Abstract Door #1 / $2.00 / 20g
Twenty-five years old and in the midst of an existential crisis – this is a great time to make a zine! Vicky Lim writes first about the anxiety and stress of job-searching and the transition out of student life, which quickly turns into an essay on her relationship with her mother. These are things that I’m sure many people think about, and Vicky writes them in a way that is engaging and a little bit magical. I’m particularly struck by the moment where she describes acquiring a brass key on a necklace at a Jens Lekman show (“the opposite of an abstinence ring, he said, but in a non-sexual way.”), the confession of guilt over buying expensive lunches knowing that when her parents arrived in the United States, they did it with literally only the clothes they were wearing, and the fact that she includes footnotes in a zine that is only the size of 1/8 of a page. The last page is taken entirely by an Anaïs Nin quote on the age of twenty-five, and this is the moment my heart was won over entirely. An excerpt from the zine: “At first I tried to escape the titles of ‘receptionist’ and ‘secretary’. I was afraid of being typecasted as this quiet, boring female who did menial work. I knew it was menial because my friend who had a similar job in another department would call it that. And as if my mother were training me for this type of job, she gave me a lesson book when I was nine on how to type without looking, which I practiced on my small, brown typewriter until I reached over ninety words-per-minute. That was the same time I followed my mom to work for ‘Take Your Daughter To Work Day’ and her cubicle was sooo boring. I watched her ‘do paperwork’ (she’s an accounting clerk). I melted in the swivel chair. I wanted to see what my dad did, but we never talked about him being a custodian.”
Abstract Door #2 / $2.00 / 20g
One thing I like about zines is that they inspire me to sit back and reflect on my own life, whether they help me to question, challenge, and develop my politics, to reconsider the role of various friendships and relationships in my life, or just provoke me to continue writing. This issue of Abstract Door makes me think about my material possessions – what they mean to me and what they say about me. Vicky begins by describing her bedroom in simple detail, from the view upon entrance to the items on her nightstand and windowsills. First impression would tell you that she’s an avid reader and a bit of a pop culture nerd, but it doesn’t take long to learn more through descriptions of her earliest memories, and the time she nearly moved into a closet, mostly to escape her sterile home and the feeling/appearance of being sheltered. There is a subtle vulnerability in this issue, which I’m very into. Beyond that, I think the activity of describing one’s home and material possessions makes for an excellent writing prompt. (What the two of us have in common is a collection of Anaïs Nin’s journals and an OkCupid account).
Anarchism & Hope / $6.00 / 55g
Any zine with a picture of Godspeed You! Black Emperor on the first (okay, third) page is bound to win me over (it is also bound with staples SEE WHAT I DID THERE). But whether or not that means anything to you, this zine is both beautiful (half-legal pages with a screenprinted cover and crisp photographs throughout) and an excellent read. Aaron writes about continuing to feel hopeful in the face of despair – a specific kind of despair, the kind that comes from resisting capitalism, witnessing / experiencing police brutality, and working toward a more just world. We begin in the aftermath of the G20 in Toronto, and follow Aaron through his tales of hope – a friend successfully fighting deportation, resistance of Israeli occupation forces in Palestine, and the student strike in Québec in 2012. For those into personal writing on political struggles.
La Bola De Cristal #2 / $2.00 / 50g
Cut-and-paste perzine; tales of powerful friendships, bad relationships, dysfunctional punk houses, chronic illness, dysphoria, record & zine reviews, and more. “People secretly and subconsciously revel in any scraps they are thrown. White cis feminists are chronically basic because because they equate feminism with power and not liberation, they would step on our backs for some capitalist dream.”
La Bola De Cristal #3 / $2.00 / 20g
The bulk of this zine is made up of an interview between Anna Vo of Fix Yr Head and Ari, creator of this very zine, plus their afterthoughts of a panel at Think & Die Thinking, on marginalized people involved in punk. Ari talks about studying fashion and decolonizing fashion history, compiling the queer issue of Maximum Rocknroll, gentrification in the Bay Area, prisoner correspondence, and more. Such a good one!
The Collected Scathings Of Ioana Poprowka / $2.00 / 30g
This is a collection of writing by a pseudonymous trans woman who wrote a column on transgender issues for The Skinny magazine from 2006-2008. Her general focus is the representation of trans women in mainstream media and pop culture, for example, critiques of trans characters on Coronation Street and Friends and in various films, the reception of trans Eurovision winner Dana International, etc., and then some personal writing on issues of sexual identity, “passing”, and more. It’s a concise read that I’d recommend to anyone interested in pop culture, but I’ll note that although 2008 doesn’t seem like that long ago, there’s some language that I’d consider outdated – then again, maybe that’s not up to me.
Critical Breakfast #1 / Telegram #38 / $3.00 / 20g
My twin & I made a split zine together! Telegram #38 by Maranda Elizabeth is about their Return of Saturn and turning thirty, learning how to interpret their birth chart, astrology as a method of self-exploration & healing, reconnecting with their past selves and memories of being a teenage witch, practicing Tarot in daily life, lost time, friendship & jealousy, fragmentation, learning how to love themself, and recovery with trauma and chronic pain. / Critical Breakfast #1 by Amber Dearest is about her Saturn return, synchronicity, a bad landlord, working as a lab rat, sobriety, learning to build self-confidence, and an auspicious Tarot reading.
Finale 95 #1 / $2.00 / 20g
I love this zine so much. It’s a perzine that also has the feel of a fanzine – it’s basically about being a weirdo teenager in the suburbs, surviving high school, and being into really sweet punk rock. It’s got funny interviews – like the one with her mother all about why she loves playing Internet Scrabble – plus posi tips, thrift scores, and reviews of all kindsa things. It’s a zine a lotta teenagers might make, but funnier and with way more self-confidence.
Finale 95 #2 / $2.00 / 20g
Every time I read this zine, I wish that I’d been this cool when I was a teenager. Finale 95 could be classified under perzine or punk fanzine, with a healthy dose of humour and weirdness. In this issue, Alanna interviews her friends about growing up in the suburbs and who their dream dates are, makes a comic about a trip to Cuba, reviews a whole bunch of books and albums, and then gets a bit more serious when writing about nostalgia and pop culture, her burgeoning interest in feminism (thanks to reading Shameless – a Canadian magazine for girls and trans youth), and frustration with having her feelings and interests written off as, “That’s something a teenage girl would like.” She says, “Teenage girls are smart and goofy and emotional and serious and mystical and sometimes we really just need someone else to talk to.”
Finale 95 #3 / $2.00 / 20g
This issue marks a turning point for Alanna, where she moves from quirky fanzine to full-on perzine, and it’s appropriately subtitled Bildungsroman I, defined as a “class of novel derived from German literature that deals with the formative years of the main character, whose moral and psychological development is depicted. It typically ends on a positive note, with the hero’s foolish mistakes & painful disappointments behind them.” Contained within are twelve vignettes from her last year of high school, which include going to prom, getting drunk, working in an ice cream parlour, and finally beginning university. Some staples of suburban living in Canada, written with humour and self-awareness – and a winter survival list thrown in for good measure.
Finale 95 #4 / $2.00 / 20g
This issue is brought to you by the letter D for dads, dudes, dates, death, and disillusionment. This time around, we see Alanna continue on to her second year of journalism school in Ottawa, negotiate her “Slutty College Years” and newfound relationships, and triumph over her feelings of disillusionment with punk.
Finale 95 #4.5 / $1.00 / 10g
I really love the layout of this zine, which is folded into the classic quarter-size, but unfolds to reveal a full-size letter printed on pastel papers, complete with heart and flower doodles. Subtitled Wherein Which I Get Dumped & Run Away From Mac DeMarco, this issue ends with Alanna swearing off dating for a season, so you can guess the mood of the zine. I had no idea who Mac DeMarco was before reading this, and I feel like I was better off for it, let’s be real. But I will always be into stories of punk shows and awkward makeouts.
Ghost Pine #13 / $3.00 / 35g
When I first moved to Montreal, I remember looking up at street signs and recognizing the names from stories in Ghost Pine. It’s probably been close to a decade since I started reading Jeff’s zines, and twice that since he started making them. Many of these stories were compiled in Ghost Pine: All Stories True, an anthology released by Invisible Publishing in 2010, and now there’s a new issue of the zine out. He sticks with some of his common themes of punk shows, touring, and friendship, including his first visit to legendary Ottawa punk venue 5 Arlington as a teen, and these are stories that come across as both earnest and self-deprecating. I think it’s great to be able to write about the past without veering too far into sentimentality or cliché. The last half of the zine is dedicated to vignettes of Jeff’s friendship with late artist and rad queer Will Munro (whose artwork graces the cover). We are also treated to a little bit of Jeff’s current life in Montreal, in a piece titled Austerity Blues. Read this zine.
Herb Support For Top Surgery / $3.00 / 85g
Huffin’ Textas / $4.00 / 75g
I’ve always found this zine difficult to describe, even though I’ve read it numerous times and am forever in love… something more like creative non-fiction than a perzine, perfect stories about class and art and Manic Street Preachers and Pulp… so here is a description from Take Care Zine Distro: A6 zine, 100 pages, BW photocopy with Gocco printed cover.
“I’m trying to remember who said this: a thing about the corporals in the trenches that always had a Penguin paperback hanging out their back pocket, the organic intellectuals who were the best people in the war.” An autobiographical zine by Sydney art gang of two Dexter Fletcher.
If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan Edition / $2.00 / 35g
“What makes Kurdistan different from the western environments I’m familiar with? The Peshmerga – Kurdish soldiers – patrolling with rifles, maybe, except I grew up in Northern Ireland so seeing this is not an entirely disorienting experience. Electricity cutting out on a regular basis, which nobody bothers to comment on because it’s too common, they just sit in the dark for a minute and then another generator kicks into action – that is, if they have access to one. Generators running on the street, so noisy it’s hard to hear the conversation you’re having as you walk by countless men standing around in the street seeming to do very little except contemplate the world around them, often while looking very stylish. The call to prayer, a sound I’d missed ever since my first visit to Istanbul. Arabic and Kurdish script, of course. In twelve days I only saw maybe a dozen Iraqi flags, mostly on government buildings or on the approach to Kirkuk, but the Kurdish flag is displayed everywhere, and as flags go, it looks quite friendly: a big yellow sun on a white background, with a horizontal strip of red above and green below. Chai all the time.” With that, Nine begins her hitchhiking stories and an outline of 2011’s protests.
In Situ #1 / $10.00 / 70g
In Situ is a great comic that’s created by rad human and pal Sophie Yanow. This one is perfect-bound and printed by Colosse / Export – I’ve sold out of subsequent issues, but you can order more from there. This first issue is a daily comic that begins in her hometown of Oakland, California, and follows her to Montréal. New adventures, anxiety, homesickness, punk shows, queer dance parties, books, bikes, and babes. Six panels per page, with a very recognizable aesthetic. Made me seriously love comics.
Moist Girl Diary / $2.00 / 50g
This zine! I first read it probably in 2003, when it was printed under its original title of I Used To Be A Moist Girl and I was trading zines with all kindsa strangers on Livejournal. The Livejournal days! I lent my copy to a friend, when I was still so overprotective of my zines, and it immediately got a glass of water spilled on it. I still have it, wrinkled pages and all. In 2014, Iza reformatted and reprinted it, and I’ve been so excited to share it with friends. Remember 90s CanCon greats Moist?? This is Iza’s tour diary, a chronicle of following them across Canada in the winter of 1997 – the year that Robyn’s Show Me Love, and superhit compilation Big Shiny Tunes 2 were released. I love this zine because of the references that are so specific to my youth, but I think that it might appeal to anyone who loves travel stories, or ever had a rabid fandom.
SCAM #6: In The Streets Of Buenos Aires / $3.00 / 85g
“Was there really a “revolution” to be seen in the spray paint on Argentina’s walls? If so, what kind of revolution was it? What did the graffiti, angry political slogans and lyrical stencil images, have to say about where Argentina was heading now after four years of political and economic crisis? I sought out Buenos Aires’ stencil artists to find out.”
SCAM #7: The Return To Miami! / $3.00 / 85g
“When I tell people I’m from Miami, frequently they respond by saying, ‘I’ve been there once.’ If a shadow seems to cross their face for a second and they appear to be involuntarily remembering the worst thing things they’ve ever seen, I can usually correctly guess that they went down there to attend the protests against the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement (FTAA) in November of 2003 and experienced the brutal and violent police attacks on the protesters. Otherwise, it usually turns out that they went to the week-long glitzy orgy of art, money, and celebrity known as Art Basel Miami Beach. Either way, they will usually politely say, ‘But I’m sure it’s not always like that…'”
SCAM #9: Damaged – The Story Of Black Flag’s Classic First Album / $3.00 / 90g
Description from Erick Lyle himself: “Here at last is the long awaited new issue of SCAM, the story of the making of my favorite record ever, Black Flag’s classic first LP, Damaged. Based on an expanded version of a story I wrote for the LA Weekly last winter to celebrate the record’s 30th anniversary, the zine includes primary interviews with Black Flag members, Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Kira Roessler and others around the band, including Mike Watt, Joe Carducci, Raymond Pettibon, Ed Colver, and Dave Markey.”
Skinned Heart #3 / $3.00 / 40g
I’ve read this zine several times, most recently at my kitchen table on an autumn evening, with a cup of tea by my side. It’s one of those zines that you can spend a lotta time mulling over, you know? There are a few main themes in this one – female friendships, jealousy / competition, open relationships, and being a person of colour in a predominantly white punk scene. Really thoughtful and honest writing, with a cut-and-paste layout. Total favourite.
Skinned Heart #4 / 40g / $3.00
In this issue, Nyky documents her moves from Texas to Arizona and most recently to Seattle, Washington, while also navigating the complicated effects of colonization – including feeling like an outsider to both Mexican culture and to radical-feminist-punk subculture. Other topics include learning to take care of herself in regards to chronic illness, dealing with the fallout of being involved in an abusive relationship, and learning how to communicate within an open relationship. “They [the author’s family] had a lot and they lost a lot chasing the American dream. Slowly but surely we chased and assimilated to that American lifestyle in the Arizona desert looking for a life full of respect and status. This is where those cracks in my identity began, where there was a Mexican me and an assimilated me, where I began and learned to tolerate a life of duality.”
Skinned Heart #6 / $3.00 / 30g
The cover of this issue was illustrated by Nyky’s father, and she begins by writing about her experiences with having a father who is incarcerated. She writes not only of the frustration, sadness, and fear that come out of this situation, but also critiques the prison industrial complex, the US’s “war on drugs,” and the way race and class figure into her father’s arrests and incarceration. She writes of the matriarchal family she was raised in, and witnessing reactions to women of colour’s expressions of anger – be it her mother confronting school employees when she was a child, or right now, her own anger when organizing with white feminists, for example. In Punkera Por Vida, she writes, “What I love most about being a punk is the access I have to other folks of color and gender marginalized people who are having the same experiences and finding creative outlets to live outside of the margins. I’ve met so many brujas, artists and musicians, writers, great thinkers and amazing inspirational people through punk.” She writes about calling white punks on their (our) racist bullshit – namely, white queers writing POC out of hard-femme culture – and also bringing her politics into her interactions with her family. She reminds readers, “Punk is not inherently white.”
Swearing In Cursive #4 / Summer / $2.00 / 20g
A split zine! Mckenzie is gearing up to leave her home state of California, and so reflects on this time alongside her friend Max, who left California for New York a year previously. Mckenzie grew up in Southern California, and writes about her teen years holed up in her cave bedroom repeatedly watching Martin Scorcese’s Bob Dylan documentary and reading gay male fanfiction, and her eventual online discoveries of zines and feminism. Max writes of a happy childhood living in a thick forest with their hippy parents, raised on music festivals, camping, and long days at the beach, but spending a miserable time at high school in Sacramento. Both Mckenzie and Max eventually moved to the Bay Area, where they found a community and chosen family, something they are now both learning to recreate in Boston, MA and Rochester, NY respectively. Loving this zine for its reflections on the importance of home, family, and community.
Swearing In Cursive #5 / $1.00 / 10g
Completed during the Fight Boredom Zine Residency in the summer of 2015, this issue opens with Mckenzie working in a high-end yarn and fabric store in Oakland, California. A customer asks her about how to make “flattering” clothes for larger bodies – thus provoking her to make this zine, all about existing as a queer fat femme. This zine features eight paperdoll-type illustrations highlighting Mckenzie’s wardrobe from the seventh grade, through high school and some major happenings included being made fun of for her body, and losing her clothing to a house fire, then on to college, as she comes out as queer, gets into fat positivity, learns to make her own clothes, and more. This zine is almost entirely handwritten, with a cut-and-paste layout featuring doilies and floral fabrics.
Télégramme #24 / $3.00 / 20g
Version française de Telegram #24, traduit par Lucas pour Mad Pride Montréal. Le thème général de ce zine pourrait être déclaré « le soin de soi » mais si vous êtes déja familièr.e avec l’écriture de Maranda vous saurez que c’est vraiment plus que ça. Yelle est un écrivain excellente et je suis de plus en plus étonnée avec chaque subséquent numéro. Ici, Maranda écrit sur le genre / être genderqueer, comment soutenir des ami.e.s avec des maladies mentales (incluant des ami.e.s qui sont dans l’hôpital), puis des trucs de soin de soi.
Voici une note sur la traduction: « Maranda insiste beaucoup dans son texte sur l’importance d’utiliser le bon pronom, pour respecter l’identité de genre de la personne dont on parle. En français, utiliser un langage neutre, c’est encore plus compliqué. Ça demande beaucoup de pirouettes linguistiques, et qui plus est, des pirouettes différentes à l’oral et à l’écrit. Mais c’est important de se pratiquer et de s’appliquer à les faire, ces pirouettes; le français est un langage profondément sexiste et cissexiste, et il y a beaucoup de travail à faire collectivement pour qu’il soit inclusif et respectueux de toutes les préférences et identités des personnes qui l’utilisent.
En français, quand on réfère à une personne, ce n’est pas seulement le pronom qu’on utilise pour désigner cette personne qui est accordé avec son genre, mais également tous les noms et adjectifs qui lui réfèrent. Il faut donc trouver une façon de dé-genrer les noms et les adjectifs, ce que j’ai choisi de faire dans ma traduction en choisissant des mots ayant la même orthographe au féminin et au masculin (ex. le mot “pote” plutôt que “ami.e”, pour traduire “pal”), et si c’était possible, en choisissant des mots ayant une orthographe semblable au féminin et au masculin (ex. le mot “cinglé.e” plutôt que “folle/fou”, pour traduire “crazy”) ou en joignant ensemble les deux formes d’un mot (ex. le mot “celleux” plutôt que “celles et ceux”, pour traduire “those”). Aussi, la langue française ne disposant pas d’un pronom non-genré (contrairement à l’anglais “they” qui est le pronom utilisé par Maranda), il faut en inventer: j’ai proposé à Maranda d’utiliser “yelle” pour traduire “they”.
Bref, j’ai fait de mon mieux, mais rien n’est parfait et j’ai conscience que certaines phrases sont un peu lourdes. Mais ça vaut la peine pour vous partager ce texte qui m’a beaucoup touché.e. »
Tomorrow’s Machine Today #3 / $3.00 / 45g
This is a zine of twenty vignettes that tell the story of Emma’s pre-teen and teenage experiences with music and gender. Opening with a story of unwrapping albums at Christmastime (Emma’s first: Look Sharp by Roxette), and leading us to first hearing Veruca Salt on the radio, borrowing Nirvana albums, and finally being sent a dubbed copy of Hole’s Live Through This by a pen pal. Some very classic 1990s coming-of-age moments, nostalgic but not cheesy. Emma writes also of some experiences that are still very familiar to me: hiding in oversized t-shirts, a total disinterest in dating boys, realizing the way that women and girls are socialized to be in competition with one another… Perhaps I’m into this narrative because it reminds me so much of myself. But ah, Emma has an excellent way with words, and can really set the scene. Check out Huffin’ Textas for more.
Us Amazonians: a Kirsty MacColl fanzine / $3.00 / 25g
It seems Kirsty MacColl is best known for her backup singing alongside the Smiths, and her duet Fairytale of New York with The Pogues, and this is certainly how I first heard her name. But she also released five full-length albums before her untimely death in 2000, and with this fanzine, Milo (whom you may know from Rumpy Pumpy, Bananarchy Now! and the Queer Zine Archive Project) and pals are here to tell us about her fantastic music, her history with camp, and her simple kindheartedness – this is best illustrated in a piece by fan Tony Reay, with whom she shared demo tapes and began a correspondence. Musically, I’d say she has something of a dreamy-wistful 1980s sound combined with 1960s girl group pop sensibilities. I’m listening to her first album, Desperate Character, as I write this. This is a zine that might appeal to music nerds and Kirsty MacColl newcomers alike, and I felt most drawn to Chris Wilde’s reviews of favourite songs, from 1979’s They Don’t Know to 2000’s Us Amazonians, with sexuality being a recurring theme. Such a great read!