Monday, April 21, 2014

Publications Received: Hand Job Zine #4

The folks at Hand Job Zine sent me a wonderful note along with this issue of their lit-zine. It reads in part: "We are a UK zine on our fourth issue, and like to keep the righting very British so there may be a few dubious slang words in there for you. You seem to share our love for the printed word though, which is the main reason for sending this. We need to keep it alive instead of reading on migraine inducing machines."

Amen to that. Hand Job Zine is definitely keeping the tradition of underground lit zines alive and well. There's poetry, art, short fiction, and too much cool stuff to mention in this issue - made with real sweat and tears by real hands and real people. I love the anarchic feel that is captured in these pages. No gods, no masters. No shit. Hand Job is the kind of zine that stops talking about freedom and revolution and actually does something.

For more info try:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Zine Review: Les Carnets de Rastapopulos #10

The zine community is celebrating two decades & ten issues of Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos. This edition features articles, collages and sketches from the past ten editions and is a joy to explore cover to cover. Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos is delightfully old-school, typed on a typewriter, images cut by hand, everything pasted up and mailed via the postal service. Issue # 10 is bilingual (French & Anglais) and delves into cool Czech pop music 45s, a primer on Rockall, literally a rock in the Atlantic Ocean, and a description of other remote islands. That article alone had me intrigued by geography - I love obscure and forgotten places. Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos is wondrous in every sense of the word. Here's looking forward to the next ten issues!

Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos is FREE upon request - I suggest sending some $ for postage, zines, postcards, a letter, etc. to:

2-7 Larch Street
Ottawa Ontario
Canada K1R6W4.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Zine Review - Library Ghosts

This cool mini-zine by Celia Perez has disappeared from etsy since I purchased it so I'm not sure where to find a copy. Library Ghosts is a complete delight, celebrating the magical wonders found in libraries that have mostly passed into history. Celia also includes a piece of microfilm and a card from a card catalog with this zine! I love libraries so ... I wish I had 100 copies of this to give to my friends.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some Publications Received March 2014

Publications Received

Show Me The Money #39
Tony Hunnicutt
PO Box 48161
Minneapolis MN 55448

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I love judging a book (or a zine) by its cover. The cover of Show Me the Money #9 had me smiling from ear to ear. The cover itself, with messages in artful fonts writing against pink card stock, should be made into a poster. It reads, in part:

Anarchy is NOT chaos
Anarchy is NOT lawlessness
Anarchy IS based upon the principle of SELF-OWNERSHIP.
Anarchists are PEACEFUL people who reject initiated aggression against anyone WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

According to the mainstream media, anarchists are Molotov cocktail throwing terrorists. WRONG.

Tony Hunnicutt reports the news that mainstream media does not want you to hear. It’s not just that they are being lazy, or are too busy covering Miley Cyrus’ latest bout of optional clothing syndrome. Nope – they truly do NOT want you to know why the postal service is failing, that 30 million bees have been found dead in Canada, that the majority of rivers in the United States can not support aquatic life, how many jobs were lost and where, or what the Federal Reserve is up to in terms of economic manipulation. Zines like this are indispensible because you can’t make this shit up, and corporate controlled media won’t bring it to your attention.

Opuntia #273
Dale Spiers
Box 6830 Calgary Alberta
T2P 2E7

It’s a sad day in zinedom. This is Dale’s last paper issue of Opuntia. Due to postal increases and other reasons, Dale (who has been a major supporter of the papernet) is taking Opuntia online-only via Opuntia has been published since 1991 on paper only and has been a consistently excellent source of information and book reviews covering numerous scholarly and science fiction topics. This is a huge loss and I’m at a loss for words. I REFUSE to take my zines online where they are at the whim of isp providers and easy digital manipulation or deletion. Dale – don’t do it! Stay with us out here on the postal plains & fight the good fight. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Zine Review: Cheer the Eff Up #6

Cheer the Eff Up #6
PO Box 633
Chicago IL 60690
5.5 X 8.5  / 58 pages  / $3

This iteration of Cheer the Eff Up opens with Jonas’ truthful, emotional soul searching spilling onto the page in the aftermath of his wife’s miscarriage. Rarely do I read writing that is this raw – with all of the impact of pain and its implications – revealed in a zine. Cheer the Eff Up is also about hope and healing. About a quarter of the way through the focus shifts to Jonas’ complicated history with his friends and their inevitable drifting apart. Supposedly this is the final zine in this series. I highly recommended reading each one. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bad Day at the Plastic Mines #5

Oh yes, Shawn is back with the fifth installment of Bad Day at the Plastic Mines, this time illuminating Abstract Dictation, a new concrete language / experimental artform using ipads & other technology. It seems computers try to translate your words into print, and in the conversion process some interesting things happen. Add more than one voice to the mix and you have scrambled sentences for breakfast.

This one-page/doublesided/folded zine is always fascinating to read and shows what can be created with a piece of paper, something to say, and some ink.

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. It rocks.

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. 

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. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Invitations and Requests

Hello 1MZR readers!

Do you set goals and intentions for yourself? While I'm unemployed, getting motivated and getting things done is more essential than ever. I've started writing a blog about setting and accomplishing intentions and I'd be grateful for feedback and encouragement.

If One Minute Zine Reviews is a helpful blog to you, please share with others. I am assessing whether to continue with One Minute Zine Reviews in 2014 or work on other creative projects instead. I would like to increase readership, the number of blog followers and comments. Self promotion is something that doesn't come naturally to me! So please repost reviews, link away, tweet & facebook, and let's reach out to zine readers and non zine readers alike to celebrate the world of print!

Also, if you get a few moments please listen to some of my new radio shows titled "Paper Radio".
I'm open to suggestions for topics to cover in future editions.

Thank you & wishing you many blessings.

~ DJ Frederick

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.