Tag: zine

Ex Libris :: Michelle Pentland – Wandering Home #1


Have you wandered before? Taken your time to get home? Stopped to pet the cats along the way? Lingered to read bits of paper tacked to telephone poles? It’s not the destination that is important, but how you get there; the trip and what happens during it.

Wandering Home is based on a collection of journal entries Michelle Pentland wrote at the age of sixteen. Pentland matter of factly recounts the beauty and challenges discovered during the firsts of life – first trip across Canada, first apartment, first memories – reaching back into memory and pulling out the tiny details that make up our tiny lives – the smells, the sounds, and the good the bad feelings.

This quarter-sized zine’s gritty, grainy, and cut and paste aesthetic works journal entries and internal, reflective thought into an homage of the perzine form. Wandering Home is about being present during these wanders, taking those moments (heartwarming and heartbreaking) and experiencing them in earnest because these are the bits that make up the bigger bits of our lives.

This is just the first issue of many to come.

As-tu déjà erré? Pris ton temps en rentrant à la maison? Ralenti pour flatter les chats le long du trajet ou pour lire des feuilles agrafées sur les poteaux de téléphone? Ce n’est pas la destination qui compte, mais la façon de s’y rendre; le voyage et ce qui s’y passe.

Wandering Home est une collection d’entrées de journal que Michelle Pentland a écrites quand elle avait seize ans. Sur un ton neutre, elle raconte les défis et la beauté des premières — les premiers souvenirs, le premier appartement, le premier voyage à travers le Canada —, fouillant dans sa mémoire pour y puiser tous les petits détails qui composent nos petites vies — les sons, les odeurs, les bonnes émotions et les mauvaises.

Cette toute petite publication au fini granuleux et à l’apparence rapiécée transforme les textes et les pensées qui l’habitent en un hommage du style perzine. Lire Wandering Home, c’est être présent durant ces promenades, c’est prendre ces moments (qui réchauffent le cœur ou qui le brisent) et les vivre sincèrement, car ce sont tous ces petits morceaux qui composent en grande partie nos vies.

Ce n’est que le premier volume de plusieurs à venir.

Sanctum :: Pressed


Originally conceived as a “hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop,” Pressed quickly evolved into a hub for the Ottawa’s diverse arts community since opening in Nov. 2011. On any given night, you can expect to hear pummeling noise, tuneful folk and jazz and gleefully weird punk, psychedelia and more wafting from its windows at 750 Gladstone Ave. But you can’t just focus on music to get the breadth of Pressed. The restaurant hosts regular [poetry performances], and you’re just as likely to see a local literary event, zine party or craft fair as you are to see a band nestled in its organic wooden interior. We spoke to Pressed owner Jeff Stewart, as well as Lidija Rozitis, the venue’s booking manager (and a vocalist and guitarist in local bands Roberta Bondar and Blue Angel), to get a better understanding of this eclectic environment.


Pressed’s stage (photo by Yuko Inoue)


What do you feel Pressed’s appeal is? What makes it unique, and how do your acts contribute to that distinctiveness?

Lidija Rozitis: From a musical standpoint, I felt like there weren’t too many venues in Ottawa a few years ago. A lot of the shows I went to were at houses. In the last little while, however, I have seen a decline in house shows and more venues becoming established around the city (Gabba Hey, House of Targ, Mugshots, Cafe Alt). House shows are really nice though, and I think Pressed (sort of) imitates the cozy, intimate vibe of a house show … Bands are allowed to move furniture around to suit their musical set up, and there are couches and church pews to sit on. And the place smells like your grandma is making delicious smoked chicken! It’s small, and it’s cozy. It’s not a nightclub or fancy bar, but that’s what makes Pressed unique.


The restaurant during business hours (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


What does Pressed offer the spoken word community? How do you help give them a space?

Jeff Stewart: I think in a number of ways. First of all, we have standing events here that are spoken word and poetry related. We have artistic showcases hosted by (Ottawa poet) Brandon Wint. We have a Words to Live By series and then a Railroad Poetry series. Those three events appeal to different types of audiences, so I think just having standing events like that creates an association between the place and spoken word. I think the layout of the place and having the right sound, light and size for those types of events just creates an inviting nest for people to come and have their events.


Zine editor and writer Lily Pepper at the launch party for the YOW zine (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


You’ve also hosted a few Ottawa Zine-Offs and you have a zine rack. What about zine culture?

JS: I was open to the idea when (zine editor and writer Lily Pepper) approached me to have a zine rack here, and then I think, based on that, it became a bit of an anchor for zine culture. There were some people who wanted to have events here where they were creating zines and talking about zines and it seemed like a logical extension of that. I think that is something that has built a sort of community feeling. It’s sort of a grassroots feeling where you don’t always have a form of entertainment foisted on people as a developed, finished art form. It’s more people coming together and creating in a space in a more spontaneous, democratic kind of way.


Gloria Guns of Scary Bear Soundtrack performs at the YOW zine launch party (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


Why have such an eclectic line-up?

LR: There are a lot of amazing music venues that have opened up in Ottawa recently, so it’s somewhat limiting to book four piece rock bands for an entire month. We do have many bands playing at Pressed, but with that said, I also have been trying to book more and more diverse musical acts every month. Pat Moore hosts a weekly Bluegrass night, Tariq Anwar hosts a monthly Open Mic night, Brandon Wint puts on a great monthly spoken word and musical showcase, and there are many jazz, classical, and experimental musicians performing at the space. Even then, music isn’t the only art form requiring performance space. Because of the portability of tables and furniture at Pressed, the space can serve as both a sit down or standing venue. I think this versatility appeals to all types of artists, because the space serves whatever need you want it to. I try to book as many diverse types of events so that the space doesn’t become pigeon-holed as the venue to do one certain type of artistic thing, but rather continually seen as a space to do whatever you want.


The awning that shades Pressed’s small outdoor seating area (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


How would you like to see Pressed grow in the future?

JS: I think I’d just like to see us continue along the lines that we’re going along right now. I don’t want us to get too big or large-band oriented, because I like the community aspect of the things we do. I think we have a really nice balance right now of bands coming in from out of town, from promoters and local bands and acts, local spoken word and then grassroots types of events as well. I think I’d just like to continue to become more and more integrated with the community and be seen more and more as a community living room and play space, I think.

Ex Libris :: Freda Guttman – Conversations with Freda


Conversations with Freda compiles thoughts and reflections on a life invested in art and activism through the words and works of Freda Guttman. The text draws from personal experiences working on projects addressing various issues of social justice while also discussing deeper questions of participation, community, and the role of art and artists in society. That these are reflections from Montreal should not be lost on the reader, a city whose recent history of noise includes both dissonance and dissidence. The spirit of that community certainly influences how the relationship between the artist and society is thought of although this document only forms parts of the ongoing conversation. It is a beautifully screenprinted and inspiring document of sustained practise and belief in the power of art, as well as a jumping off point for further discussions on our relation to art, to society and to our separation or integration of the two.

Conversations with Freda rassemble — par les mots et les œuvres de Freda Guttman — des pensées et réflexions d’une vie consacrée à l’art et l’activisme. Le texte s’inspire des expériences personnelles au sein de projets de justice sociale et de discussions autour de questions plus profondes sur la participation, la communauté et le rôle des arts et des artistes dans la société. Le lecteur doit garder à l’esprit les origines montréalaises de ces réflexions, une cité dont l’histoire récente comprend la dissonance et la dissidence. L’esprit de cette communauté influence sans doute comment la relation entre l’artiste et la société est envisagée, mais ce document ne forme qu’une partie de cette conversation en cours. Il est magnifiquement illustré, porte à la réflexion sur le pouvoir de l’art, et constitue un point de départ pour engager la conversation sur notre relation avec l’art, et avec la société; et la façon dont nous séparons ou intégrons les deux.


Ex Libris // New Canadiana :: The Blue Funz – Songs for Ed Ricketts


The Funz’ sea-blue period finds them ambling through shivering, shimmering shanties. These rimes of the ancient marine biologist bob in and out of whisper-soft washes like the earliest offerings of Akron/Family. Irish-Canadian arthouse imprint Wist Rec. sticks to its vision of bookshelf curios with the songs tucked inside a typically winsome watercolour zine.

La période bleue-mer de The Funz’ les voit déambuler dans des chantiers chatoyants, frissonnants. Les reflets givrés d’une ancienne biologie marine vont et viennent à chaque ressac chuchotant, tels les toutes premières offrandes d’Akron/Family. Les parutions canado-irlandaises Wist Rec. continuent d’exciter le regard en habillant ces chansons d’un zine caractéristique à l’aquarelle vaporeuse.

The Blue Funz – Shingle Bum

The Blue Funz – The Moons of Mulagi

Ex Libris :: Not at the Mall


Sometimes we need to be reminded about where and how to locate culture and have experiences outside of places that beg, “You need to be here, you need to shop here, you need to be seen here.”

Recalling the Situationists’ derive, Not at the Mall contains traces, maps, fragments, soundtracks, and guides for locating one’s self in Edmonton, calling attention to our presence in the city, peeling back the spectacle’s veneer to release “everything in this northern, land-locked island town, that’s not at the mall.”

Readers are invited to search and explore the city. An image of a painted flamingo, in-flight, soars across a building’s facade, asking us, “Can you find this door?”

“One of the greatest moments of winter is the moment just before you get on the ice.” Yes, it’s cold here, most of the time. But there’s beauty in this frozen landscape. We learn this from the black-billed magpie, a long-time permanent resident who navigates the Edmonton winter eating seeds, rodents, and the garbage that’s been left outside.

Nous avons parfois besoin de nous faire rappeler comment – et où – trouver de la culture et avoir des expériences ailleurs que dans les endroits qui nous supplient : « Vous devez venir ici / acheter ici / être vus ici ».

Gardant en tête la dérive des Situationnistes, Not at the Mall contient des cartes, des fragments, des trames sonores et des guides pour se localiser à Edmonton tout en focalisant l’attention sur notre présence géographique et en retirant le vernis spectaculaire pour tout libérer « dans cette ville-île nordique encrée sur terre, qui n’est pas au centre commercial. »

Les lecteurs sont invités à chercher en ville pour l’explorer : le dessin d’un flamand rose en plein vol sur la façade d’un immeuble nous demande « Pouvez-vous trouver cette porte? ».

« Un des meilleurs moments de l’hiver est celui juste avant de monter sur la glace. » Oui, il fait froid la plupart du temps ici, mais il y a de la beauté dans ce paysage gelé. C’est ce que nous apprend la pie d’Amérique, qui réside ici depuis longtemps et qui passe l’hiver à manger des graines, des rongeurs et les poubelles qui traînent dehors.


Ex Libris :: Aaron Webster – Humour -vs- Hell Vol. I


Zine introductions usually start out sounding something like this: ”I’m sorry for getting this out so late” or ”this zine took so long to finally get together.” But not the one for Humor -vs- Hell. Aaron dives right in but not without warning. Writing that this was their plan the whole time, Aaron presents us with a drunk introduction that is not as incoherent and regretful as you might think.

HvsH is only thirteen pages long but it’s stacked. The Greatest Giggle in History is a fable about a great cloud of gloom that threatens a population of pot smoking hippies with its negative thoughts and bad trips. Ham sandwiches are thrown into a Glowing Triangle to make it funny. Themes that seem obscure in the beginning of Aaron’s pieces show themselves before the conclusion and come full circle.

The futuristic kittens, humorous ham sandwiches, and talking household appliances that populate Aaron’s writing show up through a combination of a few different styles of writing and genres that are commonly found in zines, but not usually combined. Aaron keeps the reader focused and resists the temptation to wander off into convoluted imagery that no one understands but the author. It’s not something you would normally find me picking up at a zine fair, but having selected it at total random, I enjoyed it. Playful, creative, and with good formatting, HvsH is a great contribution to the East Coast zine scene.

Les introductions des fanzines commencent souvent par quelque chose du genre « Désolé pour le retard de ce numéro » ou « ça a finalement été très long avant de réussir à monter ce fanzine », mais ce n’est pas le cas avec Humor -vs- Hell. Aaron plonge au cœur du sujet, mais pas sans avertissement : il nous offre une introduction enivrée qui n’est pas aussi remplie de regret et d’incohérence qu’on le pourrait penser.

HvsH ne fait que 13 pages, mais elles sont pleines à craquer. The Greatest Giggle in History est un conte à propos d’un énorme nuage de morosité qui menace une population de hippies fumeurs de pot avec des pensées négatives et des bad trips. Dans Glowing Triangle, les lancers de sandwichs au jambon le rendent divertissant. Des sujets qui semblent obscurs au début des textes choisis se dévoilent avant la fin, bouclant ainsi la boucle.

Les chatons futuristes, les sandwichs au jambon humoristiques et les électroménagers parlants qui peuplent l’écriture d’Aaron parsèment une combinaison de divers genres littéraires et styles d’écriture que l’on retrouve souvent dans les fanzines, mais rarement combinés ensemble. L’auteur sait conserver l’attention du lecteur tout en résistant à l’envie de se perdre dans des images alambiquées qu’il serait le seul à comprendre. C’est un magazine que je n’aurais pas spontanément choisi dans un salon en temps normal, mais je l’ai choisi au hasard, et j’ai bien aimé. Joyeux, créatif et avec un bon format, HvsH est une belle contribution aux fanzines de la côte est.


Ex Libris :: Dumb #4 and #5

Georgia Webber - Dumb #4 and #5

Many conversations right now focus on written and typed words as increasingly common methods of communication. What if those were your only way to communicate every day, for 23 and three-quarter hours? Georgia Webber’s zines Dumb issues 4 and 5 describe her mostly mute life in comics – from treading through bureaucratic bullshit in order to grasp a bit of disability pay to feeling sad that she can’t greet acquaintances on the street. These comics contain fewer words than the earlier issues; images immerse the reader in her life. This gives the comics a dreamy quality and a heavy sense of silence, as if coming up for air while swimming and hearing distorted and distant voices through water-filled ears. Though her hearing is unaffected, her reduced ability to communicate seems to isolate her. Georgia’s images – in red, black and white – are (unsurprisingly) packed with information and cues. The sometimes scribbled-out, often half-obscured text of English with smatterings of French works to focus readers on body language – blushing cheeks, and inexpertly-read lips.

En ce moment, de nombreuses conversations portent sur des moyens de communication de plus en plus communs : les mots écrits et tapés. Et si, 23 heures et trois quarts par jour, c’était votre seul moyen de communiquer? Les numéros 4 et 5 du zine Dumb de Georgia Webber contiennent des bandes dessinées qui jettent un regard sur sa vie essentiellement silencieuse; du cirque bureaucratique qui se dresse entre elle et ses prestations d’invalidité jusqu’à la tristesse qu’elle ressent de ne pas pouvoir saluer ses connaissances lorsqu’elle les croise dans la rue. Ces bédés contiennent moins de mots que les numéros précédents; Georgia se sert des images pour plonger le lecteur dans sa vie. Cela donne aux dessins une qualité onirique et une lourde impression de silence, un peu comme remonter à la surface pour une bouffée d’air lorsqu’on est en train de nager et que les voix autour de nous semblent distantes et déformées à nos oreilles remplies d’eau. Bien qu’elle n’ait pas de problèmes d’ouïe, Georgia semble isolée à cause de ses moyens de communication limités. Ses dessins en rouge, blanc et noir sont remplis d’information et de signes. Le texte, en anglais avec des bouts de français par-ci par-là, est parfois gribouillé et souvent à moitié obscurci afin de guider l’attention du lecteur sur le langage corporel : joues rougissantes et lèvres maladroitement lues.

Georgia Webber - Dumb #4 and #5

Far Shores // Ex Libris :: The Zine Tree Project

Zine TreeZine Tree

The leaves of Amelia Merhar’s tree are mini-zines that range in topic from crushing on the falafel guy to how to properly weigh your own breasts. Nestled in the branches is an electronic bird that chirps each time someone in the world writes a tweet about zines. The tree is growing northernly culture, and these zines written entirely by Yukoners are traveling to Toronto for Canzine on November 1st.

Amelia Merhar a créé un arbre : ses feuilles sont des mini-fanzines aux sujets variés, allant de la bonne façon de se peser les seins aux papillons causés par le gars qui vend des falafels au centre-ville. Le gazouillis d’un oiseau électronique posé sur l’arbre se fait entendre chaque fois que quelqu’un – dans le monde – écrit un tweet à propos de fanzines. L’arbre fait croître la culture nordique du fanzine, et ces revues écrites par des Yukonnais seront de passage à Toronto le 1er novembre pour le festival Canzine.

Zine Tree

New Canadiana :: The Spirit Crumplers – Tarnation

The Spirit Crumplers - Tarnation

The Spirit Crumplers define themselves as two vegan brothers playing garage-pop. And that they are, yet there’s much more within their premiere release, Tarnation. There’s a lot of spirit within their songs, and a strong sense that the brothers MacNeil poured their hearts and souls into this project. They even include their own zine with each cassette.

A certain sense of humbleness comes from the band’s choice to open with a cover of the Daniel Johnston song ‘‘Chord Organ Blues’’. The MacNeils offer a beautiful rendition that does the original justice while simultaneously setting the tone for their own lo-fi sound. A comparison can be drawn between the higher pitched vocals of Johnston and singer-guitarist Wesley MacNeil (plus a little bit of John K. Samson of The Weakerthans). The Spirit Crumplers stick to an organic mix of guitar, drums and vocals, giving them a lot of room to toy with their sonic style. Tarnation tugs at your heartstrings, if not from the adorable lyrics, then maybe from the teeny guitar solo at the end of ‘‘Glasses’’.

The Spirit Crumplers se définissent comme deux frères végétaliens qui jouent du garage pop. Et ils le sont. Toutefois, il y a davantage de contenu dans Tarnation, leur première parution. Il y a beaucoup d’esprit au sein de leurs chansons et il nous reste un fort sentiment que les frères MacNeil ont versé corps et âme dans ce projet. Ils accompagnent même chaque cassette de leur propre zine.

On sent une certaine humilité dans leur choix d’une reprise de « Chord Organ Blues » de Daniel Johnston comme pièce d’ouverture. Les MacNeil offrent une interprétation magnifique qui rend justice à la version originale, tout en gardant le ton de leur son lo-fi. Une comparaison peut être faite entre le chant aigu de Johnston et celui du chanteur-guitariste Wesley MacNeil (avec aussi un peu de John K. Samson de The Weakerthans). The Spirit Crumplers construisent un mélange organique de guitare, batterie et chant, laissant beaucoup d’espace pour explorer leur style sonique. Tarnation atteindra les cordes sensibles de votre coeur. Si ce n’est pas grâce aux adorables paroles, alors peut-être que ce sera grâce au petit solo de guitare clôturant « Glasses ».

The Spirit Crumplers – Glasses

The Spirit Crumplers – Untitled

Ex Libris :: DUMB #1 and #2 [Georgia Webber]

DUMB #1 + #2 [Illustrated by: Georgia Weber]DUMB #1 + #2 [Illustrated by: Georgia Webber] (thumb)

Georgia Webber’s new comic series Dumb delightfully documents what happens when your body becomes your enemy and stubbornly refuses to cooperate. Webber uses her literary voice to tell the story of how she physically loses her voice. The first two editions of Dumb are beautifully composed, featuring pristine red, black, and white illustrations. Webber’s clean-lined approach is endearingly infused with emotion, perfectly portraying her frustrating situation. Luckily Dumb #2 leaves the story’s issue unresolved, allowing comic lovers to gleefully anticipate more of these charming comics to come!

Dumb, la nouvelle série bédé de Georgia Webber, documente avec brio ce qui se produit lorsque votre corps devient votre ennemi et refuse obstinément de coopérer. Weber utilise sa voix littéraire afin de raconter comment elle a perdu l’usage de ses cordes vocales. Avec ses illustrations épurées en rouge, en noir et en blanc, les deux premiers numéros de Dumb présentent une belle composition. Infusés d’émotion, les traits nets de Webber illustrent parfaitement sa frustrante situation. Heureusement, Dumb #2 se termine de manière irrésolue et laisse donc les amoureux du neuvième art anticiper avec joie la suite de cette charmante bande dessinée.

DUMB #1 + #2 [Illustrated by: Georgia Weber] (single page)

DUMB #1 + #2 [Illustrated by: Georgia Weber] (back)