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Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

Quick Zine Review: Aussie Oddness

You should sign up to receive the “slightly bizarre short rural fiction” of O Spaniel Murray. It’s free! Do check out the website to get a sense of what’s being offered — this page describes OSM’s complimentary snail-mail service — but all you have to do is email him:

As for the stories themselves, imagine The Thorn Birds (purely for the Australian setting) combined with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with a dash of noir from The Maltese Falcon.

Side note: I totally forgot about Malta until I read Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and then I was like, “Oh yeah, that’s an island somewhere, right?” Geographically clueless 2k14, probably 2k15, and all years preceding and following those two.

Zine(s) Review: My Complicated Relationship With Food, Volumes 1 & 2

I bought the second volume of My Complicated Relationship With Food at Pegasus Books in Berkeley. I made the purchase because I read the first few pages while standing up in front of the zine shelf, and I’m pretty sure that I snorted out loud. Usually when something causes me to laugh embarrassingly in public, I buy it.

Immediately after finishing the little booklet, I bought the first volume from Antiquated Future, along with the author’s short novel (memoir?) Love is Not Constantly Wondering if You’re Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life.

Based on these three publications, the writer is an astoundingly talented person, by which I mean that he is talented in an astounding way. He goes by Zach — just Zach, like Cher or Madonna — and has the best email address ever: If you read his stuff, expect a big dose of funny. The novella also has a big dose of sad. On the other hand, the food zines only made my eyes water from laughter.

My Complicated Relationship With Food zine

As the covers state, the zines consist of “Reviews of Some of the Things We Put in Our Mouths”. “Some” is a key word here because the zines do not contain reviews of Legos or genitalia. Zach expounds on various foods, loosely organized by categories like “Plants” and “Foods For Stress Eating”. The description of the latter section, found in the second volume, is what won me over entirely:

“Stress eating is awesome. Not feeling stressed in the first place would be better, but there is fuck-all chance of that happening. So instead I will happily take the option that allows me to better cope with despair AND tastes great. There are few things in life as win/win as stress eating.”

Do you remember that Louis CK bit about his daughter’s original joke? Louis CK’s reaction to the gorilla-ballet joke is how I feel about Zach’s opinion on stress-eating. It’s a new opinion. I am delighted by it.

The only complaint I can offer about My Complicated Relationship With Food, either volume, is that the interior font is tiny. Luckily my eyes are good enough to read it, but if the text were even slightly smaller, then I’d need to find a magnifying glass. I understand that small zines are cheaper to produce, but IMO ease of reading should always be a priority. Still, BUY THESE!

Zine Review: Witches & Sick Glitches

I traded zines with Felix Taylor (sagpunk on Tumblr) and he sent me Witches & Sick Glitches:

Witches & Sick Glitches zine by Felix Taylor

I really enjoyed this comic. I don’t want to give away too much about the story, but the plot involves shady websites, blood-dripping rituals, and subsequent mysterious occult happenings. Think Adventure Time meets Andromeda Klein in bold black-and-white. Not cheery Adventure Time, but one of the sinister episodes. I am excited to read the next installment of Witches & Sick Glitches!

Illustration: I Could Bring My Shame

The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images

I made a mini fanzine about The Weeknd. For those of you unfamiliar with the artist, this is how I described him in SPURNED:

“Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, is perpetually melancholy. He sings with tremulous vigor. He addresses themes that are common in rap and rock ‘n’ roll: money, drugs, sex. Identity-building through escape. ‘Bring your body, baby. I could bring you fame.’ Tesfaye’s groaning melodies evoke summer nostalgia, the queer ache for a better connection.”

During the past few months I have listened to a lot of The Weeknd’s music, over and over again. Naturally that made me want to produce art about him and his lyrics. I wasn’t pleased with the printed version of I Could Bring My Shame, so I decided it would work better as a blog post. The content is mostly drawings, but there is a written section.

The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images

11/22/2014, 10:56am

Last night I dreamed that I was at The Weeknd’s concert, probably one of the pair he did in San Francisco although the dream did not specify. It was a dream so it didn’t make proper sense. He was swaying to the music, not really performing, and in the dream I flashed to my mom and said, “Electro concerts are awkward because the artist just plays the recording.” My mom wasn’t there, in the blue-purple-grey smoke of the venue, but back in our muted limestone-tiled kitchen at home. The limestone is red-brown-orange. In the dream I could teleport but I didn’t think about it. It was time smooshed together, all the #snippets blending because of the pressure, the force applied.

Surely at his real concert, The Weeknd crooned into the mic and all the girls swooned. I swooned in my dream even though he was just lounging, just standing there really. His crazy hair was extending everywhere, growing up and away from him, leaving the stage and curling around the crowd. I’m lying; it didn’t happen like that in the dream. My awake self is making it up.

I don’t only exist on Thursdays, unfortunately. I looked at The Weeknd’s Instagram once and some girl commented on a random concert photo like, “Please love me, Abel! I promise I’ll only exist on Thursdays.” I was embarrassed on her behalf but I can be like that too. I’ve hit on at least one rapper via Twitter. It was pathetic. I think I deleted those posts but I’m not sure.

“Don’t make me make you fall in love. Don’t make me make you fall in love. Don’t make me make you fall in love with a [man] like me…” Okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you, but you’ve made me anyway, and you don’t really exist, not like I imagine you. I’m sorry.

He makes us all fall in love, all of us with self-esteem from Lana Del Rey lyrics. (“Dear Lord, when I get to heaven, please let me bring my man. When he comes, tell me that you’ll let him in. Father, tell me if you can.” I should have capitalized “heaven” but it wasn’t my first impulse.) Those two artists are linked in my head even though The Weeknd doesn’t sing about Lolita, I don’t think. Does he?

I’ll admit that I’m self-conscious. Who am I kidding? I always admit that. Okay, I’ll admit that I’m telling myself, “They thought they were going to read about The Weeknd but they’re reading your stream-of-consciousness trash diary about how lyrics mean too much to you. Lyrics mean too much to everyone. But we all know they’re writing about themselves, the goddam narcissist artists I love.” I mean, fucking Morrissey is the best sad-kid example, right? And he’s clearly writing about himself.

I only write about myself.

“Louis V bag. Tats on your arms. High-heeled shoes make you six feet tall. Everybody wants you; you can have them all. But I got what you need.” Six-inch heels bring me up to six feet…

The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images

Zine Review: The Average and Different Days #5

I traded with Mnon for issue #5 of her perzine The Average and Different Days, which you can buy inexpensively on Etsy. She also sent me On the Verge of Summer, a diminutive one-pager. Mnon writes that her latest perzine installment “deals with the need to be creative, scary phone calls,” and miscellaneous components of a French college girl’s mental health. (English isn’t Mnon’s first language, but the errors are only minor grammar blips. Her writing is easy to understand.)

The Average and Different Days #5 zine, plus On the Verge of Summer
Note: the pink is less saturated in person.

The Average and Different Days #5 zine

As you can see, The Average and Different Days is a traditional cut-and-paste typewritten zine. Pages are embellished with collage, illustration, and handwriting. Most of the text is Mnon’s charmingly candid reflections on her life. Also found within: a playlist, comparison of coffee versus tea, and plenty of references to Twin Peaks.

Mnon’s diary-style narrative conveys the stress of organizing an academic and professional future. She is open and honest about her struggle with anxiety, definitely willing to be vulnerable with strangers. I relate to Mnon’s description of the oddly stultifying panic that came with tackling a bureaucratic dilemma at her school (“scary phone calls”).

The zine’s subtext is that early adulthood involves growing pains, some provoked by obstacles that seem insurmountable. I would recommend The Average and Different Days #5 to angsty students and/or anyone who likes girly stuff (AKA exactly me).

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