Welcome to Gayside
The Third Leg: G Brooks Takahashi, L Macdonald, O Hogan-Finlay
5.5 x 4.25 in book with 2 posters and a condom
Photocopied inside, silkscreen cover
Hilarious! Drawings of people staring lustily at sheep, rimming each other in pastoral scenes, and waving homo sweet homo flags are interspersed with gay and/or dirty parts of famous texts, like Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and David Bell’s Eroticizing the Rural. Also there’s a free condom and a huge poster of New Brunswick redone with place names like Bull Dyke Run, Faggot Head, Cunt Berg, and Gaytona. This whole thing seems to be made in response to a town in Canada called Gayside who is planning on changing its name to Baytona because it’s sick of getting made fun of by the other towns.
Doris Book: Anthology 1991-2001
6.5"x8" 320 Pages
I just came across the website for my old friend and penpal Cindy Ovenrack Crabb. She's been doing a brilliant zine called Doris for the last 15 years. When I worked at Epicenter, my friend and I were serious fans and had every issue of Doris as well as all the little comics she made like "67 boyfriends" and the one about the ice cream shop. She came back to town around that time and started dropping by. We became friends after she showed up to a dinner at my house that wasn't happening, invited by a person who didn't live there.
All the issues of Doris have been collected and released as an anthology. It's so exciting! Everyone should read it. It really actually will make you laugh and cry. Cindy tells the fascinating stories of her life honestly, sweetly, and smartly and manages to include helpful tips, history and information on all manner of topics ranging from feminism and politics to travelling and making art. It's very close and immediate like a friend telling you stories and secrets but you also come away knowing all about the history of political collectives in Philadelphia or something like that.
Let's have some history this morning. I just came across a Queer Zine Archive website that has PDF versions of some of the classic homo zines of our times. It has issues of Bruce LaBruce and G.B. Jones' great zine J.D.s, Brat Attack, Outpunk, and Holy Titclamps. I'm sad to see some of the major titles missing like Homocore (who's archives are in jpg form at this link) and Chainsaw and I would just die for a PDF of Now I Don The Mask of Melancholy—the most hilarious and amazing gay goth zine I've ever seen. Maybe we should scan our copies and send them in. Anyway, check them out, give them some support.
There are many ways to bind your book/comic/zine/manifesto, from perfect binding to tying it all together with rope to stuffing the loose pages in an envelope. I think, when planning a project, it's good to explore as many weird possibilities as you can before you just grab the stapler. I've been seeing this technique lately called the coptic stitch and I like it! It's a relatively simple way to achieve a cool handmade look. This PDF explains it well. And here's another site that tells you how to do it.
Xiu Xiu Tour Diary #4
5.5" x 8.5"; 30 pages
Shirtless in front of a motel with razor in hand, stopping on the side of the road to lick a giant ice cream cone, zoning out in odd positions in back seats, playing shows in rooms with low ceilings, eating gross food, acting spazzy in other peoples' apartments, studying bathroom and bar graffiti, spending weeks with the same group of people but also meeting new ones every night, just going along with whatever happens. I love tour. And I love tour diaries. Photographer David Horvitz's diaries document the last four Xiu Xiu tours. He prints them on an Epson inkjet on double-sided matte paper. They are thick and look fantastic and bright. He also has polaroids and other cool looking projects for sale on his site.
Whew - we're starting our second week! God. Apparently we love the gays... and the Germans. I hadn't even noticed, but I guess it's true. People are starting to notice, but what we're REALLY waiting for is hate mail and endless ranty comments. Please accommodate us.
One of my inspirations for this blog is the legendary Factsheet 5, a 'zine that had an incredible listing of 'zines, alternative mags and books, that ran through the 80's and 90's. Before the internet, Factsheet 5 informed an incredibly diverse group of creative people all around the country about each other. It wasn't about profit or networking - it was about community. Factsheet 5 disappeared in 1998 - the same year I got my first email address, started reading peoples personal websites, and started thinking bigger (making money, full color) about publishing. But now I'm thinking bigger AND smaller all at once and am thrilled by the announcement on the Factsheet 5 website that it will re-launch in 2006. But wait, the year is almost up! Let's hope we hear more soon.
Last night was a night for reminiscing, for telling old stories. I'm not sure what was in the air (maybe the rain?) but as I dropped by friend's parties to say hello, we had one conversation after another about the past. First was a first kiss story comparison and then a worst illness and accident contest. At the end of the night my friend Rachel told me a story about being 7 years old and drawing pictures of naked ladies in class with her best friend. They'd compare drawings, pick out the best ones and make them into little books. And then, they'd take their little creations and put them out in the world for others to find. Rachel talks about stalking around the grocery store with her mother and finally leaving one of hers in with the melons in the produce area. We sat around wondering who might have found it and what they thought. Too bad Dirty Found wasn't around back then. Another friend added pages of his own comics to school library books. I countered with my own story about the pornographic novel Denise and Janis and I wrote in 5th grade. It starred our Math, English and Science teachers. I'd write a chapter, then pass the whole thing to Denise who'd write the next and so on. When we were done, we bound it into a book and left it in the library. Boy do I wish I had that thing now. I wonder who found it and what they thought... Does anyone else have a story about early zine or book making?
Ker-bloom! 67 & 68
5.5" x 4.25"
8 pages, Letterpress cover and inside, 2 color, stapled
Numbered editions of 483 (67) and 500 (68)
Longtime Bay Area resident and zine-maker Karen Switzer, A.K.A. Artnoose, moved to Pittsburgh. Issues 67 and 68 of her zine Ker-bloom! are titled "Why I Love the Bay Area..." and "...and Why I'm Leaving" respectively. In the first of these lovely little letter-pressed volumes, Switzer tells the story of building a life and a community, her love for the Bay Area and her thoughts on the concept of family. Then she goes on to talk about growing up, and figuring out ways to move forward with her work and her life, and leaving the Bay for Pittsburgh. Every issue of Ker-bloom! is a story about something going on in Switzer's life. They're like the best kind of short, late night conversations. You know, after you've been hanging around the party for ages and you and the person you're chatting with in the corner have finally gotten to the heart of the matter, the good stuff.
I bought these two issues of Ker-bloom! in San Francisco in a moment of Bay Area nostalgia and wistful feelings and am now in bed in my New York apartment reading them. Switzer is not the first person to bring the idea of moving to a cheaper smaller city to my attention, plenty of other pals have thought about it and then done it. Half of me has been like, "sure just go, you wuss" and the other half understands the need for cheaper rent, bigger spaces, etc. I wonder if I could pull it off. I feel so comfortable in New York, I can't imagine leaving but maybe a bigger, cheaper place would allow me to make more stuff. I don't know. The last time I lived outside of a major city, it was a bad scene. But then again, who's junior high school experience wasn't! These things are definitely on my mind lately.
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