Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Zine Review: Two Love Fragments

patrokolos has created a beautiful, unbound half sized zine of meditations on love, growing older, and connectedness. The two love fragments (titled if we grow old together and life in the water) flow with emotion, depth and poetry. In this chaotic culture, zines like Two Love Fragments nourish our souls. Check Sweet Candy Distro for availability. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Zine Review: I Love Bad Movies 1 & 2

When I was a child I used to watch old movies on our black & white television with my father late at night: The Incredible Shrinking Man, Revenge of the Creature, Tarantula, This Island Earth and dozens more. Nothing was more exciting than a movies about aliens or giant spiders or old castles with secret passageways. In my adult life, I’ve realized (through spending way more time in front of a screen than is healthy for anyone) that probably 99% of all Hollywood films are wastes of time. How these scripts got written and films financed has always been a mystery to me. Yet they gross billions for an industry that thrives on recycling every cliché in the book.

Conversely (maybe perversely) I occasionally love to watch B Movies (or grade Z movies) to remind myself of the insanity of the culture we live in as reflected through the fantasy of filmmakers. Plus, it’s fun to make fun (what a negative pleasure). The zine I Love Bad Movies is co-edited with great skill by Matt Carman and Kseniya Yarosh. They’ve assembled a stellar crew of writers (and films) to explore, mostly centered on the 1980’s onwards. Most of these movies can still be found used on VHS (or DVD) in flea markets or stashed in the basement of the few remaining bricks & mortar DVD shops. Anja Verdugo illustrates the psychedelic splatter flick Shrooms with suck veracity I feel like I’ve seen the movie (and I probably have – in some parallel universe). The inner workings of  Sleepaway Camp, The Darwin Awards, The Stuff and many more create the crux of highly literate reviews. Written by fans for fans (or maybe just the curious) I Love Bad Movies is a joy to read cover to cover.

For more information see www.ilovebadmovies.com  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zine Review: Gardener's Delight

Gardener’s Delight #1

Gardener’s Delight is an offsized zine (4” X 11.5”) bound with twine. This is the percet time of year for planning a garden while we wait for Spring to emerge. Gardener’s Delight is meticulously written, edited and illustrated and focuses on the joy of connecting with the soil and growing one’s own food, herbs, flowers and plants. There is a section of preparing soil for planting, how to plant, suggestions for what to plant, and a resource guide. Whether you are growing in a community garden, your backyard, or indoors, Gardener’s Delight has an abundance of practical information to share. For more information email flissc@gmail.com  

Audio Review:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Zine Review: Show Me The Money #36

Show Me The Money #36
half sized / 46 pages
Tony Hunnicutt
PO Box 48161
Minneapolis MN 55448

Hands down: We need more zines like Show Me The Money. The media spins lies, disinformation, deception and distraction every day regarding the economy and its impact upon our social well-being. We are taught through media to emulate and venerate the wealthiest of Americans and their corporate / capitalist ways. It’s what we are not shown, the stories that are not reported, that we need to pay attention to.

Show Me The Money #36 includes articles on evil stockbrokers, Crisis in the West part three, the Environmental Corner, the enduring layoff scoreboard, and a wealth of facts. There’s also a “publications received” page. This may sound cliché, but this is the type of zine that the government and economists probably don’t won’t you to read. Which is precisely why you need to read this. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Zine Review: The Transcribed Photographs

The Transcribed Photographs
From Venus

There was a time when music didn’t need videos. Silence didn’t need to be broken. Screens didn’t need to be glowing in our living rooms, or reflected in our eyes 24/7. There was a time when you could go out to dinner or wait in a lobby without the electronic intrusion of a television. There was a time when you could spend hours standing in front of one painting, or photograph, uninterrupted & immersed in its messages.

The Transcribed Photographs is an exhibit of poetic description, expressing the photographs that the artist desired to capture on film, or to compose. The opening page quotes Anais Nin “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” Descriptive poetry is encased in frames throughout this inventive zine that whispers to your imagination to create the visuals. The Transcribed Photographs is an invitation to take a guided journey through your own inner landscape.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zine Review: Hobby Horse

Simon Yates has an eye for the curious and unusual and shares his interests through publishing Hobby Horse. Unlike the prancing pony toys of childhood, you’ll have to hang on tight once you step into this roller coaster. The two issues Simon graciously sent to me are packed with intriguing articles referencing a copious range of topics. Reading Hobby Horse one learns about the development of transatlantic cables in the 19th century and the roles of William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) and Wildman Whitehouse in making modern transatlantic communication a reality. There’s a story describing the Lizard Man of Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe. Yates shares a biography of the enigmatic astronomer and mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria. In Hobby Horse you can learn how to build an Aeolian harp and a psychedelic “dream machine”. Where else can you find all of this cool information in one place? Nowhere.

Zines like Hobby Horse embody the possibilities and endless creativity that zines have to offer readers. For more information write to PO Box 1879 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Zine Review: Cloud Factory #1

I’m going to say this publically and honestly, baring my soul to the zine world & bracing for the fallout – I get very nervous when prisoners write to me. First of all, they don’t know me personally. I have no idea what their intentions are in writing to a stranger. I don’t know what horrible, possibly violent, crime they have been found guilty of. I have visions of a legion of sociopathic men behind bars who now know my address. It scares the hell out of me.

However when I get beyond my anxiety, reality is somewhat different. I can not even imagine what it feels like to be known by a number rather than a name. The “justice” system is flawed and fails people that collide with it time and time again. Way too many people are warehoused in jails and prisons with no treatment, hope, or vocation. The punishment we inflict upon people is brutal and rarely equal to the “offense”. Some people behind bars have broken no law whatsoever. Many are poor, indigent, have the “wrong” color skin, pissed someone off, were at the wrong place at the wrong time, or the “authorities” just decided who was guilty and built a case around that decision. I’m an empathic, intelligent human being who can question conventional thought and social norms and yet society has instilled a terror in me of anyone who is incarcerated. That’s some powerful mojo.

Cloud Factory #1, a collaborative zine between Ryan Homsley (who is in jail) and Laura Walker (who is not) is a revelation in humanity. Ryan generously shares glimpses into his daily life and thoughts. Ryan’s artwork is surreal and edgy. His essays are nuanced and poetic. Ryan and Laura pose one another questions and slowly through the written word and the magic of mail, both create a strong connection. Readers of Cloud Factory are witness to the beauty of an unfolding communication.

I don’t want to say too much about Cloud Factory other than I highly recommend reading a copy for yourself. It has opened my eyes and changed my mind about responding to prisoners. You can write to Ryan Homsley #747267 MCDC 1120 SW Third Ave Portland OR 97204. Laura Walker (who also publishes the Welcome to Bend zine) can be reached at PO Box 8030 Bend Oregon 97708.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zine Review: Never Kneel #2

Zine Review – Never Kneel Number 2
By Seth Graham
half letter sized, 14 pages

I absolutely need to read issues one and three of Seth’s zine. Why? Because in issue 2’s fourteen slim pages, Seth expresses so many thoughts and ideas that I have grown up with around “God” and religion and reading Never Kneel was extremely affirming that I finally feel I’m not the only one who feels / thinks this way.

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family, was drawn toward Catholicism for a time, became an atheist and then evolved into a heathen / pagan / animist hybrid. I still believe in a God, even if that God is the energy of the universe that pulses through us. As for the God(s) that all religions reference? They are human created mythologies, mostly created to control society and people’s beliefs and behaviors. Original sin and the need for personal salvation from an external spiritual source (that you somehow internalize by saying the right prayers) is a human-made construct.

Never Kneel gives us permission to think differently about God & religion. I’ll say amen to that. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Booklet review: Some More Adventures of Super Heart

Just in time for Valentine's Day comes this crisp little zine from Evan at www.cosmicrockbooklets.com

From the website: CosmicRock Booklets is a small, independent booklet making venture.  The booklets are for children and grownups to share. CosmicRock booklets are for packing light on a picnic or plane ride and for using as coloring books in a pinch.  They are for not worrying if a booklet gets left behind at the play-ground,  gets spilled on, or accidentally gets returned with the library books.

This is a very kid friendly booklet and a message with (pun intended) heart. Kids know the joy of reading a  good story and they'll enjoy this one. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Zine review: 404 not found #2

40 pp / $1
David Hatton
PO Box 2318
Pleasant Hill CA 94523

Serving on a jury is a public service that most Americans are eligible for (even obligated to do) and that few will actually experience. Author David Hatton dissects his time as a juror in a murder trial (The People v. Reginald D. Robinson). In clear language David recounts the facts of the case (the charges, the victim, circumstances) and outlines both the prosecution and defense arguments. As the zine progressed I found myself drawn into the legal proceedings. I live a good mystery and this case, built largely on circumstantial evidence, had some remarkable elements. While I would have appreciated knowing a little more about the jury deliberation / decision making process, overall 404 not found #2 is a very informative zine.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zine Review: Wrong Number #1

Wrong Number #1
by Belka808
8 pages / $1

I took a chance and ordered Wrong Number Zine #1 since it has a title similar to a brilliant book by Franklin Rosemont (An Open Entrance to the Shut Palace of Wrong Numbers) which is a series of essays pondering the serendipitous nature of wrongly placed telephone calls and their cosmic significance in Mr. Rosemont’s life. Turns out Wrong Numbers Zine was named for just such occurrences. Wrong Number Zine is published in a newsletter format (a print zine style that I am appreciating more every day). The artwork and layout are eye catching & the content is highly readable. Within its eight pages Belka808 discusses the art of drinking tea, favorite books, street sticker art, being a southpaw, there are zine reviews and much more. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zine Review: Six Letters Addressed to You

six letters addressed to you
by Patrokolos

An issue that rumbles through the culture that I worry about as a middle aged man is: communication - the deep, personal communication that is possible between two or more human beings. The emergence of Twitter and texting seems antithetical to deeper communication, and letter writing is quickly becoming relegated to a museum of forgotten art.

When I discover a zine like six letters addressed to you by patrokolos, my faith is rekindled. This zine is comprised of six handwritten letters to people past and present in the author’s life. From the first sentence it is compelling reading. Whether talking about nature, anarchy, family, or life experiences, patrokolos always spirals back to the heart of relationship and connectedness. His revelations are intimate, moving, and authentic – this kind of fierce zen honesty is healing.

Copies of six letters addressed to you can be found at Sweet Candy Distro and I highly recommend placing this high on the priority list. If you’re out there reading this patrikolos – share more letters, please!  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Zine Review: Welcome to Bend #7 - the Yoga Issue

Welcome to Bend #7 - The Yoga Issue
PO Box 8030 Bend OR 97708
72 pp / $4

This is the first issue of Welcome to Bend I have read. Laura Walker has created a detailed, generous zine focusing on interviews with people involved with yoga in Bend Oregon. Full disclosure: Yoga is not my “thing”. However I immensely enjoyed the interview with Uma Kelppingher where she states “By reducing yoga to aerobics practice with incense and well produced soundtracks, we diminish the incredible gifts offered to us by adopting yoga not merely as a practice, but as a perspective.” She continues with a discussion of centering into clarity and embracing love as a way of being. There’s an intriguing interview with Vasudeva, an improvisational music ensemble. Welcome to Bend #7 includes a beautifully illustrated centerfold on the seven chakras, our energy centers. This zine is exceptionally well illustrated and designed with a plethora of articles on Kundalini, Bikram Yoga, Laughing Yoga and more. This is a highly valuable resource for anyone interested in yoga, whether you are in Bend or elsewhere on the planet.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More zines from smallghosts

There are some visionaries working on the papernet out there in this blue wild world, and small ghosts is one of them. A cynical mind might think: what is this stuff? Put your cynical mind away and learn how to dream. 

Book of Stones is a nearly microscopic zine detailing the properties of howlite, agates, hematite and other geological wonders accompanied by an illustration of each one. How to Become a Smooth Operating Nomad Criminal is a mini zine gleaned from various sources and is nowhere near as sinister as it sounds (then again the culture / thought police are not just around us, we have internalized political / spiritual / artistic oppression so it is within us … so is the new definition of criminal someone who challenges the status quo in word and action?) This zine is full of thoughts to ponder. A Mystery by Joe Sexton is a visual zine filled with quirky images. And finally, Teenage Diary by Karlene Nicolajsen uses language to convey 

thoughts and emotions known only to our inner selves … it’s a cinematic and vivid work of (literary) art. Amazing.

For more information email mail@smallghosts.ca  

Zine Review: Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos #8

Back in the day before the internet (some of us remember that far back & then some) people used to … write letters. Imagine that! Sometimes people would find pen-pals from all over the world with which to share stories, culture, and friendship using only the tools of paper and ink with the occasional photo or mixtape. Some people still embrace this method of correspondence even in the digital age (shocking!)

I’ve been fortunate these past few weeks to receive some surprisingly high quality zines. Robert sent me Les Carnets de Rastapopoulous #8 and I was instantly immersed in the world of rediscovering pen pals and the joys of letter writing as both communication and artform.

I won’t go into more detail other than to say this zine gets my highest recommendation for graphics, writing, content, and spirit. Write for your copy today!  Les Carnets de Rastopopoulos 2-7 Larch Street Ottawa, Ontario, K1R6W4 CANADA.