Monday, January 30, 2012

Zine Review: Grimm

Sarah Bracken has created a mini zine about the lives of Jacob and Wilheim Grimm, who collected oral folktales in Europe in the early 1800’s. Many of these stories were centuries old, full of allegories and allusions that still mystify us today because they relate to the deep ancestral psyche within all of us. Sarah’s zine is a beautiful production with text in German and English, and includes Sarah's lovely original linocuts. Grimm is an excellent overview of the brothers' biography limited to an edition of only twenty copies! For more information check out or

Audio Review:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Zine Review: Super Structure #1

Super Structure #1
Available for $1 from
Azazel Macabre
PO Box 10298
Columbia MO 65201

Super Structure #1 carries one of the most promising subtitles ever: “chaotic musings on film culture & lived philosophy”. Very cool … bring it on! Super Structure #1 is a half letter sized collage / cut & paste zine with tasty graphics and written analysis of films like Blade Runner and Apocalypse Now juxtaposed with the philosophical musings of Derrida. The surreal artwork and creative approach here are excellent, yet this zine lost me toward the end when it devolved into something about cinematic murders & executions and Italian sex flicks.    

Zine Review: Love Letter #4

Love Letter #4: Tea Time
$4 from
Jennifer Busby
5804 North Borthwick Ave
Portland Oregon 97217

My wonderful wife NanSea has started a tradition with our granddaughters: witch’s tea, which is exactly what it sounds like - a tea party where everyone wears witch’s hats and is part of the secret sisterhood. I can tell they’re having a blast and learning to appreciate the joys of tea at the same time.

Jennifer’s Love Letter #4: Tea Time is a perfect introduction to how to create your own tea party. The graphics are fun, the advice is astute (forget plastic cups … don’t mix lemon and milk). There are recipes and resources as well. I’m hoping this zine is your cup of tea. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Audio Review: Lab Findings

Lab Findings c/o
Kobb Labs
PO Box 30231
Pensacola FL 32503

(? this is just a guess: 
$2 / loc / trade)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Zine Review: WTF Records

WTF Records  Issue #1

Full disclosure: I am an aficionado of Dana Countryman’s Cool & Strange Music zine & the Incredibly Strange Music books from RE/search Publications. Therefore the moment I stumbled across the WTF Records zine, without a blink of hesitation I ordered it.

Vinyl records will always be my “media of choice” in the way that iPods /  mp3s might be the media of choice for teenagers who are growing up now in thirty years, regardless of what technological formats have arisen to supplant iPods in the intervening decades. There is magic in the LP grooves, in letting the needle drop. So too, there is magic in the endless diversity of records that were created and released in the golden era of vinyl.

WTF Records features some of the most oddball, quirky, peculiar, bordering on depraved records and record jackets ever pressed. Finding titles like “A.A. Allen Preaching God is a Killer” and “My Lips Are For Blowing” in a dusty flea market somewhere is akin to unearthing shards of the holy grail. One wonders how these records ever came to exist, and how by some stroke of serendipity, into your hands (and ears).

Joe Wallace covers everything like a sardonic journalist introducing you to the most beloved archives in the library. There’s Christmas with Colonel Sanders and The Six Million Dollar Man, sex and bondage with the Ohio Players, the dour female stalking records of Conway Twitty … this zine is a virtual feast of weirdness and wonder. One request to Joe, our tourguide – more, please!!!

Audio Review: Hex Magazine #8 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two zines by Kelsey Pike

One of my joys in discovering zines is learning about a skill, a craft, something that reflects my interest in connecting with creativity. Kelsey Pike’s Papermaking With Your Hands illuminates the technique of making homemade paper from recycled or plant materials. This zine guides readers through papermaking from pulping through drying, and even teaches you how to build homemade molds & deckles and couching tables. 

Kelsey’s second zine Relief Printing With Your Hands demonstrates methods of carving templates and block printing. She also includes how to make a collagraph (a print made from materials glued to cardboard) and how to print using styrofoam. Both of these zines are well illustrated with easy to follow, readable step by step processes. Kelsey’s blog is here and her zines are available through etsy.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Documentary: Chuck Kramer visits Firefly Press

Zine Review: Cheer the Eff Up

Cheer The Eff Up
lots of pages / half legal / $3
by Jonas
PO Box 633
Chicago IL 60690

Jonas wrote a zine for his soon to be born child (a daughter, if Jason’s psychic mom was correct) & in the process revisits his past and present relationships with family and friends. Jonas is an observant storyteller whose expressive writing cuts to the heart of the matter. A few pages into the zine, Jonas recounts a visit to an abortion clinic with his friend Amanda. The raw terror of their encounter with protesters had my pulse racing.Writing with fierce honesty, Jonas tells his child “You need to be strong and not scared and not fall into those bullshit gender roles and rules that people around here fall into. Pink for girls, blue for guys. No way. Pick whatever color you want. Don’t starve yourself to look like the anorexic nightmares everyone else calls models.” This is advice that I wish my (adult) daughter would understand and pass on to her daughters.

Cheer The Eff Up is a chronicle of self examination & personal revelations. Many of us have taken paths from punk-ass dreamers to corporate whores. It is the nature, and bane, of this capitalist culture. But it is not the nature of adulthood or parenthood, which involves finding one’s voice and using it with integrity. Jonas has done both within this zine. So Cheer the Eff Up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Zine Review: Cereal Boxes & Milk Crates ...

Cereal Boxes and Milk Crates Zine Libraries and Infoshops are NOW

I think this zine was written a few years ago, so the resources may be somewhat out of date, however the discussions about various incarnations of zine libraries and infoshops is obviously still relevant. I am a former public library trustee and can attest firsthand that the culture needs alternatives to typical public libraries, or perhaps public libraries need to embrace the zine / punk / comics / art / independent press and print culture. In a distracted, capitalist, technology oriented world, people desperately need places to unplug, unwind, connect with one another, and connect with resources and information they won’t easily find elsewhere. Every community needs a zine library or an info shop! Google and wikipedia are not the founts of all knowledge (and definitely not wisdom). Cereal Boxes and Milk Crates Zine Libraries and Infoshops are NOW is colorful, well designed and an enjoyable read.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Zine Review: Rewild Your Life #1

We humans have all settled into this mess we have created called “civilization”. Derrick Jensen & many others have been calling attention to civilization and its discontents, which are countless. We humans are the only species that is neurotic, depressed, genocidal, and able annihilate all life on this planet any time we wish. This reality has lived in the recesses of our minds since 1945 and is incredibly horrific.

On a brighter note, Rewild Your Life examines how we have been socially controlled and disconnected from nature itself in recent times. Reconnecting with Nature can free us from our economic and mental slavery – following the joy of adventure, finding ways to be spontaneously wild. We can allow our Earth Walker / Forest Dweller / Urban Wild Man & Woman to emerge from the mindfuck prisons our culture has built for us (and that we gladly or sometimes unknowingly sustain).

Rewild Your Life is a brief zine full of great photography / graphics and is essential reading. I hope it truly is issue “one” … and that more are on the horizon. Copies are available from

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zine Review: Dodo Comics #2

Dodo Comics No. 2 Fall 2011
by Grant Thomas

I’m someone who really doesn’t understand most comic zines. I’ve encountered a few that are brilliant and delightful, like the Trees and Hills anthologies, but most comics leave me scratching my head. Oh, right … these reviews aren’t about me. There goes my incessant narcissistic thing again.

Grant Thomas’ Dodo Comics No. 2 falls into the ‘delightful’ camp – thankfully he discusses and shares insights into each piece in the zine. Dodo Comics No. 2 includes “Homage to Leone” inspired by spaghetti westerns (I could hear the Morriconne melodies in my mind’s ear as I read).  “Drawing From Life” revisits the horrors of college art classes (all too real!), Visions of Johanna’s Concert (Bob, is that you?) is a comic in the pantoum form which I hadn’t encountered before, and Why Have You Shut Your Eyes which speaks volumes in a few brief images and words to anyone who is familiar with meditation and the demons that we evoke when opening our consciousness.

Grant is also a musician … I highly recommend perusing his website for issues of Dodo Comics, samples of music, and more. My Life In Records looks intriguing and could be the title of my autobiography …  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Zine Review: Keepers Kanzine

One word review: scrumptious.

Keepers Kanzine is a vivid, friendly, crisply printed zine published by Lady Bee. Where else can you find mouth watering recipes for Gingered Pear Jam, Peach Preserves, Applesauce Jar Cakes and Blueberry Pie Filling? Or Rising River Farm’s Original Beet Sandwich? Oh, and entertaining graphics on every page along with practical canning tips, stories and quotes? Keepers Kanzine is fun and educational, and to me that’s a recipe for a zine that I hope has a long shelf life and many more issues to come. For more information email

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mini zine mini review

A Short Zine About How Leonard Cohen Is Totally Awesome

Full disclosure: I enjoy Leonard Cohen’s music and poetry immensely. Hannah’s brief 1/8 size fanzine recounts attending a Leonard Cohen concert at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. This zine is typewritten and sprinkled with handwritten Cohen lyrics. I’m pleased to see a zine (even this brief) about Cohen, who knows how to distill intense and beautiful emotions into poetry & music, and is an artist in every sense. A Short Zine About How Leonard Cohen Is Totally Awesome is available from HannahMadeIt on  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Zines by Burgin Mathews

One of my personal favorite “genres” of zine writing is the music zine - not the fanzines that deify a specific band or style of music, but zines that delve into lesser explored paths and aspects of the musical world around us. Two exceptional examples of this type of journalism are Angry Violist and David Tighe’s zines.

So my curiosity was piqued when I stumbled across Singing Governors, Fiddling Senators and Other Country Music Politicians by Burgin Mathews on etsy. He charts a course from Tennessee brothers Bob and Alf Taylor to Al Gore, Sr. relating stories of musicians who were also politicians and politicians who were musicians. Something about fiddling politicians make them more accessible, more human, and informs us that they, like us, have a soul. Music is the universal language (not Esperanto – sorry!) and we feel comfort and familiarity with those who are fluent in that language.

Burgin introduces this history of fiddling politicians with a nod to Kinky Freeman, which sets the tone for a highly enjoyable read. I remember in the folky days of my youth finding & eyeing some of the LPs mentioned in this zine – Senator Sam Erwin, Senator William Byrd … and unfortunately placing the LPs back in the record bin. Now, I wish I had made a different choice.

Burgin is also the author of Thirty Birmingham Songs, a zine that compiles the background of three dozen tunes about Birmingham Alabama. Numerous musical genres and recordings are represented here from the 1920’s to the present. Thirty Birmingham Songs is cultural journalism at its finestmethodically researched, descriptively written, educational and enjoyable. Music of place is essential to building community … I wonder how many songs have been written about New Hampshire?

For more information check out

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zine Review: Show & Tell #9

Zine Review – Show & Tell #9
half letter sized, 36 pages

I’ve read and enjoyed issues 6, 7 & 8 of Rachel Lee Carman’s Show & Tell zine (made with Y in Bend Oregon). Issue #9 seems just as creative, with beautiful graphics and illustrations, however after reading cover to cover it feels disorganized and scattered. This might be because unlike the previous issues there is no central theme to #9 other than a sort of chronicle of Rachel’s year. The best parts are about a tree sit smudging ceremony / blessing and a yummy hummus recipe. A quote by Kurt Vonnegut in Rachel's introduction seems to sum this issue up accurately: “Here we are, in the amber of the moment, there is no why.” 

Digressive thought: There’s nothing wrong with being overcome by “the great motherfucking sad”. Embrace all emotions, take off the mask, live in the moment of Being.