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.