Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapbook Review: Ghosts I Have Seen



Ghosts I Have Seen: Chapter 1 - Silk Dress and Rumpus
by Violet Tweedale

20 pp / half letter / $4

Violet Tweedale (d. 1939) was the rarest of souls – passionate, literate, a spiritualist, artist, musician, with ceaseless energy. She wrote dozens of novels, short stories and essays with a depth of imagination rarely seen in today’s literature. This makes Joseph Carlough’s reprint of “Ghosts I Have Seen – Chapter One: Silk Dress and Rumpus” (originally written in 1919, the year both of my parents were born!) all the more refreshing, with delightfully fey / inspired drawings by Saint Beckett. Violet reveals herself and her spiritual experiences slowly, wrapping the reader in her philosophy and musings as the text expands. This may be a true ghost story or remembered childhood dreams and fantasies. Regardless, her writing is compelling and this chapbook is gorgeously printed and choreographed.

I fervently hope that Mr. Carlough follows through with his project to reprint more chapters from Violet Tweedale’s “Ghosts I Have Known” memoir in chapbook form.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zine Review: Ray X X-Rayer #92 & 93



Ray X X-Rayer
#92 / #93
Boxholder
PO Box 2
Plattsburg NY 12901-0002

One of the most consistently entertaining and informative zines I read is Ray X X-Rayer. Issue #92 is 12 pages (an expanded format for Ray’s zine), half-letter sized. Ray launches the issue with a farewell tribute to ufologist Jim Mosely of Saucer Smear zine. Then Ray details software woes, takes another foray into the ether with the Liberty Net crew from 3950 kHz, writes a report on a man who has announced he is making a leap off of a cliff into the unknown as the winter solstice arrives in Sedona, AZ, shares an idea for a cool unreality TV series and Ray closes out this issue with zine reviews of Fadeaway and Opuntia, two zines that I read on a regular basis.

Issue #93 is back to the one page double sided format. Ray updates the exploits of the leaping man, talks about old time film serials, and updates the raving and ranting from zealous shortwavers. This zine is always excellent reading, so send Ray as many bucks as you can spare and your postal address. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Zine Review: Somnambulist #20



Somnambulist #20
$15 / 4 issues
Martha Grover
PO Box 14871
Portland OR 97293

Somnambulist #20 diverges somewhat from the usual literary format and focuses on Martha’s interests around food. This issue relates her food history which is an intriguing concept and would be helpful if more of us sketched out our experiences with our diets from birth until now to look at patterns of healthy / unhealthy eating. I strongly feel that our early (birth – five) experiences with food shape us for life. Somnambulist #20 also includes delectable recipes to make & try yourself. Great issue, and I’ll be looking forward to what Martha cooks up next time within the pages of Somnambulist . 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Zine Review: The Subconscious Restaurant



The Subconscious Restaurant
Edited by Ron Hanson
44p, b&w, 8.5"x11"  $10
Room 5, Floor 9, No.420, Sec. 2, Nantun Road, Nantun District, Taichung City, Taiwan

The avant-garde art movement is alive and well and documented meticulously in this gorgeously printed zine. Subconscious Restaurant starts out with an article about Wang Fujui and his sound installations. Bruce Russell contributes insights into the history of New Zealand electronic music. An exquisitely drawn feature explores Wellington NZ transportation and road woes and the destruction of communities caused by airport overdevelopment. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg … there’s a lot of creativity packed into these 44 pages. The Subconscious Restaurant offers a feast of artistic endeavor.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chapbook Review: Further Distractions by Bucket Siler



I’m not a very astute reviewer of fiction, or semi-fiction, or fictional prose or stories. When language ignites my attention while I’m reading – and makes me want to keep on reading, then I know I've found a “keeper”. 

Bucket Siler sent me Further Distractions and it’s going to take a literary wizard greater than I to give this zine / chapbook / anthology the review it deserves. The stories within seem to focus on moments in relationships when everything is balanced halfway over the edge … the moment when you’re going to stumble across that huge insight, that inner secret, the right road to take … or not. It all comes down to small moments, even if the desert wind blows those moments into a monsoon.

If I received letters like those missives that Bucket includes in Further Distractions, I’d be running to my mailbox the minute I got home from work. And dusting off my typewriter. 

Search etsy.com for this zine or check out bucketsiler.com 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zine Review: Safe In Sound Zine #2



Safe In Sound Zine #2
half letter / 26 pages / $2
search etsy.com to find a copy

Even as I age & don’t recognize the many of the bands reviewed here, I feel like this is the kind of variety zine we need more of. Kearston starts off the issue with an interview with musician Kiley Lotz, then launches into reviewing some zines that she acquired at the Scranton Zine Fest, many of which I can happily say I have read. Kearston then conducts an informative interview with Cari Tellis, PhD who explains how one’s voice is created via our anatomical process, and discusses vocal disorders and emphasizes the importance of our unique voice to self image and identity. Safe In Sound Zine #2 ends with extensive and helpful music reviews. Just yesterday I was discussing how people find new music with a dj acquaintance of mine, and we were lamenting the lack of non digital (read offline) reviews and sources to discover new tunes, when just a decade ago, college radio and fanzines were the preferred venue for discovering new great music.
Safe In Sound Zine #2 is an exceptional zine endeavor that should come with a cd soundtrack! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zine Review: The Opera Glass #62


The Opera Glass #62
Iris Arnesen editor
219 N. Euclid Avenue
Tucson AZ 85719

Iris meticulously introduces us to the world of Romeo et Juliette in this issue of The oper Glass, and her essay opened my eyes to the depth of this story that we all think we know. Centuries ago people were thinking about conformity and social expectation, the issues at the heart of this opera. There is also some discussion of Bollywood films, a review of Mystic India and much more. The Opera Glass is immersed in succinct writing, beautiful illustrations, and a wealth of music. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Zine Review: Mo'Bows


Mo’ Bows
by Dirk Keaton
dirk.keaton@gmail.com 

There is a massive multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry that manufacture drugs (often not even knowing how or if they work) and a cadre of doctors who will prescribe them like candy then walk away to let you pick up the pieces. For anyone who wrestles with a mental health or behavioral issue, or who knows people who do (this is all of us), Mo’Bows is an essential read. In clear, concise language, Dirk walks the reader through the minefields of deciding whether or not to use psychotropic drugs as part of the recovery / healing process. Although this zine chronicles his personal story of dealing with OCD and his personal experiences with medications, the information and perspectives shared are relevant on many levels. Dirk’s writing is insightful, thought provoking, and above all encourages the reader to make choices that work for them. Highly recommended. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Zine Review: Angry Violist #6



Angry Violist #6

One of the consequences of our culture in the past twenty years is that music has become a specialist commodity rather than a fact of everyday expression. There has been a commercialization and professionalization that is permeating the culture – music as “competition” ala The X Factor or The Voice, or music as accompaniment to video or spectacle. Living rooms were once graced with pianos, organs, and other instruments. Now living rooms are inhabited by Wiis an ‘Rock Band” – music that is programmed for us.

But some people are still playing for the sheer love of music, having fun playing real instruments with friends, and saying ‘no’ to perfectionism. Angry Violinist is a zine for the rest of us. It features an adventurous array of writing by Emma. This installment discusses Joshua Bell’s experiment with busking. There is an examination of how our preconceived notions and fears keep us stuck and some great suggestions as to how to break free of being “good enough”. Dirty Three violinist Warren Ellis discusses his creative work. And Emma includes an FAQ about violas. Angry Violist is an essential read for anyone who loves or plays music. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Zine Review: Alphabet Soup #1




Alphabet Soup #1

Every so often the debut issue of a zine shows so much potential and promise that you can’t wait to have the next issue safely in your hands. Alphabet Soup Issue 1 blends art, poetry, and prose seamlessly into a quirky stew of high caliber writing. Dan Hansen’s piece The Red Ball starts the issue off by pondering objects we find in our lives and their unexpected symbolic and creative uses. An excerpt from “reach” left me wanting to read the whole interstitial story. Brian Burnett contributes stunning nature photography to this issue. There are also delicious recipes to whet one’s appetite for Italian Zucchini Boats and chili. Exquisite corpses are scattered throughout the zine with fine surrealist imagery, and if this wasn’t enough … there is also a soundtrack cd included with lo-fi music by Hot the Cat, Katy & Simon, The Peaches & much more – nine generously chosen tracks in all. Who says print is dead? Don’t sleep on this one – contact themanwiththearm@gmail.com for more information or send $5 (suggested donation) to Dan Hansen 2601 Quarry Road Missoula MT 59808

Friday, November 16, 2012

Magazine Review: Tiki Magazine


Tiki Magazine
Vol. 8  No. 2  2012/2013
$28 / 4 issues
10531 4S Commons Dr #496
San Diego CA 92127

Here’s a glossy magazine created by a crew of folks who never met a martini they didn’t like. Or maybe that’s a Mai Tai. Tiki Magazine is all about escapism, probably into a faux-Polynesian culture that never was. It is chock full of ads for products and places that you never knew existed unless you are a Tikiphile (is that a word?). Having said that, Tiki Magazine is a fun read. There are music reviews of bands like The Martini Kings and The Tiki Kings. One article examines the mosaic arts of a duo of artists who call themselves “Velvet Glass” and who create stunning tropical themed visuals. Another article introduces readers to Surf Exotica, guitar-centric instrumental music that is heavy on reverb and twang. Kari Hendler recounts the history of Dan Blanding, a poet, author, and artist who adopted Hawaii as his joyful home in the early 20th century and illuminated the culture through his work. Tiki Magazine even has a “drive in” section devoted to reviewing B movies featuring island themes. Totems, taboos, and the scent of the exotic whisper from every colorful page. I don’t often sing the praises of glossy publications with ads, etc, but this one is too cool to miss. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Zine Review: The Reluctant Famulus #88 & 89



The Reluctant Famulus #88
46 pages / full letter
305 Gill Branch Road
Owenton KY 40359

In the not too distant past, “Liberal Arts” was not a dirty word in education. Students navigated courses in literature, fine arts, civics, history and received degrees in subjects like English. Graduates were expected to be well-rounded, able to think critically, and use language in both precise and creative ways.

The Reluctant Famulus seems perfect reading for just such a demographic and includes a wide range of informative articles. Editor Thomas D. Sadler opens this issue with a brief retrospective on Ray Bradbury which morphs into a retrospective on the alleged UFO crash in Roswell 65 years ago. Gene Stewart narrates his road trip adventures. The earliest British commune (c. 1821) is the subject of an essay by Geoff Lardner-Burke titled “Attempts at Utopia: The Cooperative and Economical Society”. Alfred D. Byrd contributes a wonderful article lifting the veil on the mythology surrounding Daniel Boone. Matt Howard recounts a visit by Maurice Sendak to Indianapolis and discusses the progression of the author’s writing & art. The Reluctant Famulus has a generous letters section from many of the contributors and others.

The variety of writing presented in The Reluctant Famulus reminds me of why I love zines. Contributors share both their knowledge and passion for their chosen subjects. The essays are expansive, unencumbered, the antithesis of work-shopped / focus-grouped publications. There is a science fiction undercurrent but it does not dominate threads and themes explored. Thomas D. Sadler states on the frontispiece “TRF may be obtained for The Usual but especially in return for written material and artwork, postage costs, The Meaning of Life and Editorial Whim.” Indeed.

The Reluctant Famulus 89

Calling all polymaths - I’m happy to report that the quality of this zine continues in Issue 89. Editor Thomas D. Sadler delves further into the realities and fictions of the Roswell UFO incident of 1947. Geoff Lardner-Burke explores more attempts at Utopia from the 1820’s.Eric Barraclough writes about Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers. The letters section is in-depth as the main essays in The Reluctant Famulus. Where have I been for the first 87 issues?!?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Zine Review: Trabant #5


Trabant #5
88 pages / ¼ size / $3

Meticulous, well choreographed document of Megan’s year spent in circus school. She details personal routines, exercises, grueling physical workouts, injuries, highs and lows. Finally toward the end of the zine, Megan discusses what a “career” in circus might look like. The question that kept rolling around in my brain while reading Trabant #5 is why anyone would put themselves through this level of intensity, physical exhaustion and pain unless they were obsessed. On one level there is almost too much information in this zine, and I wonder who it will appeal to beyond the circus / theater / dance community.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Zine Review: Deafula #4


Deafula #4
40 pages / 1/4 legal / $4
PO Box 1665
Southampton PA 19866


In Deafula # 4, Kerri exposes the truth of what it is like to ask for / need a reasonable accommodation for employment. The ADA was passed over 20 years ago but is a system of laws that essentially have no teeth. The official unemployment rate among people with disabilities hovers around 15% but in reality, if you count every issue that qualified as a “disability” that rate is over 70% as most people with disabilities – especially when one factors in people with developmental disabilities or mental health issues who have never been active in the workforce. Kerri deftly unmasks the horror of applying for work as a deaf person and the incredible barriers and attitudes that she experienced from prospective employers in job searches. She discusses accommodation issues in detail including the ambiguous language in the ADA. Deafula is on my must-read list: an exceptional zine that is very well written and visually appealing. Every issue is an education in itself. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mixt Media Audio Zine November 2012

Here's the new edition of Mixt Media Audio Zine!

http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/63954

I'm taking an extended break from recording these shows as I have received absolutely no feedback, positive or negative or mixt. While I have enjoyed recording them, I have plenty of other creative fires burning. Who knows? Maybe this project will return next year, with a similar or vastly changed format.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zine Review: Nostalgia #2



Nostalgia #2

The second issue of Sarah Bracken’s Nostalgia is half letter, full color, and bound with twine. Once again there are a number of delightful articles, art projects and photographs to explore. The issue opens with an explanation of letterboxing, in which participants hunt for boxes in remote places and leave a postcard in the box once they’ve discovered its location. There is a step-by-step exploration of how to do photo emulsion pictures.

Sarah shares stories about being a foster parent to a cat, the early films of the Lumiere Brothers, a map of the stars in autumn, and much more. Nostalgia is a zine that not only evokes the joy of creativity but encourages you to awaken your artistic self. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A mailing from Mormo Zine


from: Turn the Pages Books
2009 1st Street
Baker City OR 97814
mormozine@hotmail.com

According to bookface, "Mormo is a magician, a TV show, print magazine and production company".

Mormo takes the maxim "be the media" seriously. Three zines arrived in the mail. One of the issues (not numbered) is dedicated to the memory of Christian Medina, co-founder of the zine and artistic soul.There is a lengthy interview with Chief Blackdawg, founder of PyratePunx, which seems to be equally about punk rock shows with bands like Jesus Fucking Christ ... and living an egalitarian / anarcho tribal lifestyle. The issue continues with a review of the B Movie Blood Massacre and an interview with actor George Stover.

Mormo Zine #11 asks the question "is paper dead?" (I hope not!), an intriguing but brief article about the art of restorative ceramic sculpture artist Michael McVey, and a bizarre interview with Babbette Bombshell about an addiction to shit. Literally. Right. Snopes, here I come.

There was also a chapbook of awful rhyming poetry in the mailing called Dark Truth - Ramblings of Madness by "Karl R. Howard".

A message in this zine proclaims "Ours is the magic. Ours is the power!" Also a plea to not throw the zine away. Okay, zine librarians, archive away! For the rest of us ... recycle, recycle, recycle.



Friday, October 26, 2012

The Boxwooder #519

                               
The Boxwooder No. 519
Jake Warner
The Boxwood Press
116 Rosewood Drive
Greenbelt MD 20770

Mathematics was always a confusing subject for me. I remember getting as far as algebra in high school and wanting to be anywhere but in class with a bunch of integers and cosines. Jake Warner makes math reader-friendly with his treatise on Irrational Numbers. He writes with a clarity that even us non-math heads can comprehend … and makes it interesting all at the same time. You’re never too old to learn to appreciate the magic of numerals.                


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Comix review: Failed State Funnies


Failed State Funnies
21st Century Karno’s Klassics Issue 12
send some bucks to
Kjartan Arnorsson
1505 West St. Mary’s Rd #123
Tucson AZ 85475

Having our illusions stripped away is both painful and illuminating. I look at how the USA has evolved in the past 50 years from a land of neighbors and neighborhoods to a land of paranoia, stranger danger, and rampant mistrust. It all serves a purpose of having us look away from one another, rather than looking at one another with compassionate eyes.

Capitalism is a system that depends on us being divided, object wanting, consumers. This zine walks us through the illusions of our time, the stories we are told about national security, the upper class (so-called job creators! oh how we worship them), police, the economy, greed, and the government’s role in sustaining the status quo. The drawings in Failed State Funnies are spot on, the writing clear and concise, and there’s even a list of books and zines for further reading. Learn now and awaken before      ….   we    are   lulled deeper


into


separation and ignorance. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zine Review: The Opera Glass 61



The Opera Glass
Iris I. Arnesen
219 Euclid Avenue
Tucson AZ 85719

Iris Arnesen lifts the veil on operatic topics in her beautifully printed journal The Opera Glass. Issue No. 61 delves into Donizatti’s  Lucia di Lammermoor, a story which takes place in the Lammermore Hills of Scotland in the late 1600’s. Wealth, family strife and tragic love infuse the opera’s storyline that Iris recounts in great detail. She also includes geographical information about the opera’s setting in East Lothian, and some fascinating background on the glass harmonica, an instrument that is used to great effect in the opera’s score. Rounding out this issue is a review of the dvd of Coriolanus which stars and is directed by Ralph Fiennes. The writing in The Opera Glass is both accessible and expository, a joy for opera veterans and novices alike. Send a few dollars (or as many as you can spare) to support this highly educational journal. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Zine Review: Cloud Factory #5


Cloud Factory #5
half letter
Laura Walker
PO Box 8030
Bend OR 97708

Cloud Factory is a zine created by Laura Walker and Ryan Homsley. If you’ve read my previous reviews you know that Ryan is a writer and an artist and currently incarcerated in Oregon. Cloud Factory #5 could be subtitled “Revelations”. Ryan delves into details surrounding his drug use and bank robbery which landed him in jail. Laura talks about her unconventional wedding. They both lift the veil and discuss the collaboration behind the scenes of the creation of Cloud Factory. Plus there are Ryan’s intense essays, Ryan’s vivid artwork, and lots of conversation (on paper) between Ryan and Laura.

This is probably the first issue in which I felt some sadness – not only for Ryan’s situation but for the violence that he grew up around, which would scar and wound the best of us. I also felt some sadness around both Laura and Ryan’s dire attitudes expressed toward spirituality. But then I mentally rewind twenty years and held many of those same beliefs at that point in my life.

I can not recommend Cloud Factory as a zine highly enough. It is on my must read list. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Zine Review: Obsolete #6


Obsolete #6
PO Box 72
Victor IA 52347

Newspaper / 22 pages / $5

Four decades ago (pardon me if this is starting off like a history lesson) there were literally thousands of “underground” newspapers and zines being published in Amerika.
Time, energy, funding, the political environment, and the internet have all taken their toll on alternative papers and zines. In the digital age, sadly, Obsolete is an aptly named anomaly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Support paper! Obsolete is beautiful in its design and implementation. It is not slick, it is printed on newsprint, in black & white, accentuating substance over style. Childhood and its discontents seems to be the underlying theme of issue number six. Terry Lee Dill recounts growing up as a “Blue Baby”. Amy Bugbee ponders why it’s okay for children to be exposed to endless hours of violence on tv and in video games, yet its not okay in our culture to discuss healthy sexuality with them. There are also articles dealing with children growing up with disabilities. Other essays question the link between psychiatry and authoritarianism, and the pathologization of our culture.

Obsolete also gives us great art and photography, an old-timey serialized graphic story, and powerful poetry like “Why People Live in Desolate Places” by Greta Anderson. It’s 2012 and a joy to find that thought-provoking zines like Obsolete are alive and kicking. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Zine Review: Eve Art Tarot


Eve Art Tarot


The tarot is an invitation to plumb the depths of our psyches and connect with higher wisdom and higher vision. Eve Art Tarot is a collaborative art project between thirteen artists featuring their interpretations of major arcana cards. This zine is quarter sized, bound with thread, printed in black and white. Each image is accompanied by a brief interpretation, and the artist’s contact information. The range of visual styles represented here is surprising & I would have appreciated seeing a full deck emerge from this project. 

I'm not sure if this zine is still available but the link above will bring you to Nicci's website which is a joy to explore. 

Zine Review: What It Was Like to Work In a Nursing Home




What It Was Like to Work In a Nursing Home
by Melissa
half letter / 44 pages


As someone who works in a health care environment very similar to those that Melissa writes about, I was initially discouraged by her attitude taken in this zine. She basically worked in nursing homes to make money. Granted, these nursing homes are in Australia, but in the United States of Amerika, no one except top administrators make a lot of money caring for the elderly. “The elderly” is a class that we will all join, if we are lucky.We should care for elders in the way that we would hope to be taken care of if and when we have serious health issues and can no longer care for ourselves.

Melissa’s zine takes the reader through the variety of places she worked as a per-diem Personal Care Attendant for a staffing agency. She talks about the drudgery of toileting, bathing, changing and feeding dementia patients and other nursing home patients. She paints a fairly realistic portrait of the sadness, depression, and sense of futility that overshadows many care facilities. She shares her insights into what qualities make for good co-workers, and what constitutes quality caregiving. At the end though, I was still disappointed and felt that something was missing from this zine. I had to remind myself – this is one person’s experience and perspective. Overall this zine is a well written but somewhat myopic introduction to what working in a nursing home is really like.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zine Review: Pishing, Hoolding, Drones & Overtones


Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones

David Tighe
4804 Memorial Drive
NE Calgary Alberta
T2A 2R1 Canada

Via a trio of scholarly zines, David Tighe is amassing a vital body of work.  The third offering in his adventurous music series is “Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones” complete with a visual pun on the cover – birds arranged along a musical stave. For those who have not read the first two volumes, this issue opens with a summation of “The Story So Far”. Mr. Tighe segues into an update on eefing and hoodling, bizarre vocal techniques associated with country & novelty records. There is a discussion on the life & music of Jimmy Riddle, a master of the harmonica & the eefing vocal treatment, and a wealth of background into the eefing phenomenon & other divergent paths: throat singing, the Mills Brothers, b-movie auteur  Hershell Gordon Lewis (!) and more.  Eventually we’re introduced to the obscure practice of pishing which “is an onomatopoeic term applied to a variety of orally produced noises that, in general, mimic the scolding calls of birds.” Mr. Tighe also traverses into animal sounds & their use in / influence upon sing, nature recordings, yodeling, hurdy gurdy tunes, and onward into an article about flexi discs (one of my favorite record formats) and twins who invented their own language only to be anthologized by “experts” and caregivers.

The substance of Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones underscores the zeal that is often missing in modern publications. This zine is a labor of love, and it shows. It is also a resource with numerous citations and references. Mr. Tighe has also created a soundtrack – two cds worth – to accompany his zines: 67 tracks of audio intrigue. Every time I read through this zine or listen to the cds, I pick up on a different thread. Musical discovery has rarely been this much fun. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Slowing down ... updated

Hello dear readers! One Minute Zine Reviews will be slowing down in a few weeks. I will still be posting written and audio reviews, only less frequently. The reasons for this are many:

  • My new job is exhausting and my energy for certain projects has been waning. 
  • I have numerous other projects so have to share what energy I have accordingly. I'd like to continue most of them on a less frequent basis rather than to see them fade away.
  • I've received way fewer zines for review in the past year than anticipated & I don't always review zines that I do receive. I feel like I should have something reasonable to say about zines when I review rather than being uninspired to write a review.
  • As my time and energy are more limited, I need to balance my own needs for writing and creating with reviewing other people's work.
I would welcome interest from someone who would like to co-produce One Minute Zine Reviews and contribute to the blog / zine / or radio show on a regular, consistent basis. Please write to me! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Zine Review: The Boxwooder #516


The Great Regina Blizzard
by Phil Ambrosi
The Boxwooder #516

I enjoy learning about history from people who’ve lived through it. Phil Ambrosi relates this experiences as a child in 1947 when a strong, days-long winter storm closed the city of Regina Saskatchewan, in the days before highways, cutting the city off from food and medical supplies because the trains could not run. This is an intriguing firsthand narrative about real wind chill and zero visibility, about stringing ropes from barns to houses in order to make it back and forth safely in the wind driven whiteout.

The Boxwooder is published by Jake Warner and is available to members of the National Amateur Press Association. This is an extremely long-running journal, always beautifully printed with fascinating subject matter. You can write to Jake & send him a few bucks for back issues at The Boxwood Press 116 Rosewood Drive Greenbelt MD 20770.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Zine Review: All This Is Mine #16




All This Is Mine #16

Sugene packs her quarter sized zine with a diversity of content. She relates major events from 2010 – the birth of her son, turning 33, and the death of her father. While any one of these events might impact one’s life, all three in a row must have been overwhelming, especially when everything unfolds in ways we don’t expect. Sugene also discusses her move to Portland and ambivalent (at best) feelings about it. She also shares her love for canning and her experience with the mysterious Jejune Institute. As a surprise bonus, there are two mini zines bundled into this issue: Destroy After Finishing, a real life adventure from Portland, and All This Is Mail a collage of stamps, envelopes & ephemera.

Sugene’s writing is straightforward and friendly. She shares feelings that speak to the human condition. Who can’t relate to joy, depression, relationships, and strawberry jam? 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zine Review: Cats Claw Herbal


Cats Claw Herbal
by Heron Brae
wildplantstudies.com

This is a mostly handwritten and hand drawn quarter-sized zine bursting with useful, practical, and intuitive self healing information. Plants and herbs hold lifeforce, and vibrant energy & this small zine is a solid introduction to herbcraft. Heron includes clear instructions for making oils and salves, and descriptions of numerous common plants & their uses including Hypericum, Plantain, Balm of Gilead & more. This is a beautifully designed, reader / learner friendly zine. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Zine Review: White Elephants #4


White Elephants No 4.
68 pages

Though this zine is a couple of years old, I just now finally got around to reading it. White Elephants is ostensibly about tag sale adventures that Katie has with her mother, and the small treasures she finds. However, on a different level this is a beautiful and heartfelt zine where quiet moments and keenly observed emotions flow from the page.

The zine opens with Katie writing about her residency at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia & from the first line we’re off on an engaging read. Her friendly writing style invites the reader into her thoughts on the page, which is a welcoming place to be. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Zine Review: The Itinerant Postcard



The Itinerant Postcard
24 pages / quarter letter / $2 or trade
Chrysothème A.
5011 Rolling Meadows Road
Rolling Hills Estates CA 90275

Edward Gorey aficionados will be thrilled with this new zine that draws upon illustrations by (and somehow, instills the spirit of) Edward Gorey, reclusive & renowned writer / artist / cat lover / ballet patron. I was intrigued by the introduction and never looked back. Chrysothème writes in a literate, incisive style & weaves poetry and prose that touches upon the musings of ballerinas, cultural appropriation, cultural icon Marchessa Luisa Casati, personal journal entries and more. If we are fortunate, there will be more zines from Chrysothème forthcoming. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Zine Review: Angry Violist #5



Angry Violist #5
34 pages / half letter
angryviolist.wordpress.com

Emma shows us how to toss out the rigid "rules" of music making and embrace our inner musician, the aspect within us that feels music, leans in to listen and play with all our hearts & senses open to experiencing the joy of tonal / improvisational / vibratory sound. Angry Violist brings music back to a punk / primal level & revels in experimentation. This issue includes “Punk Rock Viola Outreach”, a primer on breaking free of one’s self imposed inertia, a discussion on various types of noise, the history and theory of the Scratch Orchestras, sports psychology applied to musicianship, and much more. Every issue of Angry Violist is a creative treasure.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Zine Review: Bizarrism #12


Bizarrism #12
40 pages / $8
by Chris Mikul

At first glance one might mistake this zine as a work of faux tabloid journalism, yet upon inspection reveals itself to be a publication of high quality scholarship. Chris Mikul ventures away from the mainstream & into unblushed territory with a trove of offbeat & fascinating topics. In Issue #12, we are treated to substantial articles about fascist dictator Mussolini, Shakespearian manuscript thief Raymond Scott, stigmata wielding wonder-saint Padre Pio, the dubious origins of the Hare Krishnas, book reviews & more. Copiously illustrated & meticulously choreographed, Bizarrism #12 is both a visual and intellectual joy to behold.

Sometimes I imagine Mr. Mikul as the contemporary Sherlock Holmes of zinemaking, replete with meerschaum pipe & magnifying glass, following impenetrable literary clues into increasingly curious libraries. Bizarrism elicits my most fervent enthusiasm for the pleasure of reading zines.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Zine Review: Eat #4



Eat #4
40 pages / half letter / $6

Full disclosure: Vegan / recipe / foodie zines are not high on my priority reading list. I scratch my head at why we need a Food Network on television. So I was pleasantly surprised when I opened this zine and found a cornucopia of delights.

Following the table of contents, there is a humorous picture of a blender with the caption “This is my blender. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.” Eat #4 introduces the reader to the joys of discovering Foie Gras Parfait at the Black Hoof in Toronto, a search for scarce & coveted liquorice altoids, a critique of Gordon Ramsey, a photo blog of gardens, and much more. Who could resist chocolate maple bourbon bacon cupcakes? There are even instructions on how to make an origami banana & the paper to do it with! Eat #4 is a true smorgasbord in zine form, a paper buffet - creative, playful, and almost better than eating desert first. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Zine Review: Galactic Zoo Dossier #8


Galactic Zoo Dossier #8
88 pages / large / $16

Plastic Crimewave has assembled a monumental shrine to garage, psychedelic, folk & obscure music from the past five decades. Galactic Zoo Dossier #8 includes interviews with folk rock singer Vashti Bunyan, guitar wizard Peter Walker, communal wizard Djin Aquarian (Ya Ho Wha 13) & the musical archeology of bands like Blue Things & George-Edwards Group. Galactic Zoo Dossier #8 is mostly hand drawn with brilliant graphic design. It comes with a companion cd introducing bands that you probably never heard of – and need to hear, now. The copious amount of comics in this issue did nothing for me, I would have preferred more articles and interviews. The cover price is a little steep, even considering the beautiful production and bonus cd. However, for some of us old (and young) hippies, Galactic Zoo Dossier #8 is the next best thing to dropping acid (folk).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Zine Review: A How To Guide on Starting a DIY Events Calender In Your Town



A How To Guide on Starting a DIY Events Calendar (in Your Town)

Very refreshing to discover a non-commercial independent resource that explains how to create an events calendar for house shows, bike rides, free meals, indie film showings & just about any other DIY activity you can imagine. In a more enlightened world, people in every city & town would publish a listings calendar. I personally appreciate having something tangible (on paper!) to keep close to refer to rather than endless searching on the interwebs. Starting and sustaining a DIY events calendar takes some motivation, a few kindred spirits to share the tasks, and access to a photocopier. Now read this zine & make it happen! Your community needs you.

A How To Guide on Starting a DIY Events Calendar (in Your Town) is available from Microcosm.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Zine Review: Record Collecting by Joseph Carlough



Record Collecting: David Bazan Pedro the Lion 
by Joseph Carlough
16 pages / half letter / $4


From the moment I read the title, I anticipated that I would enjoy reading Joseph Carlough’s  Record Collecting zine & when the zine arrived, I was not disappointed.Unlike some music zines that report on numerous bands and review lots of records, Record Collecting focuses on one musician – David Bazan aka Pedro the Lion. Joseph chronicles the genesis of his introduction to vinyl records and how he chose to collect recordings by David Bazan. Bazan is a lo-fi indie singer / songwriter who often explores dark territory in his lyrics and music. Joseph Carlough is a seasoned writer who relates each record he obtains to events / emotions / experiences in his life. The format & content of this zine is perfect for exploring David Bazan’s discography. Prepare for deeper listening. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mixt Media Audio Zine September 2012

Mixt Media Audio Zine for September is downloadable from here:

http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/62259

Your feedback & comments would be much appreciated!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Zine Review: Ephemera #3




Ephemera #3
half letter / 32 pages / $2

In the introduction to Ephemera #3, Quinn writes “So, as always, I am very grateful to everyone who contributed and especially to you the reader --- without you, this would all just be lunatic scribblings to no one.” Subtitled “the mental illness issue”, this typewritten zine is definitely not full of lunatic scribblings. Ephemera #3 is infused with exceptional prose and poetry, not all of it directly related to mental illness, but definitely with a psychosocial / personal edge. “Selections from Further Contributions to the Theory and Technique of Psycho-Analysis by Sandor Ferenozi, MD c. 1926” delves into bizarre dream symbols and even more peculiar interpretations. A story called “Product of the Ill Soul” descends into a recurring musings about the apparition of a boy – or is he real? There is a definition of erotomania and some intensely personal poetry. For those of us who are intrigued by the paths of the human psyche, this is a zine not to miss.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Zine Review: Deafula 3.5



Deafula #3.5

Kerri has created a mini zine for the 24 hour zine challenge that focuses on her Catholic upbringing & how her deafness affected her experiences with religion. Having been brought up by ultra religious parents, I can relate to this zine & the process of questioning what we have been taught to believe & the fallibility of the religious “leaders”. Deafula 3.5 succinctly expresses the pains of growing up “different” in our culture. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zine Review: Twenty Four Hours #10




Twenty Four Hours #10
half legal / $3

One of my concerns and complaints about our culture is the homogenous, vacuous, everything is the same as everything else direction that the music industry has perpetuated since the early 1980’s. As if in response to that soul-sucking phenomena, Josh Medsker’s zine Twenty Four Hours #10 (subtitled “my musical memoir”) is music to my eyes (ok, bad pun. I write this blog – I’m allowed.)

Twenty Four Hours #10 shatters the banality of cultural conformity and digs into Josh’s musical roots which embrace Lutheran hymns, Glen Campbell, The Cure, Johnny Cash, Sex Pistols and more. The intensity of Josh’s writing shows what great music does – it wakes you up and blows your mind.

Twenty Four Hours #10 also includes a great interview with one of my radio heroes, Doctor Demento. Doctor Demento is a musicologist, a teacher, radio icon, eclectic human being. This interview alone, tucked toward the back, made reading this zine a joy for me. That, and all of the other words, pages and graphics in issue #10. Now if only this zine came with a soundtrack cassette …. that would be music to my ears. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zine Review: The Migraineur #1



The Migraineur #1
By Carrie Mercer
c/o Alterior Motives
4513 41st Ave S.
Minneapolis MN 55406
28 pages / half sized / $3 + postage

Carrie authored a zine that I enjoyed reading immensely (Bookstore Thief) so I ordered this one when I saw it listed on etsy. The Migraineur #1 relates Carrie’s ongoing struggles with migraines in excruciating detail. I use that word because those of us who don’t experience migraines firsthand have no idea what it is really like – the physical and emotional intensity, and the social fallout. This zine is an education, Carrie includes an interview with her mother who is also a migraineur, information about foreign accent syndrome, and her firsthand accounts of coping / not coping with pain most of us can’t even imagine. This is an exceptional zine, infused with Carrie’s quality writing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zine Review: Building



Building: A DIY Guide to Creating Spaces, Hosting Events and Fostering Radical Communities
by Neil Campau
44 pages / DoDIY.org

One way to create and nourish the community we want to see is to do it ourselves. Transforming into a post capitalist culture will require a lot of energy, and perhaps generations since capitalism has been the entrenched socioeconomic paradigm for at least the past six centuries. Every time just one person decides to make different choices, we move closer to the critical mass of social change.

The DIY movement creates opportunities for self expression, celebration, togetherness, safety, music and dreaming. Building is a valuable resource full of practical information, advice, and thoughts for consideration written by someone who has years of experience in attending, organizing, and performing at DIY events. This zine focuses primarily on music gigs, but the process applies to any DIY happening. Venue, guidelines, safety, finances, promotion, neighbors, police are a few of the topics covered in depth. Building is highly recommended. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Zine Review: Show & Tell #10


Show & Tell #10
by Rachel Lee Carmen
half sized / 32 pages
available from ms valerie park distro

If one could judge a zine by its cover, this zine has charm written all over it, a drawing of Rachel and two friends sitting on an outdoor bathtub reading, childcaring, and playing guitar. Then you flip to the opening page and this is where it all gets confusing to me. “You may never have heard of the people in this zine,” Rachel explains, “It doesn’t matter much, I made them up. Or maybe you could say they exist because I willed them.” Huh? Later she says “They are very real & I hope I told their stories … or the bits of their stories where they will me into existence with the honesty they deserve.”

Graphically, Show & Tell is visual perfection, with photography, hand drawn art & lettering. The central piece in this zine, a meditation on nude photography, rapture, being and nothingness is luminous with questioning the nature of one’s “self”. There is also a contemplation on changing the tapes we run through our thoughts. I really enjoyed reading issues 6, 7, 8, & 9 of Show & Tell, yet something has shifted in my perception and most of the rest of this issue is lost on me. There is a list of films Rachel has seen at TinPantheater. Notes on throwing yourself a pity party. Most of the rest of the content is too obscure or too personal to connect with. Can a perzine become too personal? Sometimes zines are best shared with a few chosen friends or neighbors who may or may not exist.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Zine Review: Imaginary Life #8



Imaginary Life #8
Mini zine in a box
$4 / ponyboypress.com

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to meet up with an actual time traveler?  (and no, I don’t mean Doctor Who). Ponyboy Press has released yet another cool zine, one that sparks the imagination and even brings you to a time travel conference. A fun read that made me smile. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Zine Review: OCD Throws Bows



OCD Throws Bows
By Dirk Keaton
26 pages / half letter

OCD is a serious disorder that has been minimized by inane cultural references (as have many other mental health issues). People who do not experience a mental health issue have no idea what a person experiences who lives with OCD, PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anything else we have labeled a “disorder”. The only way we can get a glimpse into these experiences is to hear & understand people’s personal stories.

Dirk writes about OCD clearly and directly. He guides you into his world and how it affects his functioning, and leads you through his recovery process. OCD Throws Bows is first person journalism at its most powerful.

Editorial: Drug companies have convinced most people (and definitely most doctors) that there is a cure for everything via medication. This is simply not true – medications often cause more issues than they resolve. I might write a zine about this at some point from my firsthand experiences. In order to deal with OCD, depression, or any mental health concern one has to do the inner cognitive and emotional work, as Dirk has clearly done in his personal journey to treat OCD and reclaim his life. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mixt Media Audio Zine August 2012

Mixt Media Audio Zine for August is available for download here:

http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/61726


Please let me know whether you prefer streaming or download from this blog. Thank you! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Grant Thomas


My Life In Records
Into My Heart
$6.50 each + shipping
grantthomasonline.com 






I don’t exactly feel “qualified” to review comics. When I was a kid I went through a brief phase of reading “Richie Rich” and a couple of other non-superhero series. As a young adult I read Doonesbury and Bloom Country for a while, then grew bored with them. Often comics just leave me baffled, and ultimately disappointed.

That’s not the case with My Life In Records, a very coherent narrative that explores the author’s childhood. Bert & Ernie’s LP Side By Side plays a prominent role in the events in young Grant’s life and imagination. Grant’s story continues in Into My Heart which brought visceral memories up for me of nearly drowning when I was a child when I was 4 or 5 years old. Grant’s childhood echoes my own in several ways – right down to wrestling with religious questions and baptism. 



Everything flows in these comics and everything “works” – the visual style, storytelling, and the narrative text. Vinyl records anchor the story, something most of us of a certain generation can relate to. Will anyone be nostalgic for their mp3 player in twenty years? I won’t give away any further specifics about these comics because I hope that as an OMZR reader you will discover these excellent zines for yourself.