ZINE, COMIC, JOURNAL AND CHAPBOOK REVIEWS

 


Angry Thoreauan #25 — Coprology
Reverend Randall Tin-ear . full ss . 88pps
Well, my copy is totally trashed. I’ve only had it a few days and it looks like it’s been through hell. Actually it has. This morning I had to take a friend to the DMV so she could renew her license. Or get a license. I think. The details are foggy… shit, it was early… but since I am an unemployed slob and have a car, I drive my carless friends around all the time. Hey, I never have to buy gas. All I know about the DMV (I get my renewals in the mail, thank you… uh hmp being the responsible driver that I am) was that you had to sit and wait. A long time. So I needed something to read. I blindly grabbed at the AT on top of the pile. A glossy covered music MagaZine, 88 pages of tight print and lots of graphics… this’ll work, I thought. There's no telling how long I'll be waiting. So, I drive to my friend’s house and she’s already to go. And she has her baby. I’m trying to smoke two cigarettes at once and she’s telling my she couldn’t get a babysitter… her sister was supposed to… so what? Yeah, I’m going to be watching the kid too. She staps the kid into my backseat littered with fast food containers and papers… jesus, it looks like my high school locker. She scooots the stuff to one side and buckles it in like she worked for NASA. Wow! I check out the kid and he looks kind of out of it. He looked quiet and innocent. I guess I can deal with this, I thought. I never want to be one of those parents, yelling shit, barking at their kids across a crowded waiting room. God damn. No way. What am I going to do? We're driving to the DMV… Talking, she’s real cool. I’m drinking coffee from a cup too wide for the holder. And then the kid sneezes. But it was more than that. It was like the sound, if you can imagine, of an oil geyser, burping out a burst of tar… and it’s halfway down his chin… Is he going to be doing that the whole time? I ask. She reaches back and wipes the larvae off his face and sticks the napkin back into her purse. No, he’s just getting it out, she says. My god, one of those in the waiting room and people are going to be running out the front doors like the movie theater from The Blob… At the DMV, we find a place to park and I fold the mag and stick it in my back pocket. She gets the kid out and he’s got two dolls with him. He’s a boy. 18 months, or one of those months past a year that appearantly acount for some thing more than less that in a year. A naked Barbie and a “star bright” doll, with orange hair and a rainbow dress. You let him carry dolls around? I ask. Immediately realizing that’s not the most pc thing to say, but fuck.. Needless to say, the kid’s got two dolls with him and the DMV is already packed. But she’s got an appointment and we’re standing in the line for people who have appointments. The kid’s running back and forth, waving his dolls like voodoo curses at the other people in line. His mother is shouting his name… I try to slowly fade away, I see this sharpie leaning against the wall, reading a Billboard magazine. I think, yes… I will just go read my zine and when they’re ready, maybe I’ll get through most of the reveiws and maybe some of the interviews in the AT in my back pocket. But wait, she says, “HERE” and hands me the kid’s hand and she’s going into this room waving her wad of documents at us. We both watch her go and once it is appearant that she is not coming right back, I look down at the kid. And he looks up at me. What the fuck! I swear that’s what he said. I called a mental truce with him immediately. Please kid, I tried to convey to him, please, don’t freak out… I took him to the waiting room and we sat down. I pulled out the zine and he grabbed it from me, handing me his naked barbie. Now, is that a fair trade, I chuckle, reaching for the magazine. He drops it on the floor. And then sneezes. Another fucking log. Oh shit! The gangly thing is hanging off the end of his nose. What the hell am I going to do? All I got is my sleeve and… this zine, Angry Thoreauan. Hmm. I flip through the ads in the back and bam! There it is, an ad for the Martin the Satanic Racoon Millenial Calendar for the year 2000. Poifect. I rip the corner of the page off and wrangle the snot into the paper and hand it to the kid, here, go throw this in the garbage can. He hops off and after several attempts, finally gets it in. Cool. He's distracted by the garbage can. And this little girl walks by with her mother. And he’s diggin on her. So I pick up the zine again. The Muffs. S.O.D. And shit. Because this is the shit issue. So we find out that Billy Milano is into bidets. And probably has a big hairball in the crack of his ass. Mmmm. And there is more toilet talk with Mike Diana (Boiled Angel), The Bell Rays, Tara Sin (We Love Poo) and The Weaklings. Packed in with several solid articles (one on, yes, you guessed it: Shit) and reviews, reviews, reviews. A great music mag that rivals Spin or Rolling Stone in it's gravity but without all the commercialized crap! Now where is that kid? He's playing dolls with the girl. Well, actually he's taunting her with his Rainbow Brite. I keep one eye on him and the other on Angry Therouan until his mother shows back up and we finally leave. In the car I use the mag to shield me from the stench of a diaper change and think: hey, Reverend! How's this for a tribute?!

The Assassin and the Whiner #1 & #11
Carrie McNinch . Los Angeles, Ca 90048 . half ss
What impresses me most about this comic is that it has no qualms about exposing all the personal aspects of its creator's life through well-drawn images and candid stories. Beyond "bi-curious" her sexuality plays a big part in #1 as she tries to find the courage to talk to a checkout girl she has a crush on, coping with menstruation, boredom, moodiness and a new job. It would seem that by putting these otherwise sheltered perspectives of her life out in the open she is affirming her right to experience them. If only we could all that kind of courage. In #11 she describes her experience moving to be with her girlfriend back east, dealing the climate change and the eventual failed relationship. Once again she is not afraid to expose her private feelings and tells this sensitive story wonderfully and with cathartic finesse.

Banana Q #1 & 2
Therese Garcia . Los Angeles, CA . 52 pps . half ss
Whether intentional or not, this would have to be categorized as a travel zine. The first issue centers on Japan, while the second includes the Philipines and S.E. Asia. The main focus of Banana Q, however, according to the "about this magazine..." intro, is the Asian experience in America and remaining true to one's heritage as opposed to assimulating into the culture at hand. The articles in both issues are based on living abroad in the Orient and this only compliments the platform of the editor and provides a plethora of information for the reader within its pages. Personal explorations, travel tips, an interview with Stephem Malkmus of Pavement, rants, book reviews, movie reviews and several articles on food. My personal favorite would have to be John King's "Quest for a Decent Burrito" in Japan, just because he tried. You gotta admire that kind of devotion to food. As simple as the cut and paste design is (and it even appears to be genuine, i.e. not computer generated), the depth of this zine is extremely impressive and as long as I can find copies, I will be a loyal reader.

Black Cross Magazine #5
James Guess & Erik Jenson . Long Beach, Ca 90803 . half pb . 134pps
I don't know what is more impressive about this perfect bound, 134 page, poetry journal, subtitled Stupid Love Songs, the superb quality of the presentation, the structured design, the aggressive poetry laced with sexual overtones, or the picture of the editor James Guess with his hands on a stripper's naked ass. This is a journal for guys (or girls) that like to look at naked women, jerk off and read poetry. A potential alternative for more literary porn-mongers. Hey, I keep it next to my bed and well, that's all I have to say about that...


Blue Blood
#7
TOTEM . Hollywood, CA . full ss . 64
The trade mag of cool, Blue Blood makes me wish I was into vampire porn, turned on by images of chicks with fangs sucking cock and gothic nymphs with pierced genitalia prodding themselves and each other with various sexual apparatus. Nonetheless, there is a lot more to this professionally designed, full color, glossy magazine than the naked pictures. Ahem, yeah... actually, getting into the articles and reviews, I found the writing solid, however centered on the goth scene with prolific sexual overtones, which would, of course, make sense in an artistic, goth porn mag. Features include a short history on Vampire Chic, a humorous story about meeting the lead singer of Bikini Kill when she worked at a strip club and getting publicly ragged out for remembering it later, some decent fiction, reviews on artistic porn movies, books, products and other similar minded publications.


Boyd X #6
(December 1999)
Toledo OH . full ss . 52 pps
What is Boyd X? Is it a glorification of porn? Strip clubs? A class project? A half-assed attempt at professionalism? Inspiration for potential stalkers? A collection of rants on white boy angst, how not to attract women and whiney opinion? A haphazard presentation of short scripts that embody all of the above in well-written, two person dialogues? Whatever you want to classify this zine as, two things are frighteningly clear: Boyd is obsessed with the image of woman and also, he's a pretty good writer. Or at least he knows his subjects well enough from a reclusive, and oft-times paid, observation to capture his feelings as to why he is unable to associate with women or the world more than at a superficial level. A lot of the female images in Boyd X are taken right out of the media, collages of fashion ads, magazine covers and pin-up girls (including a pic spread on a girl referred to as Ravishing Ria, who bears no more significance than being the brunt of Boyd's current obsession), a combination that seems to suggest that part of Boyd's problem may be the fact that he is impressed, or just plain too aware, of what society and the media is filling his head with and not trying to actually separate the woman from the image or the world from its televised representation. He writes in the intro that the virtue of this zine is the grade he will receive in a literature course, but I can't help but think that a psychology professor would be more interested in this... or perhaps the proper authorities...

Breakfast #1
Vincent Voelz . Andover, MN . half ss . 48 pps
I've never really been into breakfast foods. I'm lactose intolerant, not a big fan of pork products or eggs and just prefer to start my day with cigarettes and coffee. I really liked the way this zine looks and thought I'd give it a try, as I was out of town on a business trip and there was a cool looking diner across the street from the guest house at which I was staying. I half expected Mel to start yelling at Flo from the kitchen, as I sat on the plastic cushioned seats with the tacky starburst metal frames straight out of the seventies and all my traumatic childhood memories of my mother throwing cereal boxes at us to shut the hell up when we fought over the toys inside, but I went with the pancake special, and sipped my Folgers coffee, wondering if this crap town had a Starbuck's at least (hey, it's better than nothing) and flipped through this zine. The layout is superb, given the fact that this is a first issue, and filled with all sorts of articles about breakfast, Vincent's favorite meal. The special came with eggs and sausage and when it arrived I let the links harden even more on the saucer and poured imitation maple syrup over the pancakes and dug in. I was actually starting to enjoy myself when my stomach started to rumble in rebellion to the solid food I was filling it with and I quickly looked around for the restroom.


Budget Press Review
#3
Johnnie B Baker . Del Mar, Ca . half ss
While I probably have a natural prejudice for lit zines that have more to read than just poetry, Budget Press satisfies with a piece on editor Baker's experiences attending a political rally in Moscow and a hilarious story by ST Brophy. As always I only skimmed the poetry and the edge it tries to create with the cover image of a kid gesturing into the camera is not fully realized in the complacent design inside, this is a lit zine with balls nonetheless.


Chi #1-2
Jennifer Feinberg . Oakland, Ca
Written and drawn by Jennifer Feinberg with contributions from Todd Meister… if you don't like cats you may not get into this comic. I do, so it wasn't hard to follow the adventures of Hopey and Chi as they devour shrimp, play with possums and snakes and face an unknown evil. Their sexy owner and her friends seem only remotely associated with the fantastical world of these clever cats yet their adventures also play a large role in the tales. The artwork is phenomenal and the lettering, though difficult to read at times, is no less stylized or ambitious. A real visual treat.

The Dialogue on the Other Side of The Door by Mark Wisniewski
Showerhead Press . Northridge, Ca . 16 pps . quarter hm
A charming little book of two poems with complimnetary artwork, the title piece being the most interesting... the tale of a guy who was forced to sit in the closet while his prostitute girlfriend worked the bed... a chillingly realistic tale with images that stick to your mind like a used condom on the side of a metal garbage can. The second poem is humourous, again told from the other side of a door. A cool design, unique papers, use of newspaper circulars and a psuedo-perfect binding.


Empty Life

Mike Tolento . Santa Barbara, Ca
Mike Tolento is so great at taking a stereotype and exploiting the characteristics associated with them and moves past the confines of commentary to a smorgasbord of sick humor and gory wit. As offensive as some of these attitudes and situations he describes may be, you can't help but laugh as they expose their own stupidity, with Mike's skillful assistance, however… Read Empty Life and then look around at all the dumbshits walking the streets trying so hard to be cool and you'll find no easy task figuring out which is the actual caricature.


Ex Animation #3

Auburn, Al . half rs . 16pps
mostly hand written and the other part typed on an old manual with corrections written above the words. Dedicated to the pawn shop dealer that gave her a good deal on the typer, the casual, non-pretentious style is what I liked so much about it. A wonderful zine, despite it's imperfections. The staples were all bent up and jagged from the regular stapler she had used in an attempt to saddle stitch it. Beautiful, honest and highly recommended.

Fester # 1 - March 1999
Russell Helms . Pell City, AL . half ss . 34pps
A very nice, simple affair with excellent reproduction quality on the gorey photography which compliments the aggressive poetry inside. A good mix of familiar and unknown names, precise layout and and overall good read.

French Archeology
caleb . Ottawa, ON . Canada
An absolutely beautiful handmade creation, this. A unique pocket design for the cover, with two tiny zines inside telling the story of a young man dealing with love and the circumstances of his high school existence. Convinving and honest writing, enjoyable, but the whole package itself is definietly worthy of the discerning collector.

Gush - Poems and Pictures
Attaboy . Walnut Creek, Ca . wide ss
The appeal for Gush is apparent at first glance. The full color cover draws you in with exciting and vibrant graphics. Inside the pages radiate with a plethora of b&w cartoon images complimenting a precise layout. The poems themselves are as casual as the design. With title such as “Zombie Undead Hair,” “Roach In the Oven” and “I’m Supposed to be Pudding,” the objects of Attaboy’s affections play into his comical and simple approach. The fonts at time can get kind of hectic, but all in all, probably just adds to the fun. And it comes with a post card/sticker!


Here Magazine
Neil deMause . Brooklyn, NY . full ss
I liked Here from the start. A nice full size magazine with a color cover, these are stories about America, told through a wide variety of subjects, from mailboxes in rural Texas to the sprawling freeways of Los Angeles and subways of New York. A great collection of stories that are both well-written and informative... but then geography was always one of my favorite subjects.

HOOFSIP #49
Dan Augustine . Bloomfield Hills, MI . full rs . 26
In the introduction to this upper-left-corner, single-stapled zine, its creator Dan Augustine states that this is the second to last issue. He is now devoting his time to his band and ceasing publication of the zine. He also states the he is going to say what he feels like saying and the next issue will piss many people off. Well, I don't know who he wants to piss off, but HOOFSIP features reviews on music and zines, articles on Stanley Kubrick, indi British groups Fifty Tons of Black Terror (AKA Penthouse in England, prevented from using the name by the magazine publisher in America) and Groop Dogdrill. The next issue (the last issue) will feature an interview with Motley Crue as part of Dan's "artistic statement." I'm not sure if that would piss me off, but I have to say I'm a little curious about the contents of HOOFSIP's swan song.


I Draw Stars

Jenn . Arroyo Grande, Ca . 28 pps . quarter hs
Another one of the more impressive zines I've read recently, I Draw Stars is the candid story of one young girl's sordid affairs with drugs, sex and the turmoils of being a teenager. And while that may sound like the boring garbage of after-school specials, Jenn's story lacks both the trite morality ending and the candy-coated descriptions of drug use. The writing is straight forward, without compromise, and the last thing you feel for the author is sympathy. It's obvious that isn't why she wrote this. She had to purge her memories, get it out of her in order to get past it. From the beginning the catharsis of her experiences tinge the writing and the reader is drawn into the fucked up small town world of teenage struggle, as drugged out kids seek solace, excitement, love and a better high.


Indy Unleashed
#8
Owen Thomas . Columbus, OH . half ss
A short review zine with thoughtful and responsible reviews sorted into section and an article on the 1999 Bowling Green zine convention. What else can you say about a review zine? Send your stuff in for review!

Infiltration No 8
Ninjalicious . Pickering, ON . Canada . half ss . 28pps
Infiltration is a well-organized zine about "going places you're not supposed to go." Written primarily by Ninjalicious with the occasional contributor, the layout is flawless and refined. Blending illustrations to compliment the informative and, at times, humorous text, he reveals a world that is forbidden to the general public. It is this restriction, it seems, that compels him to infiltrate the structures he finds so fascinating. What is most impressive about this zine is the affection Ninja has for the subject. As he states on page 2, "Great architecture contributes more to the quality of urban life than we recognize. While I fully support continuous, unbounded construction and urban sprawl, a part of me wishes an architectural moratorium had been declared sometime in the late 1980s, when society finally decided to abandon taste and love of beauty in favour of efficiency and economy."
In issue no 8, Ninjalicious reveals his adventures penetrating the Toronto's new City Hall. In this well written account, he begins with the history behind the building, the recent debate over two potential structures to house the newly formed city government. The other building considered is "a generic office tower in a commercial development known as Metro Hall," which he reports to be a "distinctly unwelcoming edifice," and was eventually rejected for the former.
     The Toronto City Hall was built in 1968 by a Finnish architect Viljo Revell, and according to Ninja, "probably the single most significant building in Toronto's architectural history." His adoration for this structure is evident in his enthusiasm to examine it "from the bottom to the top…" His description of the uniquely shaped City Hall suggests its appeal: "From the grand rotunda on the lower levels, to the white spaceship suspended in mid air at the building's centre, to two crescent-shaped towers of unequal height, there are so many things to love about this bizarre building."
     A major part of its appeal would have to be the ease at which the infiltrator is able to access the many parts of the building. Unlike the Metro Hall, where "security cameras and heavy-handed guards keep a close eye on the building," City Hall is easily penetrated. "It isn't always clearly marked where the public areas start and where they end." And it is the awareness of these "grey areas" that Ninja uses to his benefit as he explores the building.
     He begins the journey with a friend in the Subbasement, tentatively prowling through crawlspaces, shafts and tunnels, discovering junk, hazardous materials and "a glorious industrial area we dubbed Valveland." From there they make their way into the basement, where "it was fairly clear we were somewhere we weren't supposed to be," but after a harmless run-in with an employee, they call off the search until later. After some research, he enters the basement again with another friend, using a piece of paper with the address for Central Records to disguise his intentions, they explore the employee cafeteria, a lobby full of junk, the mailroom "filled with stationary, City Hall merchandise and election leftovers," and an old freight elevator marked "Not for Public Use." Taking the elevator to the next level, they find some blueprints and after another potential confrontation, make their way to the library on the first floor, "a good place to ask about the building's history." Also on the first floor is the information desk "a good place to find something in the building," and the security desk, "a bad place to ask about anything." The first and second floors are open to public during the day, but Ninja prefers to explore the semi-public areas in the evening, "as this is late enough for most employees to have gone home for the night, but early enough that one won't seem out of place walking around."
     On the second floor, he takes advantage of a golden opportunity: "While I was exploring the second floor one afternoon, I noticed a group of a dozen or so university students walking down one of the hallways and decided to tail them from a distance and see what they were up to. It became apparent that they were architecture students in the middle of a tour of the building. I toyed with the notion of joining the group. What I was wearing would probably allow me to pass for a student, but there were only a dozen of them, so I knew I'd be conspicuous… As I was weighing the pros and cons, however, the tour guide began fumbling with keys to take the students into some locked boardrooms. The chance to peek behind locked doors was irresistible, so I hauled out a notebook and joined the group.
     "As he led us around to various non-public boardrooms, libraries and offices, our tour guide shot me several suspicious looks, as if he wasn't sure he recognized me. When he looked my way, I would just make some comment about the building to one of my fellow students who seemed too timid to confront me and mention that they had never seen me in their class before. Eventually our guide (whose business card introduced him as Richard Winter, Facility Planner) must have assumed I was a latecomer, for he soon relaxed and began to share his knowledge of the building with me. AS MR Winter led us through the councilors' offices and staff rooms, he would occasionally pause to ask for questions from the group. My adopted classmates were a rather incurious group, so I asked the questions. Mr Winter seemed very impressed with my knowledge of the building's history and architecture, and was pleased to answer my questions about the basement levels and the closed Observation Deck (which, sadly, he did not have keys for).
     "In fact, by the time we had toured the rest of the lower levels and taken the elevator up to tour the facility planning offices on the East Tower's ninth level, it was fairly clear that I had gone from being a non-student to being the teacher's pet. One of my jealous peers finally mustered up the courage to ask me if I was a student, to which I replied that no, I was a reporter writing an article about the changes to City Hall and that I had obtained his professor's permission to come along for the tour, which was enough to ease his worried mind. The facility planning people offered us a wide variety of blueprints of the building, and were pleased to speak at length about the architectural history of the building and what they hoped for its future."
     On to the spaceship: City Hall's Council chambers, "perhaps the most bizarre feature of a decidedly bizarre building. The 4,000-tonne, poured-concrete ellipsoid pod is held three storeys in the air by a single, six meter thick concrete column in its centre." Rarely available for public inspection, he finally managed to enter the spaceship, as it is generally referred to in articles on the building's architecture. With his business man disguise he finds his way to the rim, through what appeared at first to be a towel dispenser into a janitor's closet and a door marked "Please Do Not Lock This Door." "I couldn't resist crawling around the extremely dusty, sloping walls of the spaceship." Finding little of interest, he returns a week later to video tape his findings, and while taping his discovery in the "Land Beyond the Towel Dispenser," sirens begin to sound and he is trapped in the pod, unable to use the elevator and waits in panic for the next event, which fortunately turns out to be unrelated to his activities (a fire in the basement) and he is able to finally escape.
     Moving through the otherwise boring towers, he makes his way to the attics, where he finds a "very tall, very wide concrete chamber, reminiscent of the water filtration plant the aliens took over in the movie V," which house four huge water tanks. "Pipes are everywhere. The room is filled with puddles and the delicious sounds of dripping and bubbling water." Here he explores mazes of hot and cold metal pipes that he must climb over, under and around, scaling his way to the top. "I then walked along the metal catwalks between the various watertanks and gave each a thorough examination. Everything seemed in order." Finally making it to the roof, 21 storeys up, standing on the slippery metal grating, which felt "very precarious, particularly since I was in clear view of all the offices on the upper levels of the East Tower." And it is on the roof of City Hall "in the rain at night, the only solid floor 40 feet down, the air filled with steam rising off the pipes below" that he finds that moment that fills him "with love for all things industrial and off-limits, and convince me further that infiltrating is truly the good life."
     Over all, this was both an informative and enjoyable read and well worth the cover price.

The Inner Swine Vol 5 issue 4
Jeff Somers . Hoboken, NJ . half ss . 64 pps
Yes, The Inner Swine is one of those zines that always satisfies. Jeff fills each issue with 64 pages of humor, self-worship and enough fantasy material about himself, that it's really hard to resist.


I've got the fever you've got the cure
Lindsay Beamish . Los Angeles, Ca . 116 pps . half ss
One of the most visually stunning zines I've come across in a very long time. It reminds me of those old literary journals from the 60s when it wasn't about high tech resolution but resourcfulness with design that made a publication worthy of attention. And that is exactly what the author of this massive work accomplishes with "I've got the fever..." The layout is precise and visually appealling: clip art and various other stark, b&w images and photocopy art frame the typewritten cut and paste text, complimented by a stenciled, cut-out cover. The writing is sophmoric at times but mostly it delivers. I was a little bored with the first part which seemed to lament the fact that the author couldn't find the soul mate that she desperately wanted; however, as it progresses, she seems to realize that love may not be the most desirable predicament and towards the end, a voice emerges that controls the prose and gets to the bottom of it all. I can only hope that she continues to write in this vein and produce more wonderful self- explorations in her writing and design work. Highly reccomended and given the number of pages and the price, one hell of a bargain as well.


Java Turtle #3

Lynne Lowe . Santa Barbara, CA . full ss . 26 pps
This issue of Java Turtle is an excellent example of the good writing one can find inside the otherwise rough exterior of a side stapled, full size zine. Yet with a good combination of clip art, comics and illustrations, the size and layout make it very easy to read. Imperfections and typos aside, I was quickly drawn in by Lynne's adventures at the 1999 Alternative Press Expo, braving El Niño and the story of how she met Mike Tolento, whose artwork adorns the cover and is featured throughout the zine; her experiences setting up the Santa Barbara Zine Fest with Ruel Graviola of Amusing Yourself to Death; an interview with John Marr of Murder Can Be Fun; a zinester's book survey; trivial facts on turtles and coffee, as well as a few rants, memories and even some poetry... all of which make Java Turtle a great collection of interesting and entertaining material that also provides an informative personal history of the zine world. After reading it from beginning to end, the humble appearance and flaws only make it that much more endearing. Well worth the investment of time and petty cash.

Kurt Cobain Was Lactose Intolerant Conspiracy Zine
Kelli Williams . Los Angeles, CA . half ss
yes, I've heard so much about this zine before I got it that I was sort of dissapointed at first, but once I read it and realized that it wasn't just a name, but an actual presentation of the possibilty that the reason Kurt killed himself (and the cause of most of his woes) was that he was lactose intolerant. Relatively convincing perspective that anybody interested in oddball theories could get into.

Lucid Moon
Ralph Haselmann, ed. . Hampton, NJ . full rs . 362pps
The reason I like Lucid Moon is because it is dangerous. The fucking thing can hurt you. I mean, give you pain. Imagine, you are searching through your bookshelf for a stray nickel or dime to buy a cheap 6-pack and the new Issue of Lucid Moon just somehow wound up on the top of the bookcase and while you are rummaging through the crap and you bump the side... the bookcase wobbles and the last thing you see coming at you is that new copy of Lucid Moon, 785 pages thick with rusted, gangly nails hammered into the side to keep all the loose sheets of paper bound together and BLAM!! you're out an eye mister. But at least you will have something to read during your infirmary. It's like the Sear's catalogue for the small press.


Lummox Journal
RD Armstrong . San Pedro, Ca . half ss
A consistently impressive literary companion, with entertaining bits of info and informative interviews and interviews on all aspects of the arts in each issue. Claims to examine "the process of creating," which it does in a very respectable presentation. Full of contact info for the lit scene, local and otherwise. Thoughtful reviews and a formidable array of contributors. A little too self-promoting at times but still jam packed with enough resources and info to make it well worth the cover price.

Martin The Satanic Racoon
Gabe Martinez . Hollywood, Ca . half ss
Possibly the funniest goddamn thing I've seen in a long, long time. If you have a sick sense of humor, can do metal signs with even a little confidence and without embarrassment, stick a dollar bill in an envelope, address that sumbitch to Gabe Martinez and get ready to laugh your ass off. Including such irreverent topics as assaulting babies, environmentalists, the dead, KISS, religion and random members of society in general.

Minutiae
David Lasky . Boom Boom Comics . Seattle, WA . half ss
I really like the artwork and story in this "24 hour comic […] written and drawn in a time span of approximately 24 hours." Tells the story of a guy in love with his boss and their impromptu sexual encounter. The drama begins when the woman's boyfriend shows up and our hapless and, we come to notice, geeky hero winds up in the closet while the couple proceed to get it on. I don't like this chick much, but homeboy in the closet is quite smitten by her and after they finish and take off, he makes himself comfortable in her apartment, looking through her photo albums, journals and other personal items for a momento of their short time together. A gross little exploration of the two condoms left in the garbage can and you can't help but feel sorry for the love sick geek, but the tale also has its riveting moments and moves along at a fast pace. A wonderful story and a nice presentation.

Modern Industry #1
TFR Industries . Ansonia, CT 06401 . half ss
A superb anthology featuring many great artists in one collection full of enough great material that is hard not to find something truly entertaining. Including fresh comics from the crème de la crème of the small press comic scene: Mike Tolento (of Empty Life), Keith Knight (of K Chronicles), Bruce Orr (of Immersion Press) and Carrie McNinch (of The Assasin & The Whiner) as well as editor Shawn Granton's impressive art (otherwise seen in his own Ten Foot Rule). Well worth the two dollars if you want a great assortment of the best in independent comics.


Nerve Cowboy
Joseph Shields and Jerry Hagins . Austin, TX . wide ss
Nerve Cowboy rates high as a poetry zine not just because it presents some great poetry, but it does so with a tight design that employs one of the most diverse collections of artwork in the small press lit scene. Combining well known poets with new writers, NC satisfies where most others fail: a simple, non-pretentious style that compliments the well crafted verse it showcases… a must read for all small press lit aficionados.

Poems for the Discarded
Helena Lazaro
Untie the string that holds this treasure together and inside you will find all sorts of garbage that the author has affixed on the pages that also include poems and short pieces of fiction. The bits of paper, microfiche, stamps, advertisements, plastic, fabric, stickers and pictures add a detailed perspective to the book and the candid writing is no less impressive.

A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press
San Francisco, CA . half ss
The only major review zine around these days it seems. Used to be called Zine World but I guess they think A Readers Guide… makes them more accessible and diverse… I know I know, they get a lot of shit for it but what did they expect? One thing about their classifications that bothers me was noting the time invested in each zine. Does it really matter? I've seen things buzz past my car window that have affected me longer than the stupid shit I see everyday.


Reddog Review #2

Asha Anderson . Talent, OR . 32 pps
I just picked this up, started to read and couldn't stop. Which says a lot for Reddog Review given the number of zines I have lying around that remain neglected for months at a time. Easily classified, I guess, as travel literature, it is certainly not as boring as most journal-like travelogues. Asha details her trip to Hawaii with compelling bits of history and lore about the beaches and islands she visited as well as relating her own experiences hiking through the volcanic mountains. The writing was excellent and the zine also included a few illustrations that complimented the narrative. Since Asha and her partner made it a point to stay away from the touristy areas and keep to relatively uninhabited areas of the islands, as I would do myself in such an exploited vacation destination, if I were going to Hawaii, I would want this zine in my carry on luggage as a guide and inspiration to some of the places I'd want to check out.

Rejection Notice Zine
Ron Emolo . Paterson, NJ . broadsides
Ron Emolo's poems border on a cryptic sense of the familiar at times and at others, suprisingly profound... I was confused but intrigued enough to notice that such is also the case with these sheets of paper themselves, photocopied on one side or multiple sheets stapled. And yet another addition to Ron Emolo's enterprises is The "M.P.S." (a poetry and arts broadside) that is a sister publications of the Rjection Notice Review (a poetry and arts zine) featuring only handwritten poems. I think he has really hit upon something with the handwriting, randomly presented with a prophetic scrawl, a remarkable effect perhaps... but I'm still really confused, though must concur that the Rejection Zines/Broadsides, in whatever form they take, bring things back into the simplest DIY perspective there is... the handwritten notice.

Skunk's Life #17
DB Pedlar . Cambridge Springs, PA . half ss . 32
I like trains. And this issue is all about them. I've read previous issues of Skunks life and enjoyed this fiction zine though I was quickly drawn into the stories of speeding locomotives and flaming engines barraling down the tracks... several stories were just riveting making this issue my favorite by far.


Snapshot # 1-3

Jeff Levine . Sherman Oaks, Ca . quarter wide ss
Issues 1-3 candidly detail the personal experiences through journal-like entries and impressive sketches that take a glimpse of an object or scene that, like the story he is telling, express universality in their subjectivity. From a quiet life in Portland, OR, to a fresh start in LA, these tales and images hit right for that stop spot and remind the reader just how human a human really is, and how confusing it is just to try to be one.


Some Misplaced Joan of Arc #4

Los Angeles, Ca . half ss
A zine by a high school junior. A nice layout, interesting photocopier art and collages. Introspective verse, rants and journal entries. I liked the pro-femme stuff and the way she related her discoveries of art, music and literature, though some of her ideas seem naïve and at times restrained. A very candid look at the effects of fame on her life regarding an article in a Los Angeles newspaper, where she displays more of the apealling non-pretentiousness that marks this zine. It's obvious that she does this out an inate need to create a compelling publication... a definite voice from a smart young girl who is going places in this world.

Mark Sonnenfeld/Carpentier Pascal Broadside
Marymark Press . East Windsor, NJ
"Last summer I went to France with my family and while they were exploring the Louvre, I snuck off and went to a neat looking café near the Sorbonne. There I met the most amazing guy... his name was Carpentier Pascal. He was so charming and debonair... he told me that he is a poet and recited some of his haikus to me and the rest of the café. All the other patrons yelled at him to shut the fuck up but I was convinced: this guy IS a poet. So we talked some more and he wanted to show me some more of his work and suggested that we go back to his flat. Now I was only 16 years old and still in high school, but I wanted to go so bad. Carpentier is so handsome and so I let him persuade me. I didn't tell him how young I was and when he put his hand on my butt I felt shivers go through my whole body. At his flat he showed me some broadsides that he had done with an American poet in New York: Mark Sonnefeld. He read some more poems for me and I swooned at his rugged good looks as he recited thus: "Reflections of women smiles/In the sleek glass walls/Of my burnin' soul of love". Wow, something was burning, that was for sure. But I had to get back before my family noticed I was gone. I let him kiss me and we exchanged addresses. Funny, though, he never responded to my letters... just sent me more of these stupid broadsides. What the fuck is a broadside anyway? Well, I don't think I am going to mess with French men anymore. Iowa boys just seem so dull anymore." - Dana Wilks, Sioux City, IA

Spunk #2, 3 & 5
Violet Jones . Hayward, Ca . half and quarter, hb
Spunk gives poetry a good name. This hand crafted lit zine even comes in two sizes. #2 is digest size with a pseudo perfect bind, folded pages and a mesmerizing design that makes it all the more charming and entertaining to read. #3 and 5 are quarter sized and hand sewn in color. Another visual treat. Featuring known small press names and reviews.


Staplegun Press #7
- Summer/Fall 1999
Scott Gordon . Birmingham, AL . half ss . 42pps
Certainly one of the most respectable poetry mags in the small press, with a wide spectrum of familiar names and styles, combined with great photo reproduction and a tight design... an overall superb offering from an impressive list of prolific small press writers...

Sticky's Fun Factory
Emerson Dameron . Omnivorous Media . Athens, GA 30605
The primitively drawn, remotely funny adventures of a stick figure names "sticky" and his experiences as he faces a tragically existential world and tries to maintain a positive outlook. Not annoying enough to avoid, considering that they are free.

Ten Foot Rule
Shawn Granton . Ansonia, CT . half ss
A great collection of strips by various artists, assembled by Shawn Granton, whose own work highlights this issue. Excellent artwork and superb graphics… a humorous perspective on going to the NYC and NJ in "Saturday, March 20, 1999," things that make you go hmmm in "Sometimes I Wonder," a macabre memory in "this guy I used to know" and the frustrations of people who are always comparing where they are to where they've been in "… jake's roommate…" Takes the common aspects of life and showcases some great talent in the process.

10 Things Jesus Wants You To Know #21
Dan Halligan . Seattle WA . full ss . 80
This 80 page full sized zine features a healthy mix of CD, 7" and zine reviews, interviews, a focus on the northwest punk scene, a pic spread of these 2 naked chicks, recipes ("The Most Popular Punk Cooking Column in The World") and an advice column ("Ask Dr. Wändi"), among many other features that makes 10 Things a comparable to all the other major music zines out there... however the fallacy of 10 Things 10 is that it seems to try so hard to be PUNK that it borders on parody. Though the content is ambitious and the design as tight as mollasses, the constant attempts to define punk as a lifestyle ("The Spirituality of Punk" & "I Can't Believe I have Punk Rock Parents") grows dreary as it continues to exploit every aspect of a lifestyle that, to the non-zealot, is fairly blatant.

This Year For Christmas stories by Wiley Wiggens
Eraserhead Press . Fountain Hills, AZ . half ss
Isn't this the guy from that Richard Linklater movie, Dazed and Confused? The freshman who scored with the sophmore chick at the party? Man, I liked that movie. He was also in another movie set in Texas: Love and A .45. He played a goofy convenience store clerk that the main character who looks like Dermont Mulrooney held up. I swear, that guy looks just like Dermont Mulrooney. According to the credits, it isn't though. That's weird. Love and a .45 was a really good movie. Had the stoner dude from Dazed and Confused as well. He was a druggie in this movie too. Haven't seen him in anyhting else either.

Tiny Deaths #5
Dan Strachota . San Francisco, Ca . wide ss
3 personal comic strips that explore a work crush that proves fruitless, why San Francisco sucks and "Some Things You Should Know…" about the artist. A very interesting perspective on the impact of the recent surge of yuppies on the bohemian atmosphere of SF and a humorous and sentimental touch on the more personal aspects of one's life.

Tread on Me #1
Lounge Lizard Productions . David Khalili . Sausolito, Ca . Half ss
So yeah, David is on alt.zines screaming, begging and threatening everybody to send him pictures of feet. So I did, I sent him two, one pic a pair of nasty bum feet and the other of a chick's foot in a tight clear slip on. He turned em both down. Well, despite that, I still thought this zine was interesting, just for the pictures of a guy that looks like David but isn't, getting walked on and other assorted pictures of women's feet, bound and otherwise, with a crobar thrown in some scenes. Plus, an erotic story about, yep, sex and footsies.

Unwound
Lindsay Wilson . Bakersfield, Ca . wide ss
I look at my copy of Unwound and I think, why waste your time and tell you how much I liked it... if I would add my two cents I would say, Get a copy... Now! while they're still available. They're just 3 freaking dollars - cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and just as satisfying. Well... almost. I'm sending $5 and getting the next issue too. I can't wait to see what Lindsay does next.

The Yellow Girl & Other Stories by Tim Lockette
The Argonne Hotel Press . Washington, DC . half ss . 60pps
Even though there is verly little non-genre fiction to chose from in the Small Press, much of it reads like cutting room floor rip offs, bad replicas of some other writer's style or a made for tv teleplay. Shining through the pack, however, is this offering from The Argonne Hotel Press. The characters in Tim Lockette's stories, portrayed through careful, sensitive prose, are not afraid to look at their plot in life and see something more, past the mundane of everyday. Within the daily events of relationships, the meandering spirit of a small town, or the memory of those moments when one's appreciation for a work of art, literature or music is like a satori, there is something possibly Homeric, and Tim Lockette crafts these situations with as much respect. In stories like "Requiem for Richard Brautigan," he assembles a conclave of images, from the grasshopper novel he tried to write in college, a girlfriend who calls just to say she "wants to become a vegetarian even though she's worried that lack of protein will make her hallucinate," the governor of Alabama and Richard Brautigan. In "Caked Beyond Recognition" he warns, "never give Jack Kerouac a key to your apartment," after an afternoon spent drinking with Jack and Neal Cassidy, helping them operate Windows 95 to get online, until they need a new search word besides "SEX" and wind up having a muddy orgy with his girlfriend in a cemetery. "Good," he says. "I can watch Nightline tonight." Profound in its simplicity, Lockette's voice is breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale climate.

Wet Devoh Vol 1, No 11.
Hookset, NH . half ss
So I have been plagued with diarrhea for a week now. Yes, really, I have. I think it is in part caused by my diet of coffee, cigarettes and all the rubber cement I inhale on a daily basis. The only solid food I eat anymore is salad. So needless to say I spend a lot of time on the toilet. And despite the fact that I mail out everyday, I haven't received much mail the past few weeks. No letters and no zines. But thankfully I got the new Wet Devoh yesterday and I thought, how perfect... if anybody could help me with my intestinal woes it would be the diarrhea boys at Wet Devoh. So when my bowels started rumbling I grabbed the zine and ran to the bathroom.
     Wet Devoh Vol 1, No 11 would have to be the Misfits/Danzig issue, with interviews with previous Misfits and previous and current members of Danzig. Now I have never been much of a fan of the Misfits or Danzig... I saw Danzig in concert on New Year's Eve about 7 years ago and was terribly disappointed, but I read everything in this issue (not much else to do as the shit kept spewing out of my ass) and found the interviews by Big Andy to be very well thought out, humorous and informative. I certainly know more about the two bands that I had previously and though, no, I doubt I go out and by the new Misfits or Danzig albums, I perhaps appreciate the following they have a little more.
     Highlights had to be the Show Reviews or "Why I have missed every show in Gainesville" by Dave, which chronicles the events that prevented him from attending the various concerts in his area... the Pumpkin Punker by Seth Dawg, though the details of the prank could have been explored a little more and the story just seemed to end out of nowhere...
     The design of this issue is a little more sophisticated than the previous issue and the images, though well positioned, seem to have been printed on a photocopier at sea. Still, Wet Devoh got me through at least one episode of my irritable bowel syndrome and after I used up all the toilet paper, even came in pretty handy during the following bout.

Wet Devoh
Hooksett, NH . half ss
I liked a lot of Wet Devoh, though it is small. With 3 of these guys, Faber Montag, Seth Dawgy and Big Andy (who I had a dream about the other night... yeah, that ass muff's got my mind a-reeling)... I thought it should be bigger, however... as massive as the claim: "Every issue of Wet Devoh has the feel of a metal album copied onto a shitty tape with bad sound quality." There is a lot of potential in it: Interview with Guy Picciotto of Fugazi (though I was hoping instead of the "straight edge" question, maybe a reference to Rites of Spring - his band before Fugazi - to see what his reaction would be - we know what Ian's is). Oh, and there is humor. Lots of it: "cybering," a defleecing of the Toriphile phenomenon (?), Bobby Steele (the Misfits & Undead), Glenn Danzig (wasn't he in the Misfits as well?) and Henry Rollins (!) beyond Thunderdome (I won't spoil it for you by naming the victor), some rants, reviews and drawings... Yeah, it was a good little read. But what we really need, now more than ever, is a 'zine that would claim to be the most atrocious, self glorifying, kick in the shin offensive, ugly ass photocopied crooked stapled rag of unnecessary bullshit possible and then deliver. I think Wet Devoh could be that shitty one day. But all we can really do is hope and pray though, right?

Wishbone # 8
San Juan Capistrano, CA . half ss . 32
Hitherto unfamiliar with this zine I now know this about Bunnigrrl: she's a vegetarian, a college student, a socialist, about to get married (to the lactose intolerant Bunniman), has bad menstrual cramps and uses Cliff Notes... I know what music she listened to while putting the zine together (most of which I have never even heard of), the contents of her backpack (lighten up, girl), things that annoy her (like calling her "bunny girl") and even the notes that people have left her. Whether I wanted to know all of this or not, I'm not sure... however, I don't really regret the time invested, although the bunny thing kind of freaks me out. My mother used to tell me that my pet rabbit would chew my eyes out in the dark if I didn't keep them closed tight when it was time to go to bed. Some shit you just don't get over, you know what I mean? Cover by Mike Tolento and a generally favorable reviews section.

Your Attention Please Zine #1
Suzanne Hackett . Burbank, Ca . half ss
A humble and diverse collection of material, featuring an "academic" article on junkyard cathedrals, exploring the folk art of urban monuments, the primitive assembling of junk into structures, an artform that certainly deserve more notice and attempt at preservation. Also includes reviews of travel books and a very bizarre comic that had me scratching my head.

Zen Baby #5
Christopher Robin . Santa Cruz, Ca . 24 pps . half ss
I know I'm partial to zines that feature homages to Patty Smith, but there is something else going on in this zine and with it's creator Christopher Robin. Underneath the usual zine presentation, there is a smoldering desperation. Intriguing material.

Zombie Kisses #1-3
Raleigh, NC . Mini . ss
teeny tiny zines, fiction, post-apocolyptic story of two brothers. The three issues are a continuation of the first issue, though not as compelling. Familiar territory if you're into the MadMax/A Boy and His Dog realities. recently recreated (though poorly) with The Postman. Still (back to the zine), Zombie Kisses was interesting in a quasi-sci-fi way. I liked it.

 

All reviews by Kelly Dessaint from the archives of FyUoCuK.com