It is difficult to let go of the moments that come before reading a zine – your sore eyes notice a fresh cover peaking at you from the rack across the room, drawing you in. Then there is the time spent trying to delay the moment when your hands will shakily reach out and lift the light, crunchy inked pages from the shelf – maybe you put on a record or try to finish a chapter of the book you’re reading, meanwhile your expectations grow and your mind wanders… will this collection of paper be the response to some questions you have long needed answered? Will it make you feel more comfortable in your body? Are the images within, lurking on each page, going to inspire you to continue and pursue your passion of creating crudely inked pornography? The moment before you open the pages, you may be expecting to find an energy-sucking leech but instead find a friend. Although these contemplations are an important factor in discovering a new zine, we must eventually surrender ourselves to the thoughts that come after tending to paper goods – be it bedside, stuffed between books in the library, coffee stained, under dumpstered pizza — as we lovingly or half-assedly give them time and attention. Here are some of the impressions that came afterward from a few ziney Slingshotter folks.
16pgs. Small size issue 7
39 w. 30th st.#g
Bayonne, NJ 07002
This is the 10th anniversary of this publication (the editor also does poetry and a rag called Noise Noise Noise). I never read it before which makes it makes it hard for me to contrast it with the other issues. My first impression is that the entirety of the zine is made on a computer — both its text and its graphics. There’s lots of open space on the page — which should be a welcomed sight to tired eyes, but its readability is diminished by the font size being just above squinting level. Thankfully all the content is rather short and compelling, which makes it easier to just pick it up quickly in between other pressing matters. The focus seems to be about hunting out people who do cool things — like writers and artists, and getting a little insight into their work. I felt like “what’s the point” a few times reading it, but the subject matter would suddenly improve thus captivating me. This issue has talks with a photographer who documents the last meals by death row inmates, writers like Aaron Cometbus, and the shortest of all possible book reviews. Watch out! you may be in the next issue. (eggplant)
Later Daze #7 – The “Fight Against Monotony” Issue
734 30th St. Oakland, CA 94609 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This new issue of Later Daze is a product of Keith’s battle against dead time. The structure consists of some cures for boredom that seem to have worked for the writer. Almost in opposition to the comic on the back-cover, Keith philosophizes on the ebbs and floods of daily life in the Bay Area. An interview with his housemates becomes a meditation on gentrification. His comics swim in curious abandon. Like the photograph inside, he stands among ruins of things past, tracing the outlines of racial tensions that have marked the United States from its origins up to the present. The most impressive piece is on the race riots in 1945 on a night that Cab Calloway was in town – blacks were denied entry to the theatre. In looking for his own cure for boredom, the writer seems to have created such a cure for his readers. (joey)
Bacon in the Beans
P.O. Box 4912 Thousand Oaks, CA 91359 or email@example.com
Visiting SoCal suburbia I came across this one at a record store. Past the egg-making hominids on the cover are the thoughts of a guy who’s been involved in the punk scene for nearly 27 years… Most of those years, he writes, have been spent intoxicated. The zine might be described as a product of his recent shift towards sober living (one week as of the publication of the zine, which is no small feat). In addition to the diary-like entries are music-related interviews (including one on Siberian hardcore!), nursery rhymes, a piece on “punk social networking from 20 years ago,” and a critique of shows at big for-profit venues (“All the amenities provided to the counterculture”). The text is unbelievably small at times, which at least says something about the amount of material there is in this thin volume. The editor collects “vintage punk & hardcore 70s & 80s demos. Get in touch if you can unload your tapes.”
Dreams of Donuts #13
836 57th St.
Oakland CA 94608
Heather Wreckage, the dreamer of this, really gets it. She knows the issues important to the activist anarchist scene well, and can still have a good time worth writing about. It’s all largely done in a comic style. This particular issue, the characters look shaded and more rounded, making them rise up from the page and their usual state of two dimensions. The eye candy appeal of it all out shines what is easiest to criticize — the flat story telling. The events pass thru the pages almost as if Heather is just making a list of the baddest ass moments of the past couple months. If you are not part of her inner circle it may not interest you. But in some ways what she makes here are like cave drawings of our culture. She is giving honors to the rare bunch of DIY punks around her. Their sparks of resistance and fleeting experiences are reinterpreted by her hand making them concrete. She made this issue during the Oakland Commune–but unfortunately it only has a one-page representation of those heady times. In this regard she is like No Gods No Mattress — reporting on things months later. That story and more will be in #14.
Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette
A one-sheet newsletter. Generally it documents the currents events on or around Oscar Grant Plaza — the Occupy Oakland base. Some of the writing is rather dull and lacking any juicy details. Each issue asks for contributions but I’ve only seen a few pieces by someone besides the editor. Most of the (uncredited) contributor writings seem to be the most lifeless and composed without an audience in mind. Supply lists or generic protester manifestos as example. In contrast the writings from the editor that describes the General Assemblies, the protests and the police harassment is on fire. This reporting reveals a very militant anarchist perspective. Fans of Green Anarchy, Modesto Anarcho and UA in the Bay will be smitten with each new issue. (eggplant)
#3 winter 2011(no price listed but trade OK)
PO box 391
Madera, CA 93639
Fresno is not what people think of when thinking of California. But to the young people growing up there it is a real place — dull and oppressive. The urge to change the world from where they’re standing is not taken lightly. This zine is from one such person, who is hard at work chronicling the counter culture being created. When you read this issue you will find that some of the content is designed with the locals in mind, and it may seem insular. They got it together to open an all ages music venue called The Bell-Tower, which acts as the zine’s spiritual center. There are reports on the scene in San Francisco and Portland, but in the end, home is made all the more important. Also inside are some factoids on healthy Herbs and a fat piece on body politics. This issue shows an incredible growth in content compared to the previous issues. An enlarged audience for this publication promises that what they produce in the future will be more sophisticated. Worth supporting. (eggplant)
Once there was an art exhibit with a whale rotting in a museum. People paid to experience this art piece and got pissed off. Those that paid were disgusted and left in a rage making it very easy to sneak in. The lumpen proletariat’s reaction was typically to laugh, puke, cry, then laugh again. If you breathe too deeply of Port Wino#2 you might feel nauseous, but its acrid stench? is necessary to our collective development.
Port Wino#2 starts with a description of how families talk about members who live house less. And then, it goes right into a ghost story, “we don’t speak ill of the dead, unless they really deserve it cause they’re always listening.” The rest of the zine talks about gang tags, punk rock, class, war, sexuality, rednecks, border graffiti, and trains. Regarding tagging and the first amendment right to do so, the author says, “it only makes sense to ban creativity especially when it is contagious.” And, “I urge you to alter your reality into a contrast of your dreams and all the beauty you know. GRAFF AINT A CriME Bomb Reality”
Family matters permeate the zine and it is always brutally honest, “we aren’t born anymore as much as we are delegated to tax zones.” When talking about reluctance to speak to rich children they say, “SUE lawyers kid knew what poor Mexicans were because while my brothers were roofing their house; her mother spewed distrust from her lips to the neighbor over a very sour lemonade.” (baked brie)
Raging Pelican: Journal of Gulf Coast Resistance
The third issue of the Raging Pelican highlights the occupy movement in the Gulf Coast region of the United States. In an article titled “Against the Wind: Colonial Louisiana in the 21st Century” T. Mayheart Dardar speaks of the desecration of the bayou by the BP oil spill and over 300 years of continual colonialism, and the effects upon the Houma community, indigenous to the Gulf Coast and un-recognized by the federal government of the U.S.
In “The Elephant of Color in the Room” Ben Last relates their experience in forming a people of color caucus, “the key to the total smashing of an alienating environment rests in successful outreach coupled with keen self-awareness.”
Mona Landsberg asks male socialized individuals to give up their privilege in “If I Can’t Keep My White Male Privilege. . .”
“Tahir Here” by Joeseph R. Jones points out that asking for permits does not replicate the uprising in Tahir Square where people illegally defended their spaces against violent state repression. They also tell the story of Occupy Denver’s police raid where the Denver Anarchist Black Cross defended the camp and the initial organizers insisted that the camp be taken down to be in compliance with the law, “the rebuilt encampment is now divided between those who would obey the law at all times, no matter the consequences, and those who will break it in order to defend the principles that they stand for.”
My personal favorite moments of issue #3 are a hilarious photo of fake counter-protesters at Occupy Mobile, one sign reading, “Who needs to trade stocks when you can trade human lives!!!” and the introduction which states, “I don’t really give a shit about Wall Street. I care about our homes and lives in South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, our peoples, culture, traditions and ways of life, all of which are being destroyed.”