Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Basic Paper Airplane #3

POB 2645
Olympia, WA
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

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

Xerography Debt #27
POB 11064
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

Rad Dad #18
Tomas Moniz
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

Christian New Age Quarterly
Winter ‘09, spring ‘10, summer ‘10, autumn ‘10
Pob 276
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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It doesn't snow in Memphis....

reviews to come.... does snow in Memphis