Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zine Reviews: Dreams of Donuts #15, #16, #17

Dreams of Donuts is a zine in the autobiographical comic / perzine format that Ayun Halliday perfected with The East Village Inky. Heather Wreckage covers a lot of territory (literally and metaphorically) within these three zines. Issue #15 delves into what it was like to Occupy Oakland, yet the socio-political aspects of what Occupy was about seem mysteriously overlooked. #16 relates tales from the Portland Zine Symposium and #17 includes a lengthy and very insightful interview with Jimbo who walked from Nevada to Seattle to fend off depression. In Dream of Donuts there are friends, relationships, travels, punk shows & glimpses into Heather's worldview.

Learn more about Dreams of Donuts at

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dairy River #11

Dairy River #11 (Sounds)

This is the first digital / online zine that I have reviewed, and I don’t intend to make a habit of it! Note to digitalheads: TRY PAPER. Thank you.

Dairy River #11 contains just enough intriguing content to catch my attention. To my eyes and ears, the centerpoint of this zine is a fascinating history of the development of foghorns in the 19th century, written by Andrew Wasson. I am fascinated by unusual sound producing devices and instruments – alphorns, stalactite organs, carillons, and now … foghorns. Most of our coastal culture has vanished in the digital age – lighthouses, Morse code radio stations, etc. Learning about and preserving seafaring culture is critical before the history is lost completely.

Another article explores a 1962 Canadian film board documentary about Paul Anka. From my limited exposure to CFB films, I’d watch just about anything they produced from that era.

There is some daft poetry in this issue, but if overlooked, Dairy River #11 is a solid and illuminating read. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Zine Review: Echoes of the Past #6

Echoes of the Past #106
Box 40
Agawam MA 01001

Full size / 30 pages / $16.99 for four issues

How reassuring it is to find a magazine like Echoes of the Past being published on paper in 2014! Echoes of the Past is essentially a doo-wop music fanzine, celebrating vocal group pop and r&b from the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Issue #6 includes interviews with members of The Kids, Golden Bells, Paul Evans, David White, and more. Most of these musicians hail from New Jersey or Pennsylvania and had local followings in their communities. Echoes From the Past delves into discographies, the stories behind the recordings, and the obscure careers of musicians that could have been more well-known. This zine is a treasure for vinyl 45 aficionados and those who enjoy learning about bands and music before the monstrous commercialist industry of our current culture emerged.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Zine Review: The Blue Suitcase #1

The Blue Suitcase #1
Joseph Carlough
half letter / 24 pages / $3

available from microcosm publishing

If I were writing this review in a bygone era, I might open with a line similar to this: “the young Mr. Carlough has triumphed again upon the printed page, sharing a gripping tale of a forgotten man’s curious ephemera.”

In a bygone era, there was no Facebook, no Google, no internet search engines. People’s lives were chronicled in vanishing footsteps and private moments – scrawls left on scraps of paper, battered notebooks, postcards, notations penciled in the margins of books. The life and thoughts of Antonio San Martino Carbayo are a mystery with only a few dusty fragments to sift through for clues. Mr. Carlough has preserved these fragments gleaned from the deceased Mr. Carbayo’s apartment within a blue suitcase which has sat like a beckoning, deranged intruder in his apartment for several years. The Blue Suitcase is a title worthy of an Edward Gorey anomaly, and indeed there are dark meanderings of the mind contained within.

I won’t give up the circumstances surrounding – or contents within - the blue suitcase. For those details, please read this fascinating zine / chapbook. Mr. Carlough promises three more volumes as he delves methodically into Mr. Carbayo’s notes, writings, and bizarre preoccupations (hypnotizing women for sex is just one of them!). I’m looking forward to reading his insights. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bad Day at the Plastic Mines #3 & #4

Receiving two editions of Bad Day at the Plastic Mines in the mail helps make a bleak day a good mail day.
Each issue of Bad Day at the Plastic Mines is a colorful sheet of paper folded in thirds and limited to 100 copies. Issue #3 involves a songstory of Roxy Music's "Mother of Pearl". Issue #4 chronicles Shawn's early morning observations at a diner. Shawn manages to capture the feelings, sighs, and sounds into a narrative snapshot of a series of small moments. Plus there is a teaser of information on Abstract Dictation, which seems like a high-tech dadaist found poetry technique. Shawn says there will be more about Abstract Dictation in the next issue & I'm looking forward. For more info contact Shawn at

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Zine Review: Quickening

Quickening Zine Issue 1
Digest / 32 pages
$3 + $2 shipping to Canada / $3 international

719 John St. W
Listowel Ontario N4W 1B6

A good percentage of the zines I receive for review brim with negativity and angst. Quickening Zine is refreshingly positive, optimistic, and heart centered. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, yet our current culture seems to ignore spiritual dimensions of life in favor of shallow, narcissistic imagery and messages.

Heidi’s zine reflects her personal journey. She writes about her vocational path and how she became a healer. One essay focuses on self loving and sexuality, and another on bringing financial prosperity into your life. Heidi explores grief and dying and what she would like for a remembrance ceremony, and there’s even info about roller derby. Quickening #1 is a beautiful zine in every sense, infused with energy and spirit.