Halifax, I’m Coming To See You! (You Too, Sappyfest).

The rumours are true, I am one of this year’s lucky participants in the zine residency at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For the last two weeks of July, I’ll be living in a shed and making a zine (and hopefully eating pizza and swimming in the ocean and exploring the city, if you’ll join me).

I wanna bring zines to you! If you’d like to order zines and avoid postage costs, just send me a list of what you’d like. I’ll let you know the total and you can pay me in person and we can drink tea together and it’ll be lovely.

As well, I’ll be tabling at the zine fair at Sappyfest in Sackville, New Brunswick (Saturday, August 4th, 12-5 pm, upstairs at the Royal Canadian Legion). Because I’m traveling with a backpack and not much else, I’ll only have a select few titles available. Your best bet if you’re on the East Coast is to pre-order – you’re guaranteed to get the zines you want, and you’ll be helpin’ out a broke zinester.

ACCEPTING PRE-ORDERS UNTIL MONDAY, JULY 16TH, 2012.

Bri & The Fight Boredom Zine Residency

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly three weeks since Bri returned home to Cleveland, Ohio. She was the first-ever Fight Boredom zine resident and I kinda just want her to come live with me forever. The first day of the residency was basically a dream date – we shared cupcakes, drank sodas by the canal, went on a trip to the post office, dyed our hair together, and indulged in some girl-talk late into the night. The kind of friendship we have, I can’t even explain it. She was one of the first people that I became close to when I started making zines, and we’ve been pen pals for something like eight years now. Even though it’s extremely rare that we see each other in person, we’re still the kinda pals that can finish each other’s sentences. So you can just imagine what it’s like when we get together – the huggin’ and gigglin’ and silliness. And we’re not afraid to cry together, either.

It took us a few days to really get going on things. All we wanted to do was hangout hangout hangout forever. Together, we tidied up the Tulip Farm and picked up an old desk from Claire, which now sits in the living room (aka the residency bedroom) with a typewriter on top. We talked about zines and capitalism and riot grrrl and misandry and punk shows and relationships and Tumblr and all that important stuff. We hung out at the canal a lot (you can seriously find me there most days) and were just really happy to be together. Then we’d realize it’s the end of the day and oh shit we better work on our zines.

Bri’s first poutine! And the accompanying Lactaid.

Showin’ off the new zine.

Motor City Kitty #19 – available for $2.00 via Fight Boredom Distro.

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.

What a babe!

Amber Dearest, all dressed up for the picnic!

On June 21st, we held a launch party for Bri’s new zine – the Summer Bummer Twee Picnic & Reading. We’d been writing about nothing but total downers and decided to make something cute and fun out of it. It was definitely the most hectic day of the residency – we were still folding and stapling zines five minutes before the event was meant to start! And it was the hottest day ever and we’d been baking cookies and cupcakes for hours and it was just totally silly. The Tulip Farm was basically an oven. But we got our things together, packed a picnic and headed down the street to the park. There were already a few people gathered on benches and lounging in the grass. We chose a nice spot under a tree and everyone joined us and sat in a circle.

I agreed to read first, but I was really nervous and kept putting it off. I hadn’t yet decided what to read. In keeping with the theme, I was gonna read about a total bummer of a breakup (see Culture Slut #25), but upon re-reading, I realized there was no way I could say any of that aloud. I would cry for sure. Instead, I read about med studies, and then I read a piece en français, which actually wasn’t written by me but for me. A rejection letter, which I’d previously written about here. I will one day include it in a zine. I’ve been thinking about crushes and vulnerability and feminist oversharing and that kinda junk and it was kinda fun to put myself in such a weird position. Vulnerability on so many levels. I was essentially reading a letter outlining the reasons someone had rejected me as a partner, and I was doing it in a second language that I am not (yet) perfect at. It was awkward and adventurous.

Claire read next, from Unicornzine (which I will totally distro the moment it gets photocopied again). I was already in love with the zine, but hearing those words out loud was so much more powerful. Anxious queers forever.

Finally, it was Bri’s turn. I’d already read the rough draft of Motor City Kitty and let’s be honest, it made me cry a tiny bit. I wondered how she’d react to reading it aloud. I knew it would be difficult. I tried to send encouraging vibes her way and was probably just smiling like a total dork. She read, and we listened intently. More and more people showed up throughout the reading. The circle got bigger. By the time she looked up, there were nearly fifty people gathered in the park. We stuck around for an hour or two, talkin’ to friends and strangers, givin’ away zines, and encouraging everyone to come dance with us at Squalor later on.

Tulip Farm babes.

The next day, we borrowed my cousin’s van, filled it up with punks, and headed to Toronto for the anarchist bookfair. There were a few minor disasters, but I’ve chosen to remember the free coffee, tasty food, and awesome hangs. And check out our sweet ride below!

The Vanagon.

A message for all the dudes.

Bri took the Greyhound home from Toronto and since then we pretty much send each other messages every day to say, “I miss you!” and “Why don’t we live in the same city?” We have a theme song now. She is an absolute doll and I love her.

Best friends forever, for real.

♥ Summer Bummer Twee Picnic & Reading with Bri of Motor City Kitty! ♥

This is the first zine launch party held in conjunction with the Fight Boredom Zine Residency! Celebrating the release of issue #19 of US-based perzine Motor City Kitty.

When: Thursday June 21st at 6pm.
Where: Parc Georges-Étienne Cartier in St-Henri (along Notre-Dame, between Délinelle and Beaudoin)*

Moscow Cat Picnic, image via: http://oriox.ru/image/1836/

Bowties, babydoll dresses, dancin’ shoes and pigtails. Don your most adorable attire for the Summer Bummer Twee Picnic & Reading. Shed a few tears in yr waterproof mascara, because we’ll be reading about summer bummers: grief, loss, guilty pleasures, misandry, catcallin’ and more. But don’t be afraid to tell us about your summertime adventures and sappy romances. It’s a twee picnic, after all! Featuring readings by:

Bri of Motor City Kitty (Cleveland, OH)
Amber Dearest of Culture Slut and Fight Boredom Distro (Montréal)
Claire Evans of Unicornzine (Montréal)
More TBA – Anyone is welcome to read at this event, be it from your own zine, your favourite zine, or your embarrassing journals.

Bri of Motor City Kitty, hangin’ at the canal.

Snacks and refreshments will be available, and if you’re lucky, we’ll bring temporary tattoos and the Fight Boredom Distro catalogue.

Why the dancing shoes? Because we’ll be heading over to the dance party at Squalor afterward!

*If it rains, you can find us havin’ an indoor picnic at the Ste-Émilie Skillshare (Located at 3942 rue Ste-Émilie, on the second floor).

Reading Zines & Marching In The Streets

I guess it’s been a little over twenty-four hours since I wrote this and I’ve gotten a lot done. I spent the morning responding to all the emails and messages that I’ve been procrastinating on (I seriously really hate corresponding with people online, you don’t even know, just send me a letter), weighing zines and scanning covers, restocking and ordering new zines, getting in touch with everyone who applied for the Fight Boredom Zine Residency (this year’s participants have been announced here), reading zines, and writing descriptions. Anyone who thinks that running a distro is a piece of cake has obviously never done so. It’s a lot of work, but it makes me really happy.

I took a break in the evening to meet up with a friend for a local casserole. I brought a metal spoon and a small tin that one would bake banana bread in (this is what I think of every time I see it), and she brought a spoon and a small mixing bowl, which made the most delightful sound. We made music, just the two of us, as we walked along St-Ambroise until we found a crowd of about fifty people doing the same thing. I recognize a lot of the people who are out every night, even if I don’t know their names. We all smile and nod and chant: « La loi spéciale! On s’en câlisse! » (We don’t give a damn about the special law). There is always some asshole who tries to run us down with their car… tonight there were a few. I took pleasure in blocking traffic and dancing for the angry drivers. Mostly it’s sweet times, though. Marching through the streets with friends, strangers, and the few family members who also live in this city.

It’s one o’clock in the morning and I’ll probably read zines for a bit before going to sleep. The news section of this site has been updated to reflect new titles in the catalogue, as well as a list of places I’ll be tabling at over the next few months. New titles include Doris #29, Echo! Echo! #9, Everybody Moon Jump #11-12, Leaving Room For The Im/possibility Of Unicorns, Show & Tell #9, and FIT: A zine about sports, fatness, feminism & disability, as well as Anarchist Bookfair Bingo prints, pictured below (made by missvoltairine).

Play a game with your friends, or hang it on your bedroom wall!

These prints are only a dollar each!

Did I tell you about how wonderful the Montréal Anarchist Bookfair was? Such a whirlwind of zines and coffee, hangin’ with friends and talkin’ with random punks and seeing the same familiar faces that I see every year. Some highlights include meeting a reader who drove here from Vermont, meeting someone from the anarchist bookstore who’s starting a rad mental health collective and wants to translate Maranda‘s zines to French, selling out of copies of Betrayal: A Critical Analysis of Rape Culture In Anarchist Subcultures (I promise I’ll have more soon), deciding to distro cassette tapes, meeting the person who does Flat Broke MTL, seeing a bunch of awesome bands at Death Church and Squalor, biking up to Il Motore for a dance party… the whole weekend was all kinds of overwhelming, but mostly in a good way. And in a few more weeks, I’ll be at the Toronto Anarchist Bookfair! Lemme know if you wanna house a couple of zinester gals June 22nd – 24th. À la prochaine!

Say Hello To The 2012 Fight Boredom Zine Residency Participants!

June: Bri is a zinester, artist, and musician from Cleveland, Ohio. She has been writing the perzine Motor City Kitty since 2004. During her stay at Tulip Farm, she plans to create the latest issue of MCK (#19), focusing mostly on the topics of family, loss, grief and the concept of home. Other topics that have been floating through her head lately that could appear in the issue are confronting privileges, accepting “guilty pleasures” (and why that phrase is problematic), and femme identity. She hopes to include more of her artwork and diary style comics in this issue, as well.

August: Teresa Cheng lives in Toronto, Ontario and is the creator of the zines Dykes & Their Hair, Feeling Words: A Pocket Book of Emotions and Upskirt: Dirty (Un)feminist Secrets. She is a first generation Chinese-Taiwanese queer woman of colour who is working toward becoming a high school English and Geography teacher. During her stay, she plans on making a zine called Repeat Conceit, containing interviews with punks of colour, as well as excerpts and new reflections on pieces from Race Riot, Shotgun Seamstress, Femme Shark Communique and other zines by people of colour.

September: Lacy J. Davis is an artist living and working in Oakland, California. She is super pumped on making things, specifically things that reference the teenage years, coming-of-age, sexual bumblings, memory, and the (not-so) subtleties of the feminine identity. While in Montreal, Lacy plans to work on a young adult novel. Within the story you may read about the process of dropping out of high school, a lady’s first queer love, the struggle to break free of the addictive powers of anorexia and bulimia, and of course, feminism.

Info on how we chose this year’s zine residency participants is here. To stay up-to-date on zine happenings and be the first to know about launch parties for these three projects, please subscribe to this blog (at the top right corner), or ‘like’ Fight Boredom on Facebook.

How We Chose Fight Boredom Zine Residency Participants

For the sake of transparency, I’d like to write about how we chose the 2012 Fight Boredom Zine Residency participants. You can view the application on the website here. The idea was based on the zine residency program at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax (which I’ve been accepted to – I’ll be in Halifax for the last two weeks of July). I travel around a lot for zinefests and stuff, and I thought it was about time people made their way to Montréal.

As soon as I announced the residency, applications started coming in. We received twenty-eight applications in all – twenty-six via email and two via snail mail. A few days after the May 1st deadline, Stefanie and I sat down to look through all of ‘em. Some people were automatically eliminated. We decided that it wouldn’t be fair to consider the three applications that came in past the deadline. We also eliminated a few applications that we felt had no correlation whatsoever with Fight Boredom Distro’s submission guidelines, nor the Ste-Émilie Skillshare’s mandate. When it got down to it, there were still about twenty projects that we were totally in love with, and we realized it was gonna be a very difficult task. We then eliminated “applications” that weren’t really applications. Some people just emailed a couple of paragraphs about themselves and their zines, and even though they seemed like really great people, it was important to us that the applications be filled out properly. After all, we asked all of those questions for a reason. Having a Q&A style application made things a lot easier when we were narrowing it down to fewer participants and we wanted to check back on various information, for scheduling and the like.

We sat at the kitchen table reading over applications together. Each of us had a notepad and a pen, and as we went along, we wrote down each applicant’s name with whatever notes we thought were relevant, plus a Yes, No, or Maybe. Afterward, we compared our Yes, No, Maybe lists to each other’s. This is when things got really, really tricky. We’d narrowed it down to about eight or nine people, however we each had the same three “strong yeses”. And all three of them were only available during the same time period in September. We knew we could only choose one. So we set that list aside for a bit, and went to work on the June and August residencies.

Our first two choices for June couldn’t make it after all – one had found a job and the other had family visiting. Our third choice was available, so they quickly applied for a passport and bought a Greyhound ticket at an advanced discount. There were two people that we were considering for August, and I went with my gut on that one – I’m really excited about the project and I feel like the Ste-Émilie Skillshare and Fight Boredom Distro are the places to make it happen. I’ve told our second choice that they can be on standby in case something were to fall through.

Back to September. This was the toughest decision to make. In the end, the person who was chosen was one of the two people who applied via snail mail. They sent us a typewritten letter in a hand-sewn envelope and they were one of the first to apply. We’d been excited about their project since the very beginning and just couldn’t resist. Our other two choices know that they will be re-considered if something falls through – we’re really sad that they can’t all be here.

I can’t stress enough how difficult the decision was. Almost everyone had excellent proposals, and I wish they could all stay at the Tulip Farm. There are some projects that I’m really stoked on and even if they can’t create them in Montréal, I wanna do whatever I can to support them and of course add them to the distro catalogue in the future. And hey, maybe we can even become pen pals! I’ve alerted those who were not chosen, and if they’d like some more information or critiques, I’m into it.

I’d like to turn this into an annual event if I’m able to. Anyone who didn’t get in this year can certainly apply next year, and so can you, dear readers. (This year’s participants are listed here).

Hand-Delivered Zines and the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair

In March, I got a distro order from someone who lives in the city. Instead of giving me their mailing address, they told me where they worked and asked if I could drop off some zines. Of course! I put ‘em in my backpack, rode my bike up to the Plateau, and hand-delivered ‘em. I was on my way to a pro-choice demo in the area anyway. I’m pretty sure that delivering zines by bicycle is totally adorable and fun, and I wanna do it more often! Ever since the article about my distro was printed in the Montreal Gazette, I’ve been getting a lot more orders from people within the city, including people who had never even heard of zines before! So, if anyone in Montreal wants to place an order and avoid postage costs, you can always send me an email with your address and we can work out a plan. I live in St-Henri, but I bike all over the city all the time. Let’s talk!

That said, I’ll be tabling at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair all weekend. Please stop by! The bookfair is taking place in two buildings right across from each other – the Centre d’éducation populaire de la Petite-Bourgogne et de St-Henri (CEDA) at 2515 rue Delisle, and the Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier (CCGV) at 2450 rue Workman. Fight Boredom Distro will be at CEDA, but please make your way through the whole shebang. I hear there’s gonna be free coffee! And the Midnight Kitchen is providing food (there’s still time to volunteer to help cook, by the way).

Mostly, my life has been taken over by a few specific projects. One of them is preparing for the anarchist bookfair – ordering zines, screenprinting patches and posters (and helping friends with their screenprinting projects at the Ste-Émilie Skillshare), and working on some new zines. Still gotta do some cutting and pasting and photocopying and folding and stapling and and and… Speaking of, if you’d like to volunteer at the Ste-Émilie Skillshare, now is your chance! There are info and training sessions for the Sidetracks Team taking place on May 26th and 27th. I highly recommend joining! I’ve been on the Sidetracks Team since maybe two years ago, which means helping print t-shirts and posters and whatnot for various community groups, as well as having access to the space for personal projects. It’s a seriously amazing resource – the more, the merrier!

I’M ALSO WORKING ON TWO SECRET PROJECTS SSSHHHHHH.

If you applied for the Fight Boredom Zine Residency and haven’t heard back from me yet, don’t worry, you will. There were about thirty applications sent in, and out of those, we’ve managed to narrow it down to six people. Of course, we’re only able to choose three. We’re still workin’ on it. I can’t even tell you how difficult it is – there were so many exciting proposals and I wish I could make them all happen. Whether or not you’re chosen for the residency, I’ll still be in touch with thoughts and feedback. Soon!

I was riding my bike to the Plateau yesterday evening, and walked uphill on Clark because dammit I’m just not good at riding uphill. A middle-aged Francophone man stopped me and asked about the feminist killjoy backpatch on my flannel shirt. I told him that I’m a feminist who ruins everyone’s fun.

He asked how old I am. « J’ai vingt-six ans. »

« Et vous êtes féministe, puis vous l’annoncez? Je vous félicite. »

He said he was happy to see young feminists in Québec, he said there weren’t enough of us, he smiled, and he wished me une bonne journée.

(Yeah, I don’t update this blog much anymore, but I write about things on my Tumblr sometimes).