Zines, Comics & Crypto: Zine Release Party & Double Workshop / Feb. 1st

Zines, Comics & Crypto: Zine Release Party & Double Workshop
Sunday, Feb. 1st, 1-4pm @ Foulab, 999 du Collège, Suite 33B (2nd floor), metro Place St-Henri. Facebook event here.

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After traveling from Berlin and spending a month in Montréal with the Fight Boredom Zine Residency, zinester and activist Comet Crowbar is ready to release issue #15 of her zine, Infecticitis. This 3-hour hangout session is in two parts:

1-2pm Drawing & Comics workshop (Lynda Barry style)
During this hour we’ll play some drawing games, make comics, loosen up and get silly, and try to erase the idea of “but I can’t draw!” from our minds. Everyone can draw, and that’s what we’re gonna do. Bring your favorite pens and crayons (some paper and pens will be provided).

2:30-3:30 Introduction to PGP Email Encryption
First we will discuss why surveillance is harmful and affects everyone, and try to dismantle the apathetic idea of “but I have nothing to hide” as an excuse. Then we’ll explain the difference between symmetrical vs. asymmetrical cryptography, what a “keypair” is, how to verify your key, and what programs are needed to get it running on your computer. This workshop is coming from the understanding that it can be quite intimidating to learn all this “computer stuff” if you’re not that tech-savvy. We will smash that idea by making this a safer-space to ask questions, share knowledge, and use accessible language that everyone can understand. I am not an expert but I am happy to share what I know. Crypto is your friend! (FemHack will also be getting into this in a workshop a week later).

You will also find: Snacks, tea, nooks for reading/chatting and lots of zines! Come pick up a hot-off-the-press copy of Infecticitis #15 and Comet’s recent book, Tumble the Boulder – The Surveillance State and the American Empire. There will be a table of zines by queers, feminists, and anarchists from Fight Boredom Distro and a selection of zines on digital security from Comet’s Raumschiff Distro.

About the facilitator: Comet Crowbar is a white cis queer lady and is a co-founder and organizer of the Zine Fest Berlin. She’s passionate about self-publishing, cryptography, plants and weaving. Come say hi.

This event is a safer-space and kid-friendly. A “safer space” means that we don’t tolerate any form of oppression or harassment, such as sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia and other such BS! Please be respectful to each other and ask consent before you touch someone.

Unfortunately the space is not wheelchair accessible.

Zine Residency News – Au Revoir Clara, Bonjour Comet!

In just a few days, another zine residency is set to begin. This month, we’ll be welcoming Comet into our home. She’ll be using her three weeks here to reflect on her two homes of Berlin, Germany and Boston, MA while taking a break from both of them. Tasks on the to-do list include compiling the fifteenth issue of Infecticitis, working on a resource guide for putting organizing ideas into action, interviewing people who are working on their own radical projects, and hosting a cryptoparty.

Comet recently published a book called Tumble the Boulder – The Surveillance State and the American Empire, and writes a perzine series called Infecticitis, which covers topics such as mental health and winter survival, hiking through the US, living autonomously, and DIY philosophy. She runs Raumschiff Distro and is a co-founder of the Berlin Zinefest. I’m really looking forward to meeting her and working alongside her for the month of January!

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In other zine residency news, Clara made her way back to Toronto on December 30th, after two glorious weeks at Full Homo. We’d known each other through zines for years, but this was the most time we’d ever spent together, and it came right down to us saying the same words at the same time, picking up the same books at Drawn & Quarterly, trying on the same clothes at thrift stores, choosing the same cereal at the grocery store, showing off the same dance moves onstage at karaoke. She did a couple of really meaningful tarot readings for me, constantly reaffirmed me when I showed low self-confidence, and she even began learning French. I couldn’t be happier, but I miss her already. Thank you to everyone who came out to the launch party on Sunday, to everyone who encourages me toward living my dream life, and to Clara for everything.

Clara’s new zine We Don’t Go Nowhere is now available via Fight Boredom Distro, and I’ll soonly have back issues of Radio Antarctica and other titles in stock.

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If you’d like to apply to the zine residency, or suggest it to a friend, there’s more info here. Here’s to 2015 continuing on a wave of creativity and follow-through.

Say Hello To Clara, The First Zine Resident at Full Homo!

The Fight Boredom Zine Residency is back in action, and Clara Bee Lavery is on her way! She’ll be Megabus-ing it here from Toronto and spending two weeks at Full Homo to write, draw, and well, give us something to look forward to this winter. Clara is currently working on a graphic novel about a difficult winter, a short but turbulent relationship, and issues of disordered eating and body image. She describes this as raw and unapologetic, equal parts harsh and tender. If you’ve read any of her recent zines, including Radio Antarctica and I Ain’t Sayin’ You Treated Me Unkind, you know what she means. And if not, you’re in for a treat.

While completing the pencil and inking for a 2015 publication date, she’ll also be making a zine about her favourite things about the winter. Check in with this website later for details about a launch party – and hot apple cider!

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When asked why she wants to participate in the residency, Clara says, “Because of the nature of functioning under capitalism, it can be hard to find large, unbroken chunks of time to do the work that is most meaningful to us. The Fight Boredom Zine Residency provides a perfect opportunity to do this and is convenient for me in terms of location and cost. But on a deeper level, Fight Boredom Distro is a gorgeously, thoughtfully curated catalogue that has made room for the voices I’ve been trying to hear over the cacophony of boring dude writers my whole life. Fight Boredom is the tough femme who locks arms with you at the punk show and teaches you how to elbow your way to the front of the pit. It prioritizes the narratives we so desperately need, and being part of that is thrilling to me.” Can you see the hearts in my eyes??

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Clara is a punk-rock nanny who takes care of children and plants by day, and spends the rest of her time drawing, reading, exploring cities, listening to records, and drinking coffee. Some of her favourite zines include Telegram by Maranda Elizabeth, Hex Key by Jami Sailor, Tributaries by JC, Motor City Kitty by Brianna Dearest, Dig Deep by Heather C., Deafula by Kerri, Doris by Cindy Crabb, and Vanity Zine (many of which are available via Fight Boredom Distro, FYI). Some other writers she loves are Chris Kraus, Bhanu Kapil Rider, bell hooks, Michael Ondaatje, Michael Chabon, Soraya Peerbaye, Lynda Barry, Julie Doucet, Gabrielle Bell, Junot Diaz, Jorge Luis Borges, Anne Michaels and so many more.

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Back porch selfies forever!

Back porch selfies forever!

You can check out more of her work here. If you’d like to apply for the Fight Boredom Zine Residency, or recommend it to a friend, there is more info here. See you soon, Clara!

New Zines & Stories of Formative Queer Teen Experiences

Flier by Melissa

Flier by Melissa

It’s autumn, but somehow it’s so sunny and warm today. I just had my morning coffee out on the balcony with zine pal Lily, who came to town so that we could go see Placebo (!!!) together. She recently made a really excellent zine called Queer Sailor Moon Fanfiction Saved My Life, which you can get at this very distro or at her zine racks at Pressed and Gabba Hey in Ottawa, and probably other distros, too. After I read her zine, I wrote a quick letter to her to tell her about my own pre-teen/teenage fandom experiences, and how influential Placebo was to me. It happens that they’d recently announced a Montréal show during my birthday week, and we decided we had to go together. The show was last night. We went with Cinder, another pal – they made the zine MIXD: A Mixed-Race Compilation Zine, which I’ll soonly be stocking in the distro. We had a chance to talk about some queer teen experiences together, and of course to sing along with Placebo. Sometimes I’m amazed at the rad friends that I have – a group of ‘em had actually gotten together the funds to buy my ticket as a birthday present, because they know that I’m a broke baby and that I wanted to make this a really good week. I’d seen them twice before (seven years ago and eleven years ago, my gosh!) and I’m not going to write a show review here, but I will say that it was a really lovely night and I’m glad to have shared it with friends.

Placebo on the marquee, photo from my Instagram: @amber_dearest

Placebo on the marquee, photo from my Instagram: @amber_dearest

I’ve actually been getting some writing done lately, and working on website updates. It’s so easy to fall behind. Earlier this week, I downloaded StayFocusd and FocusWriter and they’ve both been helping me to stay away from social media and other distractions. I can only use Facebook and Twitter for thirty minutes a day, and FocusWriter helps me set and keep track of my writing goals. So I added some new zines to the catalogue, including Queer Sailor Moon Fanfiction Saved My Life; The Collected Scathings of Ioana Poprowka; If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan Edition; and Sex Industry Apologist #1-#2, and I finally wrote descriptions for Pinch Kid #4; Rot #5; Deafula #7; Pansy #9; Bike Rides From SW Montréal; and Spirits: Relationships With Alcohol & Drugs #2.

Tabling in Toronto, Montréal, and Halifax this fall is another thing that’s really making me get organized. The Toronto Queer Zine Fair was last week and I had such a blast. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the room was that we actually had SPACE. Organizing large events (or any kind of event) can be really stressful and difficult, and there are all kinds of accessibility needs to keep in mind (which frankly, are completely overlooked by a lot of organizers). Some really simple things that organizers often forget about are to leave space between tables so that tablers can easily get in and out (how many times have I had to crawl under a table just to leave for a bathroom break?? And what about people who don’t have the ability to do so??), to leave space for people to maneuver around corners and high-traffic areas, to recognize that some people will have mobility aids and can’t just squeeze through a crowd of people, etc etc. Granted, this was my perspective as an able-bodied person. But I took note. I had the company of my sibling, who was tabling their zine and anthology Telegram to my right, and and made friends with the zinesters to my left. My bestie Kit dropped by for a bit, and I met all sorts of rad queers. I feel like zinefests are always a whirlwind of small talk and cute people and too much coffee, and this was no exception. I don’t know how to write about them anymore, but I wanna tell everyone what a great time I had. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by my table! I managed to sell nearly everything I brought with me, and I’m looking forward to reading my haul – Fucked: On Being Sexually Dysfunctional In Sex-Positive Queer Scenes; Working Class Queers; Home: A Conversation Zine; On Sisterhood, our sisters specifically; and Telegram #36. I’d say the highlight of my day was talking root beer with table-neighbour Bee (soda-talk is the way to my heart!) and realizing we both used to post on the Placebo messageboard as teenagers. This interaction felt magical.

Our sunny kitchen, where I spend a lot of time.

Our sunny kitchen, where I spend a lot of time writing letters and working on the distro.

What else have I been up to lately? Redecorating the house, participating in 31 Postcards In 31 Days, beginning my winter survival strategy, reading a lotta books, dealing with the stressy-depressies, and just trying to make it through. So that’s it, a rare update from me. Oh hey, I’ll be in Halifax soon! I feel like such a lucky kid to have the chance to visit twice in one year. I’ll be tabling at the Halifax Pop Explosion Zine Fair (Facebook event here), and hangin’ around town for the week. Please get in touch if you’d like to grab a coffee, or show me your favourite parts of the city! Whenever I visit Halifax, I just like to wander for hours and hours.

And in just over a month, Expozine! ‘Til then…

It’s Official – We’re Re-Launching The Fight Boredom Zine Residency!

And it’s gonna be better than ever. We have a really sweet and sunny guest bedroom here at Full Homo and we can’t wait to share it with you. We also have more flexible funding, which means we can do residencies more frequently.

Residencies are important. Sometimes people need to be given the space to feel creative, sometimes they need a change of scenery, to be jostled out of their daily life full of obligations and distractions, sometimes they’ve got an idea in mind that can’t be realized financially, and sometimes it’s just a fun little adventure to go on. Selfishly, I also wanna bring new people here because I travel pretty often for zinefests in other cities, and I want the opportunity to stay put and show people this city, while also facilitating the creation of new zines (or comics, or a podcast, or whatever one might be working on).

Below is a description of the residency and instructions on how to apply.

About The Residency: The Fight Boredom Zine Residency was inspired by and modelled after the zine residency that took place at the Roberts Street Social Centre / Anchor Archive in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I participated in their residency in 2012 and was given the resources to make two new zines, throw a donut social as a zine launch party, and explore the city. After years of traveling to various cities for zinefests and the like, I now want to invite far-away zinesters to explore and create in my home base of Montréal, Québec. Aside from residencies, we also share the space with visiting pals and touring bands.

Past residents include Brianna Dearest and Khristina Acosta.

How It Works: Anyone can apply, even if you’ve applied in past years, and we may also make special requests to zinesters that we really wanna have here. Send us your application for review. Suggested at least 30-60 days notice on your preferred dates so that we can make sure the room is vacant and that we’ll be here. We’ll probably get back to you with some follow-up questions. If you’re accepted, we’ll work out the dates of your residency and talk about funding. For two weeks to a month, you will find yourself living at Full Homo, a third-story walk-up in Montréal, Québec. You will be provided with your very own furnished bedroom, fun times, and a whole lotta zine supplies. You’re encouraged to bring anything you feel you may need. Although we’re able to provide you with a stipend for travel and supplies, you will be responsible for things like meals and public transportation – but don’t worry, we like to share food and other resources, and we might even be able to find you an extra bike.

About Full Homo: This is a third-story walk-up in St-Henri, the southwest part of the city. It’s a big old apartment with hardwood floors and original mouldings, large windows that provide us with non-stop sunshine and breeze in the summer, a balcony, and laundry facilities. Classic Montréal architecture with a winding staircase leading to the entrance. This house has seen a rotating cast of queer artists, musicians, and writers over the years – it’s a house with history. It’s also an old building in a historically low-income neighbourhood. The doorknobs are a bit wobbly, the countertop is stained, our balcony door is missing a screen… The place is clean, but it’s also well-worn and well-loved and lived-in. This is our home, open to all, but especially to queers, freaks, misfits, weirdos, artists, punks, and broke travelers.

We’ve furnished our place with strange art and thrift store goods: floral sheets, mismatched dishes, cute fridge magnets, etc. The kitchen is a space where our friends often gather at the vintage Formica table to drink coffee and listen to cassette tapes and talk about our lives. We have a friendly cat named Sebastian. He’s shy and he’ll hide in a corner when you arrive, but it doesn’t take him long to warm up to new people and animals. He loves to be pet and brushed, and to have bellyrubs. He meows a lot when he wants attention, and otherwise likes to go on secret adventures around the neighbourhood, to watch birds from the windows, and to nap in hidden corners and on top of the kitchen cupboards. Oh, and we compost! Our compost is in a small bin below the kitchen sink and we ask that you put all food garbage in there – produce or not, cooked or not. We empty it regularly at a nearby community garden. My housemate Timmy and I are both white, anglophone, and queer. We’re currently searching for a dreamy third housemate to make this place a home.

Application is here.

This is Sebastian, he'll keep you company while you write.

This is Sebastian, he’ll keep you company while you write.

P.S. You might’ve noticed the location change. I moved to another apartment in St-Henri a few months back, after having a falling out with my previous housemate (it’s a long story, suffice it to say that I’ve had nicer breakups). Now I’m living with one of my besties, and I’ve somehow lucked into my dream bedroom. We’re currently looking for a third housemate to complete our home, and you can read about that here.

Queer Between The Covers – Today!

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Come see me at Queer Between The Covers from 11am-6pm today! Montréal’s annual queer bookfair at the Comité Social Centre-Sud (1710 rue Beaudry). Free entry, wheelchair-accessible venue. Please note that the entrance to the book fair will be through the parking lot on the south side of the building. Facebook event here.

I’ve been working on adding a couple of zine descriptions to the website everyday, and there are a bunch of new zines in stock, including Vanity Zine; Rum Lad #6/Gadgie #31; Tongueswell #2; Pinch Kid #4-#5; Finale 95 #4 & #4.5; Deafula #6-#7; Abstract Door #1-#3; Bike Rides From SW Montréal; Your Body Is…: Reflections on Supporting People with Internalized Fatphobia, plus a few that are focusing on addiction and recovery, and other conversations around alcohol – Quiet Riot: AKA The Shy Sober Kid Zine and two issues of Spirits: Relationships With Alcohol & Drugs.

Stay tuned for an announcement about the re-launch of the Fight Boredom Zine Residency!