Kurt Cobain Was A Feminist #1 / Kurt Cobain Était Féministe #1 / .50 cents / 5g
This is a mini-zine that I made during my stay as artist-in-residence at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s about my childhood discovery of feminism via grunge. Typewritten, cut-and-paste. Written in French and English. / Ceci est un minizine que j’ai écrit en étant artiste-en-résidence au centre social de Roberts Street à Halifax, Nouvelle-Écosse. Au sujet de ma découverte du féminisme via le grunge quand j’étais enfant. Fait à la machine à écrire, cut-and-paste. Écrit en anglais et en français.
Long Walk Back To Broadway / $1.00 / 10g
The thing about reading Hari’s zines is that he manages to perfectly capture the feeling of aimlessly wandering around town with an old friend, coffee in hand. The zine is the conversation, and he tells you everything he’s thinking about as you round a corner and remember the way the town looked when you were still a teenager. Nostalgia without being sappy, punk without the cliché. This one is about winter, history, secrets, and wonder.
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Mélange #3 / $3.00 / 25g
In a rare turn of events, I’m really into the layout of this zine in spite of the fact that it was obviously created with the aid of – gasp! – a computer. It’s really all-around lovely. The bulk of this zine centers around several generations of women in Sandy’s family tree, and the lessons learned from them. She manages to weave these stories alongside the history of cherry blossoms, and includes instructions on sprouting various plants, as well as brief forays into science and mental health. “In all the time I’ve known her, Mum has never let a man tell her what to do – not without a fight. So, I’m not entirely sure where I got the idea from that I had to be a docile, obedient Asian wife.”
MIXD: A Mixed-Race Compilation Zine #1 / $2.00 / 60g
The following description was written by Cinder, who compiled this zine: Showcasing writing and art by and for mixed-race folks, the idea of MIXD was born out of conversations and dialogues with other non-white people and questions and understandings of mixed-race experience, embodiment, and identity. The goal of the zine project is to open up another space for mixed-race people to write, to connect, to (un)learn, to heal, and to empower and challenge each other in conversations about what collective liberation could look like and mean – keeping in mind that this zine is meant to *prioritize and centre* mixed race POC and indigenous folks and is NOT meant as a learning or enlightenment tool*~ for white people.
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Motor City Kitty #19 / $2.00 / 30g
This is the first-ever zine to be created as part of the Fight Boredom Zine Residency. Bri spent two weeks with me in Montréal, where she wrote on the themes of family, grief, and loss. This issue begins with a piece on taking a not-so-guilty pleasure in listening to My Chemical Romance (more specifically, the concept album The Black Parade, whose songs are centered on themes of death and afterlife), which leads into more heavy musings on the death of her father. I’m not gonna lie, I got a little misty-eyed the first time I read it. Bri writes on losing her father at thirteen years old, and the realization that from here on out, she will have lived more of her life without him than with him. She writes of childhood weekends spent in Detroit, where her father’s drug addiction was hidden from her only until she’d threatened to move away from her mother in Cleveland. Typewritten family histories accompanied by photographs, and a closing piece on bein’ a lady at a certain punk venue in the city, which I also wrote about here. This is everything that I want out of a perzine, and I’m not just saying that because Bri is my bestie.
Motor City Kitty #20 / $2.00 / 25g
Bri put this issue together just before embarking upon a zine tour, which brought her from Cleveland, Ohio up to Montréal – to see me! Some of the main themes running through this issue are friendship, family, and the future, with Bri answering questions from Telegram #25 about her goals and her ideal life. She writes also about being a survivor of abuse, while also being involved in a relationship with someone who is going through an accountability process – I can only imagine how difficult this was to write, and how vulnerable she must feel sharing these thoughts with us. I know that it’s something so important to talk about, too. Like, once a person has been called out, what is the next step? And what does it means for those who are close to them? How can we end cycles of abuse?
Motor City Kitty #21 / $2.00 / 30g
Tour zine! This one is half-legal size and falls somewhere between perzine, tour diary, and comic. I know how much work went into it, because I saw Bri diligently writing and drawing (and agonizing) at the Tulip Farm over the course of her five-week stay here. It’s all about touring via Megabus, zine readings and friendship, depression and anxiety, navigating trying situations as a feminist and a survivor of abuse, and makin’ it through yet another winter.
Motor City Kitty #23 / $2.00 / 20g
This zine is bookended with stories about Bri’s new life in Columbus, Ohio – moving in to a cozy punk house, starting a band with pals, riding her bike along the Olentangy river. But the main focus is her first year of sobriety, and the reasons she chose to quit drinking. She outlines a pattern of abusive relationships she was involved in, drinking to cope with things like assault and anxiety, and also having jobs as a bartender and a DJ, thus immersing herself in intoxication culture. She also writes about the Bad Anniversary – the anniversary of the day her father died. Her mother refers to her as a “second generation punk” and Bri manages to find some solace in this, writing about some of the things she inherited from him, like a Fender bass and a 1983 punk fanzine that inspired her to create her own (to say nothing of her excellent taste in music and necessarily critical thinking about substance use). Read with care. From the intro: “It’s a love letter to my current home – & to the friends I’ve made here. It’s about sobriety & anxiety. It’s about support, & becoming the person you want to be.”
Motor City Kitty #24 / $2.00 / 15g
This perzine is yet another practice in telling tough stories, writing about mental health, making oneself vulnerable. Bri begins with a story about exploring a reportedly haunted tunnel with pals, using this moment of what should be an excited closeness as a group to illustrate how alone she feels, in life in general. She writes about a history of suicidal ideation (beginning in childhood), learning about various family members who’ve struggled with depression, and experiences with therapy. Having been forced into therapy on numerous occasions, she was resistant for years until she could make the decision on her own to return. Since returning, she’s been learning how to work through trauma, which is something past therapists hadn’t brought up, and has now changed her perspective on healing. She also includes journal entries on her progress. I’d recommend this zine to anyone who’s learning about trauma recovery and therapy.
Motor City Kitty #24.5 / FREE / 5g
Bri uses this newsletter-style issue of her zine to reflect on a decade of zine-making. Noting gratitude for having had this outlet for expression and for the friends she’s made through zines, but wondering if she’s shared too much, if she hasn’t simply re-traumatized herself by putting her histories of assault and mental health struggles out into the world in such a frank and vulnerable way. So this is essentially a letter to her readers about where she’s at – certainly not ready to give up zines, but working toward creating something different.
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Only Hooligans Write On Desks #8 / $2.00 / 25g
This is a zine about the horrendously frustrating process of applying for welfare and disability in British Columbia, Canada. It’s a personal story of mental illness and class, stigma and shame. Terri writes about the never-ending paperwork, phone calls, and walks to the welfare office, as well as unlearning the shame that comes with the inability to work a “real” job, and accepting money from family, which of course is not an option for everyone. It’s laid-out beautifully and written simply and honestly.
PALS: The Radical Possibilities of Friendship / $2.00 / 20g
Yes! This zine is so, so good. It is indeed about the radical possibilities of friendship, about the ways we think of friendship versus romantic (and often monogamous) relationships, about the ways that friendship can grow and change, and about how we navigate friendships under capitalism (for example, the fear and jealousy that can present itself in romantic relationships is something that might come from the scarcity model, yet friendships don’t always pose the same problems). Every time I read it, I wind up sending texts and letters to my friends just to tell them how much I appreciate having them in my life. I dare say this is one of my favourite zines of 2013. An excerpt: “Friendship is radical because so many of the things we’re told to care about and devote ourselves to suck so bad and friendship carves out a space apart from those things. Friendship gives lie to the idea that you should sell your time, forty hours a week or more, to the highest bidder that you should let one (1) person into your heart at a time and it’s gotta be the person you’re having monogamous sex with, the idea that families are born not chosen.”
Pansy #8 / $3.00 / 60g
This zine was a real nice surprise in the mail. It came from Toronto, not far away at all, but from a stranger who I hope to now consider a friend. I was initially delighted by the beautiful cover, typewritten text, and collages that combine floral imagery with human anatomy, all wrapped up in a half-legal format that feels good in my hands. But you know, it’s a perzine, and the writing is so important. These are the kinda words that are scary and vulnerable and just spilled out all over the pages in a fit of frustration-confession. Laura writes being an introvert and how this affects friendship and just general daily life, and gets into heavy stuff like disordered eating, addiction and recovery, depression, and okay, cat pictures and a soundtrack, because you gotta have that, too.
Pansy #9 / $3.00 / 75g
First things first, Laura tells us about why she makes zines – because some things are just too hard to talk about, but you gotta get ‘em out somehow. Addictions, disordered eating, and borderline personality disorder are topics that she often comes back to. So she sits in front of a typewriter and she starts. This issue is about bad roommates, good cats, a great friend, and alone time. Beautifully laid-out, featuring skeletons, flowers, photobooths, and cats. There is some kind of balance between the heavy stuff and the mundane, something like a letter from a friend.
Pansy #10 / $3.00 / 55g
In this issue, Laura spills everything out right before moving from Toronto to New Orleans. Having settled in Toronto almost accidentally after leaving a treatment facility for drug addiction, she’s now ready to take control of her life. She wonders if she’s running away from herself, or toward something new. We learn about her anxiety and how it affects everything from interactions with friends, to traveling for a zinefest, about disordered eating and trying not to hate her body, and about the frustration that comes with being read as being standoffish when one is really just shy. The last half of the zine chronicles an emotionally abusive relationship that she was involved in for six years, and all in all should be read with care. Interspersed with self-portraits, photobooths, simple drawings, and floral backgrounds. A tough read that is very visually striking.
Pansy #11 / $3.00 / 70g
This issue sees Laura having relocated to New Orleans in an attempt to escape what she calls the never-ending feeling of doom. She begins with a quick summary of notable events from the previous six months, which include some ups, like learning new skills, meeting pen pals in person, and getting tattooed, but an incredible amount of downs – relapsing, losing friends to drowning and suicide, getting hit by a car while riding her bike, dealing with a cockroach infestation… She shows incredible resilience in turning this mess into a beautiful zine, writes about being raised by perfectionist parents, and articulates the crushing anxiety that follows her throughout life. Addiction and disordered eating are recurring topics in Pansy, so please read with care.
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Photomill #2 / $1.50 / 25g
I met Kent, the author of this zine, while visiting the East Coast during my zine residency at Halifax. I gotta say that this is one of my favourite finds, and I really oughta write a letter and order some more issues. This particular issue is about Kent’s experiences with working in a university cadaver lab – yes, that means working with actual dissected human bodies. It is such a fascinating read and I couldn’t help but be drawn in by such a bizarre topic. An excerpt: “I brought over the same half-pelvis – six or so people crowded around, all taking their turn to touch the different parts, asking me questions. Everyone marveling at how small the uterus was – smaller than the palm of your hand. I’m not trying to paint this as a magical uterine sisterhood moment, cause that’s really problematic. I’m not going to pretend like I know what other people got out of it. But I thought it was a really lovely moment.”
Pinch Kid #4 / $1.00 / 25g
A quick flip-through of this zine will show you a great collage of typewritten and handwritten text, with rubber stamps and banners for titles, small drawings filling in the blank space. It’s a zine about trauma, addiction, borderline personality disorder, and silence, told through the hopeful lens of the springtime thaw of 2013. Kit sits on their balcony with a cigarette in one hand, typewriter in front of them, and tells their story (and encourages you to tell yours). We’ve been pals for close to a decade now and I consider Kit to be one of my best friends, so I will always be partial to their writing. But what I love most about their zines is that there is no lack of critical self-reflection, and that they are always always always asking questions.
Pourquoi Je Suis Féministe (par un gars) / FREE / GRATUIT / 30g
Ok, le titre rend le sujet de ce zine évident. Voici une bande-dessinée sur le féminisme vu par un gars. Drôle, intélligent puis le fun en plus. Je le recommande à ceux et celles qui sont intéressés(e)s par le féminisme, mais surtout les autres gars.
Psych Girl #1: Stories From A Clinical Psychologist / $1.00 / 20g
I’m happy when anyone decides to make their first zine, but especially so when it’s on such a unique topic, or something I haven’t had the chance to read about before – as is the case with Psych Girl, wherein Joanna writes about becoming a clinical psychologist. We learn about the difference between various types of therapy, and Joanna’s experiences as a student, professional, and a patient. She writes quite sweetly and concisely about why she feels a pull toward psychology, and also tells us about her life – being raised in Spain as the child of Dutch and Swedish parents, falling in love with someone from the United States, eventually moving to Sweden for work, and wondering where she will ever feel at home.
Queer Sailor Moon Fanfiction Saved My Life / $4.00 / 50g
I LOVE THIS ZINE. I was won over at Sailor Moon, but this zine is about so much more. It’s about a child growing up in a family that is hostile, homophobic, and abusive – so they seek solace in the secret queer culture of Sailor Moon and Spice Girls fanfiction via a slow internet connection. “Girl culture” of course is something that is often mocked as petty and unimportant, so I commend this zinester for busting through the layers of shame they felt and finding a way to tell their story. This is an engaging and at times difficult read, and comes with a list of resources for working through trauma, as well as suggestions for getting back to the present after a tough read.
Quiet Riot AKA The Shy Sober Kid Zine / $2.00 / 25g
Yes, another compilation zine on sobriety! Keep sending ‘em my way, please. This is a collection of writing on being both sober and awkward/shy, and I mean yeah, a lotta people are awkward, but it can really intensify in social situations when many others have alcohol or drugs to take the edge off. Of course punk shows come up in the conversation, and friendships and relationships. One anonymous person writes about sobriety as resistance (“At worst, the dominant power wants me dead because my transness and craziness pose a threat to the system.”), while others write about the ways in which sobriety has helped them to unlearn problematic behaviours, and there are stories of growing up with alcoholic parents, etc. One thing I was hoping to read more about is people’s alternatives to drugs/alcohol (like, what makes someone more comfortable in various social situations?), and navigating relationships and sex as a sober and shy person, but perhaps that’ll be fodder for a second issue? I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a piece by Fabian Romero: “The thing about getting sober is that it doesn’t solve the problems or issues that we had when we were drinking. Getting sober didn’t rid of racism for instance. I still deal with that shit on the daily but what it did was it gave me time to figure my shit out. I mean think about the hours and hours occupied either drunk or hung over, now that I don’t have that I have time for other shit. But the downside to all that is that it gives me time to think about my past and all the things I could do differently. Also being sober means that there is no out of having the hard feelings that come regardless of how much we try to run from them. For me my first two years of sobriety meant confronting my own discomfort with my awkwardness.”
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Radio Antarctica #1 / $2.00 / 25g
This is a new perzine series from Clara Bee, who also created Hungry: A (Re)collection of Memorable Meals & Disordered Eating. A lot of her work is centered on illustrations and comics, and while they are present here, the focus of this zine is personal writing. Clara touches on topics such as happiness and friendship, learning to get over body-hate (and acknowledging the varying factors that might lead someone to hating their body, ie: racist, cissexist, and ableist ideals of beauty), and taking care of oneself. Plus, there is a short guide to sleepytime teas!
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Radio Antarctica #2 / $2.00 / 15g
Isn’t it lovely when you realize that your friends are also your favourite artists? I am so in love with Clara’s illustrations and her way with storytelling. This issue is about the wild, the unknown, and features tiny and wonderful illustrations of plants, jars, and all manner of camping gear, alongside tales of both Clara’s childhood and that of her father. He, a Boy Scout in Northern Ireland in the late-50s/early-60s, who later taught her about things like gardening and canning; she, a quiet queer kid who was also into sewing, knitting, and cooking (“Neither my parents nor I can recall why I wasn’t later put into Scouts too. I think I was exploring other things, like why I had a crush on Ginger Spice.”). As she grows older, it is her body that becomes the wilderness and she writes beautifully about the pain of navigating and resisting patriarchal beauty standards. I think that’s part of why I love her drawings so much, because she includes the wrinkles, the fat, the hair. Highly recommended.
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Radio Antarctica #4 / $2.00 / 30g
Another fine zine from one of my favourite people in Toronto. This one is subtitled “Time to move on…” and is all about how Clara quit her office job after five years of working contract-to-contract (for those not in the know: being on contract means her employer doesn’t have to give her such things as health benefits and vacation pay). It sounds like a real soul-sucking place to be, especially since her boss could barely remember her name. So one day, she finally gets outta there, and now she’s telling us the story and totally taking down all those boring magazine writers who keep talkin’ about how our generation is lazy and selfish: “Unfortunately, capitalism does not agree with me, nor does white supremacy or patriarchy, all three of which call the shots on the economy, the job market, the academy, food production, etc etc. Shocker: My generation isn’t any more lazy or self-righteous than the ones before it. That’s not the reason why more folks are unemployed.” This issue is mostly about things like learning to set realistic goals once one has made the decision to dedicate their life to art-making and being in control of their time, plus tips on how to continue to Get Shit Done, and of course her lovely illustrations. The next issue will be about the finance side of things. Oh, and it comes with a hopeful little mini-zine that Clara made just moments after having quit.
The Reverse Cougar Years #3 / 15g / $1.00
I’ve been meaning to get this one in stock for a while, and here it is! This perzine is divided into two different topics – in the first half, Maxx writes about being a woman working as a sound technician, something that’s quite uncommon (in the real world, and also in zines – how many sound techs do you know??), and everything that comes along with it. Not just sexism in the workplace, but also a history of how she got into the profession, and a little checklist on how to not be a jerk to your soundperson. The last half is about anxiety – an exploration of her mental health both on and off of pharmaceutical medication, situations that can trigger panic attacks, important happenings and relationships that have contributed to her mental health and outlook on life, et cetera. Totally engaging read, and a nice introduction to a new friend!
The Reverse Cougar Years #4 / $1.00 / 15g
In the previous issue, we learned about Maxx’s experiences working as a sound technician. In this one, we follow her as she joins a crew setting up audio equipment for an outdoor winter festival – lugging heavy equipment through the snow, and working with a bunch of dudes. It all starts when she goes out to buy steel-toe workboots only to find that smaller women’s sizes are tougher to get a hold of, and that PINK boots are on offer. At work, she notices casual sexism and homophobia coming from her co-workers. As a feminist, and someone who studied political philosophy in school, she finds it difficult to simply turn off that switch that makes her aware of those microaggressions. But at the same time, she calls herself on the assumptions she’d originally made about her co-workers, and the way she believed herself to know better because of her university education. I think we’ve all been in those situations where we have to decide when and if it’s okay to call a person out on these things, and whether it’s worth simply continuing to get to know them better, which is what Maxx does. As a woman working in a male-dominated field, this is a situation she is constantly learning and re-learning to navigate. Ironically, after the whole steel-toe boot debacle, she winds up at home with an unrelated foot injury and indeed writes this zine during the healing process. I gotta say, she is a really excellent storyteller.
The Reverse Cougar Years #5 / $1.00 / 15g
If you know me, you know that I love a good OkCupid story, and this zine is full of ‘em. Maxx begins by telling us a bit about her dating history and her decision to join the popular dating website – namely, loneliness, living among a small dating pool (punks!), and a desire to explore something outside of heteronormative monogamous relationships. This issue features the bold femme, the political speech writer (can you guess how it went?), and the hipster. So great!
Rot #4 / $1.00 / 45g
It’s taken me a while to add a description for this zine, which is AMAZING by the way, because it’s just so difficult to describe visual art and comics sometimes. Katrina writes (and draws, of course!) about their life as a weirdo in Providence, Rhode Island. Really sweet punk comics made of Sharpie’d illustrations and stories of “shoujo-ai and antifa, yelling with your friends at 24 hour supermarkets, many cats, context, youth, eviction… the public library, the love between gross girls, wearing an ill-fitted leather jacket and having a weird hard time.”
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Rot #5 / $2.00 / 50g
Forever at a loss for describing comics but holy geez I love this one. Super fun high-contrast punx dream sequences featuring angels, time travel, and a day without cops. Can’t get enough from Katrina? Check out their band Groke for lo-fi noisy sounds with fellow weirdo Julia, who of course appears in Rot.
Rum Lad #6 / Gadgie #31 / $4.00 / 95g
It’s a split zine, and it’s a hefty one at that! This issue of Rum Lad is on one of my favourite themes – hometowns, and the memories around things like first albums, first shows, first jobs, and starting a band. The real story here is Steve’s intricate illustrations, which include various townscapes, as well as portraits of childhood friends, musicians and local shop owners, and landmarks like St. Boltoph’s Church and the Maud Foster Windmill. Much of the zine revolves around shows at the (questionably-named) Indian Queen pub, and although he’s since left his hometown, he does return to see the bar in its latest incarnation as a “contemporary Victorian-style” pub. He uses the last few pages to reflect on his definition of home, borrowing the phrase “a place where my stuff is” from comedian George Carlin. // I’ll be honest, I’d never read an issue of long-running fanzine Gadgie before, though I’d been made aware of it through an interview with Marv in a previous issue of Rum Lad. It was a real fun read! Marv writes about going to shows in and around Boston and laments the recent selling and subsequent “renewal” of a local pub, resulting in a dearth of punk shows. What I like best isn’t necessarily the show reviews, but the reminiscing that happens in the middle of a review – the childhood memories that crop up, from trying to impress the kids in the rich neighbourhood who of course had nicer bikes than him, to meeting his very first indie girl, clad in an oversized cardigan and a Stone Roses t-shirt. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of music to be had – Despise You, Vitamin X and more, plus pages of record and zine reviews, and an interview with Dan Colbourne, who put together the documentary Punk Football.
Rumpy Pumpy #2 / $2.00 / 20g
This zine always feels like a great combo of perzine, fanzine, and compilation zine. Each issue has a sort of crush-of-the-month on the cover, then pieces that are part snippets of daily life, part pop culture adoration and criticism. The main chunk of this second issue consists of a piece by historian and activist Joshua Burford called A Southerner In A Strange Land, which is about queer community activism going on in the southern United States, and the frustration of dealing with activists from, say, the East and West coasts, who come along with all sorts of assumptions about the South. An excerpt: “I have spent my entire life in the Deep South living, working, and advocating as a Queer identified person. It has always been a puzzle to me that some people have such terrible impressions of the South and have used it as the bogeyman / yardstick to measure how much “better” life is in other parts of the country. I think as a young person I truly believed the media that Queers in the South were destined to suffer in silence until such a time as they could work up the funds or the nerve to pick up and move to places that promised more acceptance.” On a similar but not the same note, it reminds me a lot of the conversations I’ve had with queer friends who live in small towns or more rural areas, and we ask, what does it mean to be queer when so many people associate a “queer lifestyle” with the parties and projects of major urban centres?