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

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


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?