Saturday, December 31, 2011
Oh man, I have been working on this thing non-stop for a week to meet the 2011 RoP deadline. I am happy to report that I got this bugger in the can at 3:10pm Pacific time. I love and welcome trades. POB 3331 Hayden, ID 83835
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Aardvark #3
College Park, MD 20740
The Aardvark maintains itself as a tribute to, and advocate for the written word, as long as those written words exists on actual paper. It is as staunchly pro-analog as it is anti-digital. This zine is almost entirely composed of reviews of books and zines, which might sound kind of boring to some people, but for me is pure gold; if it wasn’t for review zines I wouldn’t have been introduced to half the music, art, and literature that I have over the years, and so I feel indebted to those wonderful people who have taken the time to highlight all that great and weird stuff over the years. The reviews in the Aardvark are far from typical and are instead packed full of critical analysis and philosophical meandering that really bring the works covered to life. My favorite part is entitled, “New Looks at Old Books” wherein he reviews old books that he has found over the years and gives them some modern attention. The books covered are centered on living a simple life in the relatively modern world (if looked at from the standpoint of a evolutionary biologist, 1954 isn’t that long ago right?). This is a great zine that truly honors the sacred art of screen-free reading.
ps: sorry about the picture of the cover, sadly it fell victim to an unfortunate water accident in my bathroom.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I found this gem in a box of old video tapes while cleaning out the garage this week. This is some of the raw footage of the great Portland pop punk band The Automatics that I shot back in 1996 at my house. They were supposed to play the Missoula rock club, Jay’s Upstairs, but unfortunately Jay’s was overbooked. I asked them to play at my house. This is quintessential mid-90’s punk which represents such a profound place and time for me. During their set, people would wander in and out of my house, grab beers from the fridge, and then go back outside and listen to the music. I stayed inside, drank beers, and cheered like a Scandinavian metalhead. Jesse Kimball’s bass amp blew out early in the performance so he just set his guitar aside and grabbed the mic for the rest of the 20-plus song set. I recently saw Jesse on an episode of ‘Diners, Drive-ins & Dives’ Chefing at The Memphis Taproom in his home town of Philadelphia. It was great to see how well he is doing. He was also the man behind the Portland drink punk mag, Beer Can Fanzine.
sound & video quality: shit
sound & video quality: shit
Friday, November 18, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Green Woman: a Literary Garden
two issue subscription $12.50
Colorado Springs, CO 80934-6587
The world is in rough shape right now. Green Woman Magazine seeks to help this battered old world out a bit. The primary focus of this magazine is gardening, and how to live a more earth-conscious lifestyle. As a fan of people who are trying to do this, I really like this stuff, but am not very good at it myself. Every time I try to grow an herb garden in my back yard, either the deer eat it or it dries out because I forget to water it. I’m not willing to subject vegetables to this. I’m also one of those who thinks that Michael Ruppert is mostly right, and because of this I’ve been fascinated with seed storage and procurement for a while now, there is a great article on that very subject in here that I really dug. I also really enjoyed the articles entitled ‘Organicize Me’ where a dude goes one month eating and drinking nothing but organic products(prices included) , and a personal account of life in the medicinal medical marijuana world (‘Hello, Doobie Tuesday’) that helped this confusingly great idea come to life for me. This is a excellent first issue with a hell of a lot of soul that today, is more important than ever. Order it, read it, live it.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Martha Stewart’s Prison Reader of Blather & Malarkey #1
Tulsa, OK 74159
MSPROBM is Tarnation Collins first attempt at making a zine. He’s married, has three small children, lives in Tulsa Oklahoma, and is often overcome with a profound sense of loneliness, all of which he writes about in a very approachable way in this issue. This is a nice first issue that felt like it was written by someone who needed a creative outlet that probably wasn’t being satisfied from blogs and other sources. I’ve always felt that the simple, physical act of putting a zine together can be profoundly cathartic, MSPROBM felt like it could have been just that for the author. This is a perzine full of perzine stuff: poetry, original stories, opinion pieces, games, and even a parable. I liked this zine a lot and hope Tarnation keeps it going.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
one 1st class stamp
Upheaval used to be a full sized zine that covered hardcore, crust, punk from around the world. Due to personal & financial issues that the author, Craig talks about in this issue, he has decided to scale back a bit. This issue is simply one page, but still covers hardcore, punk, and crust from around the world. I checked out all of the bands mentioned in this issue and found a couple that I really dig. One stamp is the price, and if you’re into this type of music, it’s definitely worth it.
Monkey Squad One #7
There is so much going on in every page of this comic, so much attention to detail throughout. This particular issue of MS1 is about a rapper named Trik Erl Dub and three of his young fans getting lost in a zombie apocalypse. It has all the trimmings of a fine zombie kill fest: gore, humor, and toilets. This comic comes out pretty regularly, and the back story is pretty elaborate, so you might want to order back issues before jumping into later issues if you haven't read it before.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Thank You #2
Zines from small towns rule. Even if a zine sucks, but is from a small town, it’s still kind of rad. Fortunately, Thank You doesn’t suck, AND it’s from a small town, Casper Wyoming, hometown of onetime vice president, former defense secretary, and previous CEO of halliburton, richard b. cheney. Wyoming is the least populous state in the union with a population of 563,626, and is the tenth largest state, that’s awesome. I drove through Casper this summer on the way to Colorado, and it really is as “In the middle of nowhere” as anywhere in the lower 48. Thank You is a mish mash of collages of funny local magazine and newspaper adds, goofy drawings, an interview early 80’s pro-skater and current Casper resident Moses Parker, and my favorite segment: ‘7 more wonders of Casper’ which spotlights some of the local flavor (strip clubs, street people, massage parlors, and cigars stores). I love it when great zines pop up out of the most unexpected places, Casper being one of those places. Thank You Zine is worth your time.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Kung Fu Grip! #5
7730 E. Broadway #925
Tucson, AZ 85710
KFG is a beautifully put together zine. It’s the kind of
zine that, after having read it, I keep thumbing through it to
admire just how fucking cool it looks. With the aesthetic of a 1970’s era comic book/martial
arts magazine, Kung Fu Grip #5 explores a wide variety of subjects ranging from
graffiti artists (Shiro), Jamaican recording artist and comic book enthusiast
Lee Perry , and the link between giant Buddha statues, Shinto deities, and
popular Japanese television superhero shows like Ultraman. Paco D. Taylor appears to be a true aficionado
of 70’s pop culture, art, and style, and he brings that passion to life in the
modern world with this zine. The subject matter is interesting and engaged, never
feeling pretentious or out of place, and the layout is flawless.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Here's the article that Jenna Freedman wrote about the 2011 Revenge of Print challenge for the Library Journal.com . http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/reviews/magazine/891662-285/revenge_of_print_retired_zinesters.html.csp
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Bad Breath Comics #3
Some of these comics reminded me of Raymond Pettibon not just in style but in tone as well. Minimalist Black and white deeply contrasted drawings juxtaposed with ambiguous-yet-provocative dialogue. If that sounds appealing to you (it does to me), then get this immediately. The stories go from strange to political to strange again. I really liked this.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Congratulations to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on their efforts to stop whaling on the Southern Ocean for the past seven years. Totally badass.
Visit their site, learn about all the other terrible stuff happening in the oceans around the world, and support their efforts to stop it.
Gojira makes radical environmentalism sexy.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Total Fest http://wantagetotalfest.blogspot.com/ was in Missoula this weekend marking it's tenth anniversary as a music festival. I only got to attend Friday, but got my total fix. Incredible as always. Here's a short video I put together from the event.
Some other bands that played over the three days were:
Hammerhead, Japanther, Goddammitboyhowdy, Thrones, Pine Hill Haints, White Shit, Vaz, Pygmy Shrews, The Trashies, The Blind Shake, Helms Alee, and on and on. Thumbs up to everyone involved.
Some other bands that played over the three days were:
Hammerhead, Japanther, Goddammitboyhowdy, Thrones, Pine Hill Haints, White Shit, Vaz, Pygmy Shrews, The Trashies, The Blind Shake, Helms Alee, and on and on. Thumbs up to everyone involved.
Here's a quick interview Jenna Freedman did with me for her article on zinesters coming out of retirement for the Library Journal Online. http://lowereastsidelibrarian.info/zinesterinterview/randyspaghetti
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Edible Secrets: a Food Tour of Classified US History
Michael Hoerger & Mia Partlow
222 s. Rogers St.
Bloomington, IN 47404-4936
All governments are corrupt on a certain level. The larger the government, the more the corruption. That’s an inescapable fact of life. It is inherent to human nature that whenever a group of us gain a certain amount of influence and power, the group will often do very bad things to maintain it, Group being the defining factor. This is true whether it’s a hippie commune in Oregon or the former Soviet Union. And depending on your perspective, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve grown up in the US and have benefited greatly because of some of the very ruthless behaviors of my government at the federal level, the state level, and even at the city council level. So have you. That’s not to say that I’m okay with all of the nasty stuff that governments do behind the scenes to maintain power, but it is true. It then becomes important for us, as citizens and beneficiaries of this stuff to become aware of and educated about these behaviors. If nobody is telling them to stop, they won’t. As we are gearing up for a presidential election, we get to hear all kinds of fun campaign speeches and rhetoric from people who would like to take the helm for a while. Funny how they never talk about their policies on maintaining support for sadistic third-world dictators and murderous union-busting corporate thugs in Columbia and other places. They do, however, talk a lot about job creation, which often needs those shadowy figures in the background to work effectively. Cheap resources aren’t cheap for everyone.
What we have here is a book about corruption, espionage, and the maintenance of power as it pertains to food. The authors have been wading through piles (on-line files?) of de-classified government documents and have found some strange stuff indeed (poisoned chocolate milkshakes for Fidel…). It is a fascinating look into the world of threat suppression, and how it has sometimes related to various foods, or food-producing corporations. The book has a great layout with copies of the actual documents, pictures, fun facts, great illustrations by Nate Powell, and even “Defenders of Capitalism Finger Puppets” for the kids. Wow.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Bring on the Dancing Horses
Honestly, when I first got this zine in the mail and read the title I was a bit turned off. It sounded either super pretentious, or painfully earnest and I was ready to hate it (I had never heard the Echo & the Bunnymen song). I started to read and it seemed as though my skepticism was justified, “The day’s first light. Atmosphere in shades of liquid….” . “Oh shit, here we go” I thought. But then something strange happened, I kept reading, and I began to feel like a dick for pre-judging it, and for being so goddamn jaded in the first place. Although BODH is guilty of being earnest, it is far from painful, and after I got into the zine and gave it a chance, I really really enjoyed it. My favorite genres of fanzines are travel, personal, and punk. This is all three. The story meanders from Portland to New York and various places in between. Most of the tale revolves around a squat in NYC called the Bowery Manor. Not only is this a beautifully written account of love, DIY squatting, and travel in the modern world, but it explores a host of political issues and personal convictions in a way that I really responded to. It made me think a lot about my own life, and some of the convictions that I have let go of over the years. I love it when a zine gets me out of the comfort zone and thinking about old ideas with new insight. I highly recommend this zine.
Stranger two Stranger , May 2011
I love the simplicity of the concept for this zine: find weird Craigslist personal adds and illustrate them. Brilliant. This is the kind of zine that could potentially stick around for a long time, and hopefully it will. Funny drawings connected to weird personal adds never gets old. Great zine.
Hot Dog Dayz
suggested donation of $5
Hot Dog Dayz is a collage, photography, and art zine with a heavy emphasis on pictures of James Franco and bullet belts. It’s fun to look at. If you are into this type of zine, you would probably dig it. It’s a non-profit zine and the proceeds are donated to various charitable causes (it doesn’t state specifically which ones).
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
This mixed tape was made for me by a Missoula friend that went to Lansing Michigan for a week. I'm not sure what year, but I'm thinking it was sometime around 95-96. At the time mixed tapes were one of the only ways to hear new punk and indi music for someone living in a relatively rural state like Montana. Missoula's college radio station KBGA 89.9 was just getting started, and the people at Rockin' Rudy's could only stomach so much of dudes like me standing at their listening stations asking the people behind the counter to grab records of bands that we had recently read about in Flipside and MRR. The tape is 90 minutes of Michigan State University Radio, Impact 89 fm's punk show. All punk, and all bands that I was pretty unaware of at the time, The Bassholes, Sinister Six, Hyperdrive Kittens, M80's, Percolators, Fur, the Muffs, Devil Dogs, Low-Downs, Beavers, the Phantoms. This tape is still great, and for me it's more than just a happy relic from a time gone by, this tape is much more significant in that it was also the first time that I heard Teengenerate, who subsequently became one of my favorite bands of all time. It also has a great in-studio performance/interview with local hardcore band The Actionaries. I love this tape.
There should be an archive collection for old mixed tapes at the smithsonian.
So friggin' good...
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Psionic Plastic Joy #16
Reading this issue of PPJ reminded me of the first time that I read Maximumrocknroll after years of reading glossy metal magazines; I didn’t know what was going on inside, but I was curious and wanted to know more. Psionic Plastic Joy appears to be a sort of conspiracy theory zine that wants nothing to do with the modern techno-industrial world. It’s full of articles, poetry, stories, essays, and tons of eerie collage art that all seem to be pointed in the direction of a post-industrial society. I really liked the article entitled, ‘Denying the Unavoidable’ by primitivist John Zerzan, and the interview with Reality Impaired Recording’s Stan Boman. Reading PPJ was a lot like listening to Coast to Coast AM late at night: I don’t believe all of what I am hearing, but am thoroughly entertained.
James N. Dawson
Junk Zine is a collection of zine reviews, poetry, pen pal adds, and letters from readers. It’s a great resource for connecting with zine people and other outsiders lurking about in the print-format underworld.
Rambles to t(l)c 323, February 2011
the subtitle says it all: ‘Debates, Discussions, Diatribes on Libertarianism, Anarchism, Consensus vs. Alternative Science, Religion, Ethics, Philosophy, the Internet & Papernet, Language, Broadcast TV & More’…..whoa. This is an APA style zine that serves as an on-going discussion on the topics mentioned above. I enjoyed reading the discussions contained within, particularly those surrounding Minarchism, and Libertarianism. I am a big fan of what James is doing within the self-publishing world in general and Rambles to t(l)c 323 is a great example of that.
Media Junky #14
Media Junky is a zine-review zine that wants to remain internet free and only reviews zines with a physical address. The reviews are thorough and honest. This issue is packed full of really great zines. Like Psionic Plastic Joy, Jason’s other zine, it’s also full of creepy-yet-thought provoking collage art. Great zine.
Negative Capability #5
New York, NY 10021
If you have had the opportunity to read previous issues of Negative Capability, then you know exactly what you are in for and there will be no surprises with number 5. If you haven’t read this zine before…..well then, strap yourself in…. there will be turbulence. It’s hard to figure out where to stand while reading a zine like this, a zine whose whole purpose is to step over the edge of what is and is not offensive, but not far enough to be considered outright homophobic, or misogynistic. Neither of which the author, Josh, is. My guess is that he just really likes to get people to react to his writing and does so by being very confrontational. The topic titles say it all: ‘Fuck Rick Springfield’ ‘Are You Homophobic’ ‘How To Jew a Dime Out Of a Nickel’ etc. This is a magazine-sized, advertisement free, extremely detailed and honest look into Josh’s mind circa 2011. It’s sometimes funny, often offensive, and believe it or not, at times even teeters on the edge of being sweet.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
This is a quick little zine from the mind of comedian Matt Baker. It has comics, million dollar ideas, an interview with poet Denise Jolly, and some graffiti photos. Matt is a very talented and funny person who always has his hands in all kinds of creative pots, this is but one of those many pots. Check out the website version at www.digitface.com/ and better yet send him some photos of your fingers with drawings of faces on them.
Monkey Squad One
By Doug Michel
This is the culmination of the first six issues of Monkey Squad One. A hell of a lot of work must have went into the making of this comic. There is so much happening and so much detail on every page. It really is amazing. Monkey Squad One is a light-hearted and funny comic about a group of seemingly innocuous youngsters whose home base is in a tree house that are on a never-ending mission to kick some super-villain ass. Doug, the artist behind this zine, has an obviously active imagination, and speaking from an educator’s perspective, was probably hell to have in class. This is an excellent introduction into that imagination and a great example of one artist’s dedication to his craft.
AB #11 January 2011
$2 c/o Lisa Ahne
Alsea, OR 97324
If you have ever read Dwelling Portably then you will recognize the format and style of AB immediately. I think it’s done by some of the same people, but I’m not sure because there wasn’t a name associated with the letter that came with it. Anyway, if you have never read this type of zine before it’s kind of hard to figure out what’s going on at first. There are no introductions or explanations , just pure information, ideas, and how-to’s focused on living a semi-nomadic and government free life on 21st Century Earth. The information contained within this zine is pretty amazing. What fascinates me most about zines like this is the complete disconnect from any emotional meandering or analysis in the writing, it is intended to provide the reader with information on this type of lifestyle and that’s it. As a curious post-romantic (kidding) I always want to know more about the people writing it, like what their day to day routines look like and what the pros and cons of living nomadically in modern America are. But I suppose that’s the point, the less we know about the people writing it, the easier it is for those people to keep living that type of life: If I really wanted to know what it’s like, then I should get out there and try it for myself. This issue is heavily focused on how to build boats that you can live on. It also has some zine reviews, how to survive without much money, how to avoid being hassled by authorities, some healthy eating tips, and random nomad advice from the people who are actually doing it.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Kung Fu Grip! #4
7730 East Broadway #925
Tucson, AZ 85710
$1ppd, or two stamps
Kung Fu Grip is a time machine, or time ma-zine. Reading it brought me back to my 70’s era living room sitting in front of the furniture-sized-fake-wood-framed television watching ‘Enter the Dragon’ on Betamax while eating American cheese and miracle whip on white bread sandwiches. Of course, I never had a Betamax player, but that’s beside the point, the point is that this is a great zine that captures a past cultural aesthetic in an effective and very satisfying way. Contained within are stories about the Onge, Satun, and Pahang people of Asia, a tribute to his father, and some history of the zine. It’s well written and informative. My only complaint is that it’s too short, but, as the author explains, this is a special ‘free’ issue of KFG that is designed more for trades and is significantly shorter than past issues. Those past issues are now on my search radar of ‘zines to get’. Dig it.
Badwill Newsletter: Volume 2 Issue 6 Number 10
Cookeville, TN 38503 $2
According to the people who write this newsletter, Goodwill is a pretty crappy place to work. This is the 10th installment of this newsletter and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. I’m not really sure what to make of this in that all of it is hearsay. If the stories are true, then it sounds like the various stores that these people had worked at were really poorly managed and the workers were treated with very little respect. If that is true, then it seems somewhat institutional, but like I said, it’s all hearsay.
Friday, April 15, 2011
the internet sucks. seriously, i have near-infinite knowledge of the entire planet at my fingertips and i follow three blogs about music. wtf? anyway, this weekend is zine review weekend (and by weekend, i mean monday).
the picture is Richard Brautigan. 'Trout Fishing in America' is the best book i've read in the past ten years. fyi.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
this is the first installment of TOTW where I dig into one the various boxes of cassettes that i have scattered around my house and re-visit some old gems. First up: Born Against 'the rebel sound of shit and failure' This record was pivotal in taking hardcore into previously uncharted waters, it's aggressive, angry, and kind of weird. The vocals sound like an angry teenager screaming into a bad 4-track in the basement of a crack house. The lyrics, however, are intelligent, and very political. a classic.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Narcolepsy Press review #6
I kind of totally love this zine. It follows a very simple but effective format: Intro, letters section, zine reviews, adds. The intro is entitled, “What I did for my Summer” which recounts his adventures at Hempcon and a Donnas show. The letters section is filled with letters from dudes in prison and other zinesters. The reviews are full of opinions, which frankly, give them a personality and attitude that make you want to read them. Randy Robbins has been doing this for a long time. He knows what he likes, isn’t afraid to tell you what he doesn’t like, and is a dedicated and knowledgeable zine enthusiast. Send him your zines, and order his.
POLVO #1 Winter 2010
2290 Peck Rd
Mohave Valley, AZ 86440
I’m a huge fan of Joseph Delgado’s drawings. Aesthetically they just appeal to me on many levels. Polvo is a poetry and art zine. The poetry is intense, visceral, graphic, and lacks any kind of humor whatsoever. I don't know how else to explain them. The images, for me, are the epicenter of this zine.
The Chainbreaker Bike Book
a Rough Guide to Bicycle Maintenance
222 s. rogers st.
Bloomington, IN 47404
This is an illustrated guide to everything you’ll ever need to know about fixing and maintaining bicycles. It tells you what tools to use, which way to turn the nuts & bolts (not always the way you think), and provides insider tips and advice along the way. This is seriously the only book you will ever need on bicycle maintenance. But That’s only the first half of this book, the second half of the book is the reprinted version of the zine that started it all, Chainbreaker. Great zine, excellent reading, and very inspirational. I loved Shelly’s article entitled, “Hey Ladies!” wherein she recounts some of the challenges and obstacles that she has had to overcome being a woman mechanic. Stories like this need to be told and re-told as often as possible. The layout is cut and paste and full of beautiful pictures of bikes and bike people, fun illustrations that reminded me of ‘The Moonlight Chronicles’ at times, and really great bike-centric stories, ideas, and advice.
Anarchist Bicycle Rally Confidential Mad Libs
ABR CML is a compilation of police reports written about Portland Critical Mass bicycle rallies from 1993 through 2005 with select words taken out mad lib style. As an activist I found this to be fascinating. I thought I might be a bit freaked out by it, in the “Seriously? They really do spend all of that money and dedicate all of those resources to this stuff” kind of way, and to a certain extent I was. But I also felt a bit of relief that my paranoia over all these years has been somewhat justified. This book is a good resource for anyone who feels compelled to speak loudly about issues that threaten the status quo. Knowledge is power and reading this gives the reader a unique look into the inner workings of at least one bureaucracy paid to keep the peace in the ‘progressive’ city of Portland.
How and Why: a do-it-yourself guide
Minneapolis, MN 55458
222 s. rogers st
Bloomington, IN 47404
In keeping with the bike-centric-diy-theme, we have this book. Like ‘Chainbreaker’, H&W is full of illustrated and useful information outlined in an accessible and very reader-friendly way with lots of pictures. And it begins with bicycles: how to fix ‘em, outfit ‘em, and even how to ride ‘em in the winter. It goes on to provide practical information and tips on a wide variety of subjects such as buying a house, building a mouse trap, educating & socializing your youngsters, building musical instruments out of all kinds of funky shit (bike spoke kalimba?), bike tube bungee cords, pop can solar panels, and an extensive section on how to grow veggies that’s worth the price of the book alone. This is a great resource for anyone wanting to take a shot at living off the grid, or at least attempting to move a bit further away.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I always like it when I can look at a single panel of a comic and instantly recognize the artist. So often people seem to learn how to draw comics by mimicking other artist’s work and then don’t seem to get very far away from it. Not the case with J.T. Yost’s work, he has a very distinctive style. The stories are gloomy and weird, which I like, and the panels are consistently interesting to look at on their own without following the story, which I also like.
Tales of Good ol’ Snoop Doggy Dogg, & It’s Dream Time Snoop Doggy Dogg
$3 and $4
These are illustrated dreams that the author has had about Snoop Dogg. They are weird and fun to read. Also contained within is a childhood story about being a geekish loner, befriending a tough guy and going to a party. Insightful and entertaining.
‘It’s dream time’ is more of the same: illustrated dreams that make you go hmmm? After reading them (which would be the case for most of us if our dreams were illustrated I suppose).
Loosers Weepers # 1&2
Apparently J.T. Yost is pretty adept at finding notes, letters, and journals in random places. He then comes up with a story behind those finds and illustrates it. This is a great idea. It’s interesting and funny to read the actual notes and letters and then see what kind of a kooky story he has concocted from them. There are homophobic raps scribbled onto the back of envelopes, silly schoolyard checklists, and notebook journals from distraught lovers, all of which play a part in the various characters’ lives. Awesome.
Old Man Winter
As the title suggests this is a story about an old man and his sad daily interactions with family members and the public. It’s a beautifully drawn tale of a broken person at the end of his days. Also included in this book are some pro-vegan comics that point out the process of meat production and animal experimentation in a unique and highly effective way. I really enjoyed this comic and after reading all of these zines, I now consider myself a fan.
POB 4944 Austin, TX 78765
This is one year in the life of Ben Snakepit, 365 3-panel comics about life as seen through his eyes. He works in a video store, plays in two punk rock bands, has a nice girlfriend, a cute dog, he drinks a lot, smokes weed, plays a lot of video games, watches a lot of movies, and goes to a lot of parties. That’s all this is about, over and over again for an entire year. That might sound boring to read, but for some reason, it isn’t. There’s a lot of humility, humor, and insight into 21st century living in here that kept me entertained and thinking throughout. It’s kind of like following someone’s daily twitter, but with funny drawings of steaming turds and drunken punk rockers.
The Book Bindery
Microcosm 222 s rogers st.
Bloomington, IN 47404
The Book Bindery is a story about working a dead-end job in an industrial part of town and trying to find creative ways to entertain oneself at work. The tone is cynical and sarcastic, which has to be a survival instinct considering how terrible the job sounds. Making fun of everyone and everything around you would probably be the only sure-fire way to fend off total insanity. It’s well written and funny and has some nice black and white photos peppered about. The Book Bindery has been around for a while in zine form, this is the updated book-like form.
A Zinester’s Guide to NYC
674 A 23rd St.
Oakland, CA 94612
222 S. Rogers St.
Bloomington, IN 47404
Edited by Ayun Halliday of East Village Inky fame, this is a very…very…VERY comprehensive guide to New York City. Ayun did the editing, but there are about 50 other people involved in writing this, and all of them are lovers and makers of zines. It’s well organized into a wide variety of categories, some of which aren’t usually spotlighted in traditional guidebooks. Categories like, Graffiti, Pinball, 99-cent stores, volunteer opportunities, community gardens, and oatmeal. It’s creative, but not inaccessible. Anyone with an ounce of curiosity would be doing themselves a grave disservice if they didn’t get this book before heading to the BA.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
BASIC PAPER AIRPLANE
Essentially Basic Paper Airplane is a zine about zines from someone who has been making them for many years. It’s a perzine with historic leanings. The history comes in the form of an article entitled, “A Brief History of the US Postal System” wherein the author, Joshua, breaks down the history of mail delivery from the pony express to the current US Postal Service, in his own unique way. I loved the part about the pneumatic postal tube network established in Philadelphia in 1893. I’ve always felt like this is a seriously underused technology with all kinds of potential uses (pneumatic tube travel across the country? heck yea). The zine ends with an interesting story about traveling from Olympia to Boulder to attend the UTNE Reader’s independent writer award where a zine that he was involved with was nominated for zine of the year. It’s a great story full of colorful characters. Basic Paper Airplane is cut and Paste and great reading.
Blue Okoye! #1
973 Crescent Street #2
Brooklyn, NY 11208
This is an interesting first issue in that has a lot of potential, but as it stands, is a bit empty. I’m not trying to be condescending to the author when I say, “He’s almost there”, but that’s how this zine felt for me. The stories start strong, feel like they are going somewhere, and then abruptly end. They then seem more like poems and less like stories, and I don’t think that’s what the author was trying to do. He’s a good writer and given time I think this zine could really stand out. This issue also has some of his illustrations that are really well done. Blue Okoye is a talented guy, and although the stories didn’t develop the way that I would have preferred, they did leave me wanting more.
Xerography Debt #27
Baltimore, MD 21212
Beginning with the great cover art by Hai Anxieti, this issue of Xerography Debt is top notch through and through. For years Xerography Debt has been promoting and spotlighting the world of independent publishing and zines in a truly dignified way and this issue is no exception. With Davida Gypsy Breier at the helm and a host of veteran zinesters as columnists and reviewers, this can’t help but be awesome. I really enjoyed reading the “Where are they now” piece about ex-zine writers, as I often wonder (and have wondered aloud in the early stages of this blog) as to the whereabouts of many of my old pen pals. I could also relate to Jeff Somers’s (of The Inner Swine) column about getting older, drinking, and repeating oneself in print. If you’ve never read XD before, it’s essentially a zine-review zine with big personalities behind the reviews, columns, and interviews. Excellent.
Rad Dad #18
1636 Fairview St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Rad Dad is a collection of essays by a wide array of contributors who are both parents, and involved in radical causes and/or activism. To me this is an incredible premise for a zine. The theme of this particular issue of Rad Dad is sex. Each author explores this controversial topic from the perspective of someone who is often at odds with their fellow activists for the simple fact that they have children, i.e. they are perpetuating procreation and overpopulation. I had no idea how offensive this is to some activists until I read this zine. The titles of these essays say it all, “Why I broke up with the anarchist community”, “Earth Abides” “Sex and (this) single mom” and “Let’s talk about sex” . This is a truly excellent and fascinating zine, which also serves as an important forum for anyone considering becoming a parent.
Christian New Age Quarterly
Winter ‘09, spring ‘10, summer ‘10, autumn ‘10
Clifton, NJ 07015-0276
As the title suggests these are essays and stories centered on the Christian religion and New Age philosophies. When I got these in my mailbox I was a little taken aback. I am used to getting punk rock, anarchist, and weird art zines in the mail. This is the first time I’ve gotten anything like this and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. My initial instinct was to write it off as religious garbage, kick out a few Marx and Sam Clemens quotes, and call it a day. But after reading these journals, I found myself surprisingly engaged and interested. These are very well written essays that explore many of the current national issues with regards to religion and politics in a way that doesn’t come across preachy. One of the standout essays for me was from the Autumn ’10 issue where the editor, Catherine, explores the issue of a mosque being built near ground zero, correlating it with the essential American ideal of freedom, and how hypocritical and misguided the bible-thumping quran-burners are. I don’t want a mosque built there either, but nor do I want a church or religious temple of any kind built there. I would prefer instead the money be spent on secular community centers, boys & girls clubs, or a used bookstore. That being said, I do think that Muslims have the right to build it anywhere they want in America. This is the kind of internal dialogue that the Christian New Age Quarterly sparked in me while reading them.