Reglar Wiglar


EVEN More Book and Zine Reviews

By Chris Auman

Shut Up & Love the Rain Robnoxious

Shut Up & Love the Rain

Robnoxious

[Microcosm Publishing]

Zinester, comic artist, blogger and sex-positive queer activist, Robnoxious produced this zine/comic hybrid that deals with his path towards discovering his sexuality. From childhood experimental encounters through his first homo- and heterosexual experiences, Rob presents a pretty straightforward, honest assessment of his evolution into what he calls a "uber-healthy queerness". Rob also gives his own definition of what "queer" means to him, which is basically whatever he wants it to mean.

Shut Up & Love the Rain also features an interview Rob conducted with his parents about his father's coming out as transgendered. Heavy, right? You would think, but many times in these situations there is more collective relief than anger or confusion and that seems to be the case with Rob and his family. Just goes to show that a little honesty and communication can go a fuck of a long way in resolving any difficult situation.

So Raw It's Downright Filthy: A Raw Vegan Cookbook Joshua Ploeg

So Raw It's Downright Filthy: A Raw Vegan Cookbook

Joshua Ploeg

[Microcosm Publishing]

The last raw thing I ate was a raw radish, which was radically delicious, but other than that, I am not a vegan or a vegetarian and I am definitely not a rawcist. Therefore, there's a good chance that I will not be using any of the recipes in this zine cookbook. I like Joshua’s attitude though. Despite being a vegan/veg chef himself, he still likes to rib militant dieters, as he does in a short excerpt reprinted from his zine, A Chef's Tale: Strange Travelers Tales of Food, Sex, Random Occurrences & Other Culinary Disasters. If you’re a hard-liner, it doesn’t matter whether your hard line is politics, religion or vegetables, lighten up already! Whatever your diet dictates, many of the recipes in this zine sound pretty dang tasty: Curry Banana, Avocado Mousse and Plum Salad, etc. I do not agree, however, with the decision to include random black and white (black and pink actually) photos of things that are filthy, like the toilet on the cover. This is perhaps to tie in with the zine's title. Ok, I get it, but it's still kinda gross.

Zinester's Guide to NYC

Ayun Halliday

[Microcosm Publishing]

The Zinester’s Guide to New York City is the second installment of such handy guides published by Microcosm (the first being the Portland version). For this two-hundred and fifty plus page book, writer and zine publisher Ayun Halliday (East Village Inky) gathered contributions from dozens of writers and artists who offer up their choices of favorite restaurants, bars, live music venues, parks, and special events in NYC. Very useful and well-thought out with a handy index section in the back of the book, although the section on public restrooms could be expanded, perhaps with a map and a star rating system.... anyway, just a suggestion. Illustrated and informative whether you are a New Yorker or just passing through. Includes artwork and writing from Liz Baillie, Carrie McNinch, Heath Row and many, many others.

Hurt: Notes on Torture in a Modern Democracy

Hurt: Notes on Torture in a Modern Democracy

Kristian Williams

[Microcosm Publishing]

Hurt is a collection of writings by, and interviews with, Kristian Williams, a Portland-based activist who is the author of two books on state-sponsored violence; Our Enemies in Blue and American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination. The essays, interviews and observations in this book were written and published during, or shortly after, the Bush Administration’s turn at the War on Terror and the subject matter was not something that I was necessarily anxious to revisit.

Barefoot and in the Kitchen: Vegan Recipes for You

Barefoot and in the Kitchen: Vegan Recipes for You

Ashley Rowe

[Microcosm Publishing]

Instructive, informative, educative and other words that mean infotational, Ashley Rowe has given us an easy-to-follow cookbook that seeks to demystify veganism and make it more palatable to the public. Mission accomplished. Rowe's Barefoot and in the Kitchen cookbook lays forth recipes for the creation of delicious, animal-free entrées, salads, salsas and desserts. Also included are cooking tips, an ingredients primer, a handy glossary of cooking terms and comic illustrations.

NOTE: For safety reasons, Reglar Wiglar Magazine can not and does not condone cooking without proper protective footwear, however, we can endorse the recipes in this cookbook.

Homesweet Homegrown: How to Grow, Make, And Store Food, No Matter Where You Live Robyn Jasko

Homesweet Homegrown: How to Grow, Make, And Store Food, No Matter Where You Live

Robyn Jasko

[Microcosm Publishing]

The subtitle of this book sums up the content quite concisely: "How to Grow, Make and Store Food, No Matter Where You Live". What can I add except to say that it delivers on this stated purpose. And not only that, it does so in a well-organized and easy to read fashion. Ok, I haven’t put it to practical application yet, but I certainly could. Starting with seeds and seedlings through to planting, harvesting and using and preserving the fruits of your labor, Robyn Jasko schools the aspiring green-thumb on the how-to. She even gives us the why-for (page 9). There's instruction on how to make rain barrels, non-toxic bug sprays and baba ganouj and, as a bonus, the book looks great and is lovingly illustrated by fellow Pennsylvanian, Jenn Briggs. Whether you're growing on a window sill in the city or a wild garden plot in the country you now have no excuse to get planting. [homesweethomegrown.com]

Dwelling Portably #5 Bert & Holly Davis

Dwelling Portably #5

Bert & Holly Davis

[Microcosm Publishing]

Dwelling Portably is a bit of a turducken of sorts: it’s a zine, stuffed within a zine, stuffed within a zine with reprints of other, similar publications reprinted within its pages. That makes for a jam-packed, endlessly informative guide for people who choose to live on the fringes of society. It also makes for some fascinating reading for city folks like myself who enjoy the escapism of thinking about this type of nomadic lifestyle. The text starts about an inch down from the top of the front cover and doesn’t stop until about an inch up from the bottom of the back cover. In between you’ll find foraging techniques, tips on gardening, shelter building, best natural remedies, best camping sites and all manner of information on how to live sustainably and completely off the grid.

Unsinkable: How to Build Plywood Pontoons & Longtail Boat Motors Out of Scrap Robnoxious

Unsinkable: How to Build Plywood Pontoons & Longtail Boat Motors Out of Scrap

Robnoxious

[Microcosm Publishing]

Part Huckleberry Lewis and part Meriwether Finn, Unsinkable is a tale of life on the river—that river being the Mighty Mississippi and that life being a few months spent aboard the shanty boat Snowball. Now I knew punks lived on the streets and I knew punks lived out in the sticks. I knew punks hopped trains and crisscrossed the country like the hobos of yore, but it never, ever occurred to me that there were punks on America’s waterways. But there are and leave it to Robnoxious to provide me with an education on the subject.

The subtitle of the zine is "How to Build Plywood Pontoons & Longtail Boat Motors Out of Scrap” and Unsinkable is a bit of a how-to mixed with a travel diary (I’d say it’s about 90% travel to 10% how-to). I’m not a very technical person, I don’t build things out of other things, so I was more interested in the human side of the story.

The Flight of the Snowball, the journey itself started in Kansas City, Missouri and follows Robnoxious and friends, both human and canine, on a river voyage that ended in Caruthersville, MO. Floods, strong currents, and things that float off in the night were just a few of the hardships the crew of the Snowball had to contend with. Drinking, smoking, camping, chilling and letting the river set the pace provided the balance. It sounds like a soggy, muddy and sometimes dangerous good time.

Also included is a humorous article on the Asian Carp by Savannah who got caught in a fish mosh by this invasive species. The Asian Carp fearlessly fling themselves at the heads of unwary water travelers and as a result can do some serious damage to your cranium. Come on, Asian Carp! That kind of rude behavior is gonna get your ass on a Long John Silver’s menu, but probably under a different name and very heavily battered.

Zinester’s Guide to Portland

Zinester’s Guide to Portland

[Microcosm Publishing]

Never been to Portland—not Portland, Oregon, not Portland, Maine. I have watched five episodes of Portlandia, however. Does that count? Didn’t think so. If I ever do make it to the City of Roses (Portland, OR), I will surely be taking this guide with me.

The Zinester’s Guide to Portland was put together by zinesters, but you certainly don’t need to be a zinester to use it. It’s written for the “low/no budget” type of traveler, which is a category I fall into. Museums, thrift stores, record and book shops, restaurants, bakeries, video stores, pizza joints, watering holes, coffee and tea shops, parks and bridges are all listed, laid out by geographic location and neighborhood and explained. It’s a Portlandicopia of useful information complete with maps and illustrations. It really makes me want to jump on the next Empire Builder out of Chicago for a slice of Portland's Sizzle Pie pizza.

Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos #9 Robert Gauvinov

Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos #9

Robert Gauvinov

This is issue #9 of Robert Gauvinov's Les CarNets de Rastapoloulos zine and the second installment of the pen pal theme. I have not seen the first one, but the backstory is that when Robert was a teenager in Canada in the 1980s, he signed up to become a pen pal through a Communist youth magazine. Quicker than you can say Glasnost and Perestroika, Robert had dozens of pen pals from behind the Iron Curtain. In this issue of the zine, Rob reprints some of these letters with updates from the people who wrote them. This is a pretty fascinating concept and my only complaint is that this zine merely whets my appetite for more. I’d love to find out more about these people who grew up under Communist rule: what were their lives like then? And now? What sort of future did they see for themselves then and what do they see now? More, more, more. I'm greedy. More.

The Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook

The Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook

Dan Abbott & Corbett Redford, Edited by Jason Chandler

Microcosm Publishing]

Those living in the Bay Area may be familiar with the various antics, shenanigans and miscellaneous malarky instigated by the duo of Dan Abbott & Corbett Redford. In the guise of their alter ego band, Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits, this folk punk comedy band has been entertaining grown-up kids for over 15 years.

The Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook is a big fat collection of over 80 BJE tunes. While the book comes complete with chords and lyrics, it's not necessarily intended for the serious musician. It serves more as a memento for fans to remember the band by and also features trivia, pop quizzes, band pin-ups and assorted tips and treats. The book has been lovingly illustrated by a host of artists including Winston Smith, Mitch Clem, Cristy Road, Andy Warner, Keeli McCarthy, Petr Sorfa and many others. This is a great accompaniment to the actual BJE recordings for newbies and old fans alike. [ bobbyjoeebola.com]

Trans-Siberian Bart Schaneman

Trans-Siberian

Bart Schaneman

Pioneers Press]

Trans-Siberian is a travelogue in mini-zine form making it the perfect size for globe trotting. It’s literally a pocket book of stories and observations about Bart’s travels from Korea to Russia via China and Mongolia.

The story begins with Bart having just finished a job in Korea. He flies to Shanghai, moves onto Mongolia and finally reaches his destination in St. Petersburg, Russia, home of his great grandfather, a Russian of German origin. In and along this route, and in no particular order, Bart interacts with fellow travellers on trains and in bars and hostels. He eats local cuisine. He is warned to be wary of the Mongols. He goes on an intercity car race with Russian teenagers. He drinks the local booze, takes in the scenery and is oftentimes alone, under the stars with his thoughts.

The story begins with Bart having just finished a job in Korea. He flies to Shanghai, moves onto Mongolia and finally reaches his destination in St. Petersburg, Russia, home of his great grandfather, a Russian of German origin. In and along this route, and in no particular order, Bart interacts with fellow travellers on trains and in bars and hostels. He eats local cuisine. He is warned to be wary of the Mongols. He goes on an intercity car race with Russian teenagers. He drinks the local booze, takes in the scenery and is oftentimes alone, under the stars with his thoughts.

Bart’s writing is well-paced and moves quickly with him as he glides through the cities and countrysides of Asia. His journalistic chops are intact even as he keeps his writing on a very personal level which makes it interesting reading without being melodramatic.

The New Death & Others James Hutchings

The New Death & Others

James Hutchings

[ebook on Smashwords]

The New Death & Others is an e-book which collects forty-four stories and nineteen poems by James Hutchings. It’s what Hutchings himself describes as "dark fantasy" but containing "no sparkly vampires.” While there are a few vampires mentioned in the book, perhaps they do not qualify as “sparkly”. What New Death does contain is dozens of short (some very short) satirical tales, fairy tale parodies, creation stories, humorous legends and fantastic fables. There are also poems about cats, the moon and various Gods. Interesting, if not completely captivating and entertaining, if not enthrallingly so, The New Death seems like it was probably a lot of fun to create and possesses a certain charming sense of humor. I can't help but to wonder, however, if perhaps this collection wouldn't be better served as an illustrated book in printed form that could occupy a permanent space on a shelf or a table and be periodically returned to for a quick fix of fantasy, maybe with a cup of tea on a dark and gloomy day. One gets to wondering when one reads this sort of thing at any rate.

Manifesto #1 by Ed Tillman

Manifesto #1

Ed Tillman

This small (four-by-five-and-a-half inch) zine concerns itself with art. That is to say, fine art. Manifesto's introduction to the world starts with an accounting of a conversation among friends about what constitutes art. After the futility of that question is established, the rest of the zine features short snippets by various artists on a variety of art-related subjects.

"Polaroid” waxes nostalgic for the archaic camera and film. “Dirty Filthy Art” recommends good old preservative-filled white bread to clean up old paintings and “Plate Glass Observations” is people watching in an LA neighborhood through the window of a tiny Greek restaurant. If you're artistically inclined or merely artistically interested in art, this zine was made with you in mind.

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