Thursday, August 30, 2012
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
The Migraineur #1
By Carrie Mercer
c/o Alterior Motives
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, August 13, 2012
My Life In Records
Into My Heart
$6.50 each + shipping
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.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Basements & Living Rooms Issue 2
53 pages / half letter
$2 / email@example.com
The theme of issue two is Tours & Road Trips & over twenty people contribute their stories, photography, poetry & creativity to this volume. Eddie Chapman & Steev Barker’s illustrations are fun to discover, each with a distinctive visual style. Tyler Gwizdek’s poem “Everything becomes full” astutely expresses the whirling dervish energy that builds at a great live show. Other than that, nothing else in this issue feels compelling, it’s mostly kind of mediocre. I embrace anyone and any scene that is taking music back from corporate profiteers. However knowing full well that I am 30 years older than this zine’s intended audience, I just feel like more of an outsider looking in to an increasingly insular “punk” “culture”.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Cloud Factory #3
48 pages / $2.50
Ryan is in jail. Laura is not. They collaborate on Cloud Factory, a zine that on the surface seems to explore a self-limiting concept. Yet it isn’t. Issue three is as immediate and essential as the first two. Ryan’s writing digs below the mask self to expose the reality of days lived in the tedious & torturous milieu we call jail. In his artwork we glimpse his psyche bled out on paper – intense, intricate, naked. The energy that Laura and Ryan invest in Cloud Factory is almost tangible. You will not find a more compelling zine.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
“Let us cherish therefore the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” – John Adams
DJ Frederick’s thoughts on reviews & criticism: I once read a critique of shortwave radio pirates that essentially said “if you’re going to make the effort to take to the airwaves, please have something important to share rather than playing commercial music you can hear anywhere else.” This statement also relates to zines. Zines aren’t illegal (yet – we’ll see what happens when Romney is elected) but creating zines is like setting up pirate radio transmitting gear – they are a lot of work and you are sending your message out into the wide world, not just your immediate circle of friends. So the content would ideally be something that expresses the zine creator’s unique vision yet people can relate to or learn something from.
Yes, all works of creative expression are worth celebrating. Yet if the quality of the zine brings comparisons in my mind to fake plastic piles of feces that kids leave on a hated teacher’s desk, I will generally not waste my time and energy reviewing it. Or I’ll write negative feedback if I feel it might be helpful feedback for the zine creator or potential readers.
Long live freedom of expression!
Monday, August 6, 2012
I Love Bad Movies #5
74 pages / $5
At five issues (and going strong), I Love Bad Movies is a stalwart perennial of the zine scene. Matt Carman and Kseniya Yarosh have a monster on their hands – and on their screens. This issue includes films with actors at the outset or at the zenith of their careers – some before they were famous, others long after they slipped into debauchery. Either way they should have known better than to make these horrific (or horror) flicks.
Twenty-eight brave and literate souls / contributors guide the reader through such non-epics as “Slaves of New York”, “Deadly Blessing” and the symbolic one’s “Purple Rain”. There’s also an interview with Alex Winter on his role in Death Wish 3. Page after page examines films that you either love or hate – or love to hate. It’s like a 2 am movie festival at the last drive-in within 100 miles, complete with creepy ticket taker & suspicious glow in the dark soft drinks. I Love Bad Movies #5 is compelling reading for movie lovers (or loathers) everywhere. Break out the betamax, it’s gonna be a great night.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Magpie Magazine #5
When magic manifests on paper, mercurial and ephemeral, we can only hope that we are awake for the event. Magpie Magazine #5: Metamorphosis is about growth and transitions, about shapes in the whispering night that roll like clouds into our minds, full of potential. Magpie Magazine #5: Metamorphosis feels completely dreamlike, yet it is full of substance and clues to the psyche. Blending art & folk culture, this issue features art and an interview with Hanna Tuulikki, an interview with Simon Costin of the Museum of British Folklore, an article on visionary artist Leonora Carrington, fragile photography, poetry, prose, and a compilation cd (many of the musicians are interviewed in the zine). Visually this is as intoxicating as it gets – the typography, color design, layout is as close to heaven as one might find in a zine. The music is great too – a generous 16 tracks of mostly contemporary acoustic psychedelic folk. I strongly advise finding a copy of this before, like all beautiful, ephemeral things, it vanishes.