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Zine Reviews

Regardless of the reviews below, I am critical of zines (see past reviews). It just so happens I really like all of these ... so ante up and send away for a copy or two.


Beating Hearts of the World Unite
What can I say, I have been salivating to read this zine since the moment it dropped through my mail slot. This is a thick, half-size, handmade zine that is embellished ever so slightly with glued ornaments, stamps, and handwriting. And not only can you tell a lot of love and time went into this, but there are a ton of interesting and thoughtful articles and essays to keep you reading from beginning to end. I have a few favorites: One of the first essays in the Love section details the connection between monogamy and private property. "I personally feel that trying to claim another human being as your 'property' in a relationship is part of how the larger scale oppression of slave and private property perpetuates." Ah, the dream of a wife and a house in the burbs ... it's all property and greed. Another in the Love section is "Screw for the Revolution" which is a lengthy conversation (literally) about sexual liberation, sex work, and patriarchy. Just because my favorites were in the love section, there are quite a few good articles in the other section (Information, Communication, Revolution). I had to keep reminding myself as well that Beating Hearts is from Australia. It may have been the US protest stories that threw me off, but I think it is really amazing that something from the other side of the world shares the same ideas and aspirations that many of us do here. Maybe it's a sign of assimilation, but I would like to be optimistic and think the ideas and roots of revolutionary thought are gaining converts across borders and oceans. Trade (poem, letter, article, mix tape, artwork, zine) or donation to: Beating Hearts Press, Beating Hearts Press, PO BOX 444, Wollongong, NSW 2520, Australia. MH

One Fine Mess Summer 2001
It's a zine, it's mail art, it's environmentally sound, it's One Fine Mess. Cloaked in the retro images of women at desks and kids eating white bread, One Fine Mess delivers stories and reflection in a dry witty humor that I just can't get enough of. One Fine Mess is created by Erin and Dan who seem to have their squabbles about their relationship in and the zine within the pages of the zine. Dan slacks on getting his pages done and Erin takes him to task
-- Dan clips out some absurd snippets for The Hilarious Zone, and Erin apologizes. Coming from my own zine relationship, I can totally relate ... boys slack. But what ensues in One Fine Mess is a lighthearted and funny rendition of what it takes (and doesn't take) to put together a great zine. Erin's writing is dry, descriptive and down right laughable. She tells us about her goofy editing job in Manhattan, being let down by the White Stripes, hitting a deer with her car, and tuna. Really, I cannot do this zine justice with mere descriptions ... it's awesome and something I will go back to again and a again just to feel normal and wanted in this crazy world. 2 stamps or trade to: One Fine Mess c/o Erin and Dan 71 Storm St. Apt. C Tarrytown, NY 10591 USA MH

Slave Magazine #4 and #5
I have been putting off reviewing these zines for a long time. I am not sure why though. Maybe I was intimidated or just couldn't muster the right words to tell you all how really good this is. I have been reading zines for some time now and have seen many of my favorites disappear. My most favorite zine (so far) is one entitled
Retrogression. Retrogression put together in-depth articles, politics, sex, and personal writing in a lengthy, well-designed zine. Since Retrogression ceased to be published some four years ago, I have yet to find a zine that even attempts and slightly succeeds at taking on the same broad audience and subjects. Well, that is until Slave. In only it's fourth and fifth issue Slave is accomplishing what so many zines try and fail at. With it's full-size format and very appealing design Slave tackles music, politics, art, and well, everything else. The articles are well done, thought out, and are nicely written right down to few to no typos. Surprisingly enough my favorite things to read in each issue are the interview. Surprising because I normally HATE to read interviews. But the interviews in Slave are really insightful and interesting. Interviewees include Greg Bennick of the band Trial and a professional juggler and street performer, and the bands Avail and Jets to Brazil. My favorite though is the lengthy interview done with Rowan Mitchell who formed a restaurant union of sorts in New Zealand called the Dish Pigs. Mitchell hints on labor organizing and the state of the labor movements in both the US and New Zealand ( not surprisingly labor has taken a beating in both countries). All in all, Slave is a great piece of work. It's inspiring, educational, and fun. Go out and buy it. $3 US or $4 world to: John Rash PO Box 10093 Greensboro, NC 27404 USA MH

The Secret Files of Captain Sissy #4
There are 62 pages to this half-legal size zine that is nicely and cleanly laid out in cut and paste style. And with 62 pages comes lots of ideas and articles. There are some really insightful ideas here though I find it a bit jargony -- like someone got caught up in how their professors said they should write. Regardless, there are some great new ideas on old topics. Editor Andy Cornell takes us through his pro-street vendor article in "The Hustle." "It seems to ironic that the guys making these knock-offs in the basement are considered con-artists for falsely claiming a product is authentic, when the people who work for the companies that make the real thing are considered ingenious respectable businessmen. Isn't it the businessmen ... that are conning us into believing a white T-shirt with ink on it is an attitude toward life and an important marker of our cultural wits?" Brilliant. And so is that article on claiming punk as an ethnicity .. great idea. All and all there are a lot of ideas stemming from a punk rock and activist lifestyle that will be certain to get your blood boiling and that hamster in your brain doing double time. $3 to: The Secret Files of Captain Sissy 3907 Wedgewood Dr. Portage, MI 49024 USA

Verbicide Issue #4
In Verbicide you will find snippets from every aspect of indie/punk culture -- fiction, publishing, art, poetry, philosophical rantings, photography, activism, zine stars -- you name it, it's here. Verbicide is published by the fine folks at Scissor Press who try with diligence to provide punk and it's cohorts with quality writing and insight to the DIY literary world. And, damnit, it's about time. My favorite this issue is the interview with Sander Hicks of Soft Skull Press where he tells how to tun a successful publishing company. I would keep my eye on this title because I have a strong feeling that Douglas Novelli and crew are only getting started. $3 to: Scissor Press Yale Station PO Box 206512 New Haven, CT USA

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