Friday, June 11, 2010

#10 - I'm back!

Hey everyone! I know it's been a while. April and May were two crazy months with a lot of crazy shit happening, but I'm back, and I'm planning on posting once a week from now on as long as I have zines to review. Which is where you come in! So if you want me to review your zine, send it to me! (After reading zine submission guidelines, which will save us both a hassle)

Janell Hoong

I was intrigued by the looks of this zine when I got it in the mail from a girl named Janell - who lives all the way in Singapore. I loveloveLOVE it when people spend the time to make a zine attractive looking. Too many times do I shake my head after seeing zines with extremely uneven and crooked pages. Clearly, love was put into all 54 pages of this one, especially the cover. The content, however clever at times, lacked flow and interest a lot. It’s a definition of a per-zine: thoughts, ideas, stuff floating around in your head at the end of the day that nobody cares about but you messily scrawled on paper without thinking. I think people who like per-zines often enjoy ones that have a certain theme they can relate to - this one reads like a diary: rambly and all over the place. I’m going to keep it though, instead of donating it to the zine library, purely because of aesthetics.

Amber Forrester / Jane Boston / janeboston at gmail dot com

CS21: It’s no secret that I love Amber and her zines, and this is no exception. Amber talks about staying positive, and provides lots of lists like, “bands I can’t stop listening to,” “current obsessions,” and “words that make me swoon.” I really enjoyed the piece on funny/interesting things about the French language, a) because I’m French and b) I love etymology and language in general. And obviously there is a lot of vintage imagery, plus hand-coloured covers! Then she closes the zine with some zine reviews and it goes on to the other half.
SH11: I get really excited when people make artsy zines using their own photography and things for collage. Sometimes I feel uninspired with all the stolen imagery zinesters use, it feels impersonal and ripped-off. It’s so much better to use your own stuff, definitely more interesting and authentic from an artistic standpoint. Jane uses exposures from her Fuji Instax Mini (which I also have!) and photos from her Fisheye cam while also providing lists, some with the same titles as Amber’s.

Both zinesters include recipes. I really like this zine - even though they both have clearly different styles, they go together in one zine nicely.

Teri Vlassopoulos
teri.vlassopoulos at gmail dot com

I liked the first part of this zine, double spaced and typed in Times (a typeface I can live without, but oh well). It talks about growing cities, noise abatement, paying attention to your surroundings (CEMENT). Beautifully written, really, it kept me reading onto the recipes (FLOUR) and then ... a story about religious statues and saints (SAINTS), which I’m really not into considering I’m strongly atheist, so I feel it would be ignorant of me to give a strong opinion. It was well written though, and I’m sure those of religious sorts would appreciate it more.

Taryn Hipp

I like Taryn. I like her blog. She is on my Facebook, and I think she’s a nice girl. Super cute, too. She sent me this zine a while ago in hopes I’d review it, so here it is! Better late than never maybe?
I don’t like to normally review zines like this because its rather depressing and I try to stick to positive type zines that make me feel good. I once heard someone say that writing about anything can be good if it’s written well, and that’s what I thought of when I first read this. It’s sad but also honest, heart-felt, and very real. I felt it was sometimes over-dramatic, but excusable (it’s a zine, right? Everyone gets a bit of lee-way). Some of the things she writes about are potatoes and cabbage, being young, being dramatic, bad-ass girls, body hate, coping with her father’s dead after 9 years, and mentions of Johnny Cash and Courtney Love. One thing I want to say though, and EVERYONE should take note: there isn't a single reason out there to use a script typeface for a zine! This one was really hard on the eyes. Perhaps a slab-serif would have been better. I’d definitely want to read other issues though. **NOTE: Titles were written in script, not the whole thing.**


  1. Thanks for the review! Just thought I'd better note, since it was mentioned that some of Jane's lists have the same titles as mine - she came up with 'em first.

    When it comes to layouts, obviously I'm a huge fan of vintage imagery, collages, et cetera. I also enjoy zines that are entirely full of the author's art / photography, though I don't see how "stolen" imagery can feel impersonal and ripped off. It's all in what you do with it. Yeah, I've seen a few zines where the clippings were clearly pulled straight out of a recent issue of Seventeen and that's boring as fuck, but I think that the things people create with found pieces of magazines / art / whatever are one of the best parts of zines. Not every writer can be a photographer / painter / what-have-you, too.

  2. I agree that sometimes, it can be really awesome. I used to do that all the time when I made zines too. Once I started going to school though and we HAD to use all our own stuff, and they lectured us about copyright infringement and whatnot, it made me realize how bad it is to steal people's photography/artwork even if it's jsut for zines. Some zines give people credit at least, but how often do you see that? If I saw a zine with my art or photos in it, I'd be kind of pissed, especially with my art. Collage is an exception because it's not copyright infringement if you take pieces of things and make it into something new that is YOURS. We all know zinesters don't make money off zines really, hell most of us have barely ever broken even, so it's not really about profit per say. It's about taking work that isn't yours and using it for your own projects and goals when they probably have no idea and don't get a chance to approve/disapprove of how their work is being used. Also I'm aware that a lot of people don't think about it, me and my friends didn't when we were younger and made shitty teenage angst filled zines all the time. But I do think it's important to acknowledge, and for zinesters to be aware of and think about.

    I know not every writer is a photographer/painter/whatever as well, and that's why this happens. This is just one side of the story.

  3. Well, there's a difference between stealing work from an artist and simply collecting found objects. Though there is usually no malicious intent in either. It's not something I worry about since I'm usually using vintage books and magazines, but I can't imagine that a situation like you're describing actually happens that often.

    Obviously reviews are based entirely on taste, and if you don't like a zine, you don't like it and that's okay. But I don't know, I feel like you missed the mark on these ones. It seems like you're totally obsessed with the aesthetics and missing the nuances of the written word entirely - especially in the case of Cement, Flour, Saints (which I think I can safely say is one of the best zines I've ever read - and no, I don't believe in God. That's not really what that section is about). Don't let being an art student turn you into a pretentious art zinester. Or if you prefer aesthetics, then perhaps you shouldn't be soliciting perzines. Likewise, I hope you won't let being an atheist blind you from certain beauties in the world.

  4. Thanks for your input Amber. It has spawned me to think about a few things I didn't think about before. I will keep these things in mind for future reviews.

  5. No worries, these reviews got me to thinking and I thought I'd write about it. Take care!