jeannie McStay, Julie Dorn, Mrs. Drizin, Tracy Pickle, Bobby Tran Dale, Donny Smith, Gianni Simone, DB Pedlar, Christopher Robin, Blair Ewing, Delaine Derry Green, Anne Thalheimer, Fred Wright, Kris & Lola, Brooke Young and the Salt Lake City Zine Library, and several anonymous benefactors.
“To publish in Pouèt-cafëe, send us two copies of your typed, previously unpublished creations (poems, short stories, creative non-fiction, articles and essays, photos, drawings and collages, comix, etc.) along with a short bio-bibliography (up to 35 words) and your complete contact information. Please note that we do not accept simultaneous submissions, or e-mail submissions. Submitting up to 10 literary or visual pieces will increase your chances of seeing one of them chosen; full manuscripts and portfolios are more than welcome. The authors and illustrators whose work is selected will be notified in the month following the deadline. Please include a SASE or an IRC so we can notify you and return your work. Contributors are paid in copies and receive three copies of the issue their work appears in. Copyright remains with the authors. We look forward to discovering your work!”
Send your submissions by regular mail only to:
Pouèt-cafëe, Christine Douville, editor
6595 St. Hubert, P.O. Box 59019
Montreal, QC, H2S 3P5Canada
Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!
The deadline for the upcoming seventh issue of the best-selling Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore! is March 28th, 2005. Send your Baltimore-related tales, poetry, photographs or artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you, too, can be a part of the zine Baltimore City Paper calls “surprisingly fascinating, consistently absurd, and often weird as hell.”
They also named it “Best Zine” in their annual “Best of Baltimore” issue (http://www.citypaper.com/bob/story.asp?id=8891)...Which gives them an entire year to sober up.
Spread the word...
William P. Tandy, Editor
P.O. Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
Do you keep a journal? Have you ever read someone else’s? Do you have any secret stories to tell? Send your diary-inspired tales to Julie Dorn, PO Box 438, Avondale Estates, GA 30002 (or email@example.com) by April 1, 2005.
Exhibitions and Events
Spot On: The Art of Zines and Graphic Novels
“Are you a zine or graphic novel artist? Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is looking for artwork to include in its exhibition “Spot On: The Art of Zines and Graphic Novels.” Whether it¹s text, layout, imagery, pages, cover art, or posters, or whole publications, we¹re interested in featuring your work. Send submissions, with a SASE for their return, to MCBA, attn: Spot On, 1011 Washington Ave., Minneapolis MN 55415. Work will be reviewed and a selection of works showing the diversity of this creative art form will be included in the show. Entries must be received by March 19, 2005. All submissions must include the artist¹s name, address and phone number on the back or some portion of the work. No jurying will be done from slides. Please indicate any special exhibition requirements (for example, can the work be handled, can it be pinned up, should it be encased, etc.). A SASE must be included if you want your work returned. While staff will take excellent care of your artwork, MCBA cannot be held responsible for damage or loss due to circumstances beyond our control.”
CALL FOR VENDORS
As part of Spot On, MCBA will be hosting a Zine and Graphic Novel Trade Fair Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 2005. If you are interested in renting space to sell associated wares, call Jeff Rathermel at (612) 215-2526 to reserve a space. Table rental pricing starts at $25.
For more information, please contact Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Ave., Minneapolis MN 55415; www.mnbookarts.org
Reprinted with permission from Jerianne at Zine World:
Zinesters, take note: We have reason to believe that prisoner Douglas S. Dahl, who has been contacting female zine publishers, is not on the level.
Zine World recently received this letter from prisoner Douglas S. Dahl (Ed. note: I received the same letter.): “I was interested in obtaining your resource material because ... I am very concerned about the obsession of American women and body hair removal, be it shaving, laser, electrolysis or other method - Americans seem to have become completely obsessed with the removal of body hair. I find this to be very disturbing. In my communications with Shannon Colebank of Whizzbanger Productions in Portland, Ore. - Shannon feels the same as I do. Shannon feels it is American males wanting women to appear “child-like” and hairless to obtain power over them. Men are not scared of children and when women become hairless they also become child-like and less threatening to men. I was hoping to use your resource material to contact women who are natural, unshaven to obtain their viewpoints, thoughts, feelings about this subject. I pity the woman who is born hirsute in this environment who feels like some sort of “freak” because she has abundant body hair.”
“The Americans seem freaked out should any hair escape the confines of a swimsuit and heaven forbid that a woman doesn’t shave under her arms. I hope that you are mature enough and realize that I am only doing research and not offended by this letter. If you could provide some possible leads so I could gather information, I would greatly appreciate it. -Douglas S. Dahl #4424482, 82911 Beach Access Rd., Umatilla OR 97882-9419”
Not long after, we received another letter - from Shannon Colebank, a long-time zine publisher who we believe, through our history of correspondence, to be a trustworthy individual: “I would like to point out that there is a prisoner involved in the zine scene, Douglas Dahl, who presents himself as a feminist to those he writes to, by telling you that he heard of you from me, and that, as inspired by the best feminist zine ever written (Flashpoint #2), he decided that he will make a feminist statement concerning how ridiculous it is that women shave. He soon asks for a picture of you, especially if you do not shave. It is my opinion that he wants these photos to beat off to while he is in prison. He seems rather sexist in the letters he has written to me (stating that when he gets out of prison he wants to “go to Brazil where women treat men right, unlike the women in America”) and is definitely into porn.
If you get a letter from Douglas Dahl telling you that you should trust him because he is a feminist like Shannon and that Flashpoint #2 was great, watch your step. I have had two zine girls write to me telling me that Douglas Dahl had sent them creepy letters; he got their addresses from The Whizzbanger Guide. I do not vouch for Douglas Dahl. He is not a friend of mine, nor do I believe he is a feminist. -Shannon Colebank, Whizzbanger Productions, PO Box 5591, Portland OR 97228”
“We believe Shannon. If you receive correspondence from Douglas Dahl, we recommend proceeding with caution. Be warned.”
Zine World editor and publisher
PO Box 330156, Murfreesboro TN 37133
Received from Ben Steckler:
I’m just spreading the word to folks who regularly send stuff to me at my POB. That post office has closed, and it will be some time until they get another office open in my end of town, so all mail should be sent to me at:
Ben T. Steckler
957 Richwill Drive
York, PA 17404
Received from Rick Bradford:
NEW contact info:
PO Box 343
Bedford, TX 76095
The Joys and Pains of Organizing a Mail Art Project
By Gianni Simone
226-0027 Kanagawa-ken JAPAN
In last issue’s column, while trying to explain what this strange beast called mail art is, I wrote that after all mail artists and zine makers have more than one point in common. To name but one, many of us strive to build a network of contacts with whom to share friendship, ideas and good vibes, at the same time bypassing those institutions (public agencies, corporate media, art galleries, etc.) that want to control and dumb down our values. That’s why, by the way, many mail artists, including me, prefer to call what they do networking. I don’t know what all you fellow zinesters think, but to me the best part in doing what I do consists in working on a project, collaborating with like-minded people toward a common goal, be it a zine or an exhibition. Doing it all by myself seems to be pointless, even considering that most of the time the typical “publisher” ends up with a few roughly-done pages that relatively few people will read. Well, if you like the idea of feeling part of something bigger and more meaningful, you may want to try your hand at organizing a mail art project. Be warned, though, that if properly done, a mail art project takes a lot of time, energy AND money (unless you want to keep it very small) and could be the source of more than one headache. This said, it can also be – and usually is – an exciting and rewarding experience.
The first thing you have to do is to make up your mind about what you really want to achieve. You can do something really big, spread the word about it like mad and end up with hundreds of works. Or you can do something more simple and intimate. Also, you have to decide why you are doing this. You can show all the works sent in (in which case, of course, you have to find a venue for your exhibition) or you can just produce a zine-catalog to document the project. In other words, it can be as big or as small as you want (if you bother to have a look at Xerography Debt #15, you will find to cases in point illustrating the big vs. small approach). But – sorry if I repeat myself, but it’s very important - remember that a big project is pretty much expensive, so my advice is to start with something smaller, unless you are a group of people who can share in the work and money needed to pull it off.
After that, you have to decide some other important things: 1) a theme; 2) the size of the works you want to receive; 3) a deadline by which people have to send their contributions.
The theme you choose should be, of course, the main reason why you do a project. It can really be whatever you like; as serious (politics, human rights, etc.) or silly (Hello Kitty) or weird (art about feet) as you want. Pornography or such topics as racism, sexism, etc. are usually not welcome, but nobody would stop you from doing something like that – even though I doubt you would receive a lot of feedback, apart from hate mail… My advice is to choose something you really care for, and about which you hopefully have your own opinion, because the participants love to read/see what the organizer has to say about the subject (this, by the way, is unfortunately missing in too many documentations).
The size of the works can be free, but I find it’s always better to put some limitations, otherwise you’ll end up with strangely shaped or huge contributions. This is not a bad thing in itself – indeed, it can be a lot of fun to find this stuff in your mail box, or see the puzzled face of the postman who carried it to your door – but can be a problem when you plan the exhibition, or when it’s time to reproduce the works in the catalog. Anyway, the most commonly chosen sizes are (up to) A4 (11” x 8 1/2” in US; 29 x 21 cm in Europe), A5 (8 1/2” x 5 1/2”in US; 21 x 15 cm in Europe) or postcard size.
The deadline must be chosen carefully, especially if you are going to show the works somewhere. First of all, you have to give people the possibility to know about your project and plan their participation. It’s never a good thing to put the deadline too early. In my opinion, you should let at least six months pass from the time you start spreading your invitations. Not few people make that one full year. Also, many mail artists like to participate to a lot of projects, but at the same time are busy people who have a life outside networking, so they probably won’t start working on the contribution to your project as soon as they see your call. For the same reason, several participants invariably send their contribution after the deadline has expired. Therefore you can’t put the opening of the exhibition too close to the deadline. At the very least, you should put one month between the two dates.
Now that you have decided these details, you can actually start the planning process. The first thing to do, of course, is to make and spread the calls. The four main tools you can use are flyers, zines, the e-mail and Web sites. If you have many correspondents, you can make a lot of flyers (postcard size is enough) and send them out. A good idea is to send a certain number to each contact and ask them to distribute them with their mail. The same thing of course can be done even more quickly and cheaply via e-mail, even though the mass of messages one gets electronically is often so great that many people regard even these invitations as SPAMs. This way, your call is soon deleted and forgotten. Zines are in theory an excellent way to reach a lot of people with a minimum effort – even though, for my experience, not many zine readers contribute to these projects. The only publication I know that has a space for these calls is “Zine World”. On the contrary, if you want to be sure to reach as many people (especially as many mail artists) as possible, your best bet is to place your call in the Web sites devoted to mail art. For better or for worse, nowadays these are the most sought sources of information, particularly by people who are looking for new projects to contribute to. Depending on the site, you either have to send them an e-mail with the text of your call, or you just do everything yourself, by filling out a form provided by the site.
Having completed this task, you only have to sit back and wait for the works to come in. As I said, don’t worry if at first you only get a handful of contributions, because most of them will probably arrive in the last couple of months before the deadline. In any case, if you are planning an exhibition, you better catalog the works as soon as they come in. This way, you can always keep an eye on the way things are progressing, and at the end, you’ll find yourself with the address list ready.
Speaking of the address list, we have now reached the last part of the project. After receiving, it’s now time to give back – in the form of a documentation – and it’s very important that you do this right, because you will be judged by what the participants get for their effort. The unwritten rules of mail art state that the contributors give away their works for free and don’t expect the organizer(s) to send them back, but they do expect to get something in return. That means you will have to send a copy of whatever you produce as documentation to each and every one of them. If, for example, you have opted for a big project and have received 400 works, you have to send out 400 copies of your doc. Considering that more than half of the participants will probably be foreigners, you are going to spend a lot of money in photocopies and postage. That’s why, as I said before, your two best options are a) to do something not so big, or b) to do it with other people.
If you have a Web site, you may decide to put all the works received online and consider that your documentation. For obvious reasons, more and more people decide to proceed this way, but you can be sure that many - if not most – participants will not be happy with your choice. Personally, I never contribute to these projects.
Another increasingly popular support used these days is the CD-Rom. This one has the great advantage that you can put hundreds of works in the CD, and the mail artist get to see all the contributions in full color. On the downside, not all the participants may have a computer, and I know for sure that not few people (including me) hate to read or look at things on a computer screen. Of course even in this case you are going to spend a lot in postage.
The last and most traditional option you have is the paper catalog/zine. This is by far the most expensive, even though you don’t have to produce a thick publication to satisfy the contributors. Every mail artist and zine maker perfectly understand that most people are not rich and don’t want to see you go bankrupt. For this reason, you don’t have to reproduce all the works in a paper doc, and of course you can do everything in black and white (you may hand-color parts of it, if you have the time and energy for that). What everybody usually includes is the above-mentioned address list of all the participants, and then you are highly recommended to add an introduction/comment on the project. All the rest is an optional. Anyway, whatever form you choose to give to your doc, it’s always better to be honest and declare your intentions clearly in your invitation.
There are no time limits to produce and send out the doc. Only the more efficient mail artists manage to do everything soon. I often get catalogs one full year after the end of the projects. As a general rule, it’s always better to take your time and do something you can be proud of than to rush things and do a crappy job.
Before starting to work on your theme, you may want to participate to someone else’s project, so that you can see how other people actually work. You can find the mail art calls in the following places (by checking these sites, you will also have the opportunity to see how other people wrote their invitations):
Good luck with your projects!
Gianni Simone also publishes KAIRAN, which is devoted to the discussion of mail art-related topics. Issue #9, among other things, features a mammoth index to mail art and (visual) poetry zines (more than 100 publications listed). Available for $4.00 postpaid worldwide from 3-3-23 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama-shi, 226-0027 Kanagawa-ken, Japan
The History of Zines:
The Five-Year Half-Life of Neofans
by Don Fitch
As part of the History of Zines series, XEROGRAPHY DEBT has been interviewing long-time zinesters. The following comments by Don Fitch were extracted by Donny Smith from various emails. The first question was, “Do you know anyone who’s been doing a zine since before you were born?”
How about a firm /“/m/a/y/b/e/”/ “I don’t think so”?
Late in 2004 about thirty people (most vaguely associated with Science-Fiction fandom fanzines) will be congregating in Bloomington, Illinois, to help Bob (Wilson) Tucker celebrate his 90th birthday, but I think he didn’t start publishing until the early or mid-1930s, when I was a few years old.
If I understand correctly, Joe Gudonis started publishing a small Amateur Journalism (AJ)/Letterpress fandom zine in 1928 (several months before I was born), but I’ve heard nothing from or about Joe in the past three or four years, and his health was failing rapidly then (to the extent that he was no longer able to set small type and dictated a zine to one of his children or grandchildren to produce via computer and xerocopy). His paper (the word commonly used in AJ for all publications unless perfect-bound) was The Lost Chord. Not especially memorable or noteworthy—pleasant humor & rather lame jokes on the Readers’ Digest level, or maybe a bit more old-fashioned than that. Nice guy, not an exciting or inspiring publication—which is about how I’d describe at least 90% of the AJ papers.
The short of it is that I seem to have outlived them all. I won’t add “sigh” to that because I still get a lot of fun out of life and am glad to be here, but— — And sometimes that’s terribly poignant. I learned, just yesterday, of the sudden death last week, from a heart attack, of Greg Shaw, who was only 55.
Greg started publishing a zine when he was about 15 years old—a hyper-energetic, hyper-enthusiastic, extremely intelligent, well-read, thoughtful, idea-filled, and idealistic kid, both highly talented and a good person (the two qualities aren’t always associated). I have to admit that I don’t remember whether his first zine was Metanoia or Who Put the Bomp, but I think Bomp came later in his circa 6-year fanzine-publishing phase, as he grew increasingly interested in the new popular music form known as “rock.” It’s a mark of something or other that I always enjoyed Greg’s zines immensely even when he was writing about a topic that held little intrinsic interest for me. (Much the same could be said about Rog Ebert’s Stymie, a wretched-looking hectographed zine published in only two issues before Rog got caught up by college life & an obsession with movies.)
Exceptional though he was as a person, Greg’s fanpublishing (and fan) career was not unusual—a lot of people have done it over the decades (and, I suppose, centuries). Starting young, being extremely active and improving rapidly over a period of about five or six years, then going on to something else—finding another challenging mountain to climb, as it were—and dropping out of contact almost entirely with the old gang.
What Greg did was move to Hollywood, start up a small independent record company—Bomp Records—specializing in what I think he called “garage rock” and similar DIY-based music, and generally indulge in his passion for promoting this art form. I hope (and bet) that he had a rich and rewarding life, but am still sad about it being cut so short.
That corresponds almost precisely with my (and others’) observations, experiences, and historical reading in the Science-Fiction fanzine publishing microcosm from about 1930 until the late ’70s (when there started to be a lot of newcomers to fandom who were strongly TV/movie-oriented & much less into activities such as writing). This microcosm was much smaller and more tightly-knit than zinedom—I doubt that there were ever more than 300 people actively publishing (i.e., at least one issue per year, though four was more common) at any given time. If you didn’t know all of them, you knew at least several people who knew any you didn’t.
The stereotypical Neofan (“new fan”—typically middle-class, white, male) was about 16 years old (as young as 13 was a bit remarkable, but not especially rare), sufficiently shy & introverted to spend the first year quietly figuring out what the score was, then spent three or four years publishing/writing, then was more than 50% likely to either burn out suddenly or gradually fade away in the course of about a year. “The five-year half-life of Neofans” was the way we put it. The usual reasons seemed to be (in no particular order): discovering sex ... the opposite sex, that is ... well... usually; concentrating on college or career-building; deciding “I’m Grown Up now, have become a different person, and will put the things of my childhood/youth behind me”; or reaching the highest status they could in this meritocracy and finding some other challenging mountain to climb. Of the remaining 50%, about half would drop out after approximately another five years, for some of the same reasons. Then there’d be another significant exodus at about the 15-year mark. Anyone who hangs in that long is likely to remain more-or-less permanently. I can think, offhand, of only about five people who started publishing in their early teens who are or were still active in their 80s or 90s.
I happened to discover Amateur Publishing at the age of thirty (let’s not go into “chronological age” and “delayed adolescence,” okay?), looked around carefully with the benefit of some worldly experience, and decided that—for better or for worse—I belonged in some segment of it. The locales have changed—I’ve read and written more for & about zines than fanzines the past few years—and the quantity of production has varied greatly, but the basic decision still seems to be solid. Most people’s teen years (and sometimes early 20s) are a time of exploration and investigation, with lots of activities being tried (often wildly on random speculation or impulse), then dropped when they seem to turn out to be insufficiently rewarding or to be All Used Up. Older people (even if by only a few years) tend to be more cautious (or maybe just more stubborn after they’ve made a decision) and have a better idea of what they’re getting into, so they’re more likely to stick.
who is also—as an exercise in pure selfishness—sad in some ways when any good zine publisher, writer, or artist moves entirely away from the microcosm and ceases to contribute to making our life richer.
IT MEANS IT’S WANK
By Jeff Somers
P.O. Box 3024, Hoboken NJ 07030
“So what does that mean? It means it’s wank.”- Vic Flange, www.fleshmouth.co.uk [now defunct], describing my zine.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT
...in which your intrepid wanky columnist seeks an answer to the burning question: Is there such a thing as too many reviews?
I’m a busy, busy man. Between holding down the day job, keeping up with enough boozing to stave off the shakes without descending into Prestone-guzzling delirium, and making the celebrity party scene on a regular basis, I barely have time to produce my zine, much less do any sort of quality control. Most of my days are blurs, either pleasant or unpleasant, crammed full of activity. It’s little wonder, then, that the mailing list for my zine is one of the most neglected aspects of my whole operation—once you get on my mailing list, chances are you will always be on my mailing list, forever and ever. I just never seem to have the time to adjust it—I barely summon the energy to print out the damn labels from it every few months. The only time it gets attention is when someone actually asks to be taken off, or when I get a returned issue. Waste $1.06 on you once, shame on you for moving without giving notice. Waste $1.06 on you twice, and that’s half a beer I could have bought.
As a result, there are addresses on there from the beginning of time. Most of the addresses that have never been cleaned off belong to review sources—magazines that, back in the misty beginnings of my zine, seemed like good places to send TIS for a review. As long as those publications haven’t gone out of business—heck, as long as one lone survivor of the zine bubble still maintains the PO Box—they’re gonna get a copy of my zine. The really amazing thing is, some of these publications still review my zine. Maybe not every single issue, but pretty frequently. There are a couple of places that have probably reviewed my zine fifteen or twenty times. Maximumrocknroll, for example, has reviewed my zine at least fifteen times.
Now, I am renowned throughout zinedom as a humble, unassuming guy who would kill his loved ones and small, cute animals in exchange for his name in print. So the fact that some publications have reviewed my zine dozens of times is delightful, and not something I’d complain about—but it does make me wonder when the law of diminishing returns means these reviews become largely meaningless.
Most publications have a personality, of sorts. The people involved with it give it a flavor, a collective mentality. With the smaller zines, this is usually one or two people doing all the zine reviews, but even in a larger publication you tend to get a definable voice out of the mix, a cohesive attitude. After getting a bunch of reviews from one source, I start to wonder if there’s really any value in getting more reviews from that source—not value to me, of course, as anything with my name in it, even a police summons, is valuable to me—but value to the objective reader seeking opinions of my zine.
The problem is that the reviews from a single source are pretty uniform. They say basically the same things with minor variations (sort of like my zine, but that’s a subject for another column). This, of course, is wonderful if what they’re saying is that I am a Golden God of Zines and deserve all your cash, love, and strength in service to me. It’s slightly less wonderful if the reviews boil down to “Somers sucks” and there are twenty-three of them. After a while you know how that particular publication just doesn’t dig your action, or loves you to pieces—you can predict what they’re going to say about my zine with a disturbing amount of accuracy. This could be because my zine is depressingly predictable in its subject matter and level of entertainment, but really I think it’s simple: If you hated it last month, you’re gonna hate it this month, and vice versa. There’re diminishing returns here, I think.
There is, of course, the slight possibility that an aberrant review will prove to have value—that after a long string of monochromatic reviews, one will suddenly appear that is radically different, indicating that maybe the particular issue being reviewed is special, somehow (especially bad, or especially good). I’d argue that the time and patience required for this to be possible isn’t worth the reward. I mean, if it takes three years of scanning similar reviews to find that one that suddenly makes the needle jump in one direction or the other, have you really gained anything? Aside from an encyclopedic knowledge of reviews that grant you a Rain Man-like ability to tell me the contents of every issue of my zine, even issues I’ve forgotten existed, even issues I wish everyone would forget existed, I don’t think so. After a certain point—which I will now arbitrarily decide, via my god-like power as a columnist for Xerography Debt, is five reviews—the sameness of the reviews blurs into useless cacophony.
Of course I’m going to just keep sending my issues out to anyplace that’ll review ‘em, because I am wallpapering my bedroom with every mention of my name in print, ever. And maybe there’s a point where there are so many reviews of my zine out there that it won’t matter any more what they say, individually, because I’ll have reached the level of a meme, worming my way into everyone’s brain and taking root, causing irritation, madness, and much suffering. Now that I think about it, I wonder if that wasn’t my actual purpose, all those years ago when I first published my zine, forgotten over the years as a result of heroic alcohol abuse.
I suppose I ought to be grateful that anyone has ever considered my zine to be worthy of a review, but I cannot help this massive brain and the constant, searching thoughts it sends up the dumbwaiter, demanding investigation and answer. Also, the Xerography Debt folks would kick my ass if I failed to come up with a column as ordered, and I am frail and easily broken due to the aforementioned heroic alcohol abuse. Pray for me.
915 W Second St
Bloomington, IN 47403
I’m still working in Terre Haute, and Miriam and I are still working on the Library Urinal. (You can send us your library anecdotes or your library philosophications.) I still put out an occasional issue of my zine DWAN too. And I’m thinking of getting another master’s degree—in Turkish studies! (You can never have too much schooling, right?)
Deliciosa #9 (June 2004)
available from Elizabeth (no mailing address) for $3; firstname.lastname@example.org
on the cover: a Los Angeles hamburger-burrito-taco-teriyaki stand with a billboard of a bra-clad woman on the roof
inside: lotsa photos of L.A.; personal essays on memories of childhood, old loves, visiting L.A., loving it, and leaving New England to live there; “nearly all the stories here are things that really happened, but sometimes there are make-believe parts thrown in.”
quote: the older you get the more you have to guard your heart. if you live in los angeles you always have to guard your heart. i am sitting on a dirty, rained-on couch in my apartment building’s parking lot and i’m afraid someone will come up behind me and read all my secrets and i won’t catch them till it’s too late. thank god my handwriting is so atrocious; probably no one would be able to make out a word of it.
overall: It was hard to pick just one quote from the zine, there were so many good ones. And I wish you could see all the great photos of billboards, graffiti, and cityscapes. Clear-headed, emotional writing.
Fag School #1 (2004?)
available from Brontez, 2846 Chapman St, Oakland CA 94601 USA for $3; email@example.com
inside: an interview with Alvin Orloff, author of Gutter Boys; sarcastic photo essay “The Life of a Totally FAB GO-GO BOY! … can be yours!”; an advice column with Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile; half of an interview with the band the Husbands (one of the rare band interviews that’s entertaining to read); a 4-page home-made fotonovela-style porno spread called “Young ’n’ Hung”; reviews of books, comics, music, videos, porn, and sex pick-ups
quote: Three years ago, when I was a young and tender punk rock boy, this EMO SHITHEAD made me make out to Pedro the Lion AND he gave me crabs (twice!)! Recently, I was drunk off my ass and showed up to his house and did a striptease for him in Batman undies. I knocked over a HUGE fuckin stack of his gross CDs and made fun of his faggot-ass “internet dating” (fucking DORK!). Before I could even get my pants on, he kicked me out! Oh Allison, did I compromise my worth? —Emo Ho’s Suck [You’ll have to buy FAG SCHOOL to find out Allison’s wise wise answer.]
overall: A flashback to the Golden Age of Queerzines! Sassy and slutty (slassy, as my honey would say). A little short on content for a $3 zine (large type, lotsa background collage), but I’m sure issue 2 will rectify that.
note: You’ll probably want to include an age statement when ordering this.
Ghost Pine Fanzine #7 (October 2003)
available from Jeff Miller, 114 Canter Blvd, Nepean ON K2G-2M7 CANADA for $2
cover title: Blood
on the cover: an old photo of a family in front of a log cabin (“1913 Frank Gervais Family[:] Frank, Mary, Réjeanne and Claire”)
inside: five stories that meander all over Jeff’s life and the lives of his family, from a lake in the middle of a forest fire in the north woods to an icebreaker in Hudson Bay, railroad tracks in the middle of Alberta, a parking lot in Ottawa …
quote: When the fire subsided, all that was left of their home and bakery was the horse stable out back. Her father did not believe in insurance, as it interfered with the hand of god, and the almighty’s perfect plan for the world. And so poor old Nelly, the horse that saved Memere’s life, lost her home. The stables were cleaned out, the floors scrubbed and the walls white-washed, and the ungrateful Gervais family moved in.
overall: It’s hard to tell what’s fiction and what’s memoir here. I suspect that the better-written parts are memoir. Of course most of it’s pretty well-written, so I’ve read it all as memoir. (I like perzines better than litzines anyway.) Well worth $2 (U.S. or Canadian)!
The Lamb shall peacefully dwell with the Lion: growing up in the worldwide church of god, a cult (May 2004)
available from Sabrina, 9804 Cardinal, La Porte TX 77571 USA for $1 ($2 world); email before trading; firstname.lastname@example.org
inside: A personal look at a splinter group of the Church of God (itself a splinter of the Adventists) as it splinters further, some members sticking with the founder’s eccentric vision, while others move toward mainstream evangelicalism—all the while wrenching a young girl whose whole life was the church. Descriptions of their holy days, hymns, and youth groups.
quote: I had endured a lot of teasing because of this religion, and now they were changing everything, and I couldn’t get those years back. I had lost some of my best friends, some adults I really respected, and the stability that only the Church had provided me my entire life. So my heart was closed to any more changes. I was not interested in God, because it seemed to me, He didn’t care what happened to me. So fuck him (little h as a sign of disrespect at the time), was my thought at the time.
overall: Fascinating—I want more!
Last Laugh / Quiet days in Saint-Denis #4 (2005)
available from Bill Blackolive & Lisa B. Falour, 1776 N McCampbell, Aransas Pass TX 78336 USA for $5 (no trades)
note: I have to admit, I haven’t read this yet. It’s always such a huge, demanding zine. Paging through, I notice I’m mentioned a few times (I always have to look for that first). But I think it’s safe to stand by my review of issue 1 from XD14: “like a long, long, long letter from two old messed-up friends”.
The many strange desires of Mreh (2004)
available from Karen Sneider (no mailing address) for $3;
on the cover: two humans pet, scratch, or rub Mreh (who is flocked in bright green)
inside: many one-panel comics featuring Mreh, a two-fanged, dog-eared monster with a jaded expression
overall: worthy of the New Yorker! (I mean that in a good way)
MONOBRAIN HEAD HUNTER deel 2 (2002?)
available from Marc van Elburg, P/O Box 68, 7700 AB, Dedemsvaart NETHERLANDS; no price ($1? or 1? or trade?); http://www.xs4all.nl/~tellab/
inside: page after page of pop-eyed monsters, in a variety of drawing styles
overall: chaotic, obsessive (occasionally delicate)
ODDBALL INDIANA: A GUIDE TO SOME REALLY STRANGE PLACES by Jerome Pohlen (2002)
available from an independent bookstore near you for $13.95; Chicago Review Press: http://www.ipgbook.com/
note: Not a zine, but a book by a zinester. The series also includes Oddball Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. (Thanks, Davida!)
inside: directions to and information about Dan Quayle’s frat house, the world’s largest sycamore stump, the Museum of All Sorts of Stuff, the site of John Dillinger’s first crime, and more! (He even finds a few interesting things in Terre Haute.)
ONE WEEK’S WORTH OF HATE AND ANGER (2001)
available from Hank Thigpen, PO Box 3411, Tallahassee FL 32315-3411 USA for $2 (or trade?); email@example.com
inside: Rants from April 4, 5, 7, 8 & 10, 2001, on the Internet, infighting, anger, aging, revolution dreams, folk singers, trust fund kids, TV, beer, the word bastard, gay sexism, and of course being a trannyboi punk in Florida. Also a recipe for wheat paste.
quote: Every time we get dangerous, big business tries to slip in there and steal our souls. But I know the difference between my clothes and my beliefs. Some kids can never see past hair dye and pyramid studs. Some realize that all the flash is just so we can identify each other and piss off the upperclass (can you even believe it still works?).
Pony club #1 (2004)
available from David Youngblood c/o Popzero (no mailing address) for $3; firstname.lastname@example.org
on the cover: a bird gagging on a mouthful of worms in three-color printing
inside: three cartoon stories, the best one the story of a boy, a talking bird, and a worm who won’t keep its secret knowledge to itself; also features a drawing of a hoatzin, with a vulture commenting, “Purty”
overall: sweet and creepy
PRISON MUSIC II (2004)
available from Megan MacCullen, PO Box 142, Lorane OR 97451 USA for $2
to write to the editor directly: John Adams 768543, Route 1 Box 150, Tennessee Colony TX 75861 USA (do not write PRISON MUSIC on the envelope)
on the cover: a screaming prisoner clutches at the bars of a barcode, superimposed on a burning map of Texas, superimposed on a U.S. flag
inside: drawings and articles on prison life, and as John says, “because I’m feeling brave … a couple of essays from when I was an actual human being”
quote: He has no idea who came to see him, but like most prisoners, it doesn’t matter. Could be his mother or sibling, it might even be a hated in-law, who cares? The fact is, someone cares enough to wade through a septic tank of self important prison bureaucrats
PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094
Dan Taylor is the editor of The Hungover Gourmet: The Journal of Food, Drink, Travel and Fun and is now regarded as some kind of expert on how to survive the morning after. Look for him in an upcoming issue of Real Simple. Seriously. If you’d rather just read about junk food, recipes, restaurants and other related nonsense, check out www.hungovergourmet.com or write him care of PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094-5531.
Years ago, National Lampoon had an occasional feature about OC and Stiggs, two ill-tempered, foul-mouthed miscreants. After a series of hit-or-miss shorts, the pair were the subject of an issue-length article – ‘The Utterly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of OC and Stiggs’ – that borders on sheer brilliance and remains a cherished possession. Naturally, Hollywood handed the material over to Robert Altman (yes, that Robert Altman) who watered it down to the point where it bears little resemblance to the boozing, skirt-chasing hooligans I grew to know and love.
Imagine my surprise when R. Lee’s FUCK AND FIGHT showed up in my mailbox and captured the same drunken glee, nowheresville angst, simmering violence and random sex possessed by OC and Stiggs, all within the confines of 12 digest-sized pages interspersed with some priceless illustrations by Dug Belan. When our narrator and Miller, his partner in crime, decide to head to the next town for a chance to drink and hook up with some “Grafton girls who might have the urge to fuck us,” you’re not quite sure where the story’s headed. What follows is a laugh-out-loud journey that somebody should be turning into a screenplay at this very moment. It’s ludicrously underpriced at $1 from R Lee, PO Box 1421, Oshkosh, WI 54903.
I’ve always been impressed by zines with a singular focus, whether they’re able to maintain it for the long haul or not. One recent entry in this sweepstakes is the engaging NIGHT JAUNTS #2, a perzine out of Eugene, OR that focuses on contributor tales of walking around at night. Though the heavy-on-the-black-background layout is a bit dour, the writing makes this a title I’ll be checking in on again. A short piece by editor Ryan reminded me of nights spent tromping around campgrounds in upstate New York while the closing thoughts on walking around town between bands at a punk show took me back to nights in Philly running to Taco House for beef burritos or Troy’s for some malt liquor and an eggel (a bagel and fried egg sandwich). An interesting subject to focus on with plenty of material, NIGHT JAUNTS has a lot of potential for dark, scary and funny issues in its future. Send $2 to Ryan, PO Box 5841, Eugene, OR 97405.
Speaking of zines with a singular focus, Richard Freeman continues to churn out BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED on a monthly basis, which really causes me to feel shame – as Denis from SLAP SHOT would say. For the uninitiated, BNI is Freeman’s long-running (11 years? Longer?) sex industry/adult cinema zine that educates more than it titillates. Don’t order a copy expecting bodacious ta-ta’s or too-close-for comfort pictorials of stars like Britney Rears. You’re more likely to get a thoughtful piece by the likes of human sexuality author David Steinberg, a chatty, funny interview with new “tushy girl” Mari Possa, an appreciative look at Ron “Hedgehog” Jeremy, a review of John Waters’ A DIRTY SHAME, confessions of a sex industry worker (“I was sitting at my desk at 9 in the morning flipping through a hardcore stroke mag as if it were the New York Times. I wasn’t the least bit turned on. Truth be told, I was a little bored.”), tips on writing a porn film script (they have them?!), or maybe even a look inside the dark places that inspire consensual spanking.
My only complaint with BNI – aside from the fact that it makes my annual foray into publishing seem anemic by comparison – is that the rigid design Freeman uses does little to stimulate the brain, and I don’t mean that in a “Hey Mom, Dan’s got his head in the gutter again!” kinda way. Issues I read five or six years ago look exactly like the ones I read this week, which look like the ones I read a year ago. It doesn’t make for long stretches of enjoyment, but something you’ll be sure to pick up again and again. $3 per issue for as many as you like to Richard Freeman at 513 N. Central Ave., Fairborn, OH 45324.
Quick Hits: LOW HUG editrex A.j. Michel rounded out the new year with TIME ENOUGH TO LAST, a one-shot reading log which I found intriguing. Yeah, blogs are great and everything, but I like printed pieces I can stick in my pocket when I go somewhere or take downstairs and curl up on the couch with. I’ve known Anita for years and always trusted her opinions, so I’ve been going through the mini looking for things to stick on my half.com wish list. She’s moving, though, so e-mail her at email@example.com before sending for a copy. Two publications I thoroughly enjoy are celebrating ten-year anniversaries and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give ‘em both a little plug here. Rod Lott’s HITCH has nothing to do with the horrible-looking Will Smith movie and everything to do with pop culture. I don’t know how Rod finds time to watch all the movies, listen to all the CDs and read all the books and comics that make their way into each issue, but thank god somebody’s doing it. $5 to PO Box 23621, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-2621 or check out www.rodlott.com. Last, but certainly not least, Larry Kay and Leslie Goldman keep pumping out CARBON 14’s unique blend of garage rock, smut, B-movies, art and wrestling from their secret location outside Hostile City, USA. Their latest offering serves up a wicked good CD sampler filled with over an hour of lewd and loud rawk and roll from the mag’s previous vinyl EPs. Issue #25 is $8 in the US and can be ordered from PO Box 29247, Philadelphia, PA 19125 or their web site at www.c14.com. Cheers!
121F Brittany Manor Drive
Amherst, MA 01002
I’ve landed in Amherst, MA (the other side of the river from Gavin J. Grant) where I’m still not working quickly enough on Booty #19. I’ve created my own Bermuda triangle right here in the Pioneer Valley between my crafty home in Amherst, my swanky retail job in Northampton, and my impressively cool research associateship in South Hadley (which means I’m listed as—holy crap!—visiting faculty at Mt. Holyoke. No kidding.)
Likes: my fey Siamese cats, boba tea, getting mail.
Pet peeves: people spelling the Allan in Edgar Allan Poe’s name with an “e” instead of an “a.” Two separate zines in my stack did exactly this thing!
And I’m still not calling XD readers “debt-heads” no matter how much Mr. Lyden may try to wear down all of us.
MINT ON YOUR PILLOW #3 by Rebecca Strom
“Every day musings from a file girl/artist/grad student extraordinaire”
151 Livingston Street, New Haven CT 06511
$2 US, trades maybe, 16 pages
I’ll say it out front: I’m a sucker for comix by folks in grad school, mostly because until about 2 years ago, I was one too. Rebecca’s comics are cute and remind me of some of the really neat things I get from Moon Rocket Distro in New Zealand from time to time). While MOYP #3 doesn’t have long narratives, there’s a wide range of art included in the issue. Some are sketches, some are more detailed, and there’s one called “How to Play the Post-it Note Game” (which I’d always known as Rizzla, for Rizzla rolling papers, though I did use the post-it-note version with my students). It’s cute and charming, but don’t look for long stories.
MODERN ARIZONA #5, Spring 2004, by Joe Unseen
PO Box 494, Brewster NY 10509
50 cents in stores, $1ppd by mail in US, $2ppd outside, trades welcome, 40 pages).
The truth is that I’ve never been all that interested in cars. I’ve only had one in my entire life, and the thing just died on me (it’s a Ford; I had to laugh ruefully when I found Joe’s slogan: Ford = Found On Road Dead). So I’ve been biking and riding the bus white shopping around and test-driving, and so I thought the bus would be an ideal place to read an issue about “planes, trains, and automobiles.” (Turns out that there are motorbikes and a Segway too). It turned out to be particularly good because Joe includes, basically, his reviews about driving all of his friends and co-workers’ cars (including a Mercedes SLK32 Roadster…!), vans he had to drive for work, sneaking photos at auto shows, and flying an airplane. Joe’s writing style is very ‘prankster’—he’s funny because he’s writing about something he obviously enjoys and knows quite a bit about. There’s one particularly funny anecdote involving a co-worker, her bumper, and an Al Sharpton ’04 sticker. My understanding is that Joe organizes his issues around themes (if he seems familiar, it’s because a different issue of MA was reviewed in an earlier XD issue). By the way, don’t ever leave your keys in the car (much less the car running with the keys in it) near this guy. Or your cellphone. If you do, you deserve all the bad things that might happen.
Well, if nothing else, the covers are distinctive: the front cover of this zine’s got a BBQ steak on it, and the back’s got a shiny dildo photoshopped into a Cape Canavaral launching. A:B is a zine “composed primarily of instant messages and improvisation written by Daniel Joshua Nagelberg and Zebulun .” Zebulun you might know from his reviews in XD #14. See the website for more details. This zine felt like one long inside joke between friends ; while there are some interesting photographs (not the steaks on the BBQ) some of the writing reads like stream-of-consciousness composition (well, that’s because it is), which is sometimes an interesting experiment but doesn’t always make for the most cohesive reading.
SISTER FRIEND #16
Leslie and JJ
PO Box 4539, Fairview Heights, IL, 62208
Features cover by Billy McKay. The cover is lovely and it’s prettily colored in (something for which I am always a sucker), plus it’s bordered with bright, cheerful flowered ribbons. Billy McKay’s drawn the two editors on the cover (all pink hair on my issue), and DB Pedlar’s sketches of the sisters inside. The issue itself is vaguely charming, in that JJ’s got a story about looking for a job (and surviving sucky job interviews, something to which most of us can relate), An Interview with JJ by Leslie called “Elitist and Classist in the Midwest”, Leslie’s story “My Sister’s Cowboy Boyfriend” (to which her sister JJ retorts “A Shinier Turd is Still Just a Turd” in defense of said cowboy boyfriend). Part of it reads like an inside joke between siblings –you’ll feel like you’re missing something, but it’s okay; that’s sort of how it works between siblings. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was that there’s a whole lot of white space in the zine, including three blank pages at the end that, by the time I got there, I’d wished had more writing on them because I was enjoying what I was reading . Partially I think I feel this way because I do comix and I have a contentious relationship with blank space. But I also always thought that if you’re going to have to use the paper, you might as well make use of it.
ERIK AND LAURA-MARIE MAGAZINE #14 (May 2004) and #15 (?)
1728 Richmond St. #9, Sacramento CA 95825
#14 contains lots of quotations from famous folks like Naomi Wolf; how to speak “Bishop” and “Worker” (which I’m guessing are educational places, though that wasn’t explained), a piece about student evaluations and teaching, a piece called :four ways of looking at the same problem,” some poetry and some thinking about poetry, and a list of “My values.” #15 contains writing about war: brainstorming about why it happens, and what we can do to stop war. Includes an interview with the author’s best friend, Ellen Redbird, which I thought was quite interesting (particularly because she spoke about both “gender-queer” and “feminism” in smart, aware ways) even though something was wrong with the signature and the pages were upside-down and out of order (and there weren’t any page numbers to help clarify! Augh!). More poetry, a piece about moving, and “new games” for students or while you’re out for a walk with someone else. The writing style is clear and direct, and while you might not spend a great deal of time reading, some of the issues will stay with you when you’re done.
SLUG & LETTUCE #79
PO Box 26632, Richmond, VA 23261-6632
Free in person or 60 cents postage within US, Canada & Mexico $1, Worldwide $2
No checks for less than $10; checks should be made out to Chris Boarts Larson (not Slug and Lettuce). Donations are welcome and you should send money.
What could I possibly write about the mighty S&L that hasn’t already been written? It’s “a zine supporting the do-it-yourself ethics of the punk community” and #79 marks the 18th year (yeah, you read that correctly) of the zine. As a result, Chris spends her introduction ruminating beautifully on time passing and nostalgia, on dogs (and the newest which led to to rethink the phrase “4-leggeds”). Anyway, what more could you want? The issue includes comix by Fly (of many zines and Peops fame), book reviews, zine reviews, (including Leeking Ink #28 and XD #13), music reviews, and some really beautiful illustrations. Something that caught my eye, however, are the exceptionally interesting columns; in particular I liked one by Mike Straight about life in a squat, some observations (in particular the ‘punk knitting’ trend and his not yet seeing a male knitter; to which I say, there are many—my flatmate being one of them; we’re a frightfully crafty household). But they’re all fascinating little slices of people’s lives, from “slut girl” sexuality and making sure to get consent, to motherhood, to being informed about politics. Yes, yes, shut up already about the 10-point type. We know. Read it all anyway, because it’s just that good.
1800 Ocean Pkwy. #F-10
Brooklyn, NY 11223
Well, look at this, would you? It’s 2005! And everything certainly is different now. It took until this month for winter to arrive here in New York City. One day it’s 64 degrees in the middle of January, and before we had time to break out the sunglasses and muscle shirts, it’s only 15, and there are eight million people running around with the sniffles. So if I can keep my keyboard relatively dry, here are my thoughts on the bunch of zines Davida sent me this go-round. Remember, commentary is healthy. So feel free to jump up and down with plenty of screaming and yelling if anything I’ve written inspires you to do so.
First out of the envelope was The Letter Exchange. The concept is so simple, it’s almost frightening. People send in listings that describe their interests. Then you reply to those listings—and if you hit it off, you can make a friend for life. I can vouch for this, because I’ve been a subscriber and I have made such friends through “Lex.” The continued existence of this zine through the efforts of several different editors is proof that written correspondence is not a dead issue A single issue goes for $7.50 (or a back issue for $5.00), but I think that once you see a copy, you will want to subscribe. Send away now! The Letter Exchange, 855 Village Center Dr. (#324), North Oaks MN 55127-3016
Underworld Crawl. Now, if ever a title was guaranteed to get my attention, that’s the one. And then comes the subtitle in tiny letters: “Monophonic Rustbelt Zine Pulp.” There ya go! Beer soaked and jazz mad, just like it says on the inside cover of issue #2. I think my favorite piece was “Waiting for Sneed” (who, like Godot, never shows). Yeah, you should go for it—get some of that edgy writing in your mailbox for only $2 from R. Lee, P.O. Box 1421, Oshkosh WI 54903
Here’s the second issue of Tones and Notes. Nothing false or misleading about that title; it’s a nice, typewritten zine devoted to making your own music. Unfortunately, my knowledge in the field extends mainly to the occasional song delivered while showering. But I should think that if music is your special passion, then you might be severely remiss if you weren’t at least taking a peek at this one. Also includes “Off the Beaten Path” as an insert, a bunch of quick reviews for quite a variety of other zines. Merely $1 an issue from the Light Living Library, P.O. Box 190-tn, Philomath OR 97370
Some of you may be familiar with a particular contribution I make to the madness we know as zinedom; a humble little quarterly entitled “Brooklyn!,” which is nothing less than a paean to my hometown. Davida certainly knows about this, which is why I suspect it wasn’t quite coincidence that she sent me the 6th issue of Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore! for review. Take a guess about what this zine covers, and you’ll be right, I just know you will. Well, it’s every bit as wonderful as you might expect. Baltimore, Baltimore, and more Baltimore, in words and pictures. I hope that isn’t a problem to any of you. (Hey, Davida, we should do some kind of joint issue one day!) Back issues go for $3, so stop procrastinating, and send away for as many as you can manage right away. From Eight-Stone Press, P.O. Box 963, Havre de Grace MD 21078
My feeling on the subject is this: you can’t have too many review sources. So you won’t hear me complaining about Xeens and Things. And since I happen to be a bit of a Neanderthal at heart, you won’t hear me complaining about the fact that it’s typewritten, either. What’s more, following all the reviews is a major-league sized chunk of letters to the editor. I love letters to editors! $3 or trade, so you really can’t go wrong, from James Dawson, P.O. Box 613, Redwood Valley CA 95470
In addition to being a regular zinester, I also happen to work for New York City Transit. That white-collar job in the publishing field was a thing of the past. For this reason, I say, three cheers for Working Stiff Review. Nobody really cares about the suits and ties at the top anyway; they don’t really do anything meaningful, and it’s the rest of us who keep things going. Or, to put it another way, this zine is devoted to the real workers. Three more cheers! (Uh-oh; the feature article in #2, “Why School Sucks,” makes an awful lot of good points...) Now, go out and get yourself a job. And when you get your first paycheck, remember that a single issue goes for $5. Then scrounge up an envelope and a stamp, and send for your copy posthaste. P.O. Box 2273, Ames IA 50010
Finally out of me this time, there’s Lost in the Translation. If you think I liked any of the other zines I’ve reviewed, well, you ain’t heard nothing yet. For sheer creative use of language, editor Fonny Stalecakes deserves a gold medal. No, make that two gold medals. Check this out for stunning simplicity: she wrote a bunch of poems, ran them through a computer to translate them into a bunch of different languages, then ran them back through the computer to translate the translations back into English.
The result? Well, here’s a tiny sample to whet your appetite: “Mine of the OH, mine, you cannot say me where to go where to I you to know? Where I am never a cause in the radar of the ascent of the wolkenkratzer strongly sufficient, in order to meet my snottyauge, although I use so kolossale sunspecs and I, so that much time in transparency...” You must—not can or should, but MUST, send her $1 for an issue. P.O. Box 10203, Pittsburgh PA 15232
And until next time, kiddies, keep readin’ zines and don’t slip on any ice.
P.O. Box 438
Avondale Estates, GA 30002
After recovering from an ice storm in Atlanta, I’ve finally finished my reviews for this issue. Life is good—still adjusting to the library job, digging my way through a mountain of books and hoping I write that looooooong overdue issue of my zine, Junie in Georgia. I’m crossing my fingers that by the next issue of XD, issue #15 will be among the reviewees. (PO Box 438, Avondale Estates, GA 30002)
Ilana, 1162 Juliet Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
$1 and one 60 cent stamp or trade, subscriptions $5
Digest, 28 pages.
I’ve often said that I wished I had discovered zines earlier. I can’t suppress a pang of jealousy when I see zines from young pips. In my little backwoods Wisconsin town when I was sixteen, zines were as foreign to me as Indian food. I can’t help but wonder how I’d be different had I read zines, or even created my own when I was moving through that hard developmental stage between fifteen and eighteen. That’s why I have a lot of compassion and patience for early zinesters. (I don’t mean to sound all high and mighty. Hell, I’m still trying to figure myself out, and I’m thirty.)
Ilana is pretty young—she’s in early high school—and Turpentine gives a really good snapshot of her and her life. You can tell that she’s trying really hard to figure out why the world is so fucked up, that she has a lot of fun with her friends, and that she likes to be different and smart and make zines.
This issue includes a description of The Hole Book; an interview with Dame Darcy; thoughts on her hometown, the fakeness of U.S. culture, seventh grade and President Bush; band reviews; an interview with The Fizz; dreams; ramblings; cat stories; recipes and other random reviews of zines and songs.
Overall, I liked Turpentine. I always enjoy a peek into someone else’s life and appreciate zines that convey the personality of the person making them. For a buck and a stamp, it’s a light, enjoyable zine.
Quality of Mercy, Volume One, September 2004
Gord Cummings, Leeann Brassard
Free, trades encouraged.
Digest, 20 pages.
This zine contains two comics and apparently is a prelude to another series called “Angel SK.” The first comic is about the inability to remember people’s names. The writer suggests that it’s because his mind feels over stimulated. Instead of remembering, his body compensates by growing hair. There were two panels where he devolves into a caveman that just made me laugh out loud. I guess the guy can really grow hair.
The second comic is about a bowling pin with wings and antlers—sort of a higher consciousness theme going on.
Of the two, I enjoyed the first comic more. The second one wasn’t bad, but I liked how the first one shared more about his life and thoughts. The style is flat, simple sketches with good flow and a humorous storyline. The zine is a fast read that will make you smile. And it’s free! (How can you argue with that?)
Musea #136, November 2004
Tom Hendricks, 4000 Hawthorne #5, Dallas, TX 75219
Digest, 8 pages.
I think, from the few times I’ve reviewed it, that Musea is one of those zines that bounce between an online email club/chat group and a zine. There are lots of small tidbits of information—kind of like one of those community events calendars that scroll on some TV channels. I don’t know much about the goings on of the Musea posse, but even as a stranger it’s interesting to tag along and see what’s happening. And there’s a great vintage bowling photo on the cover.
This issue tells us that Tom has recorded a 30-song CD, that he got a small check from a class action suit, and that he pays tribute to Jenny Makovsky of Have You Seen My Dog Lately? There’s also a sonnet, a suggestion letter to the Smithsonian, four variations of a poem, public domain art, acting tips, an interpretation of a Picasso painting and thoughts on morality, sexism within the news and recent movies.
I found the issue highly informative, covering a broad range of topics. It was smart without being overly scholarly. There’s something in here for everyone.
So send Tom an email or a letter and ask for a copy of Musea. It’s free!
Teen Beat Down #1
Sue, 6 South B Street, Lake Worth, FL 33460
?, probably $1 or $2
Digest, 16 pages.
To be perfectly honest, the title sums up this issue for me. After reading it, I felt beat down. This twenty-three year old girl has had it tough. I have to explain that being a victim or jumping on that poor-me bandwagon isn’t what Teen Beat Down is about at all. Sue was merely writing about some traumatizing events in her life and wanted to show how she has grown. But even as I type this review, I can’t help but sigh and feel sad.
Sue writes about why she’s hooked on boys validating her, about her stalker and about her sexual assault in middle school. It’s not really light reading. When I finished TBD, I wanted to give Sue a big hug and tell her that it’s going to be okay.
The writing itself is clear, intelligent and informative. I definitely felt like Sue was sharing some major stuff in zineland and that takes a lot of courage. This issue isn’t for everyone, but I think that if you can relate to such topics or want to see how such events can affect someone years later, this issue is very interesting.
Sugar Needle #26
Corina Fastwolf, PO Box 300152, Minneapolis, MN 55403
$1, some trades for zines and cool candy
Full page folded vertically, 16 pages.
How can you not like a zine that revels in candy? In chocolate? In lollipops in the shape of eyeballs?
Sugar Needle is a zine that reviews candy from all over the world. Included in the issue is usually a sample of some kind of treat. (Mine was a packet of black licorice flavored mints.)
In #26, the gals discuss goodies from the 2004 Candy Expo (how do I sign up to go to that??), a few brand new products (like the previously mentioned lollipops), an interview with Jean Thompson, CEO for Seattle Chocolates, and reviews of many types of candies that you cannot believe exist. What would those be? Well, I’ll tell you! Gummy toothbrushes (kind of defeats the purpose), absinthe breath mints, real eggs decorated on the outside and filled with chocolate on the inside! Whoooo hoooo! My favorites were two candies from Hungary—candy ear wax (which you eat out of an ear) and toothache candy (where you dip candy teeth into candy blood and eat them.)
Shot By A Raygun #9: A Book of Very Short Poems
Billy McKay, PO Box 542, North Olmsted, OH 44070
$1 or trade for a note.
Half sized, 24 pages.
I truly enjoy Billy McKay’s work. He’s a fabulous comic book creator with an endless supply of surreal, spacey, slightly creepy characters. In this issue, he’s just having fun with thirty-eight short poems (four lines each) paired with drawings. Here’s an example: “The crazy tooth pockets won’t leave Frank alone, they’ve swallowed his keychain, his wallet & comb.” (Imagine a man with large biting mouths popping out of his pockets.)
If you want to laugh and enjoy some truly creative drawings, then send Billy a buck. In fact, send him $5 and a long letter so he’ll send you a bunch of his stuff. You’ll soon become addicted to the doodles of Mister McKay. Highly recommended.
Whirligig: Pulp With a Pulse, #9
4809 Avenue N #117, Brooklyn, NY 11234
Digest, 54 pages.
Whirligig is a literary zine published twice a year. You can send submissions for the zine via email or mail, and if you’re good, they’ll print you.
This issue—full of short stories, poetry, works in progress—is really solid. It takes a lot to keep me interested with fiction, and I really liked the bulk of entries in #9. My favorites were “The Dead Celebrity,” a story by Douglas Lain about a mall worker, transformed and trapped, after the death of a well-known cartoon artist, and some kick-ass word plays called “Overlapped Minimal Fictions” by Richard Kostelanetz.
I know, I know. You don’t like fiction zines. I don’t either. But I think you’ll really enjoy this issue of Whirligig. Try it. You will like it. (Ed. Note: It was recently announced on alt.zines that The Whirligig is now defunct.)
I Sighed With the Sea and The Sea Sighed Back At Me
Roxanne M. Carter
$10 US, $11 Canada/Mexico, $12 World, some trades
Half-sized, 112 pages.
Gawd damn, I loved this zine—essentially a thick book. It’s a diary, stab bound with a French fold, with a block print of an umbrella on the cover. ISWTSATSSBAM is an enormous, expansive, dense, artsy, poetic, dancey, epic wonder to behold. I’ve been working my way through it for months now, underlining lines, weaving images into my dreams, wishing I could understand more of the person who made it (in the best way possible) and the zine itself. It’s like a broken key into this other world that’s ripe for exploring. Or some fanciful secret language or something. I’m sorry, I don’t even know how to really explain this zine. I just know that I dig it a ton.
Let me just quote a bit instead of trying to babble.
“November 8, 1998
don’t listen, don’t listen to me, listen. she is so contagious. her contagious lips in synthesis. her lips the mosquitoes kisssss. kiss off! i want to steal & swallow kisses innocently, immaculately.
life’s much more fun when you can roll away.
i keep my rollerskates in my car, just in case.”
It’s a lot of that, but better and more. I realize that $10 is a lot to pay for a zine. I really do. But if you’re looking for something different, something that is deeper than most zines, that leaves room for interpretation and fluidity, then get this zine. Highly recommended.
224 Moraine St., Brockton MA 02301
Hello fellow zine enthusiasts. How are things? You know, reviewing zines isn’t the non stop party you may think it is. Sometimes you get a zine to review that you just know has been passed around from reviewer to reviewer and you’re the last chance for it to get any review at all. But the problem is that it’s an unreadable piece of crap. Ugly collages, unreadable lay out, clichéd, not terribly interesting writing. Just bad stuff. So is a review saying “This is unreadable crap.” better than no review at all? The author would likely just think I didn’t understand their genius (because the more incomprehensible the work, the loftier the goals) so it’d probably be a waste of my time. So I ended up not reviewing it and next issue someone probably will review it and call it the greatest work of genius the world has ever seen so just what the Hell do I know? Now that we’re clear about my ignorance, let’s move on to the reviews.
MY FAT IRISH ASS! # -6
I, Eric Lyden, have a flaw as a person. What is this flaw, you ask? Well, it is the fact that Family Circus strips with altered captions to be the funniest things ever. How can you not laugh at a strip altered to make it look like Daddy is a pedophile or Mommy is a drunken whore or Jeffy is a future serial killer? You can’t. And this zine featured 10 page of altered Family Circus and Dennis the Menace strips. And they’re kind of sloppily done which makes them even funnier to me. A letter printed in this zine sums it up best “It’s not like we’re out to change the world. Minor amusements on the way to the gallows are all we’ve got.” and ... yeah. This is just a funny zine. Goofy, immature, and not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. The best article is one called “Frat Boys and Other Shitheads I Have Known” which... yeah, the fact that frat boys are assholes isn’t exactly news, but it’s still fun to read.
Send $2 to M.F.I.A! PO Box 65391, Washington, DC 20035 Oh yeah, and the cover features pictures of GW Bush looking stupid which is another thing that always cracks me up.
SAVAGE ZINE OF PHILMAN #13
This is basically a series of rants with a staple in the upper left corner. Next to no graphics beside the cover, no fancy shit, just a no frills zine and y’know, I kind of like it. Phil’s kind of a cranky guy, but entertainingly so. The intro is a piece where Phil complains about having to fix his house (and a bit of wisdom saying that “the trouble with being a writer is that one has to actually sit down and write.” which is true and worth noting here) followed by a piece ranting about the sucktitude of mainstream radio followed by a rant on anti-car people followed by a rant about why his home state of MN. sucks. Lots of rants, all of them pretty funny.
Send $2 to Phil Shill, 636 Hall Ave., St. Paul, MN. 55107
NEGATIVE CAPABILITY #4
If you’re gonna keep people waiting 4 years for a new issue of your zine the end result damn well better come out looking something like this. Neg Cap has been on of my favorite zines for a long time and writing about zines you love is a lot harder than just writing about zines you just like because there’s a pressure on you to capture just what it is you love which is hard. The one word that sum up Josh’s writing would be “passionate.” He clearly loves his wife more than anything and isn’t afraid to say it, but if he doesn’t like you... look out. He devotes a lot of space in his zine to old bosses who wronged him, old friends who are friends no longer and (of interest to those of us who are into zines and are big fans of zine gossip) zinester Marc Parker. In the hands of others this might seem boring, but with Josh I just can’t get enough of it. My favorite piece was about his friendship with SCREW magazine publisher Al Goldstein that featured cameos by luminaries such as Ron Jeremy and Joey Buttafoucco. It also features an article featuring zine titles he didn’t use and why he didn’t go with them which, again, is more interesting than it sounds. Oh man, this really is one of my favorite zines. 68 full sized pages, some in color, no ads, neat looking cover of a burning American flag, lots of pictures that are actually related to the writing. Just trust me.
Send $4 to Josh Saitz, PO Box 12, NYC, NY. 10021 firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of which, in Neg Cap Josh mentions zine editors with fake names, calling INFILTRATION’s Ninjalicious a “phony asshole” and while I wouldn’t go that far I have to admit that Ninjalicious is a pretty stupid name. Anyhow, this is one of those zines I’ve read about for a long time, but never actually read. The problem with reading about something for so long before you actually read it is that it builds up expectations to the point where nothing could live up to them. So does INFILTRATION live up to my expectations? No. Is it a very good zine otherwise? Hell yes. The basic premise is that Ninjalicious enjoys sneaking into to places he’s not welcome in and telling us about it. This issue focuses on “stadia” and the best articles are the ones written by Ninjalicious (seriously, dude, give us a real name) and are accentuated by some cool pictures. The non-Ninj articles are also very good and...yeah, good writing, unique concept. Send $2 to Infiltration, PO Box 13, Station E, Toronto, ON, M6H 4E1 Canada (dig them nutty foreign addresses, huh?)
ACCIDENTAL PORNOGRAPHY #1-3
Well this one gets points just for being a cool concept. Apparently there’s a club at Willamette University in OR. called “Freaks n Geeks” (no connection to the much beloved TV show) who... well, I’m not sure what the hell they do exactly, but one thing they do do is publish this zine. A lot of it is aimed at Willamette students so it won’t make a ton of sense to non students, but there’s enough general interest stuff that anyone can enjoy. Mostly humorous articles with some fiction and poetry and photos and art work mixed in. Well worth trading for and I really hope it continues just because I’m sure the Willamette students love it an if they don’t it’s because they’re stupid. makes me wanna enroll in the school just so I can get all the jokes.
Send $2 to Ryan Rogers, 1343 Saginaw S., Salem, OR. 97301 RavFlight@aol.com
DAFFODIL #20 Another longtime fave that just doesn’t come out too often. Emily’s my pal and I haven’t talked to her in a while and I’m not sure whose fault it is. I oughta just not give a shit and write her a letter. But I guess that’s neither here nor there. This is a lovely little zine, great design. More of a downer than the types of zines I normally enjoy, but this is an exception. Maybe I just like the zine because I like Emily, but I think it’s a great zine either way.
Send a trade or anything to Emily, PO Box 124, Willington, CT 06279
NEW contact info: PO Box 343
Bedford, TX 76095
CATHOLIC SCHOOL FUNNIES
by Mary Jessica Hammes
($1.00 from Mary Jessica Hammes / PO Box 948 / Athens, GA / 30603 USA.E-mail: email@example.com)
Are there no former Catholic school students who weren’t considerably damaged by the experience? Surely there are but, judging by most artists with that sort of history, it’s easy to suggest there aren’t.
That said, I enjoyed this and would love to read more about Mary Jessica’s experiences with Catholicism. This comic revolves loosely around the author’s faith (or lack thereof), a theme common to many comics that deal with religion. Of course, one of the elements here that only serves to make the whole experience more disturbing is the depiction of the nuns. These women, as represented by Mary Jessica, were cruel and intimidating. This is how Catholic school nuns are always depicted, it seems, and I have to assume there’s a great deal of truth in the stereotype. I’ve never quite understood how cruelty and a love of God could go hand in hand, but there you have it.
Anyhow, I liked this comic very much. It’s well-done autobio and it’s got the bonus notion of questioning religion, which is something of a hobby for me. You may also want to check out more of the author’s work in her THE VERY BEST OF ALL-TRUE SOMETIMES.
CHAOS #15 & 16
I don’t know the name of the guy who does these but I admire his dedication. It seems every time I turn around, another issue has landed in the ol’ mailbox. These two contain lots of humor strips (many one-pagers and a few that are longer) covering politics, current affairs, man-eating tigers, Wal-Mart and even Abe Lincoln’s stint in the NBA. It’s got a very “underground comix” feel and seems to be done by a cartooning addict, someone who just can’t stop drawing, which is always nice. As with any one-man anthology, your mileage will vary on how funny the funny is but I sure give the guy props for putting out so much work (much of which is funny). I wish I had that kind of inspiration myself. Also, I’m not sure about this, but I get the impression that folks in Las Vegas can pick these up for free locally.
FANZINE FANATIQUE Summer 2004
(Available for trade from Keith & Rosemary Walker / 6 Vine St. / Lancaster, LA1 4UF / ENGLAND)
This occasional four-pager consists of comments and contact info for zines they’ve received. Its brief reviews are rather informal, which gives the zine a pleasant conversational tone. They seem to cover everything sent to them but you’ll find a fair amount of lit, sf and publications that otherwise support alternative thinking.
THE LAMB SHALL PEACEFULLY DWELL WITH THE LION
($1.00 US, $2.00 elsewhere from Sabrina / 9804 Cardinal / LaPorte, TX / 77571. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Man. With all due respect, Christianity is just weird. It doesn’t matter which faction, which denomination. It’s all just so weird. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, so how come the Eastern religions seem to make so much more sense to me as an adult? Why does personal spirituality seem much more essential than ceremonial hoohah?
Because Christianity is just weird. I know that “weirdness” is relative but, having stepped out of organized religion some time ago, that’s my take. I think my main issue is that any religion is off-kilter when the focus seems to be on pomp and ceremony, rather than personal spirituality. Okay, so I’m a little biased.
Sabrina knows what I’m talking about here as she had it even weirder than most Christians. She grew up in what’s called the Worldwide Church of God, which has been labeled a cult by some (but it’s no more unusual than any other Christian denomination). This zine deals with her struggle and longing for that comfortable Church home she had in her early teen years. It seems that a major schism (another element of the weirdness of organized Christianity) severely impacted her in a personal way and things haven’t been the same since.
Especially interesting to me is the explanation of the Church’s beliefs and practices. It’s so unusual how these things vary from group to group and how congregations deal with the inevitable shifts that come with personnel changes and whatnot (some leave, some simply decide it’s okay to change their beliefs).
I can only assume that writing about such topics can be very cathartic for the scarred Christian and I would certainly like to see more people do the same. You already know whether or not the topic interests you but if it does, I recommend this zine.
by Chris Cilla
($3.00 from Chris Cilla / 1225 N. Emerson / Portland, OR / 97217 USA. Web: http://home.earthlink.net/~cccilla/. Also available in the Poopsheet Shop)
Man, I love Chris Cilla’s work. He’s one of those artists who just hits me in the right way. The work just seems so sincere somehow and that’s appealing.
NO WORK is a colorful little booklet packed with scrambled collages of drawings and words both photocopied and silkscreened. It’s stapled on the side, its pages uneven and there’s no sequential content. Whether or not the individual pages even stand on their own is completely up to you. And that’s what I like about it. It’s a bit like some crazy silkscreen artist just went nuts with hundreds of tiny images and then chopped them up and stapled ‘em together. How can that not be appealing?
PAPER RODEO #18
($1.50 ppd? from Paper Rodeo / PO Box 321 / Providence, RI / 02901 USA. Web: paperrad.org)
There are lots of interesting comics and graphics in every PAPER RODEO but you know what really pops my cork? The three pages of hand-drawn ads. I don’t know what it is but all those scratchy little ads crammed onto the page are mesmerizing. Of course, the rest of the paper’s what you want to buy it for! And that’s where you’ll find the visual stylings of Ron Regé (an intense cover, only a portion of which is reproduced above), Chris Cilla, Marc Arsenault, James McShane, Mike Taylor, Mat Brinkman and lots more. Always worth checking out. Look for a book collection of new stuff coming soon called, I believe, FREE RADICALS.
by Erik Weems
(Erik Weems / 509 Rossmore / Richmond, VA / 23225 USA. Web: www.eeweems.com)
If you’ve been around the mini-comics scene for a while (okay, a long while) you may remember Erik Weems’ comics from the ‘80s when he published 2 HEADED DOG and showed up in all sorts of other venues. I always liked Erik’s work and it had been years since I’d seen it, so it was a pleasant surprise when this showed up in my mailbox.
As the title and cover suggest, SUPER’s focus is on superheroes but it’s more irreverent than admiring (although there’s clearly a history here). My favorite strips are “Alligator-Man”, which is something of an allegory for a certain sleazy type of celebrity, and the simply titled “Superhero”, a snapshot-style look at pathetic super-celebs (I suppose one could interpret it as a mirror image of many comics fans as well). Anyhow, this is fun stuff and Erik’s brushwork is always pleasing to my eye. I recommend checking out his website for more examples.
PO Box 621, Edinburg, TX 78540
CHOCOHOLIC no 2.
$2US. postage paid.
PO Box 981
Forth Worth, TX 76101
Stephanie runs Fork ‘N Spoon, a distro that carries only food and food related zines. You can also call Steph the veg food expert. This zine has delicious chocolate recipes, like the simple to make White Diamond Cookies and Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Bars. Also interesting personal pieces on chocolate, chocolate news such as the chocolate covered pork. You’ll also get a comparison and review of chocolate energy bars from various bands, comics and original art and photos.
WENDY MAGAZINE issue 7. halfsize.
$1.US. open to trades
Is it comedy? Is it not? You decide. I found more than the norm offensive remarks, one about a trannie and one about the ghetto, among others. Read it if you’d like to be puzzled. Comics, articles and so much more.
MEDIA WHORE issue four.
$2US. half size legal.
20 Ricky Drive
Framingham, MA 01702
This issue was “dedicated to the ways feminism presents itself and is expressed through art, both visual and performance.’” A piece on Fatass PDX-fat radical cheerleading, a piece on a synchronized feminist swimming team stemming out of Houston, TX. The article on Chrissy Cavier’s shock art is a must read. A nice, informative zine for your feminist zine reader.
ROSE IN TWELVE PETALS AND OTHER STORIES.
by Theodora Goss.
$5, available at smallbeerpress.com
Interesting short story and poetry collection, in the vein of 19th century Goth literature. Some of the imagery of the stories are simply beautiful. I really liked the poetry and poetry is something that is lacking in this here zine community. This isn’t a zine but a chapbook, maybe we’ll see more crossover chapbooks and zines? If you want to read some solid good stories from a solid writer, look into this.
PLEIGO DE POESIA:EL LATERINTO DE ARIADNA
no. 8. Summer/Fall
web page: www.castelldefels.org/ariadna/index.htm
postal address: Apdo. De Correos, 7
08660 Castelldefels (Barcelona)
A teaser for poetry in Spanish. Layout- oversized cardstock trifold single page publication. A total of 11 poems, by different authors. My favorite piece was “Para El Amor” by Jose Antonio Saez. I’d prefer something a bit more meaty, to sit and read and read and read. This might be for those who can’t deal with poetry in large doses. In Spanish, no English translation.
POETRY FROM THE AGE OF
APOCALYPSE: MEMORIES OF HOPE AND DESPAIR Oct 2004.
Price: $2. Trades-yes.
Contact:Scott Smuin via email.
The premise is this, the world has come to an end, being destroyed by riots, hydrogen bombs- civilization and ourselves. What we have here is “a manuscript unearthed from the rubble of one of the many dead cities of the plague era.” Interesting premise. You know all those end of the world movies? Let’s pretend we find this zine written after the fact. I think the writer tries too much with his imagery and stark, terrible bleakness he wants to present to us. Complete with guts, blood, and gore you can say it’s a short story horror zine.
ZEN BABY issue 12.
contact: Christopher Robin
Po box 1611, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1611
$2US, $ CAn/Mex and $2 world.
A cornucopia zine. (I just like being able to use the word cornucopia). In this here zine we have a mix of everything. Poetry for the poetry lovers and articles on said poetry. Rants, news, bits and pieces of stories and people. CD, zine and chapbook reviews. Very cut and paste-y layout.
From psychology to psychiatric hospital, the true story of a girl.
contact: CINDERBLOCK Zine
402 Dousman Apt. 2
Green Bay, WI 54303
$1, stamp or trades.
Full size. 24 pages.
This is the story of one girl as she slowly learns she has a mental illness that invades her life. As she develops, understands, attempts to commit suicide and comes to terms with how her life will be. She tells us about her hospitalization, medications, doctors she went to, tests, friends and family. Some people might be turned off by the fact that it’s full sized and essay styled writing. But once I started reading it, I was totally engrossed.
LILLIPUT REVIEW, #139
Don Wentworth, Editor
282 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Here I am always complaining that there’s not enough poetry in the zine community. Well this little, and I mean little as in 1/8th size, publication packs a punch. Inside you’ll find short pieces, some as short as 2 lines or 4 words. This little zine, put it in your backpocket and take it out and you’ll find yourself saying, “yes, yes.” I did. The writing, my various writers, is delicate and intense. As they say, sometimes less is more.
by Alan Catlin
LILLIPUT REVIEW #140
This is another little publication written by one writer. Lovely and evocative writing that paints us vivid pictures.
915 W Second St.
Bloomington, IN 47403. USA.
Free for a SASE or trade. Free to prisoners for a personal letter.
25¢ in stores.
Half size, 12 pages.
This journal style zine takes us through days in the writer’s life in journal entries and retellings of his dreams. I liked it because I was thrown into this person’s life—the intricacies, life realizations, pains of living. Quotes and some entries in Spanish.
WORDSINHERE VERSAL 2004.
Literary arts magazine with poetry, short stories and pieces and original photos and artwork. Wisdom filled, emotive writing by seasoned, professionally published authors.
Bobby Tran Dale
3542 Fruitvale Ave. PMB #141
Oakland, CA 94602-2327
Infernal greets, Boils & GhoulsJ It’s you’re Grim Peeper Botda-da-da with his latest batch of XD reviewness. Up this issue, our usual focus: Comix! This time around we’re doing the Jenny Craig and servin’ you up a diet sized portion of reviews (Ed. note: Bobby’s idea of a diet is another person’s feast). But take a look and see, you just might find something worth takin’ a bite out of. Now get ready to open up and say, “Aaaaaaah”.
#21-25, 20pp each/mini size comix
Contact: Dave Gilbert
1711 E. Rawhide #114
Las Vegas, NV 89119
CHAOS issues have come across my desk at least a couple of times for possible review and each time I’d passed them over. The first glances of them turned me off: The (at times) nearly microscopic text in the word balloons, the small mini size which didn’t make the art look like much more than a bunch of crammed together illustrations etc etc all made for ease in passing them by for much easier on the eyes publications. Then when I’d finally picked one up to skim through, what’s the first thing that catches my eye? It’s a panel in #21 that blurts, “Real email: “Your last comic sucked…evolve.” Usually, when zines print such blurbs as badges of honor whether real or made up, it’s usually a bad sign. So no, CHAOS didn’t start off on the best foot for this reviewer.
I did however read through the first issue (#21), then found myself going to the next and finished up with #25 in one sitting. Why? Because, hey….they were pretty funny at times and definitely not as bad as I’d first imagined they might be. They also do a pretty good job at pushin their creators political views and basically ‘saying something’ (whether ya agree with whatever he’s saying or not), whereas a lot of other small press comix that are crammed lookin’ don’t say much of anything when all is said and done and all you the reader leaves with is basically blurry eyes (it’s very akin to the feeling you get reading through all of my run-on sentences ). Let’s be real clear: CHAOS is a lot of toilet type humor or in your face political views and the art is rough around the edges but manages to get the job done, so many won’t dig it for just a casual breeze through. I can easily see that many ‘softer’ zine geeks will find the content a bit much. And no….leave your high art expectations at the border. In fact, forget that you’d had any to begin with. But depending on yer mood, hey, it might be worth a chuckle or two when you want a little low-brow humor mixed with some politics. In fact, it might be a stretch, but after reading through all of these, I did have that old-school underground feeling that it claims, reminiscent of the days when I used to read stuff like Fat Freddy’s Cat and such. Here though, there’s actually a bit more of obvious social commentaries pretty skillfully intertwined within the humorous toiletries.
A few highlights: In #21, “Hell Visitor Center” with “coupons” that you could use in the revamped Hell which is now an open & expanded attraction for tourists. In #24 (which was my favorite issue), there’s “So you wanna draw comix” where a wannabe comix illustrator looks for an illo job in the underground but can’t seem to ‘get’ what it is to draw ‘underground comix’, until he hooks up with a talking Squid thing after a crazy comix publisher, Dr. Toe, takes him in under an internship kinda deal, breaks his legs and imprisons him to help him get closer to what it means to drawing underground comix. Did you get that? Yea….it’s kinda like that in these minis. In the same issue though, one of the cooler strips I’ve seen in terms of small press is the piece called “Psychosis Illustrated’ which is actually a continuation of the Squid piece but is presented as “A Zine Within A Zine”. Anyway, long story short, it details the perils of panic attacks which by itself doesn’t sound like all that exciting a piece, but it is pretty dern good and acts as a pseudo autobio strip within the confines of the whacked out longer main strip.
Overall: There is a lot of comix in these minis. I was pleasantly surprised by them and wish more minis could balance out their creators views with their trash as well . CHAOS, despite the email mentioned earlier, is a bit more than low brow, and junk. There’s some obvious thought put behind the political rantings. I’d love to see one big fat compilation of these issues in the future. In the meantime, if you want to get a small idea of what some of the old, back in the day undergrounds kinda felt like, drop a buck or a trade, and you’ll get a peek. I’m happy to say I now look forward to more of Dave Gilbert’s comix.
LOVE Volume Three
44pp Digest, comix
Contact: Matt Fagan/Meniscus Enterprises
1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., PMB. #464
Chicago, IL 60622
LOVE creator (and that’s LOVE the comix not the other kind), Matt Fagan, already knows I have a general dislike for soft, squishy, warm and fuzzy comix and stories. But hey, this is Matt Fagan who is one of the creators I’m willing to open my rather narrow reading preferences for and try new things….even if they’re soft, squishy, warm and fuzzy comix. In Fagan’s case especially, he’s pretty good with the timing of punch lines and corresponding panels, pacing and of course his writing is some of the more fun zine stuff that I get to read, so it’s not all that bad to dig into his comic-ized stories.
Here we have the ongoing characters Pokie (I told you this was the squishy stuff) and his boyfriend Jack in this chronicle of their life together. Oh yea….I forgot to mention these are for the most part, GAY COMIX…HELLO!J.
In this issue, the couple throws a little dinner party where guests literally explode thru the door. Amongst their attendees we have Loopy Clitoris, the old Punk performer, Jack’s Uncle Ian, the uninvited, homeless dude Jason, and Astrid & Cory who are the main peeps in one of the startling secrets revealed (as promised on the cover). The whole comic itself is made up of mostly one pager vignettes with punchlines, that add up to the whole bigger, continuing story. I preferred the two guys taken out of the longer format of the intro piece, “Turkey Day” which kind of holds them, actually all of the characters in a much more structured and confined setting and put into the little one-pagers. There, it’s much more free-form. The punchlines are more strongly delivered this way, but most importantly, it gives extra elbow room to mess with the characters like when the guys play ‘The Avengers’ or Jack’s funky knitting project-hat-thingy. That’s not to say it can’t be done in a traditional comic story format, it just works better as vignettes to have the punchlines not get railroaded by the need to move the story along with bridging panels and such. Other highlights this issue include Pokie getting a tattoo, Pokie does open mike, and of course, the gays…err….guys getting married.
Overall: Matt’s illustrations are loose and fun to look at, plus his stories whether in text form or comix form are always a pleasure to read. I would like to see one day, a straight up Horror/Sci-fi story from him and see what he’s got to offer in that arena. We get peeks of his taste for such things throughout much of his works (see even here, the panel “Night Of The Loving Dead”), but I’d like to see something that goes straight for the jugular. As far as LOVE goes, it’s still high on my squishy lovey meter (remember, I have a heart of stone), but it’s a fun read and it’s definitely forgivable. Plus, Matt’s work is always a little quirky. And with queer stuff, I definitely prefer quirkiness over that ‘other’ full-on mainstream gay junk. Bravo Matt.
BOTTLETREE READER #1
12pp Digest, comix
Contact: Derek Ballard
5850 Lisloy Drive
Mobile, AL 36608
Before I launch into the review for this next piece, I have to state that I’d reread this issue, I think, oh… four times (allowing my various moods to check it out) to see if there was something that I wasn’t getting from it all. And I hafta say, that I think I just don’t get it, at least as it stands in this ~one~ issue. That said, let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Bottletree Reader is a mixed comix, poetry and editorial zine. So far the possibilities sound liveable. Where it starts to run into trouble is within the shortness of the format/page count that doesn’t allow the work to breathe and let the reader get their footing. Nice possibilities with too little room to do it in. This is the primary issue that I have with the one comix story “Apartment Mind” where we are allowed a peek into the life of a certain apartment dweller (Derek?). Now, after reading the pretty interesting intro on the inside front cover by Stephen McClurg that talked about wanting to know what people did in their apartments when they were alone, and how he’d found Derek who’d let him into his little, ever-so private corner of the world, Hell……I was ready for the ride. But what shoots everything down real fast is that just as we, the voyeuristic reader, start settling into the story…BOOP! It ends until next issue. This wouldn’t be as grating if the work didn’t already have a kind of surreal flavor to it that took some getting used to. I did in fact like Ballard’s inks. They were definitely much more interesting than the usual sappy, autobio style inks that are usually in these types of comix. But still, I had to adjust myself to them, but that wasn’t too hard. But I would’ve rather had a longer story or chapter to work with. But as stated, when I finally started to settle in, it was over. If there’s one thing that drives me nuts about reviewing comix, it’s the ‘To Be Continued…’ factor that most of them seem to have. With this piece, it sounded real cool, but honestly, if there wasn’t a text intro, I wouldn’t have had a clue what the piece was about.
Following this piece is a selection of poetry by Amethyst Vineyard. Needless to say, if you’ve read my past reviews, I generally don’t do the poetry thing. I don’t have the skills to write the stuff and when I do read them, I find full-on poetry zines to be much more suitable to my tastes than having them interspersed with other stuff like comix. Poetry seems to lose much of its steam when backing up other stuff. In this instance, I would have preferred to see a zine of Vineyard’s poetry unto itself and not backing up the apartment comic. Does that make the work bad? Absolutely not. It was just not the greatest match-up to the already abbreviated comic that needed the space more.
To wrap up: BR was an OK effort. Nothing was awful by itself whatsoever. I just did not think the combination of mediums was an effective one this go-around. Maybe next time we might be given a full issue dedicated to the “Apartment Mind” story, which with Derek Ballard’s art looks like it could lead to some interesting possibilities, possibilities that I would have liked to have seen explored in this issue. Also, an issue with just Vineyard’s poetry with maybe even Ballard’s inks on them would be cool. I’d say give readers separate offerings of them, individual issues or at least expand the page count and you might have a cool zine kicking about.
ALL SKEWED UP (Musings on Coldhandsdeadheart and selections from #1-4)
82pp, 1/2 size, horizontal
Price: $4.00 or equal trade
Contact: Mike Twohig
72-1 Meadow Farm South
North Chili, NY 14514
Well, here we have ALL SKEWED UP. Now I’ve made comments here and there about zines and the lack of content that many have, and what shows up to call me to task? So I get this pretty massive (for a zine) compilation and open it up and nearly pass it up just as quickly because inside I find page after page of meticulously done handwritten text. That’s kinda hard to take after a long day at the grind. I have enough trouble reading my own chicken scratch on notepads let alone a whole zine of someone else’s scrawls. I don’t remember when I’d last seen so much handwriting in a zine, it really was almost overwhelming and definitely was not something that I could just quickly read through and still review fairly. So one night, I pulled up the casket, settled back and delved into this cool little piece of work and was pleased that I did.
ASU is a compilation of illos spanning four issues of Coldhandsdeadheart as well as a lengthy journal/autobio text thingy that accompanies the images. I’m really not sure how to label it since it’s formatted a little differently than your usual perzine affair, i.e. it’s not one story with a set of pics or set up in chapters and such. It’s more like them art books that you’d see with the illos to the right, with blocks of text to the left…except this text goes on and on, no paragraph breaks (well, there kinda is), but mostly breathless writing (uhm…kinda like my run-on sentences). Text-wise, Mike Twohig chronicles his life including his musical, and artistic inspirations as well as just the boring shiznit of life itself. He talks about his tech-school days and his journey towards earning his degree and his current endeavor to make the papers that he touches have some relevance. The writing style is pretty free form. Actually, it’s so free form at times, jumping here and there, that it’s almost like Twohig just sat one day and wrote down whatever came to mind and ran with it. Of course, similarly, I’ve also seen highly caffeinated folks and speed freaks do the same, which is not to suggest those being the inspirations here by any means. But maybe you’ll get a better idea of the writing style. It works perfectly here. Content-wise, it gives a rich look into Twohig’s recent past life as well as the insight to his creative output. His writing style is enjoyable enough that reading page after page of someone else’s handwriting was not as bad an experience as I thought it might be.
Which now brings me to the art. At first glance, I was not immediately taken by the art. Part of that problem is there’s just so damn much of it in this volume that you really hafta sit and look slowly through it to see that there truly is some progression to the inking skills in each following image, or rather issue of Coldhands…’ that’s compiled/sampled here. By the end of the book it’s pretty obvious there’s more of a cemented, stylistic flair that’s identifiable as Twohig’s than in the first few illos, which pretty much look like run of the mill street art. I definitely like Twohig’s work towards the end of the volume. A lot of it looks like tweeking without the tweek, if that makes any sense to some of you reading this. Much of the work consists of caricatures, which Twohig does a great job with. But there’s also a cool schizo look to his scratchy line work that barely contains the overall form of the individual pieces, which paired with blocks of text (there’s even more text in the illos), makes for a stylistic if not distorted (and at times disturbing) take of their artist’s vision.
Overall, ASU was a nice surprise read. Beside the initial ‘handwriting’ issue I’d had with the volume, I honestly didn’t think this would have any more to say than any of the zillion other zines that I’ve perused through. I’m happy to report that this was an enjoyable read with cool illos and an interesting and erratic perzine side to it. If I were to have plunked down four bucks for it, I would not have been disappointed.
And there ya go. Short, sweet and to its barbed points. That does it for me in this issue. Tune in next time when the Davidatrix lets me review DIY Porn…woohoo! Uhm…..sorry, I’m just kidding. So ‘til next time Kiddies, keep staplin’ and copying!
Gavin J. Grant
176 Prospect Ave.
Northampton, MA 01060
Boxes of Gavin J. Grant’s zine LADY CHURCHILL’S ROSEBUD WRISTLET (www.lcrw.net) make for wonderful insulation. He lives in Northampton, MA.
Disclosure: I know the editor and designer, William Smith. However, since this came with a bunch of other zines selected by Davida I reckon I can write about it. First thing you should know is that if you’re fast you can order the limited edition version of this which for $2 extra includes a handmade popup in the center. Every time I think of making popups for a zine, my little brain blows a fuse. Pop. There goes another one. Smith has a strong eye for design and TRUNK STORIES is a beautiful thing, although the type size is a smidgen too large for my liking. Maybe my preference will change as the years go by. The fiction and poetry tend toward the dark and speculative with the best being David Connerly Nahm’s.
No.2, $4, half-legal, 44pp, William Smith, 470 Prospect Ave., 3D, Brooklyn, NY 11215
THE CHEAP VEGAN
This is a pretty good, consistent, regular zine. Sometimes I even try the recipes. This time Steph gets contributors: Kimberley tells you how to get smells (particularly from pets) off carpet or upholstery. Being vegan, I guess you keep the animals around the house instead of eating them. Lisa van den Boomen (VEGAN VITTLES) offers up sauce and Polyamorous Rice Pot recipes. Don’t know if I’m ready for those. Big piece on raw food. There’s 10-20 inches of raw snow forecast for tonight so I won’t be eating anything that’s not cooked. Beer is cooked, right? Steph will also make you 1” buttons, 50 for $13.
No.18, $1.50, half-letter, 14pp, Stephanie S., PO Box 715 Weatherford, TX 76086 email@example.com
Best read with a beer and a benevolent attitude. There’s “Sassy, Self-Aware Metafiction”—which isn’t about Sassy the mag; one poerm, and a series of “Letters and Elaborate Contracts” which border on hilarious. Yes, there may be influences of a certain TMQC zine-like thing, mostly in the high quality design and willingness to use very small typefaces, small caps, and text as a design element. I’d suggest using a smaller leading (space between the lines, otherwise it’s a beautiful, easy to read zine which sparks of people having fun. Get in on it before they get out.
No.2, $3, half-letter, 48pp., Moon Rabbit Drinking Club and Benevolence Society, PO Box 44-2001, Lawrence, KS 66044, johnnyamerica.net
This always fascinating zine should be given to all teenagers so that when they’re starring in the horror-movie of their own consciousness (“Should I? Shouldn’t I?”) they’ll get over the little voice saying “Don’t go in there” and just go on in. Of course, many of them might not come back from wherever their sensible selves were warning them against, but that’s what fuels the Darwin Awards and other content-deprived websites. I liked the editorial linking the Great Pyramid of Giza and modern construction methods. Not that they’re calling out for more pyramids, just higher quality materials and buildings that are designed for more than 25-100 years. Dr. Infiltrator gives Toronto General Hospital the once over.
No.23, $2, half-letter, 32pp., Infiltration, PO Box 13, Station E, Toronto, ON, M6H 4E1 Canada, infiltration.org
This illustrated, perfectbound collection of poetry is an interesting artifact produced by the members of the HPLS who seem to range from high-school age to retirees from the subjects covered here. It doesn’t say if you can buy this by itself or if you have to join the Society, but, if you’re local that may not be a bad thing as they meet weekly at the lovely-sounding “Rockfield Manor.”
$15/year, half-letter, 58pp., Harford Poetry and Literary Society, 1369 W. Jarrettsville Rd., Forest Hill, MD 21050
THE FERAL FORAGER
FERAL FORAGER is not for the squeamish. It comes from a community 45 minutes from Asheville where they treat roadkill as vegan—using the “if you didn’t kill it” rule similar to that observed by some Buddhist sects. Be warned that “One of the most severe risks of roadkill is rabies.” There are also how-to’s on skinning and tanning animals, “Whitey’s food is poison” (i.e. different diets fit different ethnic groups — cow’s milk, anyone? Comes with a free pill to make it go down easier), and identifying and foraging for wild plants. There are very detailed drawing throughout making this a handy guide if you’re up for any of the above.
No.1, $3, half-letter, 30pp., $3 Feral Forager, POB 1485, Asheville, NC 28801, wildroots.org
ULTRAVIOLET: NEWSLETTER OF LAGAI—QUEER INSURRECTION
Political paper focusing on the fear of the US Government. Not the writers’ fear of it (well, maybe a little), but rather the fear the government is inspiring and the fear tactics it is using to keep people voting for it. Lots of international stories and many opportunities for activism and outreach.
Includes a 4-page insert, OUT OF TIME: LESBIAN COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT WOMEN POLITICAL PRISONERS.
Vol.XV, No.2, free?, tabloid, 8pp., The Camelopard, 3543 18th St., San Francisco, CA, 94110 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SPIRIT WORLD
This well laid out, competently written chapbook is the fifth in a series in a course of study for aspiring mentalists. This isn’t about David Copperfield, white tigers, Charles Dickens, or Houdini, this is about reaching out to the ghosts that surround us all the time!
No.5, $4?, half-letter, 34pp., The Camelopard, PO Box 10145, Berkeley, CA, 94709
PMB 170, 40 E. Main St.
Newark, DE 19711
It’s been a wild couple of months. First there were papers to write, then the holidays and then, all that snow — although I must admit there’s nothing like being snowed in to help you get your zine reviews done on time. And I guess there was that election thing, too...but I’m trying not to think about that.
Otherwise: I find myself making music again for the first time in five years. It must’ve have been all that classic electronica I got for Christmas. The next issue of Etidorhpa might even include a CD.
HYPOCRITICAL MASS #1: This zine gets its name from Critical Mass, the protest event where you try to get enough bike riders together to snarl traffic. The idea is to make people keenly aware of the automotive monopoly and protest the lack of bike lanes. We used to have these in Newark from time to time, and while it seemed a good idea on paper, and the posters advertising it were pretty cool, it never quite seemed to have the desired effect. They could never muster up enough people to snarl traffic — or even to get people to really notice. Instead, scattered onlookers would stare at the small band of riders and wonder, Why are those kids riding bikes and screaming? And someone, usually me, would have to explain it to them. But I digress...
HYPOCRITICAL MASS pokes fun at Critical Mass and other politically correct scared cows — and does it quite well. Plus, you get to find out what goes on at monster truck rallies and how it feels to shoot a gun, two things I’ve always wondered about, but have been ashamed to admit in polite company. And the last piece, Freedom’s Just Another Word for Bullshit, is worth the price of the zine. Price: $2.50, No contact info except an e-mail address: email@example.com, 44 pp, submissions welcome
THE PUNK PARENT #2: I really liked this. It felt homey and comfortable, like meeting a friendly stranger at the bus stop, the kind you don’t mind listening to. Gabriel writes about lessons learned while potty training his daughter and arguing with his wife. He also tells us about his religious beliefs, role playing games, a whole lot of good movies, music and zines, as well as a really bad toothache. Price: $1 US, $1.50 Canada/Mex, $2 world, Gabriel, PO Box 1201, Greeley, CO 80632, firstname.lastname@example.org 40 pp, trades welcome, next issue to include MP3 cd
POUÈT-CAFËE # 8-9: This zine gives me paper envy. The recycled stock and twine binding make this publication a beautiful object to behold. What’s printed on the paper is pretty cool, too. No. 9, the issue in English, features two excellent poems by Martin Last, among others, an extensive guide to publications in Canada that accept poetry (as well as some fiction) in English and some engaging artwork. I especially liked the two surreal drawings by Serbian artist Slavko Mali. They’re small, but there’s a lot in them. With every look, I discover something new.
No. 8 was in French, and I have to admit it was tough going since I haven’t had to read a lot of French since my first round of grad school. However, I did enjoy Hugo Dufort’s poem Café Brazil. I also got a kick out of Dalton Sharp’s absurdist comic series, Bubble Trouble. Issue 8 also features an extensive listing of Canadian publications accepting poetry. Price: $4 US/Can/Mex, $5 all others, 6595 St-Hubert, P.O. Box 59019, Montreal, QC H25 3P5, CANADA, email@example.com, www.webzinemaker.com/pouet-cafee, 28pp, trades OK, subscriptions available
DAWN #43: I feel kind of odd reviewing this since I’m in it, but I still like it. I enjoy how this zine changes. You’re never quite sure what form it will take, but it’s always interesting. This issue consists mostly of letters detailing dreams (and zinesters have some really unique dreams) spells, jobs, and moving. I really like the three pieces at the end about cosmogony and salvation. These pieces are especially nice if you take the time to read them out loud. Price: SASE, free to prisoners in exchange for personal letter, Donny Smith, 915 W Second St., Bloomington, IN 47403, USA, www.geocities.com/dwanzine 12pp, trades OK
MUSEA “30” BY HUNKASAURUS AND HIS PET DOG GUITAR: This special CD edition of Tom Hendricks’ long-running zine is a lot of fun. It’s very simple and unpretentious: just Tom’s voice and his guitar, with a minimal amount of vocal overdubbing. There are plenty of classics by Lennon/ McCartney, Bacharach, and Rogers/Hart as well as some Hendricks originals, including a tribute to Zine World. Price: it says “free”, but I’d send a few bucks or postage and a CD mailer, Musea 4000 Hawthorne #5, Dallas TX, 75219, Tomhendricks474@cs.com, musea.digitalchainsaw.com, trades OK
SLC Zine Library
210 E 500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
The life of a zine reviewer is not one of luxury and bling bling. I know this might surprise a few of you out there, but I do not live in a mansion and the fame that I have earned as a XD reviewer seems to only have cache in prison circles. Besides my lack of pool boys in short briefs, life is going alright. It is dark and icky in Salt Lake, but it is dark and icky in most places (freaking Hawaii, at least Alaska is with me) mainly because it is winter.
CREATURE WITH 97 LIMBS
THE JUNK FROM OUTERSPACE AND ETHICAL NUMEROLOGY
IS THE TIME MACHINE BEAUTIFUL
Mitchell m.g. Kato/ 1769 Wainwright Dr./ Reston, VA 20190/ firstname.lastname@example.org/ $2
I have to admit right off the bat that I don’t spend a lot of my time reading poetry. I think in prose, I dream in prose, I write in prose, and I like to read prose. I love prose so much I should probably just marry it. That said, let me try to review these three huge zines jam packed full of poetry. The poems tend to deal with the idea of God and philosophy while often talking about technology and a sense of self. At one point in THE JUNK FROM OUTER SPACE Mr. Kato write, “My poems are like mathematics. I like laws and exceptions,” which should probably be the theme of these collections. The poems often feel emotionally detached and like exercises in logic, rather than the intense emotions I have come to associate with poetry. One of the poems even name checks St. Augustine, which depending on your point of view, is either cool or your worst nightmare. I liked the drawings included every few pages and I liked some of the syllogisms that were the focus of many the poems. The poems that stood out for me were the ones that were less theoretical and a little more personal.
WHY DON’T NOBOBY LOVE ME?
Adam Beebe-Infanticide/ Mishap / 941 56th St/ Oakland, CA 94608/
www.crapcore.com / $5
The initial idea of this zine is golden and when placed in the right hands this could be the funniest zine ever. Adam decided to post different personal ads (real? fake?) and publish the responses he gets. The things is, Adam, whether his ads have any truth in them or not, is kind of an ass and it quickly turns out to be more creepy then funny. The absolute best part of this zine is when someone named Rachel responds to Adam’s personal ad and he asks her, “So, do you want to fuck or what?” and she respectfully declines though does wonder what the “what” entails. I think I like Rachel more then I like Adam. The art work doesn’t really help lift the tone away from creepy as it seems to be mainly women with large breasts and ample behinds. It could just be that as a girl from a smallish town I am just a bit too naïve to appreciate asshole boys who prefer to play mind games then to actually be themselves, but I am sure some of you will love this.
Marc Parker/ 2000 NE 42 Ave #221/ Portland, OR 97213/ $1
The thing I love about perzines is that most people who write them are nothing like me. For example, Marc Parker is a guy which means automatically we are different. For another thing, I don’t think Marc has any of the obsessive qualities I seem to possess in spades. He doesn’t really care about having a job, he has no alarm clock, and his life lacks the order that I seem to crave, though never can achieve. These two zines are about Marc living in Portalnd, hanging out with his girlfriend, getting high, watching movies, and looking for a job. Nothing really earth shattering, but still an enjoyable read.
SHOPPING QUEEN DIARY
Elise Sampson/ PO Box 981/ White Plains, NY 10601/ email@example.com/ wwww.itsmysite.com/chinesesweatshop/ $3-$4
I love this zine. This is a really cute handwritten zine diary that chronicles everything Elsie bought in the summer of 2004 while shopping in New York. The cover is cute, the drawings of the clothes she bought are cute, and I know she bought that sweater from Anthropologie I totally coveted. She even has a little section on how to buy smart and how to coordinate outfits. I know that shopping is the new opiate for the masses and the consumerism is bad, but sometimes you have to flaunt your amazing on sale finds and a zine like this is the perfect way to do it. Plus, when things go horribly wrong in my life one of the few things that can lift my spirit a little is to leave my house and look at pretty things. I make no apology for my love of shopping and neither should Elsie. Really, anyone who has ever bought the perfect $10 bag should take a look at SHOPPING QUEEN DIARY.
Steve De Rose/ PQRS Ltd./ 4821 W Fletcher ST #2/ Chicago, IL 60641/ .50
Ah, soccer, there really is nothing like it. This is a nice little newsletter dedicated USA soccer with an emphasis on the Chicago area. While I have a serious addiction to European soccer, this summer will be the first year of Real Salt Lake which means I will have to start to pay attention to the MLS. Salt Lake’s new team will dominate (of course) mainly due to our German playing star and our 13 year old recruit. Ok, he might be older then 13, but still, he is freaking young. Getting back to the zine, Steve likes his indoor soccer and helpfully provides the CONCACAF schedule so that people like me, who are too lazy to actually work to follow the national team, now can. Bring on Germany 2006.
MODERN ARIZONA #7
Joe Unseen/ PO Box 494/ Brewster, NY 10509/ firstname.lastname@example.org/ $1
I have a soft spot in my heart for MODERN ARIZONA, mainly because Joe’s voice is so strong and because it’s such a guy zine. Maybe it’s spending so much time with my brothers, but boys make laugh. Anyway, this issue is all about trips to the political conventions, the Democratic convention in Boston and the Republican convention in New York. This zine is full of lots of nice pictures (my favorite had the caption “guy getting arrested”) and the text is a lot of fun. As a side note, I just got back from Boston and I think Joe found a lot more things to do then I did. To be fair to myself, it was January and as cold as Siberia which made the whole “Freedom Trail” thing really unappealing. Besides all that, I always enjoy MODERN ARIZONA and this issue is no exception.
1573 N. Milwaukee Ave. #403
Chicago, IL 60622
Despite Chloe the cat’s efforts to block the
monitor by sitting directly in front of it, I must now write reviews. Oh, and
you can order my zine, SemiBold, for $2
from this address: 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., #403, Chicago, IL 60622
If you’re interested in all forms of DIY media, this zine is for you. The general theme of this issue is doing things on the cheap, which most of us zine folks can really appreciate. A.j. Michel of LOW HUG offers lots of great tips for getting the most zine for your dollar — how to find the best deal on photocopies, purchasing your own paper in bulk, and incorporating “found” art or recycled items into the design. Editor Paul Riismandel gives us the scoop on the Lomo camera, a cheap Russian point-and-shoot from the 1980s, whose slightly-off focus and extra-bright colors have made it mucho desirable among the hipster artist-types. He also provides some info on some other older point-and-shoot cameras he’s collected over the years. The bulk of this issue, however, is devoted to pirate radio. I really enjoyed Paul’s tale of setting up his own “pirate” radio station when he was a kid, riding his bike with radio in hand, seeing how far he could get from his house before the signal died. I wish I’d been that inventive when I was a kid. A regional guide to pirate radio all over the US is provided by John Anderson, and there are some pirate radio book reviews too. I felt really inspired after reading all this, and now I want to go get some cheap cameras and take funky pictures.
37 pages, digest size.
PO Box 2102, Champaign, IL 61825-2102
FERTILE GROUND October 27, 2004
This is the first “mamazine” I have read. The cynic in me wanted to not like it and be all annoyed at the crunchy hippie earth mothers, but I wasn’t, really. There are a lot of different stories in here, most by relatively new mothers. Kathleen Lopez contrasts her easy-breezy first pregnancy (midwife-delivered) with her second, high-risk pregnancy with twins (inducing labor, epidural, the whole nine yards). Jaala Spiro bemoans the gender stereotyping of baby clothes (girls get flowers and butterflies, boys get vehicles and sports motifs). Stacey Greenberg tells an anxious tale of her two-year-old son taking a bagel from one of the homeless men who hangs out in their park. She has to confront her internal conflict between giving the man the benefit of the doubt, and the whole “stranger danger” thing. Something most of us could relate to, I imagine. The most moving, heartbreaking piece is by Stephanie Hartman, whose baby was stillborn. It’s so raw, angry and full of despair. I don’t know how she wrote it.
46 pages, digest size
$2 each/$8 for 4 issues (one year)
2084 Court Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
You can always count on Matt for a good time. He’s one of my favorite zine writers, and this issue is no exception. His story “Ghostbusters,” about an encounter in a dream with a friend who had died, is sweet and wonderful, and made me kind of jealous, because I never have dreams like this. He has crazy neighbor stories, and a rundown of various art projects he’s done for other people that have never seen the light of day (or at least he’s never seen them.) Matt also tells us how he got into this zine thing in the first place, likening it almost to a drug addiction: “If my resources were so low that I had to choose between photocopies and groceries, I would always opt to go hungry.” He also talks about his favorite zines and comix, and friends he has made through this world. It will remind all of us why we do what we do.
48 pages, digest size.
1573 N. Milwaukee Ave. , PMB 464, Chicago, IL 60622
A well-written perzine with lots of ideas. Andrew opens this issue with an extended essay on the notion of reality TV and MTV and his thoughts on how to counteract their influence in your own life. He also has an extended interview with Dan Sinker, publisher of the zine Punk Planet. They talk a lot about independent publishing and music, and how he has managed to stay independent and gain a measure of success in the business, and how DIY culture has changed with the rise of the internet. A good, intelligent interview. The last part of this zine is the third chapter of Andrew’s “personal novella.” I haven’t read the first two parts, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this. It stands just fine on its own as a travelogue of a college semester in Italy.
64 pages, digest size.
PO Box 14211, Chicago, IL 60614
HAVE YOU SEEN THE DOG LATELY?
I had never read this zine before, and knowing that Jenny had died in a car accident almost a year ago, it was with a deep sense of poignancy that I read this. Serena dedicates this issue to her sister — they had obviously written this issue before Jenny’s death. The theme of this issue is “Fear,” in which they explore the Oakland arts scene (gallery shows, open mikes, etc.) and evaluate their fearfulness in doing so. I totally identified with that, because no one is more of a fraidy-cat than me. I think I would have had a good time with these two.
52 pages, mini.
465 38th Street, Oakland, CA 94609
4401 N. Sixth St. Apt. 827
McAllen, TX 78504
These zines have been a thrill to read. They are so diverse in thought and perspective and stages of life that they have been the perfect escape to my recently insane schedule. My New Year’s resolution was to stop hating South Texas. It’s a good thing as most of my zines, this round, hailed from the state you are not supposed to mess with. My zine, MISPLACED HIPSTER, is forthcoming. Write with thoughts or anything else if you wish, I’m in a much better mood this year even though my environs continue to be the same.
LONE STAR MA (Nov. 2004) available from Lone Star Ma, PO Box 3096, Corpus Christi, TX 78463-3096, $15 for a 4-issue subscription. On the web: www.lonestarma.com. Pages 40.
Fans of LONE STAR MA will be pleased to hear how one of the magazine’s inspirations, Marigold Carol, came into the world. To be honest, for all non-parents, the tales of childbirth are birth control for the squeamish. I sat with my legs crossed through several pages that chronicled the birth, though, I must admit that it is honest writing that demystifies the natural-birthing process and provides helpful information for people considering birth without painkillers. There are also several good columns and articles, one, by Lone Star Pa, that explores a parent’s moral obligation of sharing varied viewpoints with children. Lots of talk about breastfeeding and some tasty suggestions for vegetarian treats. The LSM also seems to be pushing for growth, encouraging parents to sell ads for the magazine for commission and by inviting regional writers from Memphis and Los Angeles to share in the dialogue of progressive parenting.
SMOOTHIE QUEEN (date?) Stephanie Scarborough, PO Box 981, Fort Worth, TX 76101, order for $1 plus postage or $1.50 via PayPal to email@example.com. Pages 21.
SMOOTHIE QUEEN is a tiny and pocket-sized guide to smoothie making. It troubleshoots problems for smoothies that turn out too thin, too thick, too sweet or too much. Several of the author’s favorite recipes are also included. SMOOTHIE QUEEN is a recommended read for anyone sick of paying $5 for a watered-down corporate smoothie.
THE POST POST (#2 Summer 2004) Anton Knapp/WMVC, 3130 South Campus Dining Hall, College Park, MD 20742. Free/No trades. Pages 43.
THE POST POST is a college-radio zine and primer of all things cool. In case you missed the debut, the sophomore issue includes ways to afford a rock ‘n roll lifestyle, provides interviews with bands, and maps out off the wall places to explore in Maryland. Outside of the editor’s self-described reference to wrestling a sophomore slump, the zine is an engaging brush with popular culture.
HERMANA RESIST (Winter 2004/05) Noemi Martinez PO Box 621 Edinburg, TX 78540. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. $2 plus postage. 40 pages.
HERMANA RESIST is a perzine with razor edges. The stories are raw, real and sometimes heart breaking. Writer Noemi’s stories show a certain maturity that I, just two years younger than the author, have not touched or tasted; yet the stories are universal in many ways. Love comes and goes and sometimes sticks. We have all felt like outsiders at one time or another, watching the happy holiday scenarios of others while fighting dripping noses and tired eyes. The zine has a wintry theme, which hints that there is more yet to come from this author when spring arrives.
WENDY MAGAZINE (Date?/Issue 6) contact: email@example.com. $1. 28 pages.
I’ve been dying to get a copy of WENDY MAGAZINE. This issue of the X-D lottery was my lucky strike, hurrah. WM is a treat for the eyes as much as it is a play on words. The issue specializes on female body images, plays with sexuality and brings back the dead. Kim Fields, former Facts of Life actress, sounds off looking for her natural hair. Speaking of hair, there is an endorsement for pubic hair. I have to say there are few words to describe this zine. I’d like to meet (the?) Wendy(s) who dreamt this up.
30 Locust Ave., Westmont, NJ 08108
Hey! I must not have done such a bad job last time, since the good folks here at XD asked me to take another stab at this reviewing ‘thang’. As for myself, though it will be some time before another BOB zine shows up, OP Distro is picking up steam and adding ‘host stores’ to its outlet list. Visit www.njghost.com for the latest and greatest on my zine-kiosk activity, along with developments in the 2004 Philly Zine Fest DVD saga (still slated for release at the end of February — stay tuned).
FISH PISS; $4+$4 postage (that’s $8 total); Spontaneous Productions Rgd., PO Box 1232, Place d’Armes, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 3K2. www.fishpiss.com
Great Googly-Moogly! This isn’t a zine for the faint-of-heart or the short-of-attention. For a mere $8 (with US postage) you get 160 pages, full-sized, PACKED with articles from many contributors, on a plethora of different subjects. This pub is as close to a magazine as a zine should get, without actually becoming one. (Pubs like Clamor really ARE magazines, folks, no matter what you might think.) But FISH PISS, with its latex-screen-painted cover and wide-eyed indy style, still qualifies in my book as a zine for all the right reasons.
It’s interesting to note that the name FISH PISS is taken not only from the fact that some inks are actually derived from the fluids that are naturally found in various sea-going species, but it’s also interpreted from the concept that we all are swimming in a sea of media, and we eventually swim through each others’ urine… or something like that. They lost me after the first few paragraphs of the intro. And I also think there’s some underlying moral about not peeing in someone else’s car-pool, but I digress.
In this issue you will find bountiful sections on: Indy Record Labels, 45 RPM Records, Essays (on Drawing, Reproduction, Photographs, etc.), DIY articles (on Dadaism, Hard Cider, Zine-resources, etc.), Interviews, Comics, News, reader mail… the list goes on and on and on. It is a pure joy to read!
It’s the perfect companion for a transcontinental flight or a day at the DMV… just remember to pack your bookmark, since with all this excellent content, you probably won’t get through FP in one sitting!
Maximum RockNRoll; Nov. 2004; #258. $4; PO Box 460760, San Francisco, CA 94146-0760 www.maximumrocknroll.com.
I was a bit standoffish when I saw a copy of MRR in my packet this month. I mean, this publication has been on the “scene” for years, and reviewing it would be like asking a first-semester freshman in cinematography school to give his opinion on the 10 most influential films of the 20th century. Sure, he’ll have an opinion, but it will be pompous, defensive and uninformed. That said…
What’s interesting about this issue of MRR is some discussion of the current “conservative-punk” dichotomy. One article by Mike Thorn, asks “…what does lobbying for George Bush and supporting a war have to do with waving your middle finger at authority?” Another article, by Victoria Jane Taylor, speaks about the “New Racism”, looking at how older punks [read: post-college] have begun to adopt a more racist dialogue in their various cliques, claiming in defense that they are only being funny or ironic. What both of these writers fail to mention (or perhaps see for themselves) is that punks – aside from additional piercings and paint on their skin – are people. Most people are, generally, predictable. And as people get older, people become more conservative and racist – traits that, admittedly, depend on one’s material wealth and community-type/class in which one lives.
Taylor comments that, “…punk instilled in me a flat out determination to be in all ways rebellious of the mainstream.” And this is the ultimate statement of punk and zine-thinking in general: Anti-Mainstream at Any Cost. So, conversely, if young punks saw a lot of pro-Kerry propaganda, they could very well be inclined to be pro-Bush, just to raise the hackles of the community leaders/elders around them. And, as the culture of the US swings one way or another, you will see the reverse direction of punk thought, for better or worse, if the “always rebellious” mindset holds true. An “anti-culture” can never exist without a parent culture to rebel against, and that just sets-up the current incarnation of the punk culture for failure from the get-go.
Aside from all that, the zine and music reviews are quite good in this issue, though the ads seem to outnumber the re-printed, indy-minded news pieces – it’s no wonder MRR has made it to #258, there are some good editorial/business brains behind this bedrock of zine publications.
The Most Romantic Wedding in Human History; Christoph Meyer, PO Box 106, Danville, OH, 43014. ($?)
Christoph has got to be one of my favorite zinesters out there. It’s not his particular writing style, it’s not his particular artwork, it’s the whole package. I had the pleasure of meeting Christoph at the Philly Zine Fest back in July of 2004, and from just the few moments I spent speaking with him and eyeing the free vegan cookies he was giving out, I got a good sense of the person he was. I was hooked.
His new short story, “The Most Romantic…”, takes a page from ‘Micky’, a zinester from Australia, where one takes a trashy paperback novel and pastes one’s own story/pages over the books pages. The idea is pure indy imagination at its best, and I thought that the initial “cool” factor was pretty high. Meyer also put in some artwork and pictures to add to the overall presentation.
The story itself was really sweet, and totally Christoph – with a wedding budget that any middle-class socialite would shriek bloody murder upon hearing (about $250 WITH wedding rings!), and with such minimal planning and a casual approach as to make the New York Times Wedding Announcement Page Alumni fumble with their collective ties and look nervously down at the floor. You come away with the distinct message from Meyer of, “Hey, What’s the Big Deal? I knew I was going to live with her for the rest of my life, anyway.” And that is the true charm of the piece – somehow Christoph has been able to hold on to an innocent approach to life (and specifically to marriage) that most of us seem to have lost long ago.
I’ve been divorced/separated for about 2+ years now, and I was thinking as I finished Meyer’s piece, how would my ex react to such an experience? While I found the story and the idea behind the events charming and everyday-wonderful, she probably would have been insulted at the lack of pomp-and-circumstance, the lack of formality, and the lack of importance placed on the act of marriage. And, just perhaps, the shrugging-off of all that garbage is going to be the secret to the Meyers’ successful long life together. I wish them the best!
Red Roach Press (THE DIE) Blog. http://redroachpress.blogspot.com
Okay, so this isn’t a paper zine, and this text may be cut from my review column, but I thought I’d give it a shot. As electronic venues seem to swell and intrude more and more into the realm of zines (some of our ilk foregoing the paper-stuff all together, and taking up solely the web page), the opportunity for widely-available mediocre writing skyrockets. But Joe Smith, creator of THE DIE, a well thought-out, essay zine that walks a thin line between the social and philosophical realms, has been producing some wonderfully well-written and personal prose online. Much different than his printed persona, his blog offers up all of Joe’s smooth writing style, but combines it with an “insider” tone and softer edge than THE DIE usually attempts. On more than one occasion I’ve suggested that Smith incorporate what he writes online into what he publishes in THE DIE, but I could see how he would want to keep the two “worlds” apart — though, it is a loss for Smith’s audience if they don’t get a chance to read both the blog and his zine, since they truly are two sides of the same coin. If you bookmark only one blog in your browser this year, make sure it’s Smith’s!
1573 N Milwaukee Ave, PMB #464 Chicago, IL 60622
New Pubs from Matt: Meniscus #13, the latest installment of a publication dedicated to upholding the rights of the ugly. But not the stupid. Also, the long-awaited third installment of the most amazing adventures you're ever likely to read about two youthful homosexuals living in Chicago with dead-end jobs and vivid imaginations.
THE WHIRLIGIG #8
edited by Frank J. Marcopolos
digest-size, 60 pp., $3
4809 Ave. N #117, Brooklyn, NY 11234
I haven’t read the last couple of volumes, so it’s nice to see that THE WHIRLIGIG is chugging along as reliably as ever with its eighth issue. For years, Frank Marcopolos has overseen this anthology of poetry and fiction, and I’ve remained consistently pleased with what I read. This issue has stories from five authors (including editor Marcopolos) and nine works by three different poets. Admittedly, I tend to skim poetry; I rarely find myself in the mood for poetry, and having made it through grad school and out the other side again I feel that I have earned the right. The fiction, though, offers a variety of voices for your reading enjoyment. A favorite passage:
“Can you tell me what that man is doing driving a tractor around the runway?”
“That ain’t no tractor. That’s a big old vacuum machine.”
“A vacuum machine?”
“It sucks up prairie dogs out of their holes. See, if you don’t vacuum up your prairie dog, then he’ll reproduce. He and his kin’ll tear up that runway in three months.”
That’s from Mike Cipra’s story, “The Great Prairie Dog Vacuum”. I was also rather taken with George Balgobin’s “A Natural Tendency”, which skillfully established a mood of nearly inscrutable oddness. Following a young doctor as he moves to a new town and insinuates himself into an elite society of medical men, the story is filled with strange details and baffling behavior that only begin to coalesce at the end. The payoff left me unsatisfied, though I was not expecting the end to spell everything out to me. I enjoyed the story for its eerie evasiveness and anticipated that the climax would be no different. But there were opportunities built into the scenes that remained unexplored; in the end, I suppose I was let down because I enjoyed the world that Balgobin had etched out for me, and I wanted to stay longer and learn more about it.
As always, WHIRLIGIG is a recommended read. This anthology has some frequent contributors, but every issue is different. I always have a good time with this zine (even when a story doesn’t give me exactly what I want!) (Ed. Note: It was recently announced on alt.zines that The Whirligig is now defunct.)
CITY COMIX #1: FALAFEL FALL-OUT
by Gavin Spielman
full-size, 20pp. (no price listed)
129 1st Ave., New York, NY 10003
CITY COMIX #1 really takes me back. This comic tabloid consists of one long story, “Falafel Fall-Out”, set in author/artist Gavin Spielman’s wasted youth. In those days, Gavin and friends were on a path that many young men had blazed ahead of them: pursuing the dream of rock and roll. Their band practiced in Cory’s basement, and Cory’s housemates were the typical grody vegans that I (and probably all of you) knew so well in college.
The story begins innocently enough when long-haired hippie housemate Carter (drawn so that you can actually smell him) comes downstairs. He and the other housemates are making falafel, and he needs to make a run to the health food store. Carter convinces our hero (quite against his better judgement) to let him borrow Gavin’s car. The events that follow from this initial bad decision cause me to bristle with their familiarity.
When the inevitable fender bender occurs, Gavin learns a valuable lesson about the hippie sense of responsibility. Carter, much like many people I have known, lived with, or had indebted to me, reacts to Gavin’s outrage with disgust. Across these sixteen pages, Gavin recounts with baffled frustration the ordeal of Carter’s excuses, explanations, and unsurprising attempt to disappear. Their interactions are pretty darn funny - not like when a hippie is screwing up my life. That’s never funny at all. But here, it’s happening to somebody else! In the end, he emerges a wiser young man for the experience. Gavin, I feel you man.
I enjoyed his comic, but Gavin unfortunately did not include a price. Nevertheless, it would be worth your while to check his web site and see what you think.
digest-size, 20 pp., $1
917 SW Oak St. #218, Portland, OR 97205
A while back, I got the first issue of MALADY for review and although I liked it, I wasn’t all that impressed. I remember the comic being too concerned with the minutiae, and not offering much in the way of story arc or character development. Nevertheless, the zine had its merits and I hoped she would continue. And kudos, she has!
By this third issue, she is starting to utilize her zine potential a little more fully, still enjoying the details but allowing more of herself to come through. She even tells a full-fledged story (about the unexpected consequences of sneaking in to her workplace to do her personal laundry). The words and pictures come together very nicely, and an unmistakable Portland sensibility is beginning to develop along with her comic confidence. Also, the last two pages are so funny, she ought to charge an extra dollar for them.
MODERN ROBOT ILLUSTRATED #1
by Dug Belan
digest-size, 12 pp., $1 or trade
707 E. Wright St. Milwaukee, WI 53212
How many times has this happened to you? You’re in the middle of a domestic task when you suddenly realize that this tedious, humdrum activity is totally beneath you. Being a smart person, you determine that the modern solution to your age-old problem is the use of a household robot.
It is a well-known fact that the future was invented in 1950, and that future promised each and every American citizen two flying cars in every garage, and a household robot in every home. Those lobbyists from Firestone and Good Year have paid the government to keep flying cars off the market, but surely the household robots must be available by now. 1950 was ages ago!
Confident that a robot is out there for you, ready and willing to do your chores, you face yet another dilemma: where does the average person-on-the-go obtain the robot of his or her dreams, and what will this robot be capable of?
To the rescue comes MODERN ROBOT ILLUSTRATED, the first zine devoted to bringing you the latest news about fine automated companions. Writer and illustrator Dug Belan displays for you, at the low price of one dollar, twelve exciting models of robots, with the promise of more to come. Only here can you learn about the Signa-Borg, a robot built to sign your name anywhere, anytime, up to ten times in a single day! Or the sanity-saving Grocery-Bot. When you’ve been exhausted by a long day of shopping, hauling dry goods to and from the car, and finally putting them away in your cupboards, the Grocery-Bot will put an end to your troubles by folding up those complicated brown bags. The future is here!
This catalogue is charmingly illustrated, and each robot is accompanied by a fun description of its talents and limitations. Utterly worth the price!
by Dave Gilbert
digest-size, 16 pp., $2 or trade
1711 E. Rawhide #114
Las Vegas, NV 89119-2753
Davida seems to have noticed how much I liked the CHAOS comix I reviewed last issue (very little escapes her hawklike gaze) so this time around I was blessed with another mighty stack of them. Once again, I am impressed by the publication schedule. This is all the labor of one hard-working individual, and in the last issue I reviewed the seventeenth issue of CHAOS. But issues twelve and fourteen were also in the stack, and they were all dated 2004. And now I have been blessed with issues eighteen, nineteen, twenty, and twenty-three… also dated 2004. That’s at least twelve issues of CHAOS in a single year! All the rest of us should be bitterly ashamed of ourselves.
Creator Dave Gilbert is very committed to the fast and furious school of underground comics. He draws in pen, he says what needs to be said (and believe me, the issues covered in CHAOS are relevant, controversial topics) and then he dives into the next assignment.
Like last time, I’ll focus on a particular issue to keep myself from rambling unduly. The very funny CHAOS #18 is all about the legalization of marijuana, adopting the point of view of Stoners Against Legalization. In a series of insightful, politically-charged comics, Dave paints a grim portrait of what America might become if marijuana were made legal. Forget the decay of morals and the skyrocketing crime rate that the religious right have been carrying on about for all these years. That is nothing. What CHAOS show us is a world where the great marketing machines have made America a very unpleasant place to be a stoner. Weed at Wal-Mart! Yuppies talking trash in hash-bars! Exclusive marijuana divisions at R.J. Reynolds! Irritating trust-find hippies slouching on street corners, begging for buds (instead of money to buy them). These are the demons that we really have to fear from legalization.
This issue has some longer comics, a few very short comics, and one comic that seems to have been dreamed up while under the influence of the drug in question. Topics from other issues include Devil Music (that would be the rock and roll, kiddies), the Bush empire, men who transmute into breasts, and the war as seen through the eyes of “Private Chuckles”.
Overall, these issues of CHAOS are of consistently high quality. No, you’re probably not going to find Mr. Gilbert’s work popping up in books published by Marvel or DC, but he can spin a ripping good yarn (and the same cannot always be said for Marvel or DC). And let’s be honest: if you published a dozen issues of your zine in a year, would any of them be good? Somehow, this guy pulled it off. CHAOS kicks ass.
DAYBREAK NEWS #5
tabloid size, 12 pp., free (but donate! They need it!)
PO Box 14007, Minneapolis, MN 55414
DAYBREAK NEWS is an anarchist newspaper published by a collective in Minneapolis, and although my basis for comparison is relatively slender, these folks seem to be doing a really good job. The articles may not be up to professional standards but they are clear, informative and interesting to read. Most importantly, DAYBREAK NEWS lacks the vitriol and self-proclaimed victim status that one sometimes finds in anarchist self-publishing; these qualities can put off potential readers and ensure that your publication is only preaching to the converted. Not so with these folks.
In terms of content, DAYBREAK NEWS runs the gamut of articles that would be relevant to its readership. Coverage of rallies and protests (both local and national) dominate the opening pages, outlining a picture of ongoing hostilities between anarchists and fascists. Other articles include a take on gentrification, a police blotter, and reports on anything that might represent a threat to civil liberties (for example, the creepy Verichip technology being manufactured in St. Paul). There are also editorial columns, a bit of humor and a host of zine reviews.
This newspaper seems like a potent resource, in general as well as specifically to the Twin Cities community. As with any such newspaper, DAYBREAK NEWS is (and likely always will be) on the brink of bankruptcy, and they include a plea for donations of money and labor. Anybody interested in anarchist politics (intelligent anarchist politics) should contact the collective or check out their web site, and help keep the paper on its feet. They could use your help, and given the state of the world today, the whole damn country could use your help.
THE BOOK OF BILLY
by Billy Roberts
7x8 ½ , 24 pp., $1
1357 W. Augusta #1, Chicago, IL 60622
Religion is a sticky wicket. For thousands of years, people have done some of the most terrible things in the name of religion. My boyfriend has a rather undifferentiated view of all religions as misleading, unnecessary, and the product of weak minds; I tend to be a little more lenient. I will be the first to proclaim that almost every religious organization has gone wildly astray from its intent. However, I also acknowledge that religions - no matter how misguided in their foundation - can be a valuable tool for many individuals. They provide a moral compass, and a necessary sense of hope. No matter that the hope may be predicated on a lie; however false its source, the hope remains true.
I’ve reviewed many of Billy’s works in the past. He’s a major player in the Chicago zine scene, and the man behind some great publications like Proof I Exist, Her, and another really good one that I reviewed in XD which I won’t name, because Billy wrote it pseudonymously. If you knew which zine I was talking about, you’d understand why!
In THE BOOK OF BILLY, he brings us what could arguably be called his most personal work to date, though the argument would be a tough one since most of his zines are pretty darn personal.
Billy approaches religion as it’s meant to be: a set of facts, ideas and guidelines to help a person live a richer life filled with joy. What he comes up with is a series lists. Each list covers a subject that is important to Billy’s happiness and his understanding of what makes life valuable. Beneath each subject is listed a series of thoughts that explain how Billy relates to it.
The ideas covered in THE BOOK OF BILLY are Art, Fame, Baby Dolls, Expression, Sleep Deprivation, Punk Rock, Pirates, Money, Orgasm, and Inspiration. On each topic, Billy offers sage advice about how these important ideas can enrich your life without overtaking it. He identifies THE BOOK OF BILLY as a book of religion, because they share the same pure intent. The only difference is that the religion of Billy has yet to be corrupted by wicked, greedy men who seek to utilize its message for impure purposes. Lacking this corruption, THE BOOK OF BILLY contains no concept which might by allegorically related to Hell. The only implicit threat in Billy’s religion is that, if you waste your life instead of enriching it, your life will be less fun.
You come away from this zine with a stupidly happy sense of how easy it is to be joyous. Most interactions with Billy end this way.
6595, St-Hubert, C.P. 59019
Montréal, QC Canada H2S 3P5
Christine Douville is a poet and writer, and the editor of Pouèt-cafëe litzine (available for $5 ppd or trade). She also runs Le Petit Marakkesh zine and small press distro (http://marakkesh.blogspot.com). She loves mail, and reading zines in the bath! Write to her at the address above.
The 3rd annual EXPOZINE, Montreal’s small press, comic and zine fair, took place at l’Usine C last November. Once again, comic artist Billy Mavreas and Fish Piss editor Louis Rastelli did a fantastic job in reuniting over 160 creative minds to showcase local projects both in English and in French. I had finished stitching all of Pouèt-cafëe’s new issue the night before, and came home with a huge bag of trades, completely ecstatic. Here is an overview of the little treasures I found at Expozine this year.
Elizabeth Belliveau, firstname.lastname@example.org. mini, 34 pages, $4 Can. or trade.
All of Elizabeth’s zines seemed so cool... I couldn’t choose. She suggested her newest, which she liked the most. September album is Elizabeth’s “break up album”, filled with thoughts and drawings of her new Montreal apartment, her dreams, and half-erased memories that won’t fade away completely... A truly artistic mind is behind this zine!
MERGE MY BODY WITH THE LIGHT
Amanda Earl, www.storm.ca/~handmaiden, email@example.com, digest, 22 pages, $6 US or $9 Can.
This unique erotic chapbook is sealed with wax - I actually couldn’t bring myself to break the seal until the XD deadline approached. Really a beautiful book-object, illustrated by her husband Charles with artwork and photographs. And the poems inside are just as beautiful. I know I won’t just put them aside now that I’ve broken the seal - I’ll want to read them again.
Drue Langlois, firstname.lastname@example.org, digest, 34 pages, $5 Can. or trade.
The cover says “illustrated stories” - I say “crazy comics”! Four short comics in this issue: “The Chocolate Factory Robbery”, “Candy Man”, “The Evil Adventures of Polio”, plus one with no title - the dialogue for this one was written on a piece of paper Drue found on the ground. I think this is one of the first issues, which appealed me the most, but I’m curious to read more of these crazy stories!
Montreal is especially prolific in litzine activity (apart from comics, of course). Here are a few more reading recommendations:
Stationæry, an enthusiastic newcomer to the zine community. Stationæry comes out every 6 weeks and publishes fiction, non-fiction, essays and personal reflection writings, as well as black and white art and photography. Write to Daniel and Ilya at 4456 Hotel de Ville Ave., Montreal, QC, H2W 2H5, Canada, or e-mail them at email@example.com.
Streeteaters is published monthly and presents cut and paste poetry, prose, black and white photography and visual pieces. It’s one of the senior local litzines, and is edited by poet Paula Belina, instigator of the now defunct Artist Market. Write to P.O. Box 1783, Station H, Montreal, QC, H3G 2N6, Canada, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yalla, also a new litzine, publishes poetry, mini-fiction, photography, illustration, opinion, manifestos, etc. Write to James Irwin, c/o Streeteaters Prods., P.O. Box 1783, Station H, Montreal, QC, H3G 2N6, Canada, or at email@example.com.
Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
I must admit, I’ve been hording zines. I see zines in the to-review stack that I want to read and sneak and put them in my personal stack. This stack got a bit out of control and the guilt fairy paid me a visit and said if I wanted to horde these zines then I had to review them all. The only problem was it took me forever to read them. Thankfully two trips (one work and one pleasure), plus the flu got me somewhat caught up on my reading. Please note that several zines are by the same writer so if you don’t see the contact info at the end of the review, keep reading.
Time Enough at Last
A Reading Log 2004
I’m sure there are still plenty of the “I got drunk and pissed blood last night” zines out there, but either there are more and more bookish zines or I’m just lucky to find them. (Also, these days you can’t throw a rock in zinedom without hitting a librarian, would-be librarian, or library groupie.) The more I read about all the books other people are reading, the more I wish I had more time to read (which by the way puts me in the library groupie category). A.j. provides a look at the books she read last year, complete with reviews or quotes. We both read and loved Al Burian’s Things are Meaning Less and Craig Thompson’s Blankets. Overall, if you find yourself peeking to see what strangers are reading in public or have more than three stacks of books in your house waiting to be read, you’ll enjoy reading over A.j.’s shoulder.
112 Muir, PMB 1057, Hazelton, PA 18201
Chicago Stories by Aaron Cometbus
This is a nicely bound story short collection from issues 35, 37, 38, 41, and 45 of Cometbus, with a cover by Megan Kelso. It’s strange to see Aaron’s words typeset, but they carry equal weight whether handwritten or not. If you’ve never read Cometbus, this is an excellent sampling if the legendary zine. If you have, but want to again marvel at the simple prose that elucidates upon the complexities of daily existence, get this.
No contact information listed, but I picked it up for $3 from Atomic Books.
There are certain zines where I know I will learn something new. In the case of Opuntia, I’m guaranteed to learn several somethings. I’m also amazed at just how many communities Dale is a part of and regularly contributes to. (Note: whole numbered issues are sercon (which according to my quickie research means “serious constructive”) 1 issues are reviews, .2 issues are indexes, .3 issues are apazines, and .5 issues are perzines. A clever way to produce a multi-faceted zine in segments.)
Letters of comment and Dale’s responses, as well as a report on a skydiving wedding entrance (Dale works for the parks dept. and was on hand to watch). He remembers the eccentrics that used to populate downtown Calgary, and offers several vignettes of his days and interests.
FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association) issue, which contains comments on a received FAPA mailing, a article about the loss of Robyn Herrington, which was involved in Calgary’s Sci-Fi community, and secret codes on postcards.
Letters of comment, zine listings, mail art listings, book reviews, including one on roadside memorials and one about the man behind the Ponzi scheme, Carlos Ponzi. Did you know he used International Postal Reply coupons as the basis for his scheme? As I said, you’ll learn something new in every issue.
A huge list of peer reviewed journals and their websites. Dale breaks them down by category: Agriculture and horticulture, astronomy and physics, biology, computers, ecology and environmental science, economics, entomology, geology, history and geography, language and cognition, palaeobiology and evolution, plant sciences, science, and zoology.
FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association) issue, which contains comments on a received FAPA mailing. For me, the highlight of the issue was the letters Dale inherited which date from 1939. He wonders about the homesteader’s life and where he lived, so he tries to research based on clues contained within the letters. Does Dale look like Rip Torn? Get a copy of this and decide for yourself.
I read Carl Hiassen’s latest book Skinny Dip a few months back. In it one of the characters has a fascination for roadside memorials. Dale takes this interest one step further and offering a history of them, photos, and even researching the accident victims. The day after I read this zine, I looked at several memorials that were on my route to work with more curiosity. A fascinating modern memento mori.
$3/16 pgs/horizontal digest/trade or letter of comment
Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta T2P 2E7 CANADA
For Point of Divergence APA (devoted to alternative history)
Reports on Calgary’s annual Sci-Fi convention, Con-Version, an excerpt of the aforementioned list of peer reviewed journals, and excerpts from recent readings.
$3/16 pgs/horizontal digest/trade or letter of comment
Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta T2P 2E7 CANADA
I remember being told by a valued teacher in high school to “be where you are” – that if you want to be somewhere else you should go there. Too many people, both figuratively or literally, spend all their time wanting something they don’t have to or be somewhere they are not. The simple act of living in the moment is lost on them – but not Fred Argoff, the unofficial ambassador of Brooklyn. He is interested in his hometown on a macro level and like clockwork, he invites readers to join him as he explores his environs.
I never realized that large cities don’t get a lot of lightning (heat convection!) until I read his introduction! I would miss that – one of the storms I watched last summer on the way home from work was amazing. Every road has a story and goes somewhere – somewhere Fred is likely to be found with his trusty camera.
A Brooklyn joke, the history of consolidation, Brownsville, photos, tales of train riding, bus routes, things that don’t exist any more, and famous the “Brooklyn Lexicon and Pronunciation Guide.”
$10 for 4 issues/24 pgs/digest/trades
1800 Ocean Pkwy. #F-10
Brooklyn, NY 11223
Watch the Closing Doors #27
Oh how I yearn for the day I can get back on the train to get to work. I am stuck in the car for at least two hours a day, so WATCH THE CLOSING DOORS is my only window back to the mass transit world I loved.
Tales of cramped cars, overheard conversations, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, 181st Stress station, BRT vs. BMT, Berlin trains and more.
Watch the Closing Doors #28
The 2nd Ave. Subway has been in the works since Clara Bow was all the rage, but according to Fred, the line is supposed to open for service in 2015. I have no doubt he’ll report on the grand opening. He also addresses fares and how customers are never happy with the cost to ride, has a few fun facts, discusses Chicago’s CTA, and offers lots of photos.
Watch the Closing Doors #29
Fred tells of the proposal of the transit authority to allow corporate sponsorship of stations all around New York City. The horror! He envisions announcements of, “The next stop will be Crest Toothpaste Station.” Our brave new world is here. The other highlight of the issue for me was learning about Cincinnati’s failed subway system, which was started in 1920. I always learn something new.
.$10 for 4 issues/24 pgs/digest/trades
1800 Ocean Pkwy. #F-10
Brooklyn, NY 11223
THE CHEAP VEGAN #18
Good cheap ideas and easy, basic recipes! This issue has a bunch of raw recipes, which I can’t vouch for (I just happen to like food really hot), but they look tasty enough.
New Address: PO Box 981, Fort Worth, TX 76101
Remember those nasty recipe cards from the 70’s that were (and are) ubiquitous at Goodwills across the land – so do Stephanie and Kevin. The photos of the foods are reproduced and comments made. Aspic just sounds disgusting. I think my vote for the grossest dish has to be “pizza with a hamburger crust.”
New Address: PO Box 981, Fort Worth, TX 76101
I know chocoholics and it isn’t a pretty disease. It causes my friend Dar to raid my sugar stash every 28 days or so. I’ve never been a big chocolate fan, but reading this caused even me to want a fix. Lots of reviews, news, and recipes.
New Address: PO Box 981, Fort Worth, TX 76101
If you’ve ever wanted tips, tricks, and recipes to make homemade smoothies, check this out!
New Address: PO Box 981, Fort Worth, TX 76101
I know I should try not to review the other reviewers as often as I do, but it is hard when they publish some of my favorite zines. Granted, the poetry often makes me feel dimwitted, but DWAN’s arts & letters tone puts it in a class by itself. It is personal, sliding all around the scale, from introspection and detachment to bemusement and depression. His journal entries, printed alongside letters from friends and readers offer a glimpse at what may (or may not) be important to Donny (in the interest of full disclosure several of letters mine are printed). Recommended.
$1/20pgs/digest/trade, free to prisoners for a personal letter
915 W Second St., Bloomington IN 47403
I remember exactly where I was when I read parts of this issue – I was standing at BWI airport waiting to pick up a friend. In the minutes that passed waiting for her plane to land Matt reinvigorated my views and passions for zines. In “Crackpots with Typewriters” he confesses how he went from dabbling in zines to realizing that they became part of who he is. He explains that zines have made him a better writer and this essay is one of my favorites. He says that zines saved him from an artistic and personal meltdown, and I think that idea speaks to many of us. Also in the issue, a dream of a deceased friend, and an essay on how projects he contributes to or is part of seem to vanish. Everyone loves a neighbor story that involves the police and the statement, “Officer!…Can I move my hand please? The alley cat just wiped his ass on my face!” Highly recommended.
1573 N Milwaukee Ave., PMB 464, Chicago, IL 60622,
For the Clerisy
FtC is a thinking person’s zine. Not the all thought and no depth school, but random phone call from a friend where they tell you they have a new philosophy based on The Stranger and an hour later you are arguing about whether rice noodles or mung bean noodles are better.
For the Clerisy #57
Brant spent several years living in Japan (1979-80 and 1986-1992), both as a student and later an English teacher. This is, in my opinion, his most revealing issue, offering personal experience in addition to his book inspired dialogues. Being an expatriate is not always an easy life and he finds himself becoming more and more burnt out and frustrated. He offers honest advice if one if considering teaching English in a foreign country and gives readers and idea of the cultural intricacies of the Japanese workplace. Despite his brutal honesty, this only fueled my desire to visit Japan one day.
For the Clerisy #58
Russian writers, reading Somerset Maugham, a book burning in Iowa, zine reviews, and a lengthy section of letters of comment from all over the world.
For the Clerisy #59
Brant takes a walk on the wild side. “To say that this zine is rank propaganda for the sexual revolution, abortion, and the homosexual agenda would be beyond stating the obvious. No part of this zine should be analyzed as to whether it is right or wrong, good or bad. It’s all twisted, lewd in every way inappropriate.” He discusses sex similarly as he does war, politics, and culture – through books, movies, music, and personal dialog. Recommended.
$2, trade or letter of comment
P.O. Box 404, Getzville, NY 16068-0404
Women in Comics, Vol 1
This was rather cool – a whole zine about women in and creating comics. There is a long section on the early Wonder Woman comics (I had no idea bondage was an ongoing theme!). Mandy rounds the history out by including Wonder Woman in her interviews with Trina Robbins and Lillian S. Robinson (author of Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes). She also interviews Julie Doucet, Emily Blair (SOAP OPERA), and the creators of Street Angel. Great stuff if you are interested in comics, especially women in comics.
[might be old now, email for new address] 95 The Country Way, Kitchener, ON Canada N2E 2K3
Chris is our community Thoreau. He bridges the gap between the centuries and takes us with him on his journeys. While I love to be outside (especially in the water) when it is warm, I’m perfectly content to read about hiking when there is ice to be found. He travels to Grand Marais, MN, which is on Lake Superior. He is enamored of birds and trees, but confesses even he can be sucked into bad hotel room television. Always a treat.
2712 Pillsbury #105, Minneapolis, MN 55408
The Inner Swine Vol 10, No 3
I must admit, Jeff’s “It Means It’s Wank” column has given me some performance anxiety. I want to write witty, original things about THE INNER SWINE, the likes of while have never been said before. Unfortunately, the flu stole my ability to be witty or think beyond the concept of “I wonder how long I will have to lay on the couch before I die?” In fact, I’m about 50 germ cells from drooling and grunting. I wish Jeff and I better luck next time.
This issue is political in nature, rather, it is completely apolitical. In the world of zines, where everyone has a cause or injustice that winds the little motor in his or her heart, Jeff’s political nihilism is like reading a treatise on how the sun actually revolves around the earth. Possibly the funniest piece is his description of the bid for power going on in the third-floor restroom of his office building. This issue also offers up the last installment of his four-part short story “Book of Days.”
The Inner Swine Vol 10, No 4
“The Inner Swine discovers the true holiday spirit, and promptly drinks a bottle of Everclear, blacks out, and forgets everything…except the shame.” Yep, the cover about sums the issue up. Jeff wants his own godlike holiday, and explains the concept of Mental Health Days as a personal holiday. He also looks back at 10 years of Swining. Coincidentally, it is my tenth year doing Leeking Ink, so it was doubly interesting to see his then and now. A decent short story rounds it out.
P.O. Box 3024, Hoboken NJ 07030
Zines often cover a short, specific time frame, but this per-zine was several years in the making. The introduction slams through all the changes – from high school to dropping out of college through several moves and jobs. She visits DC as a teenager, and later NYC and Boston. She dishes the dirt on former roommates. Nice job on the motel sign photos.
$2-3US, $3-4 Can/Mex, $5 World
2705 Great Forest Dr., West Bend, WI 53090
THE MIDWEST COMPILATION
This zine is a response to the stereotypes and cultural bias east and west coasters have assigned to the heartland. The contributors offer poetry, essay, and photography proclaiming their love of the states that have at one or more right angles along their borders.
$2-3US, $3-4 Can/Mex, $5 World
Jessica and Rae
2705 Great Forest Dr., West Bend, WI 53090
This is a goofy (I mean that in a good way, I like goofy) compilation zine devoted to puns. Not the biggest fan of puns, I wasn’t sure I’d like this, but I must admit, I snickered at a few of these. The panels by Jeff Plotkin were especially good. Well worth the dollar for a smile. Larned also publishes reviews, mostly comix, at http://homemadekomics.blogspot.com/
P.O. Box 471, House Springs, MO 63051
Contessa’s Tome #8
Have you ever really thought about the zipper, apart from the times when you caught a sensitive bit in the teeth or walked around all day flashing your Calvin’s? DB has and he shares the history of the ubiquitous zipper in this latest episode of Contessa’s Tome. Oh, and the term zipper came later, it toiled as a hookless fastener for years. Learning the history of an object largely taken for granted is fascinating and has served to reinforce my determination to write something about Chester Carlson, the father of xerography.
25727 Cherry Hill Road, Cambridge Springs, PA 16403
Mail Art Forum
This whole zine is devoted to mail art. Gianni and guest editor Guido Vermeulen decided to do an issue on “femail” artists when they learned that there were books promoting the idea that there were very few women in mail art. Guido knew this to be false from his own projects and they sent out a questionnaire. The women each respond to questions and samples of their work are provided. Falls under the category of zine where I am happy to have learned something new.
$4.00 postpaid worldwide/72 pgs/digest/?trades
3-3-23 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama-shi, 226-0027 Kanagawa-ken JAPAN
I’ve been interested in Japan since becoming friends with a Japanese freelance writer a few years ago. I haven’t seen her since she was pregnant with her son, but I think about going to visit her in Tokyo one day. Like with For the Clerisy, it is captivating to read about a place you want to visit, especially through the eyes of someone who lives there, yet who started as a an outsider. In addition to Gianni’s descriptions of the city, food, and movies, and mass transit, Brant Kresovich offers an essay about Jack Seward, Robin Bougie (CINEMA SEWER) dreams about Japan, and Gigantor has a strange job interview. Recommended.
$4.00 postpaid worldwide or 3 IRCs/30 pgs/digest/?trades
3-3-23 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama-shi, 226-0027 Kanagawa-ken JAPAN
Hairstyle of the Postman #53
A Man Called Mullet, the 9th annual cult figure issue
A clever compilation of mail art submissions inspired by a found photo of a man with a mullet.
Stamp, 2 IRCs, something cool/16pgs/digest/trades
ASKalice Art Exchange Net
PO Box 101, Newtown, PA 18940
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, MIRANDA is one of my favorite zines. Kate’s prose seems so effortless, which to me is always the sign of a true writer. Kate’s lead a rich life and is currently the mother of two young sons. She incorporates her past and present in each issue. Despite having read every issue of Miranda, I never pictured her as one being a Jersey girl who would spend a night in 1985 waiting to get tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and then ride to the show in a Camaro. Zines offer these onion-like layers over time. She also explains why she has become an arsonist at her older son’s request. This installment of “The Motel of Lost Companions” is one of the best.
3510 SE Alder Street, Portland, OR 97214
Last Minute Announcements
Chiron Review will be reading for an all gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) issue from May 1-Oct. 1, 2005. We are seeking poems, short fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, book reviews, interviews, b/w artwork and photography for this special issue. Please send with SASE for reply/return to CHIRON REVIEW, GLBT Issue, 522 E. South Ave., St. John, KS 67576-2212. No e-mail submissions. A sample copy is $6, ppd. The GLBT issue of CR (#81, winter, 2005) will be the final issue of Chiron Review.
Please pass the word to as many writers as you'd like about this special issue. Submissions are open to everyone.
Michael, Chiron Review
NEW Address: 522 E. South Ave.
St. John, KS 67576-2212
Cool Stuff about the Salt Lake City Zine Library*
The City Library zine collection (located on level 2) was started in 1997
Currently the collection has about 6,000 zines, 15 subscriptions, and a number of reference books
We have zines from all over the world
Zines are reference only and do not check out (though that may be changing soon...)
We also have teen collections in the Canteena and in each branch and those zines do check out (for 2 weeks)
We have frequent programs, workshops and guests--to be put on our mailing/announcement list please email Julie Bartel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a zine you'd like us to consider for the collection please contact Brooke Young at email@example.com.
For questions about the collection please contact Julie Bartel** at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* from their website: http://www.slcpl.lib.ut.us/details.jsp?parent_id=144&page_id=145
** Julie has written From A to ZineBuilding a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library (Paperback / 152 pgs / ISBN 0838908861)