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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
Rumpy Pumpy #1 / $2.00 / 20g
Description to come.
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?
Rumpy Pumpy #3 / $2.00 / 20g
Yes, another issue of queer fanzine-perzine, Rumpy Pumpy! This edition’s cover crush is a young Michael Stipe, paired with a story on how Milo first discovered REM and came to associate the band with some notable coming-of-age moments. “Losing My Religion came out around the same time I did, and also at a time when I was wrestling a lot more with my own Judaism, especially in relation to my pacifism and queerness. It was kind of kismet.” Ze writes also about some complicated feelings surrounding social media, and a brief critique of queer femme culture, which can often be encouraging of rampant consumerism. Plus record reviews, and an interview with JD Doyle who runs the more-than-impressive archive at queermusicheritage.com. Such a fantastic zine, this one really spoke to me.
Rumpy Pumpy #4 / $2.00 / 30g
I was so happy to find this zine in my mailbox on a hot summer afternoon! Samantha Mathis’ lipsticked face lured me into this issue, full of stories on 1990s queer signifiers, Milo’s bike commute mixtape, an interview with musician Hard Femme, and of course some fawning over Pump Up The Volume – a classic in teensploitation that I first caught on late-night television after having dropped out of high school at fourteen. Sitting down to read this zine, I took the Pretty In Pink soundtrack out of my tape player and replaced it with that of Pump Up The Volume (which features the Pixies, Sonic Youth, a Leonard Cohen cover by Concrete Blonde, and so much more). Milo aptly links the message in the film to existing as queers today: “We still need independent and alternative media. We need to confront the corrupt adults who deny us rights ‘for the good of the school’ (where school = ‘society’). We need solid systems of funded public education. We need a rocking soundtrack. And we need to see representations of our sexualities and genders in all their nervous first-kissiness.”