Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapbook Review: Ghosts I Have Seen

Ghosts I Have Seen: Chapter 1 - Silk Dress and Rumpus
by Violet Tweedale

20 pp / half letter / $4

Violet Tweedale (d. 1939) was the rarest of souls – passionate, literate, a spiritualist, artist, musician, with ceaseless energy. She wrote dozens of novels, short stories and essays with a depth of imagination rarely seen in today’s literature. This makes Joseph Carlough’s reprint of “Ghosts I Have Seen – Chapter One: Silk Dress and Rumpus” (originally written in 1919, the year both of my parents were born!) all the more refreshing, with delightfully fey / inspired drawings by Saint Beckett. Violet reveals herself and her spiritual experiences slowly, wrapping the reader in her philosophy and musings as the text expands. This may be a true ghost story or remembered childhood dreams and fantasies. Regardless, her writing is compelling and this chapbook is gorgeously printed and choreographed.

I fervently hope that Mr. Carlough follows through with his project to reprint more chapters from Violet Tweedale’s “Ghosts I Have Known” memoir in chapbook form.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zine Review: Ray X X-Rayer #92 & 93

Ray X X-Rayer
#92 / #93
PO Box 2
Plattsburg NY 12901-0002

One of the most consistently entertaining and informative zines I read is Ray X X-Rayer. Issue #92 is 12 pages (an expanded format for Ray’s zine), half-letter sized. Ray launches the issue with a farewell tribute to ufologist Jim Mosely of Saucer Smear zine. Then Ray details software woes, takes another foray into the ether with the Liberty Net crew from 3950 kHz, writes a report on a man who has announced he is making a leap off of a cliff into the unknown as the winter solstice arrives in Sedona, AZ, shares an idea for a cool unreality TV series and Ray closes out this issue with zine reviews of Fadeaway and Opuntia, two zines that I read on a regular basis.

Issue #93 is back to the one page double sided format. Ray updates the exploits of the leaping man, talks about old time film serials, and updates the raving and ranting from zealous shortwavers. This zine is always excellent reading, so send Ray as many bucks as you can spare and your postal address. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Zine Review: Somnambulist #20

Somnambulist #20
$15 / 4 issues
Martha Grover
PO Box 14871
Portland OR 97293

Somnambulist #20 diverges somewhat from the usual literary format and focuses on Martha’s interests around food. This issue relates her food history which is an intriguing concept and would be helpful if more of us sketched out our experiences with our diets from birth until now to look at patterns of healthy / unhealthy eating. I strongly feel that our early (birth – five) experiences with food shape us for life. Somnambulist #20 also includes delectable recipes to make & try yourself. Great issue, and I’ll be looking forward to what Martha cooks up next time within the pages of Somnambulist . 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Zine Review: The Subconscious Restaurant

The Subconscious Restaurant
Edited by Ron Hanson
44p, b&w, 8.5"x11"  $10
Room 5, Floor 9, No.420, Sec. 2, Nantun Road, Nantun District, Taichung City, Taiwan

The avant-garde art movement is alive and well and documented meticulously in this gorgeously printed zine. Subconscious Restaurant starts out with an article about Wang Fujui and his sound installations. Bruce Russell contributes insights into the history of New Zealand electronic music. An exquisitely drawn feature explores Wellington NZ transportation and road woes and the destruction of communities caused by airport overdevelopment. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg … there’s a lot of creativity packed into these 44 pages. The Subconscious Restaurant offers a feast of artistic endeavor.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chapbook Review: Further Distractions by Bucket Siler

I’m not a very astute reviewer of fiction, or semi-fiction, or fictional prose or stories. When language ignites my attention while I’m reading – and makes me want to keep on reading, then I know I've found a “keeper”. 

Bucket Siler sent me Further Distractions and it’s going to take a literary wizard greater than I to give this zine / chapbook / anthology the review it deserves. The stories within seem to focus on moments in relationships when everything is balanced halfway over the edge … the moment when you’re going to stumble across that huge insight, that inner secret, the right road to take … or not. It all comes down to small moments, even if the desert wind blows those moments into a monsoon.

If I received letters like those missives that Bucket includes in Further Distractions, I’d be running to my mailbox the minute I got home from work. And dusting off my typewriter. 

Search for this zine or check out 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zine Review: Safe In Sound Zine #2

Safe In Sound Zine #2
half letter / 26 pages / $2
search to find a copy

Even as I age & don’t recognize the many of the bands reviewed here, I feel like this is the kind of variety zine we need more of. Kearston starts off the issue with an interview with musician Kiley Lotz, then launches into reviewing some zines that she acquired at the Scranton Zine Fest, many of which I can happily say I have read. Kearston then conducts an informative interview with Cari Tellis, PhD who explains how one’s voice is created via our anatomical process, and discusses vocal disorders and emphasizes the importance of our unique voice to self image and identity. Safe In Sound Zine #2 ends with extensive and helpful music reviews. Just yesterday I was discussing how people find new music with a dj acquaintance of mine, and we were lamenting the lack of non digital (read offline) reviews and sources to discover new tunes, when just a decade ago, college radio and fanzines were the preferred venue for discovering new great music.
Safe In Sound Zine #2 is an exceptional zine endeavor that should come with a cd soundtrack! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zine Review: The Opera Glass #62

The Opera Glass #62
Iris Arnesen editor
219 N. Euclid Avenue
Tucson AZ 85719

Iris meticulously introduces us to the world of Romeo et Juliette in this issue of The oper Glass, and her essay opened my eyes to the depth of this story that we all think we know. Centuries ago people were thinking about conformity and social expectation, the issues at the heart of this opera. There is also some discussion of Bollywood films, a review of Mystic India and much more. The Opera Glass is immersed in succinct writing, beautiful illustrations, and a wealth of music.