Friday, September 28, 2012

Zine Review: Cats Claw Herbal

Cats Claw Herbal
by Heron Brae

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

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:

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.