Monday, December 30, 2013

Two Zines from Luna Blue Art Collective

I originally read Chris Bird's parable The Sea Books in Whistle Zine #2. Here the story is contained within a stand-alone mini zine with dark pen & ink illustrations. Nothing detracts from the central mystery of this story - a surreal time and space where books wash ashore, changing the lives of people in a seaside village forever. Captivating prose.

A Little Zine Called Love is a mini zine from Fall 2012. It visually tells the story of hoe Annie changes the downward spiral of negativity into love with some balloons and zines. I like that National Public Radio plays a central role in this narrative. Exquisite, with a much needed moral.

A lot of heart & creativity goes into these projects. I'm not sure where to obtain either of these zines. Check online at

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Zine Review: Basic Paper Airplane #7

Basic Paper Airplane #7
Joshua James Amberson
32 pages / ¼ size

Every issue I've read of Basic Paper Airplane feels like a cause for celebration. Each has its unique thread, its own story to tell. Joshua is such a friendly guide into his thoughts and world, its like reading a letter from a far-away friend.

I am alternately suspicious of and yet admire people who seem to have their lives “figured out.” Of course, we need to be aware of and comfortable with our true natures, our core selves. Yet we are always evolving, maturing, growing, changing. That’s the adventure of life. Basic Paper Airplane #7 explores not having it all figured out, and that’s just fine.

Joshua tells stories of trying to create art, making zines as a kid, reading a sixth grade essay in front of an audience, and more. Basic Paper Airplane flows like a stream of consciousness. Dive in. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Paper and Ink #1

Paper and Ink Volume One:
Broken Hearts and Broken Bottles

Martin Appleby’s introductory notes to Paper and Ink were music to my ears. He talks about his love for paper zines and wanting to create a physical publication in an age when e-books are outselling traditional books. Martin writes “Maybe the printed word is doomed and I am fighting a losing battle, but maybe … just maybe there are still some people out there that will appreciate good old fashioned words, on paper, printed in ink.” Indeed, Martin, some of us are still out here on the edge of the papernet, sharpening pencils, dipping fountain pens into inkwells, applying postage stamps to real letters. There is hope. There is more than hope.

Martin has assembled an impressive group of creative writers in Paper and Ink Volume One, all thematically weaving narratives of loss and heartache. The zine’s opening piece, a punk romance by Chris Eng, is well written but the characters have cloudy intentions, spending one last night together before parting ways. William James lifts the quality bar a notch with his poem titled “Kids Like Us Will Be Alone Forever” & the zine hits its emotional stride with a brief but powerful poem by Martin. Anthony Macina’s The Breeze is an intense and beautifully realized short fiction. Then … the issue is over, all too brief.

The debut of Paper and Ink holds much promise and shows Martin’s strength in choreographing the zine’s literary dance. I’m looking forward to issue two and hopefully, beyond. On paper. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chapbook Review: Ghosts I Have Seen (Chapter IV)

Ghosts I Have Seen by Violet Tweedale
Chapter IV: East End Days & Night
Design: Joseph Carlough
Illustrations: Alyssa San Valentine

I believe this is the second volume of Violet Tweedale’s memoire that Joseph and collaborators have reproduced from the original book which was published in 1919 (the year my parents were born!).

Ghosts I Have Seen is a gorgeously produced chapbook. Violet Tweedale discusses religion and spirituality, Madame Blavatsky, and curious phenomena within these pages. She approached life with an open mind and audacious spirit, and chronicled her experiences via flourishes of nimble prose.  Though San Valentine’s childlike artwork seems oddly incongruent juxtaposed with the substance of Tweedale’s writing, I highly recommend this chapbook.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Zine review: Red Kitty Issue One

Red Kitty Issue One

The whimsical, colorful cover of this zine enticed me to investigate further. In the 1990s I published two literary journals / magazines / whatever you wish to call them, yet fiction, poetry and creative writing have been relegated to the back pages of my reading list in the past few years. I decided to take a chance on Red Kitty – probably because it is bound with red thread. This issue features some simplistic yet effective artwork and accessible, well crafted writing. I was pleased to see the inclusion of John Grey who I published back in the day. Red Kitty Issue One is a solid debut effort.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Decades of Confusion Feed the Insect #66

Decades of Confusion Feed the Insect #66
Justin Duerr
PO Box 13312
Philadelphia PA 19101

The creator of this zine surely had a different childhood than mine! Justin Duerr chronicles the first 15 years of his life in this full-sized, surreal, Dadaist memoir. Justin’s unique visual and narrative style draw readers into his early life story in absorbing tales of haunted closets, mysterious art, fantails, shortwave number stations, dubbing cassettes, cake decorating and more as he grows into an adolescent. Decades of Confusion Feed the Insect #66 is unparalleled and wondrous, and I am grateful that Justin is sharing his journey with us.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Maudlin Sound 1 & 2

The Maudlin Sound 1 & 2
20 pages / quarter size

Here are two beautiful chapbooks printed on quality paper featuring snippets of narrative by E. Blake from Exeter UK. At first the brief bursts of prose seem random but soon start to take shape and flow. Blake’s use of language is both sparse and poetic, minimalist in the best sense: painting sketches and scenes, internal emotions and external space, with an economy of words. Some of these vignettes are interconnected, some seem to stand alone, all seem to leave a thought or image dangling like an unfinished conversation - dreamlike in some passages, vivid in others, wrapped in the absence of a ticking clock, the spinning of a turntable, or the slow descent of light. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zine Review: Habits of Being #1

What qualifies me to review feminist zines? I'm solidly male, after all. Perhaps the Women's Studies class I took in college. Or maybe just being human.

Habits of Being Issue One focuses on a women's intentional community and the people who live there. It is comprised of oral history interviews with three women and two thematically related narratives. My copy came with pages collated out of sequence which made for much back & forth page turning. Oral history is my favorite technique for exploring our biographies, culture, and evolution. Habits of Being is an absorbing read and is available coupled with an audio cd of the interviews on etsy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mixt Media Review: Bears Snowman 7"

Snowman 7”

Its not everyday that you receive a record that is complete in its beauty – sleeve art, red vinyl, postcards, stickers and even lyrics included! This release from Bears (Craig Ramsey and Charlie McArthur) features four melodic indie pop songs for the holidays. These tunes are introspective and real – pondering where we go for the holidays, who do we see, what do we do. Lyrically, these songs explore the longing that comes with the winter season – a time to face our fears, a longing for connection, a yearning for magic from childhood to still be true. Timeless sentiments for the moment of now.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two Titles from Lemon O Books

Real Fake Clouds
Field Guide and Audio Companion
Edition of 150

Bodies of Water
Field Guide and Audio Companion
Edition of 150

$5 cash each from

Lemon O Books
P.O. Box 11872
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Real Fake Clouds is a gorgeous chapbook of impressionistic photography flowing around a cloud / air theme. Some of these images seem like windows into an imagined sky, one far above the clouds, a world of crystalline shivers touching the outer atmosphere. The accompanying cd includes two tracks: one by Druome that conjures up images of dissonant thunderstorms, and a lengthy, airy piece by Daniel Menche that brings you into the space around and between raindrops and wind.  

Bodies of Water is equally visually intriguing. Slowly absorbing the images and music, one might find themselves diving and surfacing within liquid dreams. And the sky makes a reappearance, completing the cycle of water / cloud / rain / water. The two tracks on the Bodies of Water cd by Frippenino feel infused and informed by water, the womb, and ambient melodies that trickle just beyond our hearing. 

Both of these zines are works of art, labors of love, and wondrous to hold in one’s hand and gaze as the accompanying audio washes over one’s awareness. A sensory delight.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Zine Review: Manual Dexterity May 2012

Once in a while, a zine arrives that is breathtaking in its concept and design. This special issue of Manual Dexterity is a work of art unto itself - there are numerous mini zines enclosed with band interviews and graphic arts in various creative formats, a cd of gorgeous music by Monarques, and more. There's no hesitation on recommending this issue of Manual Dexterity - the price and package are generous - simply order and enjoy.

This message brought to you by a mostly anti capitalist.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Holiday Fundraising Project

It's fundraising time again here at the auld cottage industry! And the holidays are almost upon us! I'm living with reduced income so the holidays are looking bleak, especially in the zine printing department. Thanks to the generosity of prior grab-bag supporters I was able to print Paper Radio Reader 2014 and issue two of Social Studies. Coming up next is a metamorphosis of Turntable Operator. That's all I'll say for now!

Between now and my birthday, December 14, 2013 I am offering grab bags full of my perzines, Paper Radio, Night Train to Mundo Fine, Turntable Operator & other creative projects PLUS a zine or three of other folks zines from my zine archive / collection.

$15 cash or PayPal (marked as a gift) to will support my continued zine publishing efforts and will get a package off in the mail to you as soon as I can get to the post office. 

Wishing you many blessings. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Zine Review: Mishap #32

Mishap #32
32 pages / digest / $1 or trade
PO Box 5841
Eugene OR 97405

This issue of Mishap is titled “Mistakes Were Made”. Ryan delves into his childhood adventures and misadventures, teasing personal history from memory onto the page. Ryan’s writing is literate, lyrical and expressive and pulls you into the scene almost immediately. His description of chasing after the family dog as a young child, and the emotional implications of that incident, is breathtaking. I also loved his account of lessons learned from participating in civic “democracy” and how that process can be a smokescreen for imposed rule. In a chapter titled Monster Club, Ryan writes “The normal is celebrated and enforced everyday, while the odd things are relegated to one day a year, or a movie, or a protest. It is however the normal that is wrong, as you can see by looking at where normalcy has got society”. Amen.

The second half of Mishap #32 lost me thematically – mostly because it centers around skateboarding and punk music and sports, which are not my forte. Still, it’s a solid zine and highly recommended by ye olde DJ zine reviewer. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Zine Review: Meta Zine

Meta Zine
Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 11064
Baltimore MD 21212

22 pages /digest / $2

I am always looking for resources to help with the age-old dilemma of how to explain to people: what is a zine? Davida’s Meta Zine is possibly the clearest, most concise guide to zines I've read thusfar. Opening with a thoughtful passage by Al Burian on Why Write, Davida’s zine introduces the world of zines in a natural flow. She tackles with grace the koan “What is a Zine” (I imagine Zen masters asking this of their novitiates). A brilliant essay follows titled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, It Is Being Published”. Part Two of Meta Zines delves into the process of making a zine which such clarity that anyone who reads this will be able to create their own vision if they so desire.

The magic message is that only you can start the revolution. Unplug the television and let your creative self dance.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Zine Review: 8-Track Mind #102

8 Track Mind #102
available from Antiquated Future

Russ Forster curates what I feel to be one of the most important zines currently in production. 8 Track Mind digs into analog culture with essays about the disparity between digital and analog platforms and how each is experienced. There is more than waxing nostalgia for tape and vinyl at work here – these essays brim with a personal, yet social examination of our relationship with music, content, and format. Some of the contents include: Romancing the Record by Jake Whitener, Cassette Revival by Tim Hinely, The Unity of Time and Space by Lucien Williams, a special mini zine insert titled Surfing the Digital Divide on Fourth-Wave Format Nostalgia and much more. All of the writing in this issue is engaging, mindful, substantial. If you are going to read only one zine this year – make it 8 Track Mind.

New One Minute Audio Series: Paper Radio

Here's a new audio project for radio that I'm trying out. This is the first show, an introduction. Please give it a listen & let me know what you think!

As of 10/4/2013 four stations are airing Paper Radio. There's a list and links here on the blog. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Zine Review: Dusty Paperbacks

Dusty Paperbacks
The Radical Uprise 032

Full disclosure: Ye olde DJ has an article included in this zine.

The heart & soul of Dusty Paperbacks comes right in the middle of this quarter-sized zine: an essay by Shulie B titled The Importance of the Written Word which delves into the author’s relationship with physical books with clarity and succinct expression. Shulie B’s words resonate with me and articulate concepts that I've been struggling to put down on paper for months. We touch, smell, taste, see, feel and imagine differently with a book in our hands vs. an electronic reader. The experience is literally more organic. A sacred path leads us from bookshop or library back to publisher back to printer back to author and connects us in ways that are difficult to express but that are qualitatively different than a connection with a cold white screen. .

Shulie B’s narrative is unfortunately the only piece that I personally connected with in this zine (apart from my own). When it comes to the topic of love for literature and dusty books we need dozens, hundreds of voices singing from the page. A stack of zines proclaiming that books are not dead. Sometimes less is more but with a topic this compelling, more is more. I wish there had been more substance in this zine. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dream Whip 14

Dream Whip No. 14
By Bill Brown
available from Microcosm Publishing

Bill Brown is an astute journalist. There are stretches of Dream Whip No. 14 where I could not put this book down – Bill’s trip to Europe aboard a freighter is one of them. Another passage where Bill and a friend visit the ill-fated Biosphere 2 is hysterical. Trains, travels, and keen observations intersect with brilliant writing (and legible handwriting). There is so much substance to absorb within this edition of Dream Whip that I wish it had been restructured into several mini-zines.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ZIne Review: Piltdown Lad 8.5

And every one of those words rang true
And glowed like burning coal

-         Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue

Piltdown Lad 8.5
The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin
Kelly Dessaint

For the first dozen pages of The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin I thought I was reading a word-for-word account of my adolescence. My parents were Christians and I remember attending numerous “revival” meetings – the shouting preachers, hellfire and damnation, Jesus as the only bridge to salvation, the call to be born again, the magnetic tug of the crowd as people leave their seats to push up front and be blessed, the ceaseless persuasion to conform, the mesmerizing speaking in tongues, the baptism of fire.

Through his writing, Kelly captures the mixed emotions of adolescence, the mixed motivations, feelings, and thoughts that besiege us in the spaces between childhood and adulthood. The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin is a story of rebellion and personal evolution. Like most of Kelly’s zines, this was a “read straight through” session – cliché as it sounds, I literally could not put this zine down until I was finished reading. Then I started at the beginning again.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Zine Review: Operations Manual Vol. XI

Operations Manual 11

The crew of Operations Manual crank the volume up to 11 in this edition & blow Spinal Tap off the radar. As with previous issues, Operations Manual is brimming with surrealist madness. Where else would you find quotes from Antonio Machado and Akira Kurosawa on the same page? Or biblical passages about robbing the poor and following vain persons? Or an educational treatise on polydactyly? Nowhere. Check your mind at the door & enter e-mortality. Peace out.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Zine Review: Recovery Issue 1

Recovery Zine Issue 1

One of the distortions that American culture has taught us is that when it comes to our struggles, we are on our own. It is somehow your fault for being (fill in the blank). People may look at me, weighing in well over 300 lbs, and think “what a loser.” Wrong – I’m a human being who: 1) has been an emotional eater 2) has a barely functioning thyroid and 3) feels physically healthy regardless of my weight. 

Recovery Zine Issue 1 is a wonderful zine on so many levels. First – I love the layout and design: 8 ½ X 11 sheets cleanly printed on one side & bound with yarn. Second – the content is engaging, clearly written, and immediately useful. Everyone I know needs to read the section on 15 ways to untwist your thinking.

Eating disorders are complicated, related to emotions, perceptions, and biochemistry. I have a firm belief that more people have eating disorders than not in this culture – witness the proliferation of fast food over the past two generations. We are simply disconnected from our hunger, our bodies, the earth, and  the natural rhythms of life. We are told things that are not true, and we start to tell ourselves things that are not true. Our warped thinking and the disconnect between us and the natural rhythms of life creates a variety of addictions and disorders.

This zine is a great resource for those who are working their path to recovery. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Zine Review: The Hard Fifty Farm Issue 2

The Hard Fifty Farm Issue 2: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
by Jessie Duke
digest / 36 pages / $4.50

A moment emerges toward the end of this zine when heartfelt truth spills free like a shaft of sunlight through thunderclouds at sunset – refreshing, reassuring and real - the culmination of an emotional journey and its revelations.

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is the story of a group of friends choosing a different path & lessons uncovered. There are doubts about survival and relationships, animals to be tended, invisible neighbors, and life-threatening accidents witnessed.There are moments of quiet and mindfulness and connection. There is grace in everyday struggle.

Jessie Duke is an skillful writer and storyteller with an earth-seasoned voice. This zine belongs at the top of your must read list.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Piltdownlad #6 Institutionalized

Piltdown Lad #6:
by Kelly Dessaint
PO Box 86714
Los Angeles CA 90086

Institutionalized is the story of two young brothers who get caught up in the world of adult sexual abuse and how they try to free themselves.

Institutionalized is the story of two perpetrators – one, the children’s father, the other the father’s 19 year old lover.

Institutionalized is the story of how our social institutions come to the “assistance” of young victims and how the system fails them.

This story takes place in the 1980’s. Not much has changed. And the story is true.

Kelly has one of the most distinctive voices among zine creators today. Institutionalized
Includes actual newspaper and court records accounts of the arrest and incarceration of the abusers. There are pages from Kelly’s notebooks at the time. This issue of  Piltdown Lad continues with Kelly’s compelling, page-turning writing. This is one of those rare zines I read start to finish with no breaks.

A couple of things felt out of place in Piltdown Lad #6 – letters of comment and zine reviews. The zine would have been even more intense and powerful without them. Otherwise – again – Piltdown Lad is essential reading.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Zine Review: Think About The Bubbles #8

Think About the Bubbles #8
Trust the Knife
30 pages / half legal / $6
Joyce Hatton
PO Box 374
Moorhead MN 56560

I could write a two word review of Think About the Bubbles #8: READ THIS & my work as a reviewer would be done.

This zine is a gorgeous, full-color, hand written, illustrated journey through the chaos of life. In diary style, Joyce chronicles her struggles with breast cancer, the medical system, homelessness, mental health issues and more. Her life swings from complete mess to warrior-like determination to succeed on her own terms. Think About the Bubbles #8 vibrantly sings about LIFE in all its messy glory - how we learn, heal and grow – through the discomfort, through the pain, one minute at a time. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Zine Review: Elephant Mess #27

Elephant Mess #27
Dan Murphy
PO Box 9862
Boise ID 83707

Author David Deida has written that there is one significant truth that a man must understand: that everything he builds in this life will erode and crumble into nothingness. Our work here is ephemeral at best. When men can understand and embrace this reality, and do the work we love anyway, we’re theoretically emotionally healthier.

Reading Elephant Mess 27, thoughts of the ephemeral kept flowing through my consciousness. Dan starts out with a meditation on the ephemeral and journeys into some intensely personal territory. The thoughts, concepts, feelings that Dan shares are cathartic and an antidote to cultural insanity. There is incredible wisdom within these pages: confronting apathy, moving purposely, navigating the darkness, examining the illusions and realities of love.

Zines that speak to men’s internal landscapes are so important – at the risk of being labeled a sexist here, I believe that men have been maligned, dehumanized, and abused by the culture at large. Watch television for ten minutes – any channel, any show – and how you will see men portrayed in the media is deplorable. The truth is – many of us deal with emotional struggles, feel deeply, love the earth, and are not flaming narcissists, violent ignoramuses or corporate zombies. Sharing our interior, given the hostility inherent toward men expressing their truth in this culture, is an act of courage and faith.

Thank you Dan. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Treasure Issue One

Treasure No. 1
June 2013

Be prepared for a journey if you read Treasure #1, the inaugural issue of a new fanzine coordinated by Bruce Gillespie. Treasure replaces the zine Scratch Pad, which makes me want to immediately seek out all available back issues.

This edition starts out with Mr. Gillespie discussing the evolution of Treasure, and music concerts (or not attending concerts and the regret that creates). Dora Levakis contributes a substantial account of her trip to Tuva and experiences with throat singing and Tuvan culture. This is followed up by Jennifer Bryce’s travelogue about spending a month in India. Both of these pieces are so crisply written that the reader is transported to another place and time.

The centerpiece of this issue is a lengthy autobiography titled “The Sound of Different Drums: My Life and Science Fiction” by John Litchen of which this is the fifth installment. Writing a memoir that is absorbing and not sleep inducing takes real skill – and Mr. Litchen weaves his magic through conga drumming and night club performances to literature to diving & snorkeling to platonic love affairs … all the while weaving a hypnotic narrative like a smoky jazz poem. 

There is much more diverse content in Treasure. A “must read”. The electronic version is available from 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dream Whip 15

Dream Whip 15
the pedal powered movie tour
this is available from microcosm publishing 

It takes a rare bike trip oriented zine to pique my interest as a reader yet I read this zine in three days over Labor Day weekend, savoring every page.

Dream Whip 15 is a zine about a bike tour and much more. Bill Brown filmed a documentary about activists on the US / Mexico border & devised a unique way of screening the film for people – he would bike to the cities and towns where the screenings would be held. Bill and a group of friends who join him and disembark at various points along the route set out from the Lincoln Memorial and journey through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and eventually reach the Colorado state line. Bill chronicles the journey in diary fashion.

What is quietly stunning about Dream Whip 15 are the small, poetic observations found within its pages. Simon & Garfunkel sang about how we've all gone to look for America. Well, here it is – a snapshot of it anyway, in summer and autumn 2006. There are tragic bridges, communities on the verge of fading into ghost towns, bad coffee places, kind people, mysterious gunshots, wind and rain, telephone museums (we've got one here in Warner!) and roadside attractions. Mostly it’s mile after mile of pedaling toward your goal yet staying focused in your body in the moment.

Reading Dream Whip 15 is like reading a long letter from an old friend telling you about their summer vacation. Except that their vacation involved finding their dog voice.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Zine Review: Rise Fall Repeat #3

Rise Fall Repeat #3
by Isidro "de La Luna" Fox
42 pages / digest
$7 for b&w version     $14 for color version
PO Box 4528
Anaheim CA 92803

This edition of Rise Fall Repeat follows Fox's established format of gorgeous photography overlayed with cut&paste narrative. This issue feels like a dichotomy: there are some musings that, in a few words, paint astonishing insights into the human condition. At the same time there are some personal ramblings about a traumatic incident (possibly more than one incident ) that feel out of place here and are confusing to this reviewer, knowing nothing about the incident or the people involved. If these writings were published in a separate zine it would help this issue feel more holistic and less disjointed. There are moments however when Rise Fall Repeat is breathtaking.

Editorial digression: I'm almost tempted to say that this zine is overpriced. However, I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of that comment (thank you, gods of Microcosm). One can not assign a price to zines, because their value goes beyond any currency. Rise Fall Repeat is the type of zine that one can revisit and absorb over time. It may include snapshots of the author's thoughts in a particular place and time, yet one that resonates long after you've read it.

2013 / 2014: The Revenge of Mail - A Proposal from DJ Frederick

Hello all!

The US postal service is closing offices and reducing services, citing declining use of the postal service through unreliable statistics and touting budget shortfalls and general mismanagement. Congress is requiring the Postal Service to fund their retirement system for 75 years, which is also bankrupting the service. Who loses when post offices close? Everybody.

We all know the pleasures of receiving mail that someone actually took the time to compose or create versus an email that we stare at on a screen. This coming year could be the year of reconnecting with physical media and mail in specific. Imagine what a world without the post office would look like.

Now is the time to pick up a pen, find some paper, dust off the typewriter, write a letter. make some art, get in touch with a friend, or mail someone that book or zine you've been meaning to send.

Thanks for your consideration & I’ll see you at the mailbox. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Zine Review: Thrifty Times #11

Thrifty Times #11

Once upon a time I lived above a Saint Vincent DePaul store. This was back in the day before wealthy people started thrifting and it became yuppie trendy. It was a few months of heaven that I would trade the sterile aisles of Goodwill for any day.

Sarah M. has compiled another winning edition of Thrifty Times, which is enjoyable whether or not you reside in the environs of Boston. Issue 11 starts off with some thriftku & a thrift score that my daughter would love - a mushroom cookie jar! There's a look at denizens of thrift shops including Super Serious Jazz Collector Guy (how did they find me?), a timewarp back to the era of Hulkmania on VHS, and how-to pick through trash (since we are basically a consumerist throw-away culture, there are treasures to be found - wear gloves).

Issue 11 rounds out with music reviews, a thrift shop review, trashy romance novels ... this is a fun FUN zine.

Notice how I always sneak editorials into these reviews?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Collective Chaos

Absolutely Zippo Presents
Collective Chaos: Bay Area Flyer Art
Issue 49
Full sized / $2 + $2 shipping
PO Box 4985
Berkeley CA 94704

This zine chronicles a culture that throve (thrives?) 3,000 miles away from where I live & over the past few decades. Here’s what I gleaned from reading this zine:

The 924 Gilman St. Project (aka Gilman) is a performance space that was / is community / collective oriented. Eggplant was involved with a band named Blatz and is an artist that created DIY fliers for shows and events at Gilman and all over Berkeley. Absolutely Zippo was (is?) a punk-rock focused zine created by Eggplant. Things changed in the culture over the years. There is more history and philosophy discussed in the introductory pages of Collective Chaos but this is simply my cliff notes synopsis.

I grew up in New Hampshire and for the most part, “punk culture” by-passed me in the 80’s and still eludes me to this day. This collection of flyer art is a glimpse into what I have been missing. Creativity soars off of the pages. The graphics are both simple and intricate, ephemeral food for thought. These flyers capture the spirit of a time and place in ways as powerful as the memory of the music and culture being celebrated.

Flyers, stickers, and paper communications are essential to communicating what’s happening in any community. Life doesn’t happen online, you’re not going to hear about some of the best stuff going on unless you talk with people or look up from your smart phone on occasion. Back in the day, word of mouth and artistic flyers were the method of getting word to others.

Every page of this collection sings with joyful expression. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bad Day At The Plastic Mines #2

Here's the second issue of Bad Day At The Plastic Mines. I appreciate zines that are unpredictable. Rather than poetry, this time out Shawn begins his list of his personal 25 favorite punk songs of all time. Again, Bad Day At The Plastic Mines is a single sheet folded into thirds, an effective and simple format. This isn't "my" music, but this is someone's music ... and the reviews are clear and well written. Check out

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Confessions of a Type 40 by Stephen J. Lazotte

Complete disclosure: Stephen is my son - so there's probably a fair amount of bias in this review. Aw heck, just surf on over to for more info & consider supporting his efforts by ordering a copy.

The good news is: Confessions of a Type 40 is ... and I'm being my most objective self here ... a zine worth supporting. It's handmade, includes a heartfelt introduction, some haiku and poetry, and an insightful personal essay titled Mortar. Then - things get weird when Ida May Taylor's parable Mousey Be True Meets Harold Bunny appears (bring on the Jesus People!) but  ... what are zines for, if not to experiment?

Confessions of a Type 40 is also Doctor Who related / inspired - so if you're a Whovian, this zine will bring a smile to your face. Stephen promises future zine projects so let's hold his feet to the fire on this one.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Two Quick Reviews

Heartbreak City
half-letter / 44 pages

Unfortunately, there is a lot of heartbreak in the world - everyone has a story, or dozens of stories of being heartbroken. That's why this is a hefty zine with numerous contributors and stories of relationships that took a sharp turn, or sometimes fell quietly into decline. There's a wide range of writing styles & it's all high quality.

For something on the lighter side I suggest Kari Tervo's Shards of Glass in Your Eye #10. Ten issues! A milestone, which is better than a millstone anyday.

This issue brims with Kari's wit and celebrity sightings (which must be an occupational hazard). Sometimes I'm glad I live in New Hampshire where we only get Steven or Liv Tyler sightings. Oh, and once I saw Tiny Tim checking into a hotel carrying his ukelele. Before he was dead. 

One of the cool things Kari is doing is spearheading (ouch!) an effort called Zines For Troops for active duty military and veterans. This is a very cool idea - send your zines to Kari Tervo - Zines for Troops - PO Box 7831 Beverly Hills CA 90212.

Watch out for the public speaking smackdown!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Zine Review: Cheer the Eff Up #5

Cheer the Eff Up #5
56 pages  / digest / $3 or best offer :-) 
PO Box 633
Chicago IL 60690

Fathering has become a conundrum in our culture. Or maybe it always has been. Some of us were raised by emotionally distant, and often indifferent, fathers (if we had a father at all). As boys we never got what we needed for masculine connection, guidance and love. A great number of men in this culture have just given up on being mature, caring, active role models for children – too distracted by careers, addictions, or their own feelings of inadequacy and abandonment.

The premise of Cheer the Eff Up is Jonas writing to his child in the future – in hopes that he can reveal truths and perspectives to his child, like a time capsule snapshot of “this is how it is was / is now”. So many children don’t have a clue or understand their parent’s journeys. Many children (my adultlings for example, all in their 30s) don’t seem to want to understand their parents. Yet this is how we grow as human beings – by embracing our parents for who they are, not by ignoring them, denying them, or living with some fantasy we have of them as tyrants or saints. There is always more to our parents than what we think.

You could zero in on any one of the chapters in Cheer the Eff Up and relate to what Jonas is talking about. I’ve never been to a punk show, for example, but I’ve been to concerts and events where I’ve been the oldest person in the room by a decade or more, and eyed with suspicion and curiosity. I’ve struggled with my identity and found myself at a loss to describe myself. I’ve often wondered what I can say to my children and grandchildren to help them understand where they came from, who their father is inside, and the hopes I have for them finding their own paths.

Cheer the Eff Up is potent and powerful. Thank you, Jonas. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Zine Review: An Antidote to Indifference #6

An Antidote to Indifference Issue 6
full sized / full color 34 pages

 On occasion, a title accurately expresses the essence of a zine – this zine is definitely an antidote to indifference, apathy, and lethargy. Subtitled “a field recording special”, issue six is an exploration of numerous aspects of the art of field recording, using the love of capturing natural / environmental sound as a springboard for other musings and diversions.

The world of sound is essential to me as a DJ, and I have loved field recordings since hearing old Tony Schwartz records on Folkways. Tony lived in New York City in the 1950’s and 1960’s and documented his neighborhood through thousands of hours of tapes with everyday people doing everyday things. Tony left a body of work that captured community life in a way that no photograph, film, or book could.

An Antidote to Indifference is a feast of scholarly and more casual essays. Des Coulam writes about the world of Paris in sound and the process of listening attentively. Several sound documenters respond to the question: why field recording? Rick Blything recounts a trip recording the habitat in Northern India. John Kannenberg reveals a sound map of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. There are book reviews, vivid artwork, and meditations on listening in a world where we are overwhelmed with distractions.

Some zines invite you to read them repeatedly, revealing ever-absorbing minute details. I’ll be revisiting An Antidote to Indifference. Connect with the world around you. Be fully present. Get away from the screen and into nature. Listen. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Zine Review: Bad Day At The Plastic Mines #1

Bad Day At The Plastic Mines #1 is an 8 X 11 sheet of paper folded into thirds (three columns), a simple and effective format for an extended poem "A Wolf Crying Wolf" by Shawn Abnoxious. I love poetry & write poetry but don't often review poetry because it is such a subjective artform. This specific poem feels autobiographican, philosophical, edgy and surreal. It is full of symbolism, allusions and references to modern culture. It's similar energetically to poetry that writers like Allen Ginsburg pioneered back in the 1950's. That's not to say that "A Wolf Crying Wolf" isn't original - it is, powerfully so.

The cover price on this zine is $1. I hope Shawn produces further editions. Contact for more information.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oodles of Doodles!

Dithering Doodles # 2,3,4,5
Steven Anderson
259 E 700 S
Apt #9
Salt Lake City  UT  84111

Dithering Doodles seems like the type of comic you create when you let your inner child / adolescent out to play. Steven sent me a generous package of goodies including five issues of Dithering Doodles and two cds! I’m not much of a comics enthusiast, so I’m definitely not the target audience (although some of these issues have a zine-like feel). There’s a manic energy at work here, with each issue having a slightly different pacing and ambiance.

Issue #2 has a running gag about who gets the boot from Dancing with the Stars and some surreal artwork that made me stop in my tracks (in a good way). Beware of the attack of the easy bake ovens!

Number three is almost wordless and is better for it – it feels less busy and more focused. Issue four is radio related (yes!) with a great cover from KNAK 1280 AM Salt Lake City’s “music and news station”. Mix in some retro photographs, references to one of the best psych pop songs of all time “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” & voila – instant classic. Issue five sports a color photograph but feels a little redundant in comparison with the others. Overall, Dithering Doodles features consistently entertaining though ephemeral content. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Life and Times of Billy Roberts #34

I grew up in the age prior to the internet. When I was a kid / adolescent there were things like hobby printing presses and of course Xerox machines and it was common for people to produce family newsletters, fanzines, community bulletins and holiday letters. Billy Roberts has honored the tradition by publishing a monthly personal newsletter filled with great content – it's like receiving a note from a good friend. In issue #34, Billy talks about summer weather, camel spiders, DIY rafting on the Rio Grande, his band Fort Hobo, the television series The Walking Dead (Billy watched more episodes than I did before I gave up) and the George Zimmerman verdict. I look forward to Billy’s mailing every month & I suggest sending a few dollars in stamps in his direction & a request to join the mailing list. Thank you Billy for making it a good mail day.

Write to: Billy 1078 S. Camino del Pueblo Bernalillo NM 87004

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zine Review: Something for Nothing #67

Billy/Idy marks a quarter century of zinemaking with Something For Nothing #67. In this generous digest-sized zine there is an extensive section on the discography of the band 7 seconds and lengthy memoirs from Billy/Idy’s years working at a convenience store. There are also book reviews, beverage reviews, zine reviews, even Indian restaurant reviews. The writing is as solid as ever, and I have to congratulate Billy’s personal journalism on making the subject of a gas station / convenience store into a well-conceived narrative – not to mention 25 years of papernetting! Send a few stamps / bucks to Something For Nothing 516 Third Street NE Massillon OH 44646.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zine Review: The Recoup #1

The Recoup

The cover of this new zine may look generic but the content is anything but anemic. Recoup editor Joseph Kyle graciously sent me the inaugural issue, and I’m already primed for the second. Recoup is forty pages of absorbing musical journalism, interviews, reviews, and cool photography. Issue one includes interviews with Jacob Slitcher of Semisonic, Norman Branson of Texas Is the Reason, Lisa Carver’s interview of  Joseph Kyle regarding Yoko Ono, and more. The diverse review section ranges from recordings by The Durutti Column to Don Ellis. I'm going to carve out some time to discover many of these releases. 

Music / culture zines are enjoying an energized renaissance thanks to Half-Gifts, Glass Orchid, etc. Recoup is a solid addition for those of us who like our music on the adventurous side. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Zine Review: Postal Adventures

Postal Adventures
a mini zine by Marian Krick

Basic (almost too basic) introduction to the world of mail. I suspect though that people need an introduction to mail these days. My grandkids have probably never received a letter or a card in their lives other than from ye olde zinester. Marian in fact starts out this mini zine by saying that she only ever received mail from her grandmothers until she stumbled upon a mail blog. Oh the beautiful irony - using the interwebs to promote snail mail!

This mini-zine points toward some useful blogs, talks about finding penpals, making envelopes from recycled materials and more. I just wish there were more content - maybe more issues of Postal Adventures are on the way?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zine Review: Glass Orchid #6

If I think about what are the elements I would want to see in an excellent culture related zine they would be:

  • Well researched articles regarding obscure records / music from the past
  • Interviews with less well known musicians
  • Introductions to newer music / releases
Glass Orchid #6 contains all of this and more. There is a lengthy essay regarding the religious folk / folk-rock vocal group The Montfort Singers and their chronology through a transformation into The Mission. This is a group that evolved over a number of recordings from liturgical pieces to full-on rock operas. This issue continues with some surreal comics (the best kind!), a review of gory Hong Kong b-movie productions, reviews of Tame Impala (a band I haven’t heard yet) and part three of an interview with David and Anthony, two unknown folk musicians who recorded one lone and impossible to find LP back in the day.

If you love haunting thrift shops, if your taste in music and culture defies the mainstream, Glass Orchid #6 is required reading. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cascadia Artpost Mail Art Call


Cascadia Artpost invites a correspondence (to borrow a Ray Johnson term) in the form of artistamps, postcards, or other mail art with the theme "Keep the Post Office Public." The theme relates to current attempts in the U.S. to downsize the postal workforce, discontinue Saturday delivery of mail to residences, close post offices, close distribution centers, and add at least one more day to the delivery time for domestic mail.

Cascadia Artpost will publish printed documentation in the form of a brochure with distribution to all contributors. Send your work by September 30, 2013 to:


Cascadia Artpost

4609 Briggs Drive SE, #304

Olympia, WA 98501-5515 U.S.A.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Reluctant Famulus #94

The Reluctant Famulus #94
full letter / 52 pages
Thomas  D. Sadler
305 Gill Branch Road
Owenton KY 40359

When The Reluctant Famulus appears in my mailbox I quickly set aside some time in the easy chair for reading. This zine is always fascinating cover-to-cover, involving a variety of articles by various writers and a considerable letters of comment section.

The Reluctant Famulus usually opens with notes from the editor – this time he muses on a fanzine called Random Jottings #8 about Richard Nixon, then Smithsonian Magazine, 3-D printing, apparitions on Mars, pareidolia, Mark Twain, and then we’re off for the rest of the issue, Gene Stewart discusses the Dan Brown effect on novels, Alfred D. Byrd launches into the history of Kentucky in the Civil War, Matt Howard traces the obscure genesis of rock & roll via Indiana & D. D. Ferguson, and we’re not even halfway through the issue. This is a thinking person’s zine, and I’m thrilled to be invited to the party as a reader. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Zine Review: Whistle Vol. 2 No.1

Whistle Zine
Volume 2 Issue 1

Only 40 copies of this issue produced. Booklet with watercolor paper covers, newsprint interiors inside a hand cut, lino stamped paper envelope. Copy edited by Kaitlin Allen. Designed, printed & assembled in a tiny room by Bridgette Blanton/Lady Grey Illustration & Design in the USA.

On occasion, an art journal will catch my eye and then my curiosity. Whistle Zine Volume 2 Issue One effuses creativity and vision with its blend of artwork, prose, poetry and design. It is a full color zine with crayon, pen and ink and watercolor illustrations. The centerpiece of this issue is a haunting tale by Chris Bird titled "The Sea Books" which is a timeless and imaginative parable.  Although most issues of Whistle Zine have themes - this one is a free floating compilation that interweaves contents into a welcoming dance. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zine Review: P.A.N.

from the etsy listing: 

A 22 page collection of Panoramic Analogue Photographs, by Dandy Denial of Of Course You Can! Art and Craft. All images were taken with a panoramic "toy camera" and were hand developed by the photographer, before being scanned onto a computer for the purpose of reproduction. This zine features pictures of abandoned buildings, graffiti, and urban landscapes of the sort that are often found in the dead of winter, in the dead of the city, all caught in the act of slowly falling to pieces.

DJ Frederick's brief review: Stellar visuals chronicle the decay of urban living, the timelessness of railroad yards, buildings and doorways with mysterious, storied pasts. These photographs are stunning and make me want to beg, borrow, or steal a camera. The photographer is an artist with an exceptional eye. Highly recommended


Zine Review: Biblio Curiosa #4

Biblio Curiosa #4
by Chris Mikul
44 pages / half letter
PO Box K546
Haymarket NSW 1240

Part of me revels in what is sometimes termed “outsider” music – music made by people with no connection whatsoever to the music “industry” and whose curious works are creations of their own design. Biblio-Curiosa documents what I might coin “outsider literature” though some of these books were published by well-known commercial publishers and were by writers known at least within their literary circle. In this issue, Chris delves into the works of supernatural author Tiffany Thayer, and reviews The Werewolf vs. Vampire Woman by Arthur N. Scarm and The Joss: A Reversion by Richard Marsh. There is also an in-depth investigation into the mysterious author known as Mark Hansom. Biblio-Curiosa is always on my must-read list! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zine Review: Rain Crow Rain Crow Sing Us a Shower

Rain Crow Rain Crow Sing Us a Shower
by Sean Stewart
36 pages / half-letter / $4 US

I love writing that surprises. Rain Crow Rain Crow Sing Us a Shower is a zine that draws readers into the word meditations of Sean Stewart, and we begin to look through his eyes.

The nature of Rain Crow Rain Crow Sing Us a Shower might seem straightforward to some, and slightly baffling to others. Is this prose stream of consciousness journaling or meticulously crafted wordsmithing? Will any of these prose pieces linger in my mind or dissipate like clouds in a windblown sky?

Two vignettes definitely resonate and echo in the windtunnels that are my thoughts: one about a proposed rocket trip to Mars, the other about a brief visit to a bookshop. Sean Stewart writes like an alchemist. At times you are drawn to the smallest of details, at others, you slip into the mood that he has painted with ink on the page.

Rain Crow Rain Crow Sing Us a Shower veers from the melodious to the monotonous with quiet grace infused with everyday rhythms. There are slugs, birds (lots of birds), and rain. There are mysterious cigar smoking men and lunchbreaks. There are dreams There are interludes that feel like a timeless conversation between the one and the other..

I suspect I will be revisiting this zine again when in the bliss of some alone time. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Zine Review: X-Rayer #97

X-Rayer Issue #97
PO Box 2
Plattsburg NY 12901-0002

Ray marches on with more papernet goodness ... issue #97 discusses podcasters who believe they are being mind controlled by aliens (sorry folks, you're really being mind controlled by mainstream media & a culture in decline).There's also an insomnia infused review of Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky by Carl Jung, and some nifty info on Ted Rodgers, inventor of AC powered radio back in the mid 1920's. This is great content for inquiring minds.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Obsolete #8

Obsolete #8
large newsprint magazine

Photographs! Articles! Graphics! Poetry! Obsolete is a joy to behold, harkening back to the emergence of the underground press in the 1960's. Issue number 8 includes two essays that are intriguing for radio geeks like myself - "New World Radio - Seize the Airwaves" by Gregory Strokesberry which relates the odyssey of folks organizing low power community station KNOB in Iowa and "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" by Rich Dana that explores the mysterious world of shortwave numbers stations. Obsolete needs funds to continue publishing - check out their website & kickstarter campaign and if you are able financially, be as generous as you can to support their efforts.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Zine Review: Forever Falling Sideways

Forever Falling Sideways 
half letter / 72 pages / $5

Mental health is one of the most important concerns of our time, and possibly the most neglected. We live in a culture that devalues and pathologizes everything that transcends some invisible and unspoken “norm”. We are stressed by work, lack of work, families, interpersonal relationships, daily events, the list is endless. And we are not taught how to deal with that stress. Many people turn to numbing out with alcohol, drugs, and other substances or addictive activities. Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions peddling happy pills and psychoactive drugs. Over 10% of children aged 6 to 18 are on some kind of behavioral medication.

And … we’re not getting any better. Some days it feels like our culture itself has become bipolar or schizophrenic. How do we stay balanced in an unbalanced world? How do we do the hard inner growth work while coping with outer realities that trigger us?

This is why zines like Forever Falling Sideways are essential. Self help and peer support are the antidote to pressure from the medical community and pharma industry to push drugs. There are times when medication is important but it is not the magic cure. Medications only mask symptoms, they do not remove them. Symptom management is something people need to do for themselves, learning what works best for the individual.

Forever Falling Sideways includes graphics, poetry, and essays. There is a wonderful piece by Tender exploring the uses of St. Johns Wort. Tender also writes in depth about ways to take care of yourself like finding movements, taking responsibility for your actions, harnessing your energy, self advocacy and more. This is extremely useful information. There’s an article about happy fats and good mood foods and a primer on sexual consent. And this is just scratching the surface of one of the most resourceful zines I’ve discovered in years. Even if you don’t struggle with emotional issues or a mental “illness”, reading Forever Falling Sideways is worth your time and energy. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zine Review: Five Easy Ways to Bind a Book

Five Ways to Bind a Book is a small (less than quarter sized!) though highly useful beginner's guide to bookbinding. The methods described are: 8-in1, 16-in-1, saddle stitching, pamphlet sewing and perfect binding. This zine is a clear, concise, well illustrated resource.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mixt Media Audio Zine Summer 2013

Follow this link to the new installment of my DIY radio podcast & let me know what you think! Feedback appreciated.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Zine Review: Half Gifts 4

Lately I've been reading zines that really inspire me in some way - to take care of myself, to spend less time on the internet, to connect with art, or discover new music. Half Gifts is a rare gift indeed and a reminder why music zines are so important, even in the digital age. Jude is a young man who demonstrates zest & zeal for writing. His enthusiasm for music and musicians flows from every page. The music he reviews is mostly DIY & independently released - the good stuff. In addition to reviews, issue four includes interviews with Ratburn, Tripping the Light Fantastic, and PURE Prediction.

I appreciate that much of the content in the paper zine does not appear on Jude's blog

Click on the link & enjoy.