Saturday, 3 September 2011

Zine Reviews from Photocopy Press #3

Call&Response #4: Windows
Edited by Gianni Simone,,
3-3-23 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama-shi, 226-0027 Kanagawa-ken, Japan
This issue of Call&Response is all about what the contributors can see out their windows. I thought this sounded like it was going to be a very interesting zine and couldn’t wait to read it. Almost everyday at work I would read one or two stories and was delighted with every single one. They were all so different and original - as different as each view the writer could see. Contributors come from all over the globe: the US, Canada, Japan, Spain, Denmark, Turkey, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Portugal and Singapore. They don’t just write about exactly what they see: a tree, a sidewalk, maybe a squirrel or two. No, they all start in the same place, looking out their windows, and end up painting lovely stories about their lives and their cultures. There’s the queer American teenager living with his homophobic father, there’s the girl from Singapore who wakes up to school children playing band music and recalls her own happy school days. There’s Kris Mininger from Spain who lives in a rather interesting apartment near a cathedral. He shares stories about his wife’s family, including how her grandmother used to sew their pet rooster up after getting in fights while he roamed the streets all day. There are black and white photos for each story and the centre pages include colour photographs from K. Frank Jensen’s home in Denmark. I highly recommend this zine.
I’d like to take a moment and share what I see out my window. I recently moved to a new house and I have some interesting window views. From my bedroom and kitchen window I can see another country. I live in Canada, but I can see the tall buildings across the river that make up downtown Detroit. From my shower window, I can see a street light. I have never had a window in my shower before. It is very odd to be washing my hair while watching a streetlight go from green, to yellow, to red. The rest of the windows aren’t that exciting…just the neighbour’s roof, the driveway, the street and the little backyard which has a barbed wire fence because it backs onto land owned by Ford Motor Company. I have spotted some interesting wildlife in the backyard: common sparrows, morning doves and robins, but also a blue jay and a family of squirrels, one of which is distinctly half black and half brown.

Don’t Tread on Me! #9
Co-Edited by Ratso and Johnny Misanthropy,,
I liked this zine, because it was a zine. It was cut and pasted. It has an alligator on the cover that probably took less than a minute to draw. There were reviews of found garbage and an interview about the alligator cover. It was just a zine being a zine and it doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks about it, yet it was sent to me, addressed to Photocopy Press, with no accompanying note. I can only assume they want me to review it. I read it the same night I got it and am now writing this review as soon as I finished. Maybe they will put a quote from this review on their next cover. Their current cover quote is: “[DTM!] is awkward and ugly in general. – MRR”.  Ugly and awkward isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe that’s what they’re trying to say… It’s one of those zines that appears to be put together by a group of friends, which I think would just be the greatest thing ever - to have actual in-person zine friends to put together fun zines with. For some reason I find myself wondering, is this truly a zine put together by a group of friends having fun, or is it one lonely zinester just pretending it’s that sort of zine because they like reading zines like that? Then I realize…no, that’s just something I occasionally think about doing, surely no one actually does that. I hope. My kitten enjoyed chewing on one of the corners.

Erik and Laura-Marie Magazine #48
By Laura-Marie,,
I liked this issue of ELM right from the beginning: the cover is a collage of stamps from around the world. Perhaps Laura-Marie collected these stamps through zine trades and letters, which makes it all the nicer. There are a bunch of zine and book reviews, and as always I find myself highlighting a few to check out. There was also a piece called Cat Love which was touching, since I recently lost my cat friend of eighteen years. She also writes about Girl Love, which was another wonderful piece. There is a bit about Laura-Marie and Erik’s trip to the San Francisco Zine Fest 2010 and some poetry, including some poems about wizards by Erik.

Erik and Laura-Marie Magazine #49
By Laura-Marie,,
The cover of this issue is full of fish and bugs, which looks pretty neat. There are some poems (I especially liked Ode to Tomorrow) and two thought provoking articles: Delayed Gratification Requires Security and Take Back the Word (that word being slut). There are just a few book and zine reviews and then Laura-Marie interviews the Erik of Erik and Laura-Marie Magazine, which was pretty cute.

Johnny America #4
Published by The Moon Rabbit Drinking Club & Benevolence Society,
PO Box 44-2001 / Lawrence, KS / 66044
This is a 40 page litzine I found on Etsy. Usually it is hard for me to find short stories I like…I try reading the fiction magazines in Chapters but I think most of them are boring and pointless. But Johnny America was different – it was actually entertaining, witty and thoroughly enjoyable. Several different writers contributed stories and I enjoyed almost every single one. I am definitely going to seek out more issues of Johnny America.

Narcolepsy Press Review #6
By Randy Robbins, PO Box 17131 / Anaheim, CA / 92817-7131 / USA
Another excellent issue by Randy. This one starts off with “What I Did for my Summer”, which includes a Donnas concert. Then there are two detailed lists: one of books recently read and the other of Randy’s top 25 played songs. This is followed by an extensive letters section and then the zine reviews begin! There are also some comics and interesting clippings and zine ads. You’ll find plenty of cool things to check out after reading this zine.

The Perfect Day
Edited by Janell Hoon,,,
cover by Sarah Amnah
The Perfect Day is a ¼ sized zine packed full of people’s ideal 24 hours. Janell did an excellent job of collecting so many varied, creative and well written perfect days. Some are straight forward and include indulgent baths, full mailboxes, good food and good friends. Others, such as #21 by April Inez Kaplowitz from Portland, Oregon writes about her perfect day embodying Portland sunshine, apparently something that isn’t around very often. Sharifah N. offers several choices, varying from good to very best, while Sharlene Lim can’t seem to make her mind up just what her perfect day would include. I loved reading this zine and I hope Janell will consider making a second issue. I submitted a perfect day for this zine, but as time goes by I think my idea of a perfect day changes. Check out the excerpt from this zine on page 10.

Poetry MFA, a zine about grad school
By Green Lacewing,
This is a small ¼-sized, 12 page zine all about Green Lacewing’s experiences during grad school. I really have no idea what grad school is like, especially for a poetry MFA, and I enjoyed finding out about this topic. The writing is nice, flows easily and has a personal touch.

The Remnants, Chapter One
By Harley R. Pageot,,
785 Wolfberry Crt. / Oshawa, ON /
L1K 2J2 / Canada
Herein lies a superhero origin story. The story takes place in Toronto on New Year’s with a group of twenty-somethings. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, since this is just chapter one, but I’m interested to read more.

Shards of Glass in Your Eye #3
By Kari Tervo,
This is a funny little zine hailing from Beverly Hills. It was sent in a neat manila envelope with a professional looking cover letter right before Christmas, and I have to admit that I just skimmed the cover letter and then put it in my bag of zines to read and…forgot about it for awhile. I finally read it in April and I’m very happy I did. I think this zine falls into the comic-perzine category, if such a category exists. I seem to share a very similar sense of humour with the creator of this zine, Kari. I honestly laughed out loud at a few parts. There was also an intriguing essay called “In Defense of Thin Women” which I have chosen to reprint in this issue of Photocopy Press. But the whole cover letter and clean envelope thing got me thinking…if this zine had arrived in an envelope covered in dragon stickers and there was a hot pink post-it note stuck on the cover of the zine saying, “Hey, read my zine!” I may have actually read it right away. Is it weird that in zine culture it seems more acceptable to be untidy and unprofessional? Or is it just me and that happens to be one of the reasons I enjoy zines so much?

she was ready for anything. #10
By Alana,,
A happy accident at the printers makes this issue of she was ready for anything. a full-colour zine! Woo-hoo! This is a perzine with some lovely cut n’ paste, made even lovelier by the uncommon presence of colour. In this issue Alana writes about friendships, relationships, troubles with sleep and missing her days of film photography. This issue also includes a mini-zine tucked into the last page, titled Ten years ago today…or a day just like today. The zine is about how Alana first got into zines ten years ago and her journey since. I love hearing about how people first discovered and first started making zines, so I really enjoyed this mini.

Silly Little Song #8: Catch Us If You Can
By Ariko Kitsu,,
Ariko’s zines are beyond adorable. This issue is all about travelling. There are pages about making your own guide book, travel fashion, song lists for different forms of travel, shopping and eating, relaxing, your hotel room, making a travel scrap book, things to do while in Japan, what Ariko packs in her suitcase and a convenient packing checklist. Every single page is neatly handwritten and covered in cute illustrations.

Edited by Sabrina Simon,
33 Bosworth Lane / Willingboro, NJ / 08046 USA
This is the perfect zine for the DIY-er. This zine is full of fun little projects you can do around the house. There are instructions on how to make your own butter or cheese, how to make compost tea and a recipe for play dough, which I remember my mom used to make for us when we were kids. There is a page about how to sprout seeds by Dan Murphy and how to make a knit dishcloth by Katie Haegele. There’s also stuff about food preservation (freezing and canning), making your own applesauce, creating one of those baking soda and vinegar volcano things for the kids and some ideas for stress relief. If you’re bored and looking for some fun projects to do, then check out this cute zine.

Sugar Needle #35
Corina Fastwolf and Phlox, PO Box 66835, Portland, OR, 97290 USA
I was excited to read this zine about candy. I love candy, I especially love trying candy from other countries. I love British candy and my brother who lives in Japan gives me weird Kit Kats. The zine had a few candy reviews, an entertaining interview with a band called Guantanamobaywatch and a page in which Phlox imagined what the candy version of turducken would be. The zine was fun, I just wish it would have been longer.

Summer Tears #1
Written by Harley R. Pageot,,
785 Wolfberry Crt. / Oshawa, ON / L1K 2J2 / Canada
Illustrated by Andrea Manica,
I really liked Andrea’s illustration style. I’m not sure what other zines she has made, but seeing this zine makes me want to find out! To add to her beautiful illustrations this zine has light brown pages and is printed in black and white (brown) with touches of red. The story itself, penned by Harley who makes the zine Yard Sale!, is a sweet little tale about a group of friends in the summer, one of which seems to be going through some heartbreak.

Teaching Nutrition
By Sabrina Simon,,
33 Bosworth Ln. / Willingboro, NJ / 08046 USA
This is a little zine Sabrina made for a Teaching as a Profession class project. It explores the eating habits of school children and ways to help make healthy eating part of children and teens’ lives. When I was in grade ten I took a health and nutrition class. It was my favourite and most useful class of my entire high school career. I agree with this zine, that if kids are taught about healthy eating and are given the opportunity to follow healthy lifestyles, they will take part and become healthy adults.

this kitty. #1
By Jen Y.,,
The title is in homage to the band that dog. Cute. This is a nice, little ¼-sized zine by Jen Y. There’s a story about meeting an on-line friend in-person and I’m not sure if it is fiction or non-fiction…There are some other bits of writing, poetry and drawings too. It looks like it’s been typed on a real typewriter, not just typewriter font on the computer. That plus the simple illustrations give the zine a very nice perzine aesthetic that I enjoyed.

 Yard Sale #7
By Harley R. Pageot,,
785 Wolfberry Crt. / Oshawa, ON /
L1K 2J2 / Canada
Another wonderful issue of Yard Sale!. In this issue Harley writes about high school, his previous jobs at Wal-Mart and Zellers and his current university studies. The second half is made up of writing he has contributed to other zines. There is an inspiring piece called Everything is Broken about how he formed the arts collective Broken Arts and a touching piece about the passing of two of his pet cats that he had known his whole life. I also enjoyed the two lists,
one titled 5 Signs We’re All Doomed and the second one titled …And 5 We’re Not.  This sounds like it would’ve been an interesting compzine but apparently it hasn’t been published.

Young Adventurer’s Guide to Inanimate Creatures
Let’s Learn About: The Parking Lot Sock, The Cassette, The Tea Cup
By Alana,,
This is the second set of Young Adventurer’s Guide to Inanimate Creatures and they are just as creative and fun as the last three. These zines are like mini National Geographic magazines about everyday objects that you may not have given much thought to before. Alana explains that she has “a strange affinity for inanimate objects and their interaction with society”. After reading these informative guides you will never pass by a parking lot sock, share a mix tape or drink a cup of tea the same as before.

1 comment:

  1. I like the look of your new blog! Thanks for sending me the link. I look forward to seeing some new reviews here.