Alt-Zine

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Summer is finally here, thank the good Goddess, and summer events in Jerusalem are right around the corner. The ones that I love most are Slutwalk, LGBT Pride, and the annual Artists’ Fair at the Sultan’s Pool. I don’t always attend them, but I still try my best because having a life outside of my mother-of-a-toddler one is necessary for my sanity and emotional wellbeing.

Before they announced the final dates for Slutwalk and Pride, I knew that most of the time, Slutwalk takes place around the end of May, and Pride sometime around early August. As it turns out this year, Slutwalk is happening on May 24, but Pride will be a couple of weeks later on June 6. This gave me an idea for a zine that I could write in July during International Zine Month.

I already have a postcard collection I call Alternative Jerusalem, so why not have a zine to go along with that? If I can, in fact, make it to these two events and take a few pictures and write some stuff about my experience, it would be nice to add it to a new issue of my zine.

The Artists’ Fair is always around August, so adding it to said zine will not work if I plan to write it in July. And I’m not even sure I’ll want to go. I almost never do if neither Aviv Geffen nor Hayehudim are on the bill. I made the mistake of going once to see Barry Sacharof and wanted to kill myself the whole night, as his entire musical set was made so disgustingly Middle Eastern that it made my ears bleed. But if I find out that Aviv Geffen or Hayehudim are planning to make an appearance at the Fair, I will definitely consider going, and maybe I’ll put off the release of the zine in order to add a segment about the show too.

And if Ka wills it and my husband and I make it to Sunday Metal Night at Blaze Bar between now and then, a segment about that is also in order.

Yes, that will be one awesome Alternative Jerusalemite Summer and one awesome kickass zine to go along with it!

Peace, love and fuck yeah summer!!!


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Stars and Scales

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The Zodiac.

It’s a strange issue and one I don’t know much about. I know I’m a Libra. I know my dad is a Virgo and my mom is a Taurus. I know my husband is a Leo and my daughter is a Scorpio. I know more or less the dates that apply to a few of the signs and I know which follows which.

As for the characteristics of every sign, I don’t know much about that. Also, I don’t know how much of that I actually believe. Just out of curiosity, I read my horoscope whenever I come across it, but I don’t go looking for it. I usually do it just to see how right or how wrong these people are. Sometimes, whatever they describe doesn’t even remotely reflect reality. But sometimes they hit the nail right on the fucking head that it’s scary.

Like on April 10, 2016, I was still very early on in my pregnancy, barely into my 8th week or so, and kept it a secret as best as I could. On Facebook, I would never talk about it, or talk about it in a cryptic way that confused anyone who came across my feed. But the excitement within me was wild. I kept imagining what it would be like to be a big and full pregnant lady, what it would feel like to give birth, what it would feel like to be a mother, and had such high hopes for my child and what he or she would be like. The horoscope I read on that day could not have been more accurate:

“Although your energy is a bit scattered today, you’re still rather optimistic about your prospects. However, you could be unclear as to which future vision you are working toward. Your imagination conjures up vivid thoughts now, but your friends find it difficult to understand exactly what you are trying to achieve. Go ahead and let your colorful dreams inspire your actions, but keep your message to others as simple as possible.”

I think that when it comes to personality, the astrology people could sometimes get it super fucking wrong. There are all these articles that describe you according to your zodiac sign, like how long do you hold a grudge, what your talents or hobbies are, what kind of lover you are, and all that bullshit.

For example, I just read a post about what kind of procrastinator a person is according to their Zodiac sign. It said that a Libra is a childish procrastinator:

“If you don’t want to do something, you’ll put it off as long as you can. You think that it’s unfair that you should do something you don’t want to do and you hate the feeling that there are forces that are making you do it. It upsets your whole harmonious vibe.”

I call bullshit. Libra should be the sleepy procrastinator:

“You love sleep. You love sleep more than you love yourself. You will put off everything including living your life if it means you can hit the snooze button once more.”

Yep, that sounds more like me.

But I still like Zodiac-related stuff. I’m a proud Libra and do believe that this sign fits me perfectly. I always seek balance in my life – a balanced lifestyle, a balanced diet, a balanced relationship with my husband, as well as trying my best to convey a sense of balance at home to keep my child healthy and happy.

Unbalance in my universe is a great source of distress for me – whenever I witness any form of violence, hate, injustice, war, fights, statements and expressions of racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, sexism, and any other shit this great big white patriarchic society has to offer. All these things set me off-balance and disturb my inner-peace so much it can sometimes affect even my physical health.

This is why I constantly search for the positive. While living in Israel, a lack of balance is a major part of the deal and I get all this shit thrown at me from every side. The only way to reclaim my inner-balance, the one that a natural-born Libra craves, is to counter all this shit with a nice big healthy serving of etherial positivity.

This is why I always end my blog posts with peace and love.

Peace, love and Yin Yang

As the Pages Burn

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I’m kind of craving zine-production again. I say “kind of” because I’m not sure I’m entirely there yet. I haven’t made one since January and decided to take a few months off to avoid burning out. That’s because last year, I made a few zines and mini zines and set my productivity mode to “crazy high”. I felt I needed to do that after not having produced anything for the couple of years before that when I was pregnant then taking care of my baby.

So this is how it went:
1) Me in 2007 to 2014: producing zines.
2) Me in 2015: getting married, going on honeymoon, producing lots of zines and attending the Boston Zine Fest.
3) Me in 2016: getting pregnant and losing all inspiration whatsoever. Not producing zines.
4) Me in 2017: taking care of baby girl, desperately trying to produce zines, and finally publishing one (with extreme difficulty) in October.
5) Me in 2018: taking care of a toddler, but free enough to go all out – went to Slutwalk, went to Pride, participated in International Zine Month and ZineWriMo, organized art mornings and crafternoons, produced three full-length zines and several minis.

When I released the latest zine I made, January 2019, I felt the initial signs of impending burnout. My head hurt every time I picked up my pen, and anything I put down on paper was stupid and devoid of any value. I complained in this blog that this is due to me being tired as fuck. But it was more than that. I was pushing my zinestering abilities to the edge and I don’t think I had it in me to admit it to myself. Until now. I pushed it and almost fell headlong into the abyss of zine-burnout.

So I decided to put the pen back down and put all my zine ammo in storage until I feel ok again. Meanwhile, I engaged in other creative things.

First, I made myself a bullet journal. I had it printed in March and I love the hell out of it! It’s so convenient and well-designed! I love having space to plan my day/week/month ahead of time, and keep track of all the achievements and positive points as I go along. It gives me a chance to get shit done and also an incentive to keep going. I also use it as a sort of diary. If I suddenly feel the urge to write longhand, I have a whole page to do it on.

Then, I went on a crazy creative spree planning out my daughter’s potty training party. Even if it didn’t work out at the end, I enjoyed all the creative stuff I managed to do. I painted, and drew, and cut, and pasted, and wrapped, and folded for a whole month.

I didn’t participate in the Mini-Zine March challenge because I didn’t feel ready yet. But I think I’m slowly getting there. By International Zine Month in July, I hope to be back in full-fledged zinestering frenzy mode and revel in zine magic. I ought to start stocking up on magazine clippings and flyers.

Peace, love and let the motherfucker burn

Little Flusher

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I’m currently potty-training my daughter. For those of you who have been following me, you know I’ve been planning to use the potty-training party method. And though I put in a lot of effort, spent more money that I can afford, and for a whole month, tried to plan this day down to the last detail, it was a flop. My daughter had no interest in it and didn’t cooperate in the least. But I don’t want to talk about it or revisit it in any way (yes, it was that bad).

So I pulled the plug on the party early on in the day because if my daughter wasn’t enjoying herself, I didn’t want her to relate potty-training with this sort of negativity. I gave her her lunch, then we both crashed for two hours, both exhausted, totally party-pooped so to speak, from the useless morning.

When I woke up in the afternoon, I was still committed to go on with the training but decided to take a more easy-going nonchalant approach. I woke up my daughter and gave her the gift-wrapped loads of big-kid underwear I got for her. I let her pick out the pair she liked the most (it was the one with Elsa on it) and led her to the bathroom where she found a brand new potty waiting for her. She didn’t put up any fight, didn’t resist any suggestion I made. She just picked up on my calm demeanor and went for it.

She got it on the second try.

Read it again – she got it on the SECOND try! And it was a considerable amount of pee, too! I couldn’t help but scream. I lavished her with praise and hugs, then gave her a treat and let her pick a present from the box of surprises (a box full of little toys, individually wrapped).

Later on that day, I got my parents and in-laws to come over for the actual party. That part of the plan went by smoothly, with a couple of accidents on the way, but no big deal, and she still got the big presents from everyone – a toy guitar, a set of watercolors and paintbrushes, a set of plastic food, and a gorgeous Fashionista Barbie from me. I should be honest though, I was kind of hoping she won’t like the Barbie so I can keep it for myself. But she did. And now this Barbie, that really looks like Beyonce, is having a mad affair with my daughter’s Michael Jackson doll. She keeps making them kiss!

For the past few days, we’ve been keeping up with her training as much as possible. She has her share of accidents, as is to be expected, but we remain with our easy-going approach, patiently and gently encourage her to practice on the potty, and remind her that if she practices without making anything, she gets a treat, but if she practices and does make in her potty, she gets a treat AND a present. Positive reinforcement is always the way to go, and I’m too proud of her to not give her everything for her success.

It’s still a challenge for us, because although I want her to stay in her underwear during the whole day, if we ever leave the house, we’re tempted to make her wear her nighttime underpants (basically a pull-up diaper with exciting graphics). I’m no expert in this but I think that for the first few days, it should be ok. Once she gets better and manages to hold it for a longer time, we’ll let her stay in her big-kid underwear and carry around her potty everywhere we go.

I won’t stress her out, but I really hope she’ll be fully trained by Shavuot. I would love to see her wear a new holiday summer dress without a bulky diaper sticking out. She’ll be so super cute and I’ll be so super proud!

Peace, love and itty-bitty panties in the laundry make me happy!

Tidy-Whities

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Still not making any zines, but I’m still being pretty creative. The potty-training party I’m planning for my kid is making me spend all my money on stuff I need for the endeavor, and spend all my creativity as well.

The party theme I chose is teddy-bear picnic, so I’m trying to set up the living room to look like a park. I bought a grass-looking rug, bought some green paint and construction paper to make some bushes and trees to hang around the house, bought a new shower curtain and a paper-doll chain of teddy bears to hang in the bathroom, a bunch of other toys and stickers and temp tattoo games, an industrial amount of new underwear ages 2 to 4, and so much other stuff, enough to land me in the poor house.

And of course, I spent a hearty 180 NIS on a potty-training doll. Anatomically correct, coming with a bottle and a potty, which means you can actually get her to drink and make her pee on the potty. The party plan also involves getting the doll to have accidents. For that purpose, my mom sewed some doll-sized panties (that the doll will wet), and I spent the last couple of hours decorating them with fabric paint.

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They’re not exactly mind-blowing by any means, but I did try to draw shapes and objects that I know my daughter likes – stars, hearts, flowers, butterflies, a smiley face, a teddy bear and a snail. Having to squeeze the fabric-paint bottles with my myotonized fingers proved to be harder than expected, so now I’m in a bit of pain, but pretty damn happy with myself. If it won’t get my daughter potty-trained, at least I know my daughter will like it.

Further creativity to be drained includes wrapping a bunch of toys as little gifts, re-writing popular kids’ songs with potty-training-related lyrics (in Hebrew no less!), painting bristol boards and construction paper to look like sky with clouds, a sun and birds, as well as trees, bushes, flowers and maybe some bees, molding poop-shaped pebbles out of brown fimo, decorating tiny plastic cups with stickers, decorating a potty with stickers, decorating the fuck out of the toilet with stickers, baking cookies and other treats (goddamn Passover is only going to make it that much harder on me), and loads of other stuff I can’t think of right now.

When I started this whole business, my husband said “I think you’re enjoying organizing this party more than our kid will enjoy the party itself.” I told him he’s wrong, and that I’m going out of my way so that she will enjoy it, and that for me it’s actually a headache… but yeah, I admit it. I do enjoy being creative. If making zines is not happening, making art for my kid is the next best thing.

Peace, love and smell the magic

Ram It Down

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Ever since my high school years, when Rammstein’s Du Hast gained global recognition, it seemed as though they also gained global condemnation and were accused of having Nazi imagery in their videos.

When I interned at the Jerusalem Post, the entertainment’s editor was convinced that they were Nazi and stated it as a clear and undeniable fact.

I was never really sure whether or not Rammstein is a Nazi band. I never read much into any of their videos, including the controversial one for Links 2-3-4, and their lyrics always seemed to be more sexist rather than racist. In fact, I always said “I don’t think Rammstein are Nazis. They’re just a bunch of crazy European perverts.” Consider songs like Rein Raus, Zwitter, Pussy, and countless others. But crazy Europeans or not, I love the shit out of their tunes. The way they synchronize the staccato bass and guitar riffs with their drum blasts is flawless. I also have a weakness for the German language and find it absolutely beautiful and lyrical. Rammstein fucking owns it.

Now that the video for their new single Deutschland came out, I’m not so sure about their Nazi status. The video does not have Nazi imagery this time, but actually has Nazis in it, wearing Nazi emblems, and executing the band members who are wearing the well-known striped uniforms of victims of the Holocaust and their respective symbols (the yellow star for Jews, the pink triangle for homosexuals…).

An article I read about this video asks relevant and justifiable questions about these controversial scenes: “Have Rammstein the right to do this? Do they trivialize the suffering of Holocaust victims? How can they justify using Holocaust imagery to promote their new video? These are important questions that are part of a much bigger debate about the ethics of using the Holocaust in art and media.”

Now, although I have my doubts about the political affiliation of the members of the band, the video itself traces the history of Germany ever since the time of the Roman Empire, and it would make sense for them to include the period of 1933 to 1945, as it is also a part of German history. In fact, I think that if that period were not included, I would feel even more offended. This would simply be a denial of the whole thing. Isn’t Holocaust denial just as bad as trivializing it in a music video?

The article I read fails to mention another part of the video where the camp inmates, still wearing their striped uniforms, are shooting the Nazi officers in the face. That made me stand up and scream “Fuck yeah!”

So considering this particular scene, what does that say? What’s that imagery all about? To me it’s clear Nazi-bashing, if anything, and also fitting with Germany’s history. Again, avoiding this part of history could easily be interpreted as Holocaust denial.

With all that, the more I listen to the song, the more I like it. And the rest of the video is spectacular. I love history. I took a history minor in university and loved every minute of it. Seeing it play out in a video with such a great song is a pure pleasure for me.

But still, I don’t know what I should think and how I should feel about this. So until Rammstein makes a clear statement, one way or another, or comes to play a show in Israel (which I think would be a clear statement in itself), I’ll just go on screaming “fuck yeah” every time one of their songs comes on my player.

Negative Creep

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Whenever I feel like shit, I usually resort to two things which automatically make me feel better: Music and books.

However, I’ve recently come to realize that both of these can also cause a shitty feeling when they’re associated with such a heavy load of negativity, it hurts my head.

The books I read are all by Stephen King. The guy writes horror like too much of a pro, and his descriptions are brutal. So when he describes the death of a child, or the death of a dog, or the death of a major character, it makes me feel horrible, because he makes it seem all too real.

Then, there’s music. I absolutely LOVE the music I listen to. But sometimes the songs take on a darker tone when I think of the respective artist or band.

  • Kurt Cobain is dead, with the shadow of drug abuse and suicide looming above him
  • Janis Joplin is dead, also with the shadow of drug addiction and overdose
  • Jim Morrison is dead, with the shadow of a lifetime of substance abuse
  • Jimi Hendrix is dead, same drug-shadow looms again
  • Chuck Schuldiner is dead, with the enormous shadow of cancer looming high and mighty
  • Tristessa of Astarte is dead, same gigantic shadow of cancer
  • Mia Zapata is dead, with the even more monstrous shadow of brutal rape and murder above her grave
  • Decapitated’s drummer is dead and their lead vocalist is a vegetable
  • Michael Jackson is also dead, and seems like even after his death, the grim shadow of his alleged child-molestation charges still sticks to him like a leech
  • All punk and riot grrrl bands I listen to have broken up, so did Black Sabbath, and so did Arafel
  • Arch Enemy sold out
  • Phil Anselmo is a white supremacist
  • Rammstein are (allegedly) Nazis
  • Marilyn Manson’s lost his fucking mind…

Why do my favorite means of escape have to be tainted with so much bullshit? Still, I love all of these artists and their music, and still I love Stephen King’s books. And if I didn’t have that, I might as well go coffin-shopping, because seriously, life without music and books is a fate worse than suffering.

I need to go see Disturbed’s performance in July to hold on to the belief that there are bands out there who have not died, or got sick, or OD’ed, or sold out, or became hateful bastards, or broke up.

And I need to get a new Stephen King book because, well, just because. As if I need a reason to get another King book. His fiction owns my reality, and that’s a fact.

Peace, love and death metal for life