Zine Gems

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Whenever I come across a great zine, I get inspired to produce more zines. And since a big part of zinestering is trading and sharing, please allow me to recommend the amazing zines I recently got/traded so that you may also be inspired!

SHEcho Publications
Nina (aka Zina) makes a slew of amazing zines and comics through her indie publication project Echo. I contacted her one day when I was looking for a new zinester to make a split zine with during International Zine Month. Since she has already found another zinester for the project, she suggested we trade zines and later on maybe a split-zine will work out. I picked some of the zines from her website and she sent me those and many more! She writes a pretty awesome zine called Different Heartbeats about feminism, punk shows, zine fests, DIY projects, and more. She also wrote a comics for International Zine Month called Scissors & Chainsaws. You know that “bonus points” section on the IZM activities list, the part that says make a comic every day and make it into a comics zine at the end of the month? Well, she did it! Scissors & Chainsaws details Nina’s activities all throughout the month of July all in comics form. I recently wrote her an email telling her that I wish I had half of her skills in comics, and that her art simply inspires me to try and create more of my own. Amazing talent, great sense of humor, endless inspiration, a feast for the eyes, and pure fun! I highly highly recommend you check it out!

PMS 9 - cover 2Zines by Nyxia
As if I WASN’T going to write about my zine crush and my best penpal friend! Nyxia Grey is the shiznit, and if you haven’t read any of her zines yet, you really should. Her perzine Everything.Is.Fine is mainly about feminism and eating disorders, but she writes a bunch of other zines as well and also makes her own feminist art – bookmarks, pins, amazing collages… I recently read her special 24-Hour Zine issue about the elbow injury she suffered and all the subsequent hardships she went through this past summer. Nyxia is a great writer. She manages to make the reader feel the pain that comes across so clearly and bluntly in her prose. As someone who suffered an elbow injury as well, I was amazed by how eloquently she described everything that I have also felt when I got injured and all though my healing process. I found myself nodding briskly in absolute agreement with everything she wrote. Other zines she wrote include the split-zine she made with me – Boo’ya Moon – about our mutual favorite author, Stephen King; Did That Hurt? a special zine about tattoo safety; Rad Rag – Your Flow Is Fly! about the period (Nyxia’s best seller in zine fests); Cure Huntington’s Disease – a special zine about the genetic condition (all profits made from this issue are donated to Kindred Laurel Lake, a nursing and rehabilitation center in Lee, Massachusetts that helps those with Huntington’s Disease); and a whole lot of other amazing stuff! Check out her Etsy shop and see if you don’t leave with a packed cart!

Twigz and DeadbeatSquimoo
aka Beth, makes a rad comics called The Deadbeats. During International Zine Month, we traded zines, and as I already wrote in one of my We Make Zines blogs, I was sitting at the office and thought I’d flip through the zine she sent me for a couple of minutes. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. Her comics feature short one-liners that are cheeky, funny and sarcastic all at once. The issue she sent me (her first one actually) also featured a page where I could draw myself or my own comics character next to one of her deadbeats, so of course, I drew Twigz. I loved it so much and wrote her an enthusiastic message asking when I can expect the second issue of it! I don’t know if any of the readers of this blog are into comics zines, but if you’re looking into some sweet ones, The Deadbeats is a great one to start with!
So now that I read all these awesome zines, I am beyond inspired and have been working on a new split-zine with Nyxia all though this past week. Once this one is done, I have about half a dozen other ideas for future zines lined up, and I can’t wait to start on them all!

Peace, love and oh yeah, you should check out my zines too, they’re not half bad ;-)

All That I Can’t Say

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Last night I had a bitch of a time trying to fall asleep. I was feeling under the weather and tired as hell, but I was tossing and turning for no less than two hours before drifting off into an uneasy, short-lived sleep.

It felt like out of nowhere. I was suddenly hit by an intense case of anxiety like I haven’t felt in years.

Last night was metal night and I was sitting around with a couple of girls, younger than me, who said stuff like “I’m turning 27 soon, that’s so old!”

I barged into their whining and said “I’m going on 33 in October. What does that make me? Dead?”

Frankly, I must say I regret all the times I complained every time my birthday rolled around and I would say “I’m 19, I’m so old!” or “I’m 25, fucking old!” But I do recall being excited for the prospect of turning 30, because for me, 30 means stability. I saw it as a time in your life when everything suddenly falls into place. A time of perfection and organization, when you feel happy and comfy in all areas of your life – financially, psychologically and emotionally. And that’s exactly where I was and what I felt when I turned 30. I completed my therapy with flying colors, I got a wonderful boyfriend who is now my husband, I have my home, my dog, my job, my savings account, my hobbies and my family, all of which I’m so thankful for and happy with. So for the past few years, things could not be better, except for a few medical issues.

But last night, shit just collapsed all around me. I’m going on 33, and although I personally do not think it’s old (even if I went through some medical issues which would indicate otherwise) while the people around me are still in their 20s and complain about it, I felt a terrible hole. Something lacking.

Last night, these girls were talking about their extensive sexual adventures, body modification, eating disorders, while I stayed as silent as a corpse. I had nothing to add because my sexual history started at the ripe “old” age of 20, and the sexual partners I’ve had could be counted on a single hand with one amputated finger. As for bodmod, I am now at the stage of tattoos. I am not getting any more piercings because taking them off and putting them back on once a month every time I go to the mikve is a pain in the ass. And I’ve never had any eating disorders although my body image issues abound.

But it’s other things that I wish I could talk about and tried saying last night a couple of times, but couldn’t get a word in. Because my issues are those that only people like me can understand. My medical issues, old people issues, trying to get pregnant which is not the easiest thing in the world despite what everybody thinks… things that I want to say but can’t because I don’t have a human BFF (my dog is my bestie) who can understand any of it, or at all. And in a world where people think that 27 is old and where all you need to have a baby is fuck, my experiences are worth shit and don’t make any sense. If I tell them that with all the wonderful things I have in my life, all I want is a full uterus, they’ll play fish, completely at a loss for words.

All the friends I had who have had the shred of a potential of being a best friend moved away and cut all contact. The rest of my friends are my husband’s friends, all guys. No offense to the male specie but there is no way in hell that any of them can understand what’s it’s like to want a baby so bad, you’re willing to sacrifice everything you’ve worked so hard for – psycho-emotional wellbeing, money, relationships, health, all the perfection I reached at age 30 – just to have one, and then to find out that even conceiving will be a bitch, and feeling like half a woman as a result.

And with that, I started crying, rolling around in bed in a mound of anxiety mixed with paralyzing fear and loneliness I have never felt before.

I see the kids on the bus, the mothers with the strollers, the pregnant women, the toddlers with their smiles full of milk teeth, and I can’t stop staring and wishing and wanting so bad. So bad.

Peace, love and health. Only health.

Real vs. Read

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Once again, I am in that mode or frame of mind or whatever you wanna call it.

That frame of mind where I’m so conflicted, I feel torn in half.

It’s not as bad as it sounds since the conflict itself is not earth-shattering or life-threatening in any way. But still, I’m like, wahhhh!

On one hand, I got a bunch of kickass ideas and plans for creativity – flyers, zines, patches, even a DIY business card. And on the other hand, I have this huge Stephen King book (11.22.63 in case you’re wondering) staring me in the face and I’m dying to go on reading it.

It’s just so easy to let go of this thin creative thread and just fall into the mind-numbing make-belief world of Stephen King, and letting yourself drown and feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper until reality ceases to exist. This reality which sucks dick anyway. This reality which saw it appropriate to steal the life of an innocent 16-year-old girl whose only crime was to love and support a community which deserves to live in a safe, tolerant and democratic society and enjoy equal rights.

Who the fuck wants to stay alert and conscious when the world around them goes shithouse? And where in this morbid reality can you find the right amount of inspiration to create anything at all?

Reading is so much easier. You don’t need to move much to do it, except for turning a page every once in a while. You don’t need to think, because the book does all the thinking for you. You don’t need to talk to anybody or entertain anybody or take care of anything. You don’t need to be creative and find the right words and put them in a perfect order because you have it all perfectly done right in front of you, black on white.

But then, the book is over. And you come out of it only to drop like a brick right back into the shitpile that is this reality. And you come out of it to realize you haven’t made anything of yourself. And you come out of it to notice your back is aching, your eyes are bloodshot, and your husband fell asleep while he was waiting for you to give him his birthday treat, but you were too fucking busy cheating on him with Stephen King.

So which way do I go? Do I pick up my lazy ass and create some sweet shiny sparkly sunshiny art? Or do I give in to the torturous temptation of literature and disappear into the twisted dark worlds of the King?

I guess I’ll have to figure out after my husband’s birthday dinner.

Peace, love and happy birthday to my loverboy!

Pride in Jerusalem

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I think that everyone around the world already heard about what happened in Jerusalem yesterday.

I was there. I’m still trying to process what happened. The same thing happened in 2005, by the same guy who did the stabbings yesterday. It seems as though no lessons were learned in 10 years.

The march started out at Independence Park. Everyone started marching with a drum circle, music, laughter, dancing, waving flags while shouting and chanting slogans for tolerance, love, diversity and equal rights.

Suddenly, police cars and ambulances rushed through the crowd. Cops on scooters and on horses, or in police units, vans and cars, and on foot urged people to the side and proceeded to the scene of the incident. As word passed down, within minutes everyone knew that a man with a knife stabbed some of the marchers. The music died down almost immediately, the chanting, the dancing and the laughter too. The rest of the march took place in absolute silence. The thousands of marchers were all in shock. Some scattered marchers tried chanting “A gay person marches and is not afraid,” but these were all drained out by the screams of the sirens.

People talk and they say that now that the community knows that being proud and “flaunting it” is dangerous, we would know better than to take it to the streets and instead stay at home, in the closet, in the dark, and let all these hate mongers drag  the rest of this country into the dark as well. This was not a parade. Jerusalem has no floats with half-naked men dancing around. This Pride march in Jerusalem is there for the very struggle of the LGBT community. The only thing being “flaunted” is diversity, beauty, light, courage, pride and love. Lots of love.

I, along with the rest of the LGBT community in Israel, say fuck that. These incidents are exactly the reason why Pride must keep going, year after year. This was the recurring message in the speeches given yesterday. We must fight darkness with light, and we must fight hate with love. A former Knesset member, Nitzan Horovitz, came out a few years ago, and has been a supporter of the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights ever since. He was one of the speakers yesterday. His words were so powerful and resonated so much with what I was feeling, that I couldn’t stop crying during his entire speech.

This is not democracy and it is not Judaism. The Goddess does not create people to kill and be killed. The Goddess loves us all, and She is the only one who has the right to judge us. I don’t care about the abomination statement in the Torah and how homosexuals should be killed. I care that we are human beings, and all we want to do is love. And I also know that if the Goddess was a person, She would march right alongside us.

And yes, I am straight and yes I do say “we” because this is a struggle that we must all take part in. We must recognize our privilege in this society as heterosexuals and join the Pride march as a march for tolerance for all people, all races, all genders and all sexualities. Nitzan Horovitz also said that we must fight this aberration because this affects us all, Israeli Jews and Arabs, black and white, religious and secular, gay and straight. The stabber did not discriminate either. He stabbed anybody he could reach, regardless of whether or not they were gay. I saw one of the injured people in the hospital today. He’s straight, he went to the march with his girlfriend to support this struggle. This is a “we”. We’re all in this together.

The LGBT community in Jerusalem is made up of Israeli Jews just like the rest of us, and they are deserving of equal rights, human rights, love, health services, tolerance, respect and justice. This is not just a struggle for survival. It’s a struggle for the preservation of democracy and against the people who supposedly do these acts of violence in the name of religion.

One of the marchers said in an interview to the press that this is something that happens on Tu Be’Av, a holiday of love, a few days after Tisha Be’Av, a day of mourning the destruction of the Temple, where Orthodox Jews fast as a sign of mourning. She said “This fast is worthless.” Because if the Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam, hatred between Jews, this is what is still going on today. This act of violence carried out by an Orthodox Jew, who may have very well fasted on Tisha Be’Av, completely obliterated any hope of reconciliation between Jews. This fast was not worth shit.

It was wonderful to see the new group of religious homosexuals marching along with us, and even arguing with the other religious Jews standing on the sidelines. While the sideliners were screaming and spitting at them, the religious homosexuals stood their ground and bravely fought back.

Diversity is what characterizes Jerusalem. The rainbow flags that painted the streets of Jerusalem yesterday proudly represent this diversity. So why did these colors all fade to blood-red? We all saw the blood on the pavement. This is Jewish blood. These are innocent people. The only abomination in this march is the terrorist who infiltrated it. You cannot be a hater and call yourself Jewish. This is not Judaism. I refuse to accept this monster as a member of the Jewish community. Whatever happened to “love thy neighbor”? Why can’t these assholes live by that?

When I came back from the march, my husband said he was practicing Queen’s “We Are the Champions” on guitar. And this was totally fitting because despite the rampant homophobia in this society, the LGBT community will keep on fighting to the end.

Peace, love and Ahava Ge’avah

PS – I am currently selling some Alternative Jerusalem postcards on my Etsy shop. The ones that were made about Jerusalem Pride are sold as a fundraising effort. All proceeds will be donated to the Jerusalem Open House, the LGBT organization in Jerusalem. Please support this initiative and buy the postcard.

Proud1

Grrrl Flop

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Last night, I went to a punk show at a local bar. The first band on the bill was a girl punk band from Russia. So I thought, like, “Pussy Riot”, fuck yeah! Or at least some form of riot grrrl band.

I sampled their music via YouTube and found a song of theirs that was rather interesting and sounded a bit like it was inspired by Bikini Kill.

I got really excited for the prospect of seeing a live riot grrrl band in Jerusalem, which very rarely or never happens. So I wore my Bikini Kill t-shirt and sort of fantasized about the Russian band going onstage, playing some of their original material, and then spotting me with my shirt and saying “This next song is dedicated to the badass chick with the Bikini Kill tee,” and break into a cover of “New Radio” or “Rebel Girl.”

But that didn’t happen. Not even close. The first song they played was the one I sampled from YouTube, and it was their only acceptable, slightly riot grrrl-y song. The rest of their show was made of a medley of muddied-down songs that sounded nothing like punk, or even music for that matter. The organizers may have referred to it as punk, but I refer to it as WTF?!

My husband was suffering and said “Punk is not complicated. Verse, chorus, verse. You don’t even need much technical talent. Hell, WE were better than that!” He was referring to our Mistress Distress project back in 2012. And yes, compared to last night’s show, we weren’t half bad.

Needless to say, I was utterly disappointed, considering my fantasy of earlier that day. I mean, they didn’t even have to cover a Bikini Kill song. They could have just played a few more songs that sounded more like their first one. That would have been good enough.

I’m still looking for a riot grrrl scene in Jerusalem, so when a band like that comes to town, it’s only natural that I get my hopes up way too fucking high.

Peace, love and sigh…

Boston Zine Fest, Here I Come!

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Remember this post? So Boston Zine Fest is now official and so is my participation in it! Well, I haven’t bought the plane tickets yet, but I’m definitely getting there!

The Boston Zine Fest will be taking place in October 10 and 11. I’ll be in Boston and Salem for about a week, tour the Salem streets and sites which will be in full prep gear for Halloween, go to a feminist tattoo shop and get on with my Dark Tower tattoo, hang out with my zinester friend and of course table with her at the fest.

So in preparation for all that, here is a list of things that I still need to do:

1) Make some patches for the zine fest

2) Complete unfinished zines and photocopy the recent 24-Hour Zine one

3) Make some more fliers

4) Pack all that shit and mail a final box to Boston so I won’t need to carry it in my luggage

5) Design Dark Tower tattoo and set up appointment with tattoo shop

6) Order plane tickets, duh

7) Notify family, coworkers and my Salem friend of final dates

8) Check whatever financial stuff for the trip (have enough spending money, etc.)

9) Plan with my friend places to visit in Salem during pre-Halloween festivities

10) Check up on weather conditions in New England in October. I think I’ll need to pack some layers and some winter gear.

11) Last but not least, I should not forget to freak out over all the awesomeness!!!!! So exciting!

Peace, love and hey all you Bostoniers, come say hello!

More About My Favorite Month

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This International Zine Month is fun as shit.

I traded and bought some pretty awesome zines so far. Usually whenever I buy or trade zines, it’s always a gamble because I never know if the zines I get will be any good. Sometimes I end up with zines that aren’t all that good, but I feel bad throwing them out so they just end up cluttering my zine collection.

But this month, so far, all the zines I got in my mailbox were gems and I was so excited to read them all.

I’m still waiting on a few packages and will also be sending some out tomorrow. It’s a busy month for the post office!

Plus, I completed my 24-Hour Zine Thing and will be working on yet another zine this Friday afternoon and next Monday night. I’m meeting up with friends and having a crafternoon/art night that is long-overdue. So the Friday crafternoon (July 24) will be the small quasi-zine event that was originally intended for the 25th. I need to remember to bring my camera.

Speaking of cameras, I am also planning what I call a “silent zine”. It will include photos, drawings, comics and collages, but no words. Well, there will be some words, like the titles of the photos/artwork, the name of the zine on the cover, a table of contents and a contact page at the back. But the rest of the pages will be full of visual art as opposed to verbal art. Thus, silent zine.

I am so fucking excited for that issue!! I’ve never done anything like this before. Maybe this could be the new zine skill I’ll be teaching myself this month?

Peace, love and more letter-writing tonight!