Full Tilt #2

Megan Gendell wrote my favorite zine ever, Clark 8, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed Full Tilt #2. It’s about her time in a private dance academy for teenagers, and how the decision to leave that institution and give up pursuing a professional dance career affected her. It’s a fascinating look at the world of pre-professional dancers, and a really powerful exploration of how our choices alter our lives. 39 pages, short half-size, $2 through http://somethingsbegun.com/zines.

PANIC

This zine came along at the perfect time for me. I picked it up from a zine library to use in a workshop right after I had my first ever panic attack. Corina writes in a reassuring style and outlines common causes of panic attacks and ways to manage anxiety either without or augmented by medication. While my anxiety is not as severe as some of the examples in this zine, her advice has already helped me. It’s also a really interesting read, even if you don’t experience anxiety and panic attacks. 20 pages, half-size, price unknown, through mud@riseup.net. 

Dames on Frames #2

GearUP! makes this zine and describes it as a feminist bike zine, and it is everything that phrase can possibly imply. Within are such diverse and useful contributions as tips on commuting, a smoothie recipe I can’t wait to try, a list of bicycle equality organizations, and an article about getting the most out of your sweat. It’s an enjoyable, educational, empowering read—what more could you want? 40 pages, quarter-size, $2 from damesonframes@gmail.com. 

Echo! Echo! #6

I traded zines with Kagey and she sent me several copies of Echo! Echo!. This one is my favorite. It’s a meandering series of vignettes, typewritten, with occasional illustrations. Beautiful pictures, beautiful words—the kind of zine that messes with my sense of time and makes me feel like the world is frozen as I read it. 24 pages, quarter-size, $2 from nerdturd@gmail.com.

Proof I Exist #10

Billy Da Bunny sent me this zine with the caveat that I review it with total honesty. So, with total honesty, this perzine is all the things I love about perzines. It’s 62 pages of computer-printed text and occasional lineart from a Robin Hood book, and the personal anecdotes are both interesting and entertaining. Billy writes about the search for a non-diamond engagement ring (my husband went through the same thing, as I object to diamonds on moral and aesthetic principle), his desire to make a film out of a dumpstered screenplay, the reasons he waited so long to get a cell phone, and much more, all in a warm, easygoing style. Quarter-size; contact Billy to get a copy through his We Make Zines profile

PACO #1: Nicknames

The very best perzines provide a window into an unfamiliar way of life, and that’s exactly what Silvia does in PACO #1. The theme of the issue is the nicknames she’s had throughout her life, and intertwined with all of them are her stories of growing up and anecdotes about her family. Reading about her relatives making tamales made me feel like I was present at someone else’s family get-together: awkward, but very welcome. 43 pages, half-size vertical, from ilovechebang@yahoo.com.

People want everything they possess to be a shield to protect them.

Our Bones Are Free, and They Want to Escape From Our Bodies (Zine Scene class at Malcolm Shabazz City High School, November 2006)

Hole: A Half-Assed Guide to Pinhole Photography

There’s nothing half-assed about this zine. Janice Flux has assembled a thorough primer on a beautifully simple form of photography with roots in classical art (the camera obscura was used by painters from the Renaissance on to project images onto canvas for tracing purposes). From constructing a camera out of readily available materials to developing negatives and printing positives in your own dark room, directions are exhaustive but never overly technical. There’s even a cheat sheet for calculating exposure at the back, and Janice’s own beautiful photography is scattered throughout. 28 pages, half-size, $1 from Janice Flux, PO Box 1607, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1607.

Ollyollyoxenfree #3

This is one of the best zine concepts I’ve ever seen. Ollyollyoxenfree is a DIY game zine, and this issue includes instructions for such pastimes as Deathbox, Moose, and Punk Like Crazy. They’re conveniently arranged in alphabetical order and the layout is classic typewriter cut & paste with some hand-drawn illustrations and some clipart. I want to own every issue of this zine. 28 pages, quarter-size, $1 through Ollyollyoxenfree! 127 Pope St. Louisville, KY 40206.

The La-La Theory #6: Always Already

Katie loves words, and she’s very good at using them. Packed into these 27 computer text-heavy pages (with handwritten notes in the margins) are ruminations on found poetry, etymological information about interesting words, hilarious reviews of vintage books, and a fascinating interview with a woman who adapts Japanese manga for English-speaking audiences (a task that goes far beyond mere translation). Katie’s writing style is didactic, but free of conceit, and always warm and friendly. E-mail katie@thelalatheory.com to get a copy.