June 20th, 2002


Some zines I actually like

I promised positive zine reviews awhile back. Here are a few zines I’ve come across that I think are great. In order to maintain some degree of credibility, I’m only plugging zines by people who I don’t actually know. (Which is why you don’t see hype for That Girl misscallis, The J. Cruelty Catalogue walktheplank, Pisces kmama, All This is Mine fluxions or Girl Swirl tarynhipp here even though I love all of those zines too). The first two are my reviews for Zine World. The third is special for you, my LJ readers.

Mala #1 / Insurgente #4 Probably the best political zine I’ve read in years. In "Mala" Bianca Ortiz returns to zinedom with great articles on recovering from her time in the punk/riot grrrl scene, hyper-sexualized images of Mexicana women, white activists talking "street", what "hard work" means in the context of analyzing class, a hilarious film script called "Save the Last Cumbia" (which will star J Lo and Edward James Olmos in multiple roles) and much more. "Insurgente" is a 30-part essay on Chicano identity, education, and struggling for social change. Written partly in response to a multiculturalism class the author attended with other teachers, Alejandro goes well beyond the basics of these issues, complicating the issues that come up in ways that make his essay always challenging and interesting even if you’ve done a fair amount of thinking on those subjects. Both writers are talented enough to convey theory without being alienating or condescending. It’s so dense I had to read it twice before I felt comfortable reviewing it. Highly recommended. Bianca Ortiz, PO Box 6884, San Pablo, CA 94806, messstiza@yahoo.com [$4 90S 1:30] -Gordon

Hope #19 I don’t fawn often but this zine is worth it. "Hope" starts with a long piece on the conceptualization, design, and implementation of the Guerilla Subway Dance Project, a synchronized, musical-style dance routine that the author and others performed, seemingly spontaneously on various subway lines in NYC over the course of a few weeks. Questions of public space, public art and the relation of real life to theater are all examined in an amusing and thought-provoking tale. The rest of the zine consists of well-written NYC vignettes and a piece of short fiction a million times better than most fiction I’ve read in zines. Totally recommended. Why haven’t I seen this zine before? Give me back issues! Elissa Nelson elissanelson@yahoo.com [$1+Stamp 56S :45] -Gordon

Rocket Queen #2 I bought #1 in a local record/zine store. The author’s name, and evidently part of the address, were cut off in the printing process so I recommended it as a great anonymous zine about stripping and the dancing part of the sex industry. Then everyone who ordered it got their letters sent back. Doh!

Now Janet’s back though with a second issue, but this time with a little bigger perspective because she spent a lot of time dancing in New Orleans instead of around North Carolina. This issue has a short history of the sex industry in N.O., "whore" as symbol, stripper FAQs, the (increasingly) mercenary nature of the work, occupational hazards (drinking, hating etc.), and the horror of Mardi Gras. The whole zine is filled with analysis, examples and great writing about doing exotic dancing for a living. Janet doesn’t glamorize it, or downplay the bad parts, just explains as well as she can what it’s like. Also comes with a stripper’s guide to New Orleans. $1.50 PO Box 64, Asheville, NC 28802 (this one will work, I promise)