The (sort of) first real batch of reviews.

These are reviews I did for the print version. So they’re maybe a little short, but … here they are anyway.

Agricola St. zine ($?, Candace Mooers, 2453 Agricola St., Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K 4C1 Canada) This is a couple of pages folded, unstapled about a shooting near the author’s house. It’s hand-written, and details giving details of hearing the shooting to the police. It’s a 24 hour zine project, and as such, it’s not bad. Introspective thinking about the role of police in society.
Anchor Archive Reigonal Zine Project #6 (5684 Roberts St, Halifax NS. B3K 1J6, Canada anchorarchive@gmail.com, anchor.revolt.org) Who knew that there was so much to do in Halifax? Not me. But then, I don’t really know much about the area. This is basically just a folded sheet of paper with info about the zine library and assorted upcoming events. This one’s from May, 2007, so you probably should just request the most recent.
Basic Paper Airplane ($?, Josh Amberson PO Box 2645, Olympia, WA 98507, ssopress.com) I totally loved this cool little zine. There’s a ton of stuff to do, what with the little airplane that came with my copy, the totally random (and often surprising) mix CD in the back, and the text and graphics heavy content of this zine. Stylistically, the cut and paste way this is put together works for me. The background pictures are of (surprise!) constructing airplanes. There’s an essay about resisting cell phones that I really liked (having been without mine for the past few months, but inexplicably carrying it around for music and photo purposes), a pretty interesting interview with a police officer about sincerity (and lying to police), an interview with Zak Constantine (who might be cool in person, but sounded like kind of an obnoxious dick in his interview) and a piece about publishing that i found thoughtful and easily related to. Interspersed throughout is some short, random, but thoughtful prose. I’d send a couple of bucks or a trade. It’s pretty worthwhile.

Behind Wire Fences #1 ($1 I think – you can get it from stranger danger distro, or email the zinester: annami_ysh@yahoo.com) I’m not really sure how this wound up in my inbox, but I really, really loved it. Anna writes about racism and sexuality with such a fluid, beautiful style that it’s impossibly not to get immediately drawn into it. The racist queers in the workplace piece was interesting because of the assumption that being gay and being racist are mutually exclusive. Also, Anna’s writing about being adopted into a mixed race family, ad reconciling her ethnicity with her place in the family. One of the reoccurring themes is that of invisibility at times, and being exploited at others. I’d totally re-read this and would love to see more of Anna’s deeply personal, raw, gorgeous writing.

Better Looking than a Blog (a Collection: Ten Foot Rule Journal Comix Winter of 2007) ($2 to Shawn Granton, PO Box 14185, Portland, OR 97293, Cascadia http://id.sito.org/sgr) Shawn follows the Snakepit format of drawing three panels per day. Well drawn and well written with panels that made me laugh out loud. I really like Shawn’s work, so maybe I’m not the most partial judge, but you couldn’t spend your two bucks in a better place.

Black Liquid (free, www.geocities.com/blackliquidsubmissions, blackliquidsubmissions@yahoo.com) This is an interesting idea, and a promising first issue. I think the general idea is to give voice to people’s ideas/work/whatever. The art is really interesting. While I like the idea the content is a little scattered. As with any open submission zine, there will always be things you like more than others. For me, I liked the images and a few of the poems. There’s also an audiozine with this! Some of the authors from the first issue reading their work. Again, parts you’ll like, parts you won’t, but you get to be exposed to new writers. And it’s free.

The Bluegrass Insurgent (redanarchist.org) This is a double sided one pager that’s pretty slick looking. It’s ok, I guess. More relevant if you live in Lexington, KY. It seems to vary between pointless anger and random rebellion (attacks on police) and interesting, well documented information that is relevant to a local scene (Wildcat Infoshop Raided). This didn’t include any contact information or price.
Brewtopia 2 & 3 (free, but send donations to: 800 N. 22nd Street, Richmond VA, 23223 c/o Brewtopian punx) Helpful, casually written but a great resource not just about homebrewing but issue three has a bunch of stuff about making herbal cures for what ails you. The simple, funny little drawings make this visually stimulating as well as educational.
Cardboard Cutouts #3 ($?, cbcutouts@yahoo.com) This is a pretty random compzine. As with any mixed bag, some of it is really interesting, some of it left a bad taste in my mouth. I really liked this illustrations (heart and inter workings) on the cover and the cartoon version of a selected scene from Play It Again Sam. There’s a reprint about dumpster diving from Making Stuff and Doing Things, some pretty random prose and a recipe for egg rolls. The short story about the community college therapist held my interest, and the fake interview with Modest Mouse was ok, as were the reviews. But I felt pretty ambivalent about everything else.
Chord Easy ($1 for the sample version, $3 for DIY version, $5 for full version to Light Living Library, PO Box 190, Philomath, OR 97370) This is a really cool, instructional book on chords. It taught me a lot, as I’m plearning from scratch how to play bass (and guitar eventually). But there’s a lot of information, not just about music, but about how music is built and how to make your music sound better. There were parts of this that lost me, but I’m a pretty low level novice. If you know your way around a piano/guitar, this is probably a lot easier for you.
Class Project: A communal Art Zine Creation ($1.50/trade to Susan Ledgerwood, 1008 N. Stanley Avenue #9, West Hollywood, CA 90046, s.ledgerwood@sbcglobal.net) This is a really cool idea! The editor gives the writer a picture. The writer then makes a caption, story, poem, etc to tell the story of the picture. Because the instructions are so clear, there’s a good feeling of cohesiveness to this project, and it’s a quick and easy read. This is one of the best compzines I’ve ever read.
Cracks in the Concrete #5 (free/donations to: Luke Romano, 234 Jamestown Blvd, Hammonton, NJ 08037, treehugger029@aol.com) I should say up front that Luke’s energetic optimism always make me glad to get a zine from him. CITC is always well written and informative. Written from the perspective of a young anarchist, this zine makes strong points in favor of take action locally rather than limiting political affiliation with voting nationally, writes about Socrates vs. the law, and has some pretty straight on music reviews. The best part for me was the piece about prison populations are steadily increasing and how prison isn’t really an effective method of punishment. Great zine, as always.
Cracks in the Concrete #6 (Luke Romano, 101B Cooper St. Westmont, NJ 08108, http://www.freewebs.com/radicalrabbitdistro, treehugger029@aol.com) Ok, I’m going to preface this by saying that I’ve always been a pretty big fan of this zine. Luke has a lot of enthusiasm for anarchism, music, and zines. This issue is no different. It’s a bit short, as it’s the mini-summer issue, but it’s still packed with as much content as it can hold. This issue’s articles include: Government is Violence, What are We?, Why I hate the Word Hippie, and the end of Luke’s high school years. As always, it’s thought provoking and smartly written. I did miss the radical rabbit cartoon, though.
Daisies and Bruises #1 ($2 in person, $3 by mail to: Erin Schulthies, 25 Carmen Cres., London, ON N5X 2B4, Canada the_torn_skirt@hotmail.com) This is one of the best first issues that I’ve read in awhile. To start off, it’s small and pink and bound with pretty green string. It’s full of very decent poetry and prose, some random life experience type of stuff, excerpts from books that have affected Erin, and a memorial for a friend. This is the kind of zine that I loved when I was younger and it made me nostalgic and homesick. I liked pretty much everything that I read, but I’d like to see more consistent content and less pages wasted on clip art. Erin’s a good writer, and I think this could be great. I’d love to see more issues of this.

Digital Worm #3 ($1/trade to ashleigh ADDICT, 131 Lakewood Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185) The bad: it’s a little rough looking and graphically plain. The content varies between attention deficit and silly, and it is not stapled, so the pages kept coming apart. The good: In places, asleigh’s running commentary made me laugh out loud. There’s a lot of text, so it’s easily worth a buck. The more I read of this zine, the more promise I saw. Ashleigh has an interesting writing style and certainly enough enthusiasm to grow a fair amount as a writer. I think my favorite piece in this issue was the rant about WV making a car with an input for their brand of guitars (and having Slash as a spokesperson) I found myself enjoying it more than not, and I’d be curious to see where this goes in future issues.
The Doors are Closing in the Priority Seating: Ten Foot Rule Odds and Ends 2004-7 ($1/trade to: TFR Industries, PO Box 14185, Portland, OR 14185, tfrindustries@ scribble.com) I love Shaun’s drawing style. Ten Foot Rule is still pretty new to me, but it’s so excellent and cool that I’m not sure how I missed it. This is a too short comp covering the author’s (mostly bike) travels, a garish show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a severely cool drawing of his backpack and the importance of a portable lifestyle to him. Get this just for the drawings.
Doppelganger #1 ($1 doppelgangerzine@gmail.com) This was a pretty easy read. The writing was smooth, and generally entertaining. This zine contains some random poetry, a piece about playing air instruments on the back of a bus, shouting at a wrestler to shave his back, and the obligatory cheap eats recipe and bittersweet tale of love lost. Not earth-shattering, but not a bad way to pass the time, either.
Eatin’ Cheap with Paddy ($?, Paddy Brennan, 102 Empire St., Allston, MA 02134, kidshateschool@hotmail.com) This is a short, handwritten cookzine that isn’t bad, but isn’t great either. Some of it is a little redundant, but the digestive aid and the broccoli pickles were interesting at least.
Fish with Legs #11 ($2/trade/$1+ 2 stamps to Eric Lyden, 224 Moraine Street, Brockton, MA 02301, ericfishlegs@aol.com) You know how a lot of perzines are sad? FwL always makes me laugh. Some of it politically incorrect, but in a fun way. I like that Eric doesn’t take himself very seriously at all. This issue wraps up the alphabet theme he’s had going on. The best part of this issue for me was the part about wresting. I’m not a fan as such, but Eric is a HUGE wresting fan, and the idea of him heckling wrestlers with comments like: “Your mother would be very disappointed if she could see you right now.” And “The vast majority of your victories come through underhanded methods. Does that really make you feel good inside?” made me laugh out loud. He concludes the series, appropriately, with Z is for zines.

This is the introduction.

This is the part where I tell you why this is on the internet instead of a grain sheet of double sided paper in black and white and bound with staples. Here’s the thing. I love zines. I do. It’s scary how much I love them and how lucky I feel to belong to this amazing little community of sometimes hopeful, sometimes jaded amazing people. But the zinetopia of yore has become a little prohibitive to me. I couldn’t think about finishing a perzine before zinetopia was finished, and the further I got behind the sadder I was about it. It was an ambitious project that sort of blew up into something too big for me. Too much to review, way too expensive to print @ the current position and pay rate, and way more time than I could afford and still be a good pal to my friends, worker to the job, and niece/daughter/grandkid/etc to the family. (though not always in that order, of course). And the other fun stuff I do (bass, photography, craftiness, etc) was suffering, too.

At this time, there will still be a print version of Zinetopia. It will have articles, interviews, resources, and lots of other cool stuff. And now I’ll be able to get it out a bit sooner.

I think this will help. I can update this blog as I read zines, so they are fresh in my mind. I am not limited by length (to keep the pages fewer, and print costs and postage lower). I’m a sell-out to the internet. I think it will be to almost everyone’s benefit. I apologize in advance for that. I hope I have not let you down.

Sincerely,

Sarah Arrr!/Zinetopia

PO Box 235

North Tazewell, VA 24630

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