28 May 2011
Tomorrow is the Ravenswing Craft & Zine DIY Fair in Minto Park in Ottawa. We'll have over sixty vendors selling crafts and zines, live music from local bands, skill-sharing workshops and the Clothesline Project. I'm giving out my zines to volunteers and selling the rest to help pay for fair expenses. Check out the Info Table for a great deal on some great zines!
Keep reading and keep thinking for yourself! xoszio
Posted by Sean Zio at 2:35 p.m.
27 May 2011
John's zines are among my treasures. They are sincere and make you feel like you've become his friend by the end of every issue. You can buy the whole series of Do-It-Yourself Silkscreening through Microcosm, or visit Octopus Books and see if they have a copy or can order you one. You can also visit John's page on the web.
This Sunday, you can find your own fair share of crafters and zinesters in Ottawa at the Ravenswing Craft and Zine DIY Fair. Along with an excellent crew of artists and writers, I am anxiously putting the final touches to our plans for the fair. With live music, skill-sharing workshops, public feminist art, crafters and zinesters, it's going to be magic.
25 May 2011
When I received Verwho?'s zine, I wasn't expecting much. It was short. It was a comic. However, when I opened it up, I was amazed. Not only was her zine attractively illustrated, it was beautifully worded as well.
Damn, this zinester is cool. Check out her website and buy her art: www.verwho.com.
24 May 2011
23 May 2011
When I worked at Octopus Books, I hand-sold Colin's zine like mad. Any tourist who came through the doors was guaranteed to leave with his or her copy of Colin's zine by the time he or she left. The zine shows a more intimate and gentle side of Ottawa than the typical tourist merchandise of the city, and I always felt happy knowing that Colin's portraits of my hometown were being sent out into the world for strangers to show their friends and family.
To admire more of Colin's work or to order your own copies of Cool Drawing, Dude, go to his website. Alternately, you can visit the Ravenswing Craft and Zine DIY Fair this coming Sunday at Minto Park between 11am and 4pm. He will be there with his zines and I am confident that he would be happy to sell you signed copies.
22 May 2011
In June 2005, Festrell (aka Faye) and I began Ravenswing as a monthly craft and zine fair at Jack Purcell Community Centre. With a mutual love for zines and independent art, we brought together a small community of zinesters and crafters and poured our time and love into organizing the fair.
In January 2006, Festrell made a zine for Ravenswing with vendor's bios, a list of skill-sharing workshops and short articles by her and me. Reading this issue was nostalgic for me. Following is an excerpt of my impressions of our second-ever Ravenswing fair:
"Everybody's spirits at the fair was uplifting and positive. Throughout the afternoon, I was surrounded by the fantastic buzz of people chatting. Nothing compares to that sound of several conversations merging into the noise of an event. You can get lost in it, trying to imagine what each conversation is about. And people were talking about all kinds of things: crafting, writing, music, weddings, the art of culture in Canadian cities, and much more.
I have high hopes for Ravenswing. I can dream it as a space for people to gather, to share their creations, and to make a few bucks for a drink, for groceries, or for a new project to be unveiled at the next fair. Nothing compares to the excitement of something green and wanted by the community. I feel gloriously grateful to be helping organize an event that creates a space for us as artists to breathe in the city."
The zine itself was well designed by Festrell, filled with great backgrounds of found images in a cut-n-paste feel. This year, we are going into our 5th annual outdoor fair and we are fortunate to have Festrell designing its program. We will be giving out a limited number of copies throughout the day, so come early to make sure you get your copy.
See you there! Fore more information on Ravenswing, see www.ravenswingottawa.com.
19 May 2011
17 May 2011
I'm not certain if we'll get to see more issues of Dream Zine. If you want more, or even just a copy of the first issue, email Mary.
16 May 2011
I definitely recommend this zine. For a couple of dollars, it is a better resource than many of the books I've seen written on this topic. For your copy, check out Microcosm.
15 May 2011
She also describes the prejudice and bigotry of Christianity as a social institution with endearing judgement. My favourite story in the zine is about the time when she was told, for the first time, that being gay was considered sinful and wrong by Christians. Just before, she had met a friend of her older sister's who was gay and who was super fun. He painted her nails and let her paint his, too, and she "had a burning desire to be as cool as he was." When she was at a youth event, the leader opened the topic of homosexuality and, before the leader could begin telling the group about the Church's view on it, Jayda jumped into the conversation and shared with the group how much she liked her sister's gay friend and how lovely he was. She wrote, "After enthusiastically telling the group about him, it got really quiet." The group was then told about how not lovely the Church considered gays.
Homosexuality is the one breaking point between Jayda believing and not believing in Christianity. In her zine, she does a wonderful job of showing how Christianity isn't all awful and how not all Christians are bigots. However, by the end, the baby does get thrown out with the bathwater because, let's be honest, gay-haters are people-haters. Nevertheless, Jayda concludes her zine by discussing how polite she is with others who believe in Christianity, ever the one to practice ending prejudice in any possible way.
14 May 2011
The IPRC is located in Portland, Oregon, and embodies everything beautiful about independent writing and publishing. For more information on this organization and its services, please visit its website.
Posted by Sean Zio at 10:08 a.m.
13 May 2011
11 May 2011
Poverty also makes an interesting appearance in this issue that pushes Chris into a new awareness. He quotes Elizabeth Gurley Flynn as writing, "poverty was like a dismal country that only those who have been to can speak of with authority," and he laments, "I seemed to have an extended visa." I remember that when I first read this issue, I was also struggling as an underemployed, freelance worker and his writing about hunger and poverty were helpful to me, were the notes of a kindred soul. My favourite quotation in the zine comes from his grandmother and was meaningful to me at the time. Speaking about Poland's social climate under communism and democracy, she notes, "In either case there's the same problem: young people could not find work. And if young people cannot work they are not really free."
A feature of this issue that I especially like is the quotations that open every article. They are profound, meaningful and speak to the following article very well.
I don't plan on keeping many of my zines after I complete this blog of reviews. However, Kiss Off 12 is one I plan on setting aside as one of the dozen that I preserve to read again when I'm an old man or when my kids find them in an old box and help me rediscover them.
For your own copy of this insightful and tender zine, go to Microcosm.
10 May 2011
If you haven't read a copy of Beautiful Mess, order your copy now!
09 May 2011
Anyway, issue number four of I Hate This Part of Texas was the first issue I read of this zine. I immediately fell in love with the zinester's lyrical writing and his images of skeletons riding bicycles. This issue includes an interesting article on the bicycle shop that he worked at called Plan B, which was also run as a community centre of sorts.
Like his following issue, this one reads as a love song to New Orleans. Although he and his contributors describe the city as a pretty scary hell-hole, they all agree that it is the greatest place to be. I think romanticism plays a larger role than sincerity in these opinions.
Overall, I definitely recommend I Hate This Part of Texas. It is well written and is a delight to look at with its great images and type-written pages. To get your hands on this zine, go to Microcosm.
Posted by Sean Zio at 8:58 p.m.
08 May 2011
Quantify 5 is a great zine. Lauren is an intelligent and critical writer, and she engages very well with her topics and views. The main focus of this issue is the intersection of gender and race in feminism, academia and art. Lauren's discussions of this topic expertly show its complexities. Much of what she writes about centres on seen identity in dominant and alternative cultures and how that identity influences the rights of individuals.
One article in this issue does veer away from political discussions on identity and speaks about the zinester's urge to create art and about the importance of the act of creating art to the survival of the human creature. She briefly writes about do-it-yourself (DIY) art, "I also have a hearty appreciation for that which is DIY. Making shit yourself is a fucking radical concept. Crafting is a political act in that it can enable one to opt out of a consumerist culture." I love when zines politicize crafting!
I don't think that you can order copies of Lauren's zines anymore. But, the next time you are at a zine library, like the Toronto Zine Library or the Independent Publishing Resource Centre, definitely seek out her work.
07 May 2011
|My Gwen Stefani Button!!!|
As a blogger, Amber doesn't use her zine to archive her writings. Instead, she uses her zine as an opportunity to showcase her design talent. In Culture Slut #23, she shows details of the places where she lives and has lived through colour polaroids. In addition to these polaroids, she writes short articles about her family and friends, as well as little self-reflective snippets. Nothing about this zine is excessive. In fact, it is a wonderful balance of colour, image and idea.
An added bonus of this issue of Culture Slut is the super cute boy who appears mid-way in the zine. You have to buy your own copy to see him for yourself. You can email Amber to see if she has any copies for sale.
06 May 2011
My favourite article is about 'thinking movies' and how college students act like "their entire world has opened up and they have somehow experienced something totally unique and awe inspiring" after watching them. He writes about how these students tack meaning onto every little detail in these films to a point of ridiculousness. His attitude toward these viewers is really funny and critical.
04 May 2011
The coolest part of this zine is a poem by Evalyn Parry, who I will be opening for as part of the Kymeras at a show on Saturday, June 4th in Almonte. In the zine, she writes a poem about her early experiences with her period and it is very endearing and touching. On the 4th, she will be performing her new show Spin. For more information on this show, visit Evalyn's website.
03 May 2011
Curses is written by a friend of mine who, I am certain, would be pleased to provide you with a copy of this zine. However, neither her name nor her contact information are in this zine, so get in touch with me if you want a copy.
02 May 2011
Another great feature of this zine is Nicole's comics. My favourite comic strips were called 'Invincible Bummer' and showed some heart-breaking moments in her day-to-day life with drawings that are as cute as buttons. The rest of the zine is full of her unique drawings.
To order copies of Invincible Summer, see Nicole's website.
30 April 2011
29 April 2011
When I discovered that this zine was about Crohn's, I felt very happy that not only did I now have a zine by someone who has a similar chronic illness that I have (I have Ulcerative Colitis, another form of inflamed bowel disease) but I had a friend as thoughtful and considerate as Chris in my life who would give me a copy of this zine.
I saw a lot of myself in Dave's zine---the sacrifices you have to make to accommodate your pain; the limits that a chronic illness place on social relationships; the fear of eating that comes with a bowel disease; and the amount of planning and thinking that goes into preparing to travel with a bowel disease. Like the best kind of zine, About My Disappearance #2 made me feel less alone in the world.
In addition to being a great story about a few very difficult years in Dave's life, this zine is refreshing because it is well-written: no spelling mistakes, good grammar and good word choice. So far, too many of the zines I've been reading have been a horrible offence to the English language (which I love like a cherished Grandmum) and Dave's care of the written word and language is welcome in the North American zine world.
To order a copy of About My Disappearance #2 or any other of Dave's zines, go to Microcosm Publishing.
28 April 2011
I really like the format of this issue. Each article is opened with a question from a reader, which gives Cindy the opportunity to write in her conversational tone that is her specialty. The topics she covers are also very interesting. She has a good story about her discovery of anarchism that includes a great recommended reading list, which I know because I have read most of the titles on her list.
Issue 25 ends with an article about Cindy's relationship to drinking alcohol that is noteworthy because it shows her very gentle yet stubborn approach to making peace with it. She eventually joins a mutual support group for alcoholics and I hope she has continued to attend those meetings because they are founded upon some great anarchist principles that I am certain she would love.
For a copy of this zine, visit Cindy's website.
27 April 2011
26 April 2011
25 April 2011
20 April 2011
'Entropic' is defined in the zine as chaos, disorder and spontaneous change. Laura embraces this concept to describe herself and uses it to make a zine full of random images, quotes and short articles. Everything about this zine screams enthusiasm and energy, and I love reading it over again and again.
19 April 2011
When I opened Greenzine 14 to read it, I was surprised to find it very text heavy with only a few images. It's like when you're a kid and your babysitter brings over a storybook and it's full of words with only a couple of pictures. In other words, disappointing. What is worse is that this zine is long and majorly depressing. It's full of sexual victimization, racial discrimination, difficult protests, harsh familial relationships, poor mental health and lots of booze and drugs. As I read each story and flipped over each page, I kept waiting for the zinester to rise up from all of her pain and crying---but it never happened.
On a positive note, however, this zine does show how a strong and supportive community can help an individual become more self-aware.
17 April 2011
Sarah's style as a zinester is very clean, thoughtful and well designed. The images she re-uses are great and her collage commentaries cleverly comment on her text.
16 April 2011
Reading this essay, I was most surprised by Goldman's frank discussion of sex. She defends a woman's right to her desire, to wanting to have pleasure in her sexual life. She argues that the institution of marriage, based on economy and property, destroys a woman's healthy relationship to sex. She becomes a breeding machine trapped in a house and expected to do slave labour with no insurance for her life's needs should her husband die or leave. Grim.
One of my favourite arguments that Goldman makes is that marriage makes a woman 'parasitic.' It turns her from an autonomous person into a dependent who feeds off of a man. She argues that the institution of marriage inevitably creates this dynamic wherein a wife becomes someone her husband can easily detest. She becomes a parasite.
Granted, Goldman's views are unique to her time when women's freedom was drastically limited by marriage. Today, a woman can marry and continue to work in a capitalist society, own her individual assets and divorce her husband if she should need to leave him. However, Goldman's essay does remain relevant in her cynicism of marriage's ability to create love between two people and her realistic view that marriage is not going to serve anyone as much as it serves the state and the church.
To obtain copies of Goldman's essays, visit www.kersplebedeb.com.
15 April 2011
This issue also includes discussions of gender in the lesbian subculture. I found it really interesting how self-conscious Jess had to be in order to develop her own identity within the lesbian community. It seems like she had to deal with two ever-oppressing forces: the patriarchal-male expectations of her sex and gender and the lesbian-female ones. No wonder it's so hard to be a girl, let alone a lesbian! As a gay guy, none of these issues press upon me. I don't have to worry about choosing to wear make-up or to shave or whether my wearing a dress versus pants is making a political or sexual statement. I just get up, throw on my cords, brush my teeth and go to work. I always enjoy Jess's zines because they are so helpful in informing me about the issues around being a womon in today's society. And, even better, she is full of moxy and has the best fight-for-your-rights attitude.
Another great feature of issue three of Slightly More Than Sound Bytes is the recommended reading list on queer herstory and gender that is in the back. It is a great reference.
14 April 2011
My favourite aspect of this issue of Beautiful Mess is its refusal to follow a timeline. It is made up of mostly journal entries from between 2003 to 2005. Together, they describe a young woman who struggles with her place in both her own world and the world at large. But, in the span of two pages of journal entries, they can jump with months of space between each one, thus showing AF as a person, showing how she has dealt with her life over the timeline of her actual life.
Also, the journal entries are not presented in a direct timeline from 2003 to 2005. You could read an entry from 2005 and the next could be from 2003, defying the concept that the zinester's emotions or self-awareness must follow any kind of predictable unfolding. In fact, at one point she writes, "I hate time. I don't want to be linear." Her style throughout the zine backs up this claim and makes me like and respect AF even more as a thoughtful, creative and intelligent artist. Beautiful Mess Zero restores my faith in the art of the zine.
13 April 2011
On the last page of Meet Me in the Middle, it notes that "The preceding poems were generated by the authors using their Mindlist(tm) application." Generally, I love zines because they are print media and are accessible to all people. However, with this zine, I think you might need a computer to fully understand its implications as a commentary on technology, media and art. I checked out the Mindlist(tm) application and it basically generates short poems from a list of phrases that you add to a list. So, Meet Me in the Middle is an example of where print media can meet technology. It is a randomly generated collection of poems from the ordered mind of its authors. I believe that the authors play with this idea by choosing to place an ouroboros on the zine cover and at the zine's centre, suggesting that the poetry is regenerative and can keep getting shuffled to create ever new ideas and images.
Meet Me in the Middle came from Montréal. It does not include any contact information for you to order a copy, but, if it interests you, email me and I will get you in touch with the author.
12 April 2011
Looking back on Linda-Gay nearly ten years after writing it, the femzine is a great time capsule of my friendship with Gidget. Our first issue is a real mix of articles and art that includes a review of an autobiography by Roseanne Barr, a tribute to Steve Martin as the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors and a mystical story about being a part of the cosmic order of nature. My favourite article, though, is one by Gidget about her first time reading a Cosmo magazine when she was at the hairdresser's as a kid. She writes about how she didn't know if it was meant as porn for men or as a magazine for women and how embarassed she was about possibly getting caught looking at it.
In true Gidget-Zio fashion, our first zine ends with a tribute to Madonna and dancing in our spoof of Oprah magazine's 'What I Know For Sure' column. I love us.
|What I Know For Sure:||Madonna was Right - You Can Dance|
11 April 2011
The best feature of this issue of Larceny is Shaun's article about sexual consent in gay sex. Consent is a more common topic for female feminist writers, so it is refreshing to read the topic covered by a gay male. Sex between two men has a distinct dynamic that is different than between two women or between a man and a woman. Shaun covers this topic very well and even includes three important rules for every gay man to bring to the table to protect his body and rights during sexual acts with another man.
Another great article in this issue is about the violence that society freely allows toward gay visibility in public. Shaun finally responds to this oppression with good old punk anger: "but until the day that no queer has to fear simply because of who they are, the message is loud and clear: IF IT ISN'T HETEROSEXUAL, THEN IT ISN'T "REAL"**IT IS INVALID**IT IS SHIT, AND WE DON'T WANT TO SEE OR THINK ABOUT IT. ....SO LET'S GIVE A BIG STRAIGHT PAT ON THE BACK TO THE "SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE". FUCK THAT."
Oh, Shaun, you're awesome.
10 April 2011
Issue 13 of Invincible Summer is more of a heartbreak than others I have read. In addition to a difficult break-up and a bad roommate, it describes a terrible tooth surgery that Nicole had to endure. In one drawing, she is standing in the kitchen trying to eat a cracker with her toothache and her poor face screams with pain.
This zine covers about a year and a half of her life, so it's not all bad. In fact, it does a very good job of showing how bad things have the reliable tendency of slowly but surely transforming into good things.
To learn more about Nicole's gorgeous art or to order your own zines and crafts from her, please visit her website.
09 April 2011
This zine is wonderful because it includes images of each painting it refers to and it includes very good background on the histories behind each painting, painter and social climate. Although I personally disagree with some of Antliff's interpretations of the paintings and his very critical view of the National Gallery's curators, overall, I am glad that Ottawa's Exile Press invested in this great alternative and useful guide to publicly owned art at the National Gallery.
For a copy of Unleashing the Imagination, contact Exile Infoshop.
08 April 2011
What makes issue 23 of Larceny especially unique is that it includes Shaun's coming-out story. At this point of my life, I am sick of coming-out stories. When I first came out, yes, they were necessary food for my survival and development of a positive self-image. Yet, after over twelve years of reading them, they get terribly repetitive: guy discovers feelings of same-sex attraction, hates himself for it, hides from society and then has a revelation to tell everyone he's gay so he can shamelessly be intimate with other guys. Rinse and repeat.
Shaun's version, in contrast, is full of twists and turns, girlfriends, muscle magazines and a summer of sexual discovery with a guy friend. I especially appreciate how he discusses his self-discovery, like he's talking about this geeky part of himself that he has to accept. By the end of the zine, he remains somewhat uncertain about his sexuality, and I find that refreshing. He doesn't need to be waving a flag or wearing rainbow-coloured friendship bracelets to complete his identity (both of which I've been known to do, so no judgement, y'all). He's just a young guy making sense of his own life.
Graphically, Larceny 23 is punk fanzine magnificence. It is typed out with an old-school typewriter and has rub-on numbers denoting chapters. The text is pasted over interesting backgrounds that comment on the stories, and the zine is full of re-appropriated images with commentaries and song lyrics pasted on them. Shaun gave me permission to reproduce this zine, so, if you want a copy, feel free to email me.
07 April 2011
06 April 2011
Rag Doll contains eleven love poems that only Jim Larwill could write. Seriously, Canada goes on every day unaware that she possesses such genius in her fold. I will close with one verse: "Bury me deep in your heart/ to make a place for tired bones,/ my thoughts whispering words/ murmuring blessings for each beat of your life."