Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zine Review: An East Coast Girl's Guide to Record Stores in the Pacific Northwest

Taryn Hipp
16 pages / mini zine / $1

Every town, city, county, region, and state should have a guide like this - a guide to record stores that lists names, addresses, and something about the shop. This guide is enjoyable but slightly lacking in information. I would have appreciated reading more about each shop's diversity of selections and overall character / atmosphere. However, An East Coast Girl's Guide to Record Stores in the Pacific Northwest works as a cool introduction to a handful of shops, for people hunting for elusive vinyl in Portland, Olympia and Seattle.

Pioneers Press

A sermon from Reverend Ye Olde Zinester:

If you love independent publications, if you prefer reading "offline", if the fragrance of ink and paper bring you joy, if zines mean anything to you at all ... then it is time to put your money where your mouth is. There are some folks at PioneersPress who are doing amazing work in the field (and on the farm!) of indie publishing and zine distribution. They are one of the two online distros that bring my heart joy when I see new titles on offer. Joni Mitchell said "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone" ... now is the time to support paper publishing efforts before we all end up behind the constant iridescent glow of a computer screen for generations to come.

This is a new book by Oliver Matthon chronicling the wild mushroom trade. I've only read a couple of dozen pages and will write a fuller review in the future ... however "Under the Radar" is the sort of personal journalism that opens into a new world where you can learn about people, cultures, and practices that you may not be familiar with. We need to step outside of our insular cocoons & spend some time in the literary (and literal) woods. Zine distros are our doorways.


Zine non-review: Xrisville #5

Xrisville Magazine
817-40 High Park Avenue
Toronto Ontario M6P 2S1

theme to xrisville:

When people send me their zines, and friendly, informative letters I feel compelled to write a decent review. Unfortunately, my time for zine reading / reviewing is limited so I tend to review zines that surprise me in enjoyable ways, so - not this time. I'll just say that free copies are supposedly available from the above addresses - read this zine for yourself! Xrisville states it is "a humor magazine of no fixed boundaries". I found the last half of that tagline to be true. As for humor? I'm off to watch Red Dwarf ...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Zine Review: Cometbus 55

I’ve never been sure what all the fuss is about, really, but when Aaron Cometbus publishes a title, it rockets around the zine world like a meteorite over Siberia, all brightness & vapor trails. Cometbus 55: Pen Pals takes a while to get going, but when it does, the narrative reveals itself like a drunkard staggering out to surprise you from a piss scented alley. Perhaps it is the second coming of Charles Bukowski.

Ok, I’ll dispense with the metaphors. If you have ever been touched by someone who simultaneously saw through your bullshit defenses and still connected with you deeply, this zine is a captivating journey. Whether you are from Berkeley or Boston, Cometbus 55 reads like a personal history of a specific time and place, one that we've either have remembered, half dreamt, or glimpsed from a distance. The postcards, letters, and philosophical ramblings are just a bonus. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mixt Media Review: Rough Ride of Crafts: Traintracker cassette tape

Jessy Kendall of Letterfounder & other artistic endeavors sent me this cassette tape which sent my ears into lo-fi bliss. This is aurally a domain somewhere between folk & noise, with creative flourishes and catchy rhythms throughout. Thank you Jessy!

free download:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: A Place In Time

A Place In Time – Two Paths to a Television Broadcast
by Kevin Hamilton
half letter / 24 pages / $5
available from Quimby’s Books

I love it when a graphic (comic?) zine takes you on a journey you don’t expect. Kevin Hamilton’s A Place In Time – Two Paths to a Television Broadcast shares a unique perspective on historical development and brings you to a place in time in 1968 and a live broadcast of a student fueled discussion / debate at the University of Illinois. Wonderful format & diverse narrative that is refreshing and surprising. Long live the obscurities. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Zine Review: Sprouted Ink

Sprouted Ink
56 pages / half letter / $4

 Sprouted Ink is a bona-fide variety zine, they type I crave to read because there is so much content to absorb & enjoy. This issue is packed with everything from poetry to recipes (TVY chili!), lots of art & cut & paste graphics. Self expression in abundance from a number of contributors. The heart & soul of the zine from my perspective are some of the mental health essays, one having to do with PTSD and the other with being an empath. There is also an extensive article about dream interpretation. Essential information for personal awareness. 

Zine Review: That's Not Okay

That’s Not Ok
Boundaries for the Conflict Avoidant
by Breanne Boland
5.5 x 5.5 / 32 pages / $4

Our entire culture suffers from a lack of personal boundaries and as a result, we are resentful, angry, passive-aggressive, overworked, and overextended doing things that inwardly we really don’t want to. We don’t know how to talk with one another, assert ourselves effectively, and get our needs met. That’s Not Ok is a clear, direct, understandable and immediately useful guide to how to create and sustain boundaries that work.

This zine explains what boundaries are, why they are necessary, how to be honest, how to say no, and how to practice making boundaries. None of us are perfect but we need to start somewhere. Making boundaries will help you regain a sense of self, a sense of clarity, and inner authority. That’s Not Ok also includes information on chakras, unspoken boundaries, and how to accept constructive criticism. This is all essential learning if we’re going to live more harmonious lives.

Look for this zine on etsy, I’m not sure of where else to find it. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Zine Review: Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos #9

Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos #9
2-7 Larch Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1R 6W4

The world has changed a lot in the past three decades. Heck, the world has changed a lot in the three seconds that it took you to read these sentences. Once upon a time, in a world somewhat but not entirely unlike our own, people placed pen to paper in an attempt to communicate with the rest of the world. Affixing postage to envelopes, these missives were sent out with hopes that our intended recipients would read them & reciprocate. It was called correspondence. Some called it “pen pals”.

Les Carnets de Rastapopolous #9 continues the story that Rob began in issue #8, of finding pen-pals behind the iron curtain of the cold war, one of the few ways (other than ham / shortwave radio) that people could learn about the lives of other people in communist countries during that era. In this issue, Rob tries to follow up with and reconnect with his former pen pals to see what has changed or developed in their lives. Les Carnets de Rastapopolous #9 is a chronicle of Rob’s process. This zine is a work of art and a labor of love and thoroughly absorbing. Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates letter writing.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Zine Review: Before the Hollywood Backlot

Before the Hollywood Backlot
a zine by Daniel Berman
full size / full color / bound

Zines like Before the Hollywood Backlot renew my faith that print is still alive. Then again, it’s been an amazing month here at DJ Frederick’s Zine Cottage, I’ve read Cheer the Eff Up by Jonas, two issues of Hootenanny & several issues of Something For Nothing – zine life is on the upswing!

Before the Hollywood Backlot is a fanzine celebrating (you guessed it) – film. It’s full color, and contains articles on unfinished Orson Welles projects, art deco style, Manhattan in film history (with an emphasis on Woody Allen), World War II propaganda films, a list of lost (presumed forever) films, & tons more. Before the Hollywood Backlot is full of exceptional content presented in an accessible style. Even the “coming attractions” blurb at the end makes me want to read the next issue – television’s worst broadcasts you’ll never see. Right up my alley!

Mixt Media Review: The Space -Junior

Now that the vinyl renaissance has become a cultural force to be reckoned with, cassette tapes are enjoying a resurgence and re-emergence into our consciousness. The Space -Junior was released in an edition of 25 copies, no case, no downloads, no info - and is a compelling audio artifact that feels like it was buried a few decades ago in a time capsule. Lo-fi, monaural, ethereal are just a few adjectives that hint at what is to be discovered on this tape. Long, monotonous passages from sci-fi flicks. Snippets of answering machine recordings. An LSD trip. Ambient music weaving in and out of the mix, along with silences that take root and stretch out. Hunt for this tape on bandcamp, and if you're at all inclined to obtain a copy - don't hesitate, they'll be gone in an instamatic flash.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Zine Review: Cheer the Eff Up

Cheer the Eff Up #4
half legal / lotsa dollars
PO Box 633
Chicago, IL 60690

The oldest sage advice for writers is “write what you know” … and Jonas writes about his circle of friends, and his inner thoughts, feelings and perceptions with clarity and candor. Jonas is writing Cheer the Eff Up to his child, like a message in a bottle that may ripple back to shore when his child grows up. One can only hope – not to be cynical but my adult children don’t give a fuck about any of the zines that I write.

What can we write to honor our children, past, present and future? The truth. Jonas relates his struggles with depression, which in some ways echo my own. Every day is an opportunity to do something different to get through the day, to find a path onto the brighter side of the road, to shake off the shackles of the day jobs that we cling to for economic survival – to remember why we are surviving. 

This is the type of zine I can read in one sitting & return to again and again because it is so well presented. Cheer the Eff Up is moody and real and arrived in my mailbox at just the right moment. Send some bucks to Jonas & hopefully this zine will end up in your mailbox too. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grunted Warning #16 & #17

Grunted Warning #16 & #17
PO Box 35
Marrickville NSW 2204

Outrageous / outlandish news clippings are my kryptonite. Grunted Warning is a delight for those of us who enjoy reading about realities that are stranger than fiction. It’s like chicken salad for the soul, served with a twist of lime. Ok … I’m getting weird now … must … read … next … issue …