Zine recommendations from Ms. Valerie Park Distro

Based in Portland, Or. and Olympia, Wa., Ms. Valerie Park Distro is run by Joshua James, Chask’e Lindgren, and a small group of friends. Their sizeable catalog includes artists, writers, zinesters, musicians, and small record labels from around the Northwest.  They suggested we check out….
What: Cometbus #55
Where I got it: Orca Books in Olympia, Wa.
Why I recommend it: I’ll say first off that I’ve never been a huge Cometbus fan. I’ve always liked it but never loved it. I picked it up when I was visiting my old stomping grounds of Olympia and saw it on the shelves at my old work. The only initial reason was that I hadn’t read an issue in a while. The next day I got an email from a friend in Louisville, asking if I’d read it. The synchronicity of this piqued my interest, so I started in and couldn’t stop. It was such an engaging look at aging in DIY communities. I’ve passed my copy around and recommended it a lot in the couple months since and it’s been fascinating to see how people react to it. Everybody takes away something different. While I was inspired by it and excited to grow older, another friend was depressed by it. While one friend wanted to argue about the intricacies of it, another just saw it as a great story. Definitely one for those that love a good literary zine and want to start a conversation.

Other places to get it: http://www.portlandbuttonworks.com/store/cometbus-55-pen-pals


Zine Workshop at Pop Hop

Wednesday, June 6 at 6:30 pm

The original LA Zine Fest organizers bring their mad zine making skills to the table at Pop-Hop. Their zine enthusiasm will help tease your words onto the page, then walk you through the process of putting that work into book form.

You’ll gain two things from this workshop: one, the knowledge of how to fold you own eight-page zine, and two, a finished zine made by you! Materials and a bit of direction will be provided, though you are welcome to bring your own (materials and direction). We’ll also have a traveling zine library on hand for workshoppers to peruse and be inspired by.

Bring a zine to share if you’ve made one before. Or just bring a desire to start!

$5 in advance / $8 at the door

We’re very excited to be working with Pop Hop on this and we hope you’ll come and join us!  You can register for the workshop here.

Print Fest is coming!!

I really love that poster.

“The Riverside DIY Printfest is gonna be all up in your business with some fantastical zines, readings and radicalness.  This is a FREE, all ages event, so you have no excuse not to join in the shenanigans,” say organizers Angela, Annie, Alicia, and Elliot. 

Presenters like She’s Not A Morning PersonQueer Youth Visibility ProjectOMG Cow: A Comic Diary, HowdiedoodieCutie, No Girls Allowed Records, Powers of Jen, Buyindiecomics.com, Double FurZineworks (representing the queer zine scene), Bitch KingBlood Orange Infoshop Distro, Nik ManikatosMammal Chupie, and Plastic Water are confirmed, with more to come!

There will also be a display of original zines from Raymond Pettibon–Tripping Corpse #2 and #3, Freud’s Universe, Virgin Fears,  Capricious Missives, A New Wave of Violence, My Struggle for Life After Death, Other Christs, Asbestos, Captive Chains.

KUCR will be doing live screenprinting, and there will be a massive zine workshop by Zineworks, plus live readings!  (See Print Fest’s Facebook page for information on being a part of their live readings.)

Over at Double Fur Press, Victor and RDPF organizer Elliot make a convincing argument for attending.

This is the third year the print fest is happening and it’s a really cool to see something like this, especially in the Inland area. The past couple years we’ve met people from all over Southern California, and also ran into some people at L.A. Zine Fest that we met at last year’s Riverside Print Fest. I’m looking forward in seeing stuff from Queer Youth Visibility Project and No Girls Allowed Records, and readings from Sylvia (The Doktor is In) and Angela Chaos (Bitch King). We’re just happy to be a part of another nexus of creative people who are into zines and print art.

For more info or to see presenter profiles, go to DIYPRINT.org


Riverside DIY Print Fest
Blood Orange Infoshop
Basement of the Life Arts Buidling
3485 University Avenue
Riverside CA 92501

Rainy day occupations

How to Keep Your Husband Happy

I wish I had it committed to memory (and someone out there probably does and they’re welcome to correct me), but there’s this quote from Doris where she says that it’s our responsibility to teach ourselves the things that we never learned.   I think about it a lot, usually when I’m trying to work up the energy to read a book that’s challenging or when consoling myself after making expensive mistakes in the kitchen. But mostly, I think about how it’s our jobs to teach ourselves, sure, but that we don’t necessarily have to do it alone.  In fact, it’s almost always better if someone helps you learn.

One of the biggest advantages of DIY is that it is essentially both solitary and communal–Do It Yourself ends up being Do It Ourselves (or, as FMLY says, Do It Together) as we use our projects to connect with others and share ideas.   Two exciting organizations that really embody this community-based approach to learning are DIY Grad School and The Public School.  The Public School is currently having a series that is for people who are taking a class through Open Course Ware from MIT, which adds a nice, social element to what might otherwise be a pretty lonely online course.

It’s raining in L.A. and it will be all weekend.  Maybe I’ll tap into some of these resources.

Watts Towers Today

Watts Towers

“I wanted to do something big and I did it.”

Simon Rodia (from the official Watts Towers site)

The Watts Towers, besides being an amazing feat of architectural design,  are all the more incredible because they were created by Simon “Sam” Rodia –a man who was a seasoned construction worker, but not a trained architect–over 50 years ago and are still standing today.  It took Rodia 34 years to complete this project, working alone without robots or Caterpillar backhoes, but the consensus is that it was time well spent.  The complete backstory and videos of the Towers and Rodia are available on the official Watts Towers site.

Back in 2011, the LACMA partnered with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the city of L.A. to work toward preserving the Towers.  This influx of cash and support was timely and necessary.  Beyond that, LACMA’s partnership made a strong move toward uniting the arts community in L.A. and brought higher visibility to this often-overlooked landmark.

LACMA recently interviewed Dominique Moody, an artist who works right next door to the Towers, about what it’s like to live, work and be inspired by the Towers and the community surrounding them. This interview offers more evidence that many of the things we want in L.A. might already be here, hidden in the open, waiting for us to go discover them.

Thanks to @ElRandomHero for bringing this great interview to our attention!


Front door (Watts Towers)

DIY Magic

I think that magic, when done well, is an art because, like art, a magic trick (illusion?) is something that someone worked really hard to make in order to amaze you.  But like art, magic is something that you can also do for yourself.  Why allow warlocks and hags to have all the fun?

DIY Magic is a collection in book form that seeks to answer from all angles the question, “What is magic?”  The answer so far is that the things we define or look to as magic can in fact be distilled into a central experience: “a state where the mind lets go of the normal way of being and is opened up to an experience of existence as a whole that is bigger and without time. These states are all really different forms of the same thing, or if not the precisely the same thing, then near and adjacent territories in a realm that lies parallel to this one, reachable by many means.”

These are not quarters-from-behind-your-ears tricks your uncle would do–unless your uncle is really, really cool.  Expect this book of “advanced self-psychology” to contain over 40 black and white illustrations by artists such as Tommi Musturi (above), Farel Dalrymple, Maureen Gubia, and Pete Toms.

The author, Anthony Alvarado, is a writer/poet who’s written numerous chapbooks of poetry and experimental writing, but you should definitely read his articles for Arthur Magazine that inspired this book.  They include, but are not limited to an interview with an anarcho-primitivist and instructions on making your own sensory deprivation tank using a ping-pong ball and some household items.  Order DIY Magic here.

L.A. Zine Fest brings you Silkscreen Social!

Tomorrow night at Home Room, the organizers of the L.A. Zine Fest will be silkscreening their poster art onto your t-shirts and fabric surfaces.  This is a BYOT-shirt event:  you bring the clothing, we bring the paint–hey, we just collaborated!


There will be live music by Annah Anti-palindrome and On a Clear Day (split set), Gibbons and the Sluts, and a set by DJ Snack Wrap.

RSVP or else! 



Getting To Know Your Local Zinesters: Shaddy Zeineddine & Walt! Gorecki

Shaddy Zeineddine & Walt! Gorecki
Home Room

What was your first zine about and when was it made?
Walt!: I guess the first zine I took seriously was “Fillin’ yr hole with Werewolves” last year. But I’ve been making comics and booklets for a really long time now. The first one I made multiples of to sell was a screen printed booklet called “Cannibals in Love,” in 2005.

Shaddy: My first zine was titled “Connotation”, it was an anthology of my friends and my own work. I self-published about 50 copies it in the summer of 2005, each with unique hand-made cover-art.

Describe your most recent zine. 
Walt!: My most recent zine is “Fillin’ yr hole with Werewolves too: starring Jason Bateman.” It’s all about werewolves, from a variety of artists, and it’s meant to fill that empty hole in your heart that results from a lack of werewolves in daily life.

Shaddy: My most recent zine is an essay I wrote promoting Urban Farming. I published the first copy in spring 2011.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?
Walt!: Home Room of course!

Shaddy: Home Room? haha

Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
Walt!: One, EC Comics – the old Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror comics had the best gruesome artwork, and cheesiest puns, they were the best! My dad had quite a collection, so I was reading these when most kids were listening to Raffi or reading The Hungry Caterpillar. Two, Rocky Horror Picture Show – I haven’t been into this for a while, but it got me interested in live theatre, glam rock, queer culture, and over-the-top cult cheese since I first saw it when I was around 8. I used to even perform in a cast in my younger days. All of that still feeds into the major artistic productions I work on today. Three, Oingo Boingo – sonically brilliant, but they also had a great live show that was turned into the film Forbidden Zone. They were masters of taking elements of early jazz culture, classic cartoons, and punk and new wave rock, and making it their own.

Shaddy: Bill Hicks, Stephin Merrit, and Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). As a dark, dramatic, and emotional person, these masters of comedy helped me better understand myself and develop new perspectives and ways of expressing myself more clearly through humor.

What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
Walt!: The only time I’m not creating is when I sleep. I hate that I have to sleep.

Shaddy: Almost all of the free time I used to have is now devoted to Home Room, but I still make some time to spend quality time with my close friends and family. Everything I do is made possible with their love and support. Even when they drive me nuts, I understand I could never survive nor would I want to live in a world without them.