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Xerography Debt #39

Xerography Debt 39

About the Cover
By Bobby Tran Dale

It's rather bittersweet that on our 39th issue we finally get an excuse to work Prince into one of our covers. Since 1999, if not for Photoshop and Prince jams, XD's covers would likely never have gotten done, mine anyway. He also just happens to have released his 39th and final studio album (if you go by Billboard's count) so maybe in some spooky electric way this was meant to be.

For those of us who found Prince during our embattled formative years, long before zines let us know we weren't alone, and when "normal" society had no place for us, he promised an Uptown funk utopia for us freaks regardless of race & orientation.

Since discovering him at a wrecka stow on a K-Tel record as a kid, he became the soundtrack to the good times but also many friends' deaths, their coming outs, and other anchor moments in mine and a multitude of lives. Now the funk Mad Hatter is dead and it don't compute. The Dream Factory is closed and Camille has left the building.

So before this devolves into a full-on sappyass "tribute" and we start leaking purple, your XD Bump Squad takes one last wishful peek into the rabbit hole and ask: do you want starfish with your coffee?

(Dig if U will R back cover: We dug into R vault 4 Princezilla, 4 the zine IF PRINCE WAS MY GIRLFRIEND #2, circa 1998).

Available from Microcosm

To order a copy of this issue, please send $4 (order online, or send cash, stamps, money order, or check) to Microcosm Publishing

Cover Art by Bobby Tran Dale / Botda


I'm From Zines
Gloomy Sundays: A Few Questions
It Means It's Wank: Feeding the Trolls
Scene Canceled, Everyone Problematic
Ken's Column: Our Debt to Xerography
Basic Stuff You Should Know

Anne Thalheimer
D. Blake Werts
Carlos Palacios
David LaBounty
Davida Gypsy Breier
Eric Lyden
Fred Argoff
DJ Frederick
Gavin J. Grant
Joe Biel
Ken Bausert
Kris Mininger
Liz Mason
Maynard Welstand
Stuart Stratu


With technological changes, people have the capacity for almost unlimited connection. Most of us can call, email, text, swipe, message, tweet, or video call millions of friends and strangers. In theory, connection is unlimited. And yet it seems like connection with other people is now almost more difficult.

All of this capacity for communication often means connections are tenuous at best. Social media is a false front for most people. Few people talk on the phone, instead existing in brief text exchanges. Groups of people gather to stare at their phones. Listening and understanding another person's perspective is somehow harder when presented on a computer screen. Just click on the comments on even the most innocuous story and you'll descent into a cesspool of intolerance.

When people attempt to connect, they often tell stories. Stories are what bind us. They are what teach us about others and about ourselves. Zines are often very personal storytelling. They are a way to connect that takes the technology out of it, where you get to sit down and get inside another person's head or experiences. It is a sweeping generalization, but zine readers are curious about lives that are different from their own. You may disagree, but if you are a zine reader, you have already agreed to listen at least.

I've been reading Joe Biel's book, Good Trouble. I'm learning about what it is like to have Asperger's Syndrome in his own words and with a level of context that forces me to consider my own perceptions and reactions. In Karla Keffer's zines, she's writing about her childhood, and I think about kids I went to school with and now my own son navigating these waters. In Ken Bausert's zines, I get to hear about working on cars and traveling as a retiree. Anto's zines tell me about his life in Ireland. I picture Kris reading lesser known books in Spain. I am connected to all of these people though their words. In some cases, the connections via paper are more tangible than my real life interactions. I know that in my own zines, I often write things I don't even tell my friends. There is something about paper that allows me to talk in ways that words do not. I assume it is the same for others, thus this weird magical intimacy created on an inanimate object.

Get out there and listen. Connect. And tell your stories. And send us your zines, please.


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