Zine Reviews

These publications are often made on a tight budget and a small run. By all means contact them to receive their goods but be cautious of a couple items. Not all publications will send a free copy to prisoners. You all are the most persistent of Slingshot readers who actually write people. Most of the responses come from you, so thanks. Don’t expect them to give you a publication for nothing. Consider offering to contribute content in exchange for their work. Ask what they would like you to give — words, art, news — and send it to them. Also if you are reading this a year or so after the Slingshot’s print date, send a letter of inquiry before you send money, to make sure they’re still there.

PO Box 1318 Cooper Stn. NYC, NY 10276 fly@peops.org
A gallery of outcasts and rebels with brief candid biographies. Or maybe you can consider it as trading cards of feral creatures with face tattoos, dreads, exotic piercings; musicians of acquired tastes, and squat puppies. This has been a staple of underground art for close to 20 years now and I am used to being bored by its familiar art and narratives. But once I set myself down to really look at these people I find that this work really animates the subjects and makes them seem thoughtful and likeable. This issue covers 35 people in the arts, on the streets and in community spaces. The stories these Peops tell create a subway map of sorts, capable of guiding both locals and tourists into the thick wilds of underground culture.
AB #13 May 2012 (2 for $2)
c/o Lisa Ahne Po Box 181 Alsea, OR 97324
Every inch of page space is maximized here which is not unusual for the obsessive compulsive nature of many zines — but in this case it represents the writers’ approach to living off the grid, frugally and in transit. This is made by the same people who do Dwelling Portably, which covers similar territory. The 16pgs of AB mostly act as a message board where various people give short bursts of advice and insights to alternative living in all sorts of places (Arizona, Eastern Washington, on a boat off the coast of Florida). The mosaic of voices is made more mysterious at times by the coded language and descriptions to strange projects. People acclimated to tweeter speak will feel at home as well as the seasoned pros in “How to Live Better for Less.” The general tone is not complacent with today’s consumer culture, and most of the people have genuine hope in seeing a world from a different angle. Before we had the internet, there were many publications that provided this kind of service — I say it’s still needed.
Bitch King #3,4,5
This is the work of people running and hanging out at the Blood Orange Info Shop in Southern Ca. There is urgency to the writing as it uses a plain and direct language. Resistance is a major topic as well as the meaning of being queer in an oppressive environment. Issue #5 is quarter size with manifesto type content throughout it. There’s poetry in #3&4 that has some revolutionary sentiments — but also some eros-oriented words. The art seems mostly taken from kid’s books, giving it a feeling that it was quickly thrown together. Though this might not sell to some people, have in mind quickly thrown together zines usually respond faster to current events.
Muchacha #3 $1
A mermaid adorns the cover with an ocean of ideas inside. Like a coral reef, there’s several pages of busy action to fill the eyes with complex collages, essays on current events, quotes, lists of cool bands, inspired lyrics destroying American Idol, historical sketches of activists, and manifestos. There are a few hands in the works, but the guiding force is one person focused on feminism and her family’s roots with Mexico. She started this zine as an endeavor to help represent a new movement called Feminism Is Not Dead (F.I.N.D.), Riot Grrrl being a major influence. This is an ideal publication to absorb during long waits at the DMV, while train-hopping, or during a life of working for real political change.
AVOW #24 $3
c/o Keith Rosson 1725 E. Linnwood Milwaukee, WI 53211 keithrosson.com
This is a sharp looking thing. It has the characteristics of where Cometbus left off in the late 90’s. The editor seems to be a DIY design nerd, given that his layouts could make people drool. He also fills the space with his unique style of writings and comics. The writing has a lot of personal introspection seeping from the pages. A record review will turn into an autobiographical flashback. This was made at a time of great change for the writer, and he sat with the content awhile before sharing it with us. The death of his father, moving, finding work, and quitting smoking fulfills the dramatic arch. Lots of pain and growth presented in a work that is both scruffy and slick.
Pipe Bomb #43
228 E. Clayton St. Athens, GA 30601 zinepipebomb@gmail.com
Brave crude comics fill the pages with various atrocities and fantasized nightmares. Images of punks, zombies, and body fluids all strung together with home cooked nursery rhymes. It’s all drawn by hand with varying levels of skill and time commitment. This zine has come a long way to remain straight forward and consistently be a labor of fun. I get the impression the editor has a hundred notebooks that she fills as the party rages around her, and later she giggles over the product.
Zine In Progress (ZIP) #2 $7(trade of comparable worth) zine.noisebridge.net/zip
PO Box 420051 SF CA 94142-0051
A space will inform what kind of work is made there. Check out the Noisebridge hacker space in SF; a fucking mind blowing endeavor to make you happy for revolution. This publication just bursts with active minds engaged with computers, potty humor and an impressive display of intelligence. Each page is intensely alive whether it is an interview with a Noisebridge regular or a page of goofing off. Of course, all the content is also available online.
Fluke #10
PO Box 24957 Tempe, AZ 85285
A music publication made on offset so it looks really fancy. They cover the punk scenes of the Bay Area and Arkansas. This issue is mostly interviews — the 2nd time in its 20 years of publishing. The majority of the interviews are conducted at exciting events so are pretty thin content wise. The value with this kind of dialog is in reading people’s quick-witted attitudes. A couple of the other interviews are from quieter environments but over all these people don’t seem to catch me. The conversations often look at punk rock and how it changed their lives, but I’m not sure if I’m into their definition of punk. Most of what they have to say isn’t too interesting, which is sad since so much effort went to making this.
Degenerate #10 $2
PO Box 3272 Berkeley, CA 94703 degeneratezine@gmail.com
A music zine that takes a chance with its approach. This issue contemplates, “Each man must kill the thing he loves,” and uses that idea to look at the deadening process of putting your ideas into records and zines. An interview with Meredith Graves of the band Shoppers consists of her analyzing the editor’s dream and doing word associations. There’s also reviews that are thoughtfully written and weird clip art. This is made by a shit worker of Maximum Rock n’ Roll and in some ways exhibits what’s missing from that established monthly.
High On Burning Photographs #8
c/o Ocean Capewell PO Box 40144 Pittsburgh, PA 15201 escape_well@yahoo.com
The introduction says this issue aims to help people in the current hard times. The whole zine gives a first person account of recovering from emotional devastation. A really honest opening up that peers into issues of broken relationships, abuse, and friendships. There’s a radical perspective guiding everything but one that doesn’t rely on canned slogans to answer to the issues. Instead the writer endeavors to understand the situation. The writing is enjoyable and doesn’t gloss over things, which tends to happen with personal zines. The introspection of a failed love even makes its way into a vignette/report of the Occupy Pittsburgh PA camp. This person also does a zine on carpal tunnel tendonitis and how to treat it.
No Fascism in the New Wave $5
c/o Goteblud 776 Valencia St. SF, CA 94110
This is put together by a radical media savvy proprietor of a store that deals with antique zines. This is a zine of clippings from rare publications put out in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The content looks at the then burgeoning punk scene and how it affected women, queers and people of color. It’s strange how studying history often reveals current events…a rising right wing, crashing economy, and a new music being made that defies categories. This makes studying history more like studying a mirror.
The Radvocate $2
3425 University Ave. Ste. 1430 San Diego, CA 92104
A free-for-all literary journal. This issue has 8 authors and 5 artists contributing to the delinquency of your mind. The randomness creates a hodge-podge of voices and approaches. The pages have an article on the scandal of a sports coach covering up child molestation. A travel story of skater kids going to Switzerland and being assholes. There’s also poetry, and other impressionistic writings that fill the pages. The writers are not particularly radical, but rebel in their own way. As one of them writes, “I believe rules should be challenged from now and then. Preferably now.” This zine seems so open it looks like you could be in the next issue.
Arming The Stripper
I love zines for moments like when the page has a bit of wisdom that blatantly strays from the established narrative of the rest of the pages. In this case there is a nicely decorated message stating, “Burning cop cars are a girl’s best friend” just hanging out in the layout. A quarter size multi-colored wonder that opens a window to the world of Por(n)tland’s Smut Industrial Complex. The scenes behind the sexy dance aren’t pretty. Unpleasant and boring moments bring out the real characters that populate the sleazy dives. The oddball customers, club owners, and the workers struggling in a shitty low wage existence are accounted for with the damages they make on an up-and-coming young lady. The zine has random images from mainstream porn and a barely functional typewriter tells the story — with typos. But what shines is the writer’s attitude and style. The writing is sharp and enthralling, yet the whole thing is over pretty fast.

c/o Witch Club Po Box 29335 Providence, RI 02909