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13 March 2011

Read All About ABQ Zine Culture!

Samantha Anne Carrillo

Zine culture in Albuquerque is alive and, well, kickin'. Grenville Zuzax, the pseudonymous author of the forthcoming ABQ zine WIRES!, has generously allowed Things in Light to publish a preview of the zine reviews he will publish in the first issue, which will be available soon at hip spots around Albuquerque or through its author, at wireszine@gmail.com. After you've finished reading Zuzax's reviews, you will be hungry for more. So, ink in Cellar Door Gifts & Gallery's third zine reading event -- Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m. -- on your calendar. RSVP here.

ABQ Lost. According to its recent second issue or “supplement,” ABQ Lost is an entity dedicated to investigating the secret psychic histories of this region. ...[O]ccasionally [it] strikes a deep vein of material that demands to be explored in detail. These are usually compiled into supplements such as the first one, published several years ago, which focused on the NM extreme Heavy Metal community.” I haven’t yet seen that first one, but the second is a nearly flawless gem — the collected writings of a truly original, extremely fascinating, and totally insane woman identified only as “S.C.,” writings found mostly in the 24-7 Mystery Media FREE(K) BOX. (That’s the repurposed newspaper box chained to a utility pole in the north-south alleyway between the 200 blocks of Cornell and Stanford; access it from Silver or Lead.) I’ve seen some of S.C.’s notes in there before, and I may have even glimpsed her once, but to really appreciate them I needed the context offered by this staplebound, half-size 36-page zine. I mean, the cumulative effect of all of this craziness is just staggering — nothing seemed normal to me anymore after reading it — neuronal pathways from Point A to Point B were rerouted from Point A over to Point SQF789S&@$%. The found selections are all presented with empathy, but the psychosis of it all is overwhelming — “Instructions for the Lord of the Rings,” including, “Go register your own birth at Chaco [C]anyon during the summer solstice with the Lord of the Rings to see what happens”; the Albuquerque exposé that “Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde Have a grave in the cemetery and they are not in it. They are From here. They were resurrected from the dead”; and a recipe for an herbal “Shot Gun Wound Dressing” involving more than three-dozen oils, barks, and roots. Get this. You can find it for only two dollars at Cellar Door Gifts and Gallery, or by writing to P.O. Box 40242, Albuquerque, NM 87196.

Advocate ABQ! Eight small pages long, this staple-bound little booklet lays out the case for aiding Albuquerque’s arts community, and then tells just how to do it, who to call, and who to write. Entirely hand-written and hand-drawn by, I’m assuming, a very cool person, Advocate ABQ! gives no contact information for its creator or any promise she’ll grace us with future publications, but it can be found tucked inside Daily Lobo newspaper boxes on UNM campus. Read it and obey.

Doomsayer’s Digest. The quarterly voice of Albuquerque’s “Subtlety or Force Encampment of Ordo Templi Orientis” — an organization which seems to owe more to Freemasonry and Gnostic Catholicism than to Satanism. Like Satanism, however, it claims to reject religion while preserving for itself all of religion’s tropes, prattling away with its own brand of mystical bullshit. The zine’s mission “is to continue the work of Aleister Crowely through academic analysis of occult topics including Magick, mysticism, hermeticism, yoga, Kaballah, and more.” Yeah, whatever. This is a full-page zine, about fifty pages to an issue, and it is just impenetrable. Oh, and some of the back issues hidden behind the counter at Burning Paradise have what appears to be dried blood on the covers, so, um, don’t buy those ones. Doomsayer’s Digest sells for five dollars an issue, and is available at Burning Paradise Video, Blue Eagle Books, and Noble Path Metaphysical Books; by mail from P.O. Box 40148, Albuquerque, NM 87196; and online at Sof-oto.org/dd.html.

ENJOY WELCOME NEW WORLD. This is a December 2010 one-off art zine with hand-drawn illustrations and almost no words. Printed on mostly blue paper with occasional lines of gold ink, and written by recent Portland, Oregon escapee Mark Billings, this is a quarter-sized mini-zine bound with some sort of glue, and it really is a trip. I think it’s a pretty cool attempt to blur and conflate Native Americans with people from India and the Far East (Indians); the foreign with the otherwordly (aliens); the Earth with the Americas (the New World); and the mythologies of globalism, Buddhism, and ancient Greece. It’s almost as if the subjects of Earth’s varied history and mythologies have been misunderstood and described by some sort of robotic extraterrestrial intelligence: “ENJOY NEW WORLD WELCOME...PROCESSION...PROCESSION,” it says. “FUTURE STATES THAT TO KNOW HER, NOW HIM, SANG IN UNION....” That was my impression of the zine anyway, and I bet I’m not too far off, because I just looked it up online, and at Gaitpublishing.com — an exciting new local zine distributor — I read that it’s a collection of “metalinguistic morphic non-local resonations transcribed into mind-exploding folkloric visions and bridges between dualities; a first attempt at an alien child's coloring book....” It’s a strange ride, with a definite build, and it’s three dollars well-spent if it’s the sort of thing you’re into. Pick one up at Cellar Door, or at Gait Publishing’s website.

The Handshake Drug. I have to give some credit to this zine’s creator, Jeffrey Hertz, for his obsessive insistence on just getting some zines out to Albuquerque. The Drug, as this zine refers to itself, mostly contains political poetry, and is distributed illicitly through the pick-up boxes of the Daily Lobo, UNM’s campus newspaper, and handed out in person on UNM campus by its author, who has the interesting philosophy that the zine will matter more to people if it’s delivered in person with a handshake. Personally, I prefer the mystery of finding things left in alleys and on busses, but hey, whatever, variety. The zine is tiny, with only one staple, but it currently comes out weekly, and has already inspired other zines to use the Lobo boxes in the same way. For more information, or to contribute, send an e-mail to gatewaydrug1@gmail.com.

Meconium. This is a large zine, staplebound on legal-sized paper, but it is incredibly minimalist — page after page of darkness barely splotched with white, or inscribed with a poem, or haunted by a photocopied photograph. Don’t come to this zine expecting plot, laughs, or dynamic motion, but do approach it for a fulfilling visual experiment in tone and feeling — for an art film in zine form. Made by D. Brigman of Featherspines, the awesome local microlabel, Meconium can be purchased for six dollars at Cellar Door, or by calling or e-mailing its creator at (505) 238-2181 or dbrigman.featherspines@gmail.com.

MODOM. This one is everyone’s zine, and it is completely unlike anything else. “All sentient beings are encouraged to participate,” says Jake Berry in MODOM #932.615¼. “If you want to do an issue of MODOM all you have to do is write the word MODOM in capital letters on an object, publication, building, street, WHATEVER, and assign it a number above 50. ...Then send a letter to [MODOM, P.O. Box 3112, Florence, AL 35630] documenting your MODOM.... ...Include a description of your MODOM, and the number you assign it, and your name (if you wish). ...Simply record each one & send documentation...no deadline — MODOM never stops.” MODOM began in Alabama, but at least a couple of different MODOMs have been circulating around Albuquerque lately, and you can and should, of course, make your own. This zine description has been MODOM #501-F.

Nightly Noodle Monthly. This is a fun and incredibly eye-pleasing little monthly zine, full of art and collage, music and quirky humor. Unstapled and typically only eight pages long, this zine makes me feel good. It does, because the effort put into every page is apparent and undeniable, and the impression it produces is an inviting one. The Noodle is the attractively twisted offspring of local Renaissance woman Eva Avenue, and it needs to be seen to be believed. The zine is sometimes available for fifty cents at Newsland Bookstore and at Cellar Door Gifts and Gallery, or try sending an e-mail to lunaticstudios@gmail.com. October’s “Special Death Issue” is especially entertaining and recommended.

Now What? This is a monthly “journal comic,” drawn by Soto, a talented cartoonist who doesn’t seem to ever do very much...but who documents his mostly eventless existence with one three-paneled comic strip every day, and then compiles every month’s worth into an issue of this zine. While I can’t help but wish the guy would go out and do something, anything, besides just play video games and watch movies, I still happily read every issue I can find, because it’s typically very funny and always engaging. My favorite running joke in this zine is how whenever Soto goes to work, the panel just says “Work” — because what else is there to be said? “Work.” “Work.” Now What? is as free as zines should be, and seems to turn up all over town — at Lobo Anime and Comics (by the door), at The Wooden Cow Gallery, and in the 24-7 Mystery Media FREE(K) BOX. And if you still can’t find it, e-mail cybersoto@gmail.com.

Proof I Exist. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I love this zine. I want to get to know Billy, the guy who writes it, and just hang out with him all day and all night every day of the week. We will be best friends, forever. ...Oh the times we will have! Seriously, this zine is just great. It began in Chicago, which is apparently a fairly large town somewhere in the American Midwest (near one of the Great Lakes), but as of issue #12, Proof I Exist is now based in Sandia Park, just east of Albuquerque. Call it a zine, or call it a novella, because this thing is substantial. ...And divided into chapters. Over the course of 44 single-spaced typewritten pages, issue #12 tells the story of its author’s move from Chicago to Sandia Park, and if you don’t like the guy by the time you finish reading this — and you will finish reading it, because it’s compulsively readable — then I’d say you’re doing it wrong. (Maximumrocknroll reviewed Issue #12 recently, and they agreed.) Issue #13 is cool as well, but with tons of personal artistic touches, taking the price up to eight dollars. Billy obviously put a lot of himself into this issue, because there it is, on the first page, a lot of him, a small plastic bag of his pubic hair! AHH! WHY?! I don’t know, but please don’t let it scare you away from this terrific, must-read zine. Pick up a copy at Astro-Zombies, Burning Paradise Video, or Cellar Door Gifts and Gallery; send three dollars to Billy for a regular issue at 318C Frost Road, Sandia Park, NM 87047; or e-mail him at Iknowbilly@gmail.com.

String. This is a cleanly produced and elegant comics zine, compiling “a cross-section of self-published comics from members of New Mexico’s 7000 B.C.,” a regional comic book publisher. Issues are one dollar apiece, and serve as a nice introduction to comics being made right here in-state. String can be found at Astro-Zombies, Lobo Anime and Comics, and many other local comic stores as well. It can also be found online, at 7000BC.org.

Subjective Matters. In the first draft of my review of this half-size, staple-bound publication, I wrote that the first issue of this zine was “a generally entertaining ego trip of a read, with photos by Jeffrey Hertz, editorials by Jeffrey Hertz, poems by Jeffrey Hertz, and even an interview with Jeffrey Hertz.” Since writing that, however, I found out that this isn’t actually Jeffrey Hertz’s zine, it’s his friend’s, a friend I can only assume is stalking him. “Hey, I’ve got an idea for a zine!,” I assume this friend once said. “It’s all about my friend, Jeffrey Hertz, and he’ll write all the content!” I joke, but I do look forward to watching this zine evolve, as it’s open to submissions of any sort from anyone. Pick up a copy for one dollar at Cellar Door — or for further information, or to contribute, send an e-mail to subjectivematters@gmail.com.

Toil. This zine is another recent transplant, formerly of Sacramento, California, now of Albuquerque as of its third issue. As its name suggests, it seems to deal primarily with the working life in all its squalor and glory. Every issue chooses a specific theme, with the third issue’s being “Travel for Work and Relocation.” This is a substantial, well-made zine with multiple contributors and a typically high page-count; some of the stories it features are hilarious, and sometimes they’re astounding — I read one in it about a woman’s sexual harassment at the hands of a mentally ill supervisor at a Halloween store at the mall and the story was just unforgettable. I like this zine a lot, and consider it a great addition to the local zine scene. Copies are often available for two dollars apiece at Burning Paradise, Astro-Zombies, and through its editor, Kimberlee Esguerra, at 1807 Silver Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106. You can also e-mail her at powerofpaper@gmail.com; or check out the zine’s online presence at myspace.com/yeswithmayo.

The Rag. The Rag is not just our city’s longest-running poetry zine, it’s practically an institution, currently on its 150th free monthly issue. The Rag, a single-sheet, tri-folded, brochure-style publication can be found in displays at every other used bookstore in town — Bird Song has it for sure, as does Acequia Booksellers, Page One Bookstore, and many other places. The poems are often political, often beautiful...sometimes forgettable, but rarely just bad. You can also contact The Rag, to submit poems, or to order a fifteen-dollar annual subscription, at theragabq@yahoo.com, or through Karin Bradberry, 11322 Campo del Sol NE, Albuquerque, NM 87123.

What We Don’t Know. This is a one-off, a half-sized, staple-bound, mostly-collaged group zine made by sixteen different Albuquerque locals at a December 2010 zine-making party. It’s a pretty random assortment with no easily discernible common theme, but it’s kind of an interesting read. My favorite parts are the hand-drawn page about some sort of mythical warriors doing battle with evil doctors and hospitals who put “poison...in your blood” and “kill your babies! And make you pay them” — so, that, that part’s neat — and then the collage of a dead-eyed, unsettlingly muscular Gumby proclaiming to a giant brain and two eclipse-viewing young boys that “Teams of robots might someday be sent / into a village to flush out terrorists.” You might still be able to pick up a free copy of this zine at Cellar Door, or better yet, next time you’re with a cool group of friends, suggest making a group zine of your own. Put together a page or two apiece, and then parade on down to the copy shop. It’s easy! And fun! I was there for the creation of this one, and I wish I’d thought of this concept years ago. And if you do make one, please consider sending me a copy to review.

Wig Wam Bam. Now this is it. This is the one. Captain America’s Wig Wam Bam is the classic (and still-happening) Albuquerque zine. It’s the one that directly inspired the one you’re reading right now, and it’s been around in some form or another since 1998. Comprised mostly of local concert reviews written by knowledgeable, enthusiastic, funny people — mainly by Captain America, but with some help from contributors — Wig Wam Bam also contains local album and single reviews, deftly placed clip art, and the occasional comic, and I can think of no more enjoyable local zine experience than to pick up a copy of this and tear through it from cover to cover. Issue #93 just came out, and frankly, it’s a joy. I can no longer imagine local youth culture without Wig Wam Bam, nor do I want to. Copies, bound with one staple along the folded side, are usually available at the Kosmos, a.k.a. the best place in town, but also at the Launchpad sometimes, the Silver Board Shop, Natural Sound, Free Radicals Clothing & Accessories, Burt’s Tiki Lounge, and elsewhere. Contact Captain America at captainamerica1941@hotmail.com; see most of the zine online at Thewigwambam.com; or send mail to P.O. Box 4865, Albuquerque, NM 87196. Don’t miss this one, don’t miss this one, don’t miss this one,don’t miss this one.

An Underground Guide to Albuquerque. When I showed my friend Lisa this recently, she disdainfully said, “That’s not a zine,” and I suppose that case could be made, because it is such a slickly produced, beautiful, book-bound object d’art. This free annual underground directory really is gorgeous, with clean, dark, block-print-style lines and artwork throughout, a great sense of humor, and a ton of great leads written by people who actually live here and even kind of like it. An Alibireader poll recently ranked this as Albuquerque’s third best zine — so see, Lisa, it’s a zine, readers of an alternative weekly newspaper say so! — with The Nightly Noodle Monthly ranking second and Wig Wam Bam placing first. The back matter in this is also a lot of fun, with activities, art and comics, and even (in the 2010 issue) a paper doll of Don Schrader, our local urine-drinking semi-nudist icon. Pick up a copy at Birdsong Books (on those excellent front and back tables of theirs), find them on Facebook, or check them out online at Gourmetbooks.com. They only print 2,500 copies a year, so don’t dally in finding one.

-8 850 Sport. This zine, named here by me for what’s stamped on its cover, is about as local as a zine can get. This thing is hyperlocal. I mean...there’s only one copy of it. My friend Ian found this in alleyway last year and passed it on to me, and I plan to pass it on to someone else. Bound with two metal rings, its pages are license plates cut in half, with old photos, magazine words, a lace doily, frames, maps, pocket games, matchbooks, rusting metal, nails, and even a Scrabble tile glued to its pages. These items in turn are painted over and drawn on, and the whole thing is just one of the coolest art pieces ever, with the added charm of being really mysterious. Who made it? Where is it from? What does it all mean? Hell if I know! I have no idea! There’s a signature on the inside of the back cover — “P. Eula,” it might say, though I’m not sure. Ask me nicely sometime, and if I haven’t already left it in the FREE(K) BOX, I’ll pass it onto you, if you’ll promise to do the same to someone else and to keep it local. Be warned though, it’s dangerous — sharp-edged and jagged — art that can actually make you bleed. Art! It’s not as dangerous as my planned zine bound in taped-together used syringes I dug out from the dumpster behind a methadone clinic, but still, it is kind of sharp.

Samantha Anne Carrillo / a fifth-wave feminist from the fourth estate | a burqueña | a ladyboss | a writer + editor

I am a fifth-wave feminist and a reluctant member⸺hey, Groucho knew whereof he quipped⸺of both the fourth estate and the gig economy. I am an Albuquerque-based freelance writer, editor and social media marketing and branding+PR consultant. I remain an observant ’90s riot grrrl and a devout practitioner of halfhearted yoga posturing and zen and the art of the sentence diagram.


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