IZM 2017 Recap

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This year’s International Zine Month almost didn’t happen. For the better part of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep while lamenting my lack of time to do any decent zine production. For the rest of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep, while trying my best to engage in zine-related activities and missing out on even more sleep.

Obviously, as I mentioned in a previous post, I couldn’t do all the activities listed for IZM, and unfortunately, I was also unable to do the 24-Hour Zine Thing. So instead I made a short list of activities I could probably do. Here’s what I managed to do with this year’s IZM:

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Create a profile on the new We Make Zines website:
To be perfectly honest, I don’t like the new website. It doesn’t have as many options to edit the profile as the Ning one did. But I still created what minimal profile was allowed on the website, joined a few groups and added a few friends.

Read some of my unread zines that I got in trades:
I had a pile of them on my desk for further reading. Some of them were pretty good. But there were some that put me to sleep and gave me a headache. I struggled to keep reading them hoping that I might actually find something of interest in them, but I couldn’t do it. At some point, I just told myself, fuck it. If the zine doesn’t draw me in, I’ll just drop it and find something better to do with my time. I’m trying to find some place/zine library/people to send these zines to. I don’t generally like to throw zines away.

Send a few more zines to Quimby’s Bookstore:
They actually manage to sell some of my zines! And I recently asked my friend from Boston to send back to me all the leftover zines I sent there for the zine fest of 2015. So now that I had a bunch of extra copies, I decided to send some of them to Quimby’s. They were happy to restock them.

Revamp my Etsy shop:
There were a few edits I had to make for the items I posted, and add a new item (the full postcard collection of Alternative Jerusalem). I also edited some of the prices, amount of items in stock, and categories.

Set up an inventory system for all my zines:
I spent a whole day counting the copies of all my zines and postcards. I wrote it all by hand in a notebook but that proved to be a mistake whenever I reprinted an issue or sold some and the numbers had to be changed. So I took my notebook to work and set up a chart on Excel.

Send trading requests and trade:
I once traded with Katherine Montalto. She sent me some pretty cool zines plus a few small drawings she made. I loved her drawings so much that I decided to frame them and hang them in my daughter’s bedroom. I contacted her again this year and we agreed to trade again. I can’t wait to see what she sends me this time! I also contacted Xyendra Fragola and just recently sent them a couple of my zines. Xyendra and I have been in touch since 2004 through the defunct MSN Spaces (before it was taken over by Windows Live before it was taken over again by WordPress. This blog started off as an MSN Space). I followed Xyendra’s progress with IZM activities on Facebook and I’m excited to see what they’ll send me!

Make an attempt to write a full-length zine:
I actually got all the written part down for this zine. Unfortunately, I wrote it all on computer instead of by hand or typewriter as this would have taken me way too fucking long. Also, the subject matter of the zine is of a sensitive nature so it will not be published here or posted for sale on Etsy. I will share it with a few select people (you know who you are) once it’s laid out.

Design a catalog for my Etsy shop:
It took me much longer than I expected but I got it done! I’m very pleased with it. I will send it out along with zines sold or traded.

Twigz 3What I planned to do but didn’t manage was: Make a mini-zine, respond to penpal letters, and make a new logo/flyer for my Etsy shop. On the very last days of the month, I even came up with an idea for a stencil for a new patch. I drew the image with a sharpie, hoping to make it as thick as possible. My husband printed it on a transparency, and today I attempted to transfer it onto the exposure sheet. But it didn’t work. It could be that the artwork wasn’t dark enough or maybe the exposure sheet was too old. I ordered it sometime around summer of 2015. Just like camera film tends to expire, maybe the exposure sheet does too. So when I noticed it didn’t work, I made the drawing a little darker and thicker and ordered a refill of exposure sheets. I hope to be able to do the rest of the activities as well as try the stencils again during August or something.

Lack of sleep notwithstanding, I had a good time on IZM anyway. I loved having the chance to deal with zines, talk about zines, read zines, being somewhat artsy after a longass time of being completely out of the scene.

Peace, love and hoping for more extensive and intensive IZMs in future years.

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Welcome to Maternity

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The reason I’ve been absent from my blog for so long and the reason I was rather cryptic in one of my previous posts was that I was pregnant. That’s right! I now have a mini badass I call my daughter. I wrote a whole bunch of blogs I saved as drafts on my experience as a pregnant lady. These drats are now saved as journal entries in a digital diary I recently started keeping. They won’t be posted here.

I will say this though. Being pregnant and giving birth (I had a natural birth with no epidural) was the most empowering, most intense and most divine experience I’ve ever had. I feel so blessed that the goddess saw it fit to give me this body, this ability to create life and of course to bless me with this beautiful child. This child is a living breathing miracle and proof positive that the goddess does exist if I ever needed proof in the first place.

And besides that, if you thought I was a feminist before, holy fuck, you don’t know half of it now!

One of the drafts I wrote was a list of reasons why being pregnant totally rules. So here it is.

1. You get to be a total bitch to everyone and no one can call you on it.

2. You get to eat everything in sight, put on weight, and have your doctor tell you that’s a good thing.

3. You get to belittle everybody’s stupid little health issues by saying “Well, I’m pregnant, so shut the fuck up”.

4. You get to order people around and you know they’ll do whatever you tell them because whatever excuse they use to try and not do it, you can say “Well, I’m pregnant. So suck it up”.

5. You don’t get your period! You don’t need to go to the mikveh, and you can still fuck your partner any time you want.

6. You get to shop for maternity clothes.

7. You get big hooters!

8. You get to tell people that you’re God because you make people.

9. (If you’re like me and you hate alcohol) people will finally stop pushing drinks on you.

10. (If you’re like me and you hate cigarettes) people will stay away from you when they smoke, or avoid smoking altogether.

11. You get kicked on a regular basis and enjoy the hell out of it.

I am pretty busy these days with taking care of my kid but I really miss writing. So I’ll try to write posts more often. Just today I was thinking how awesome it is that I managed to accomplish so much. I did the dishes, had breakfast, did the dishes again, baked a cake, did another load of dishes, had lunch, dishes yet again, and folded a load of laundry. And still have time to write this post. I must say I have a pretty awesome kid. I mean seriously, this past Shabbat, we slept for 11 hours! Usually, parents never get that much sleep.

Peace, love and Ima Badass

Rock On 2016!

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In a few of my past end-of-the-year posts, I wrote about the utter nonchalance or outright hate I have for the Gregorian new year’s and respective celebrations. This year I am also planning on not celebrating per say because in Israel, you just don’t feel it too much, except when you write a check or an invoice and need to date it correctly.

But as opposed to previous years, I plan on actually enjoying December 31-January 1st. After the dark, deep and cold abyss I fell into during the past month (for reasons I will not detail) I deserve a good start to the new year.

So for the occasion, I’ll start by working on a new issue of my zine, and write a bunch of longass letters to my penpals. Then, I’ll have a New Year’s breakfast with my good friend, Rachel, who is planning on making waffles (hell yes!).

After that, I have a whole list of awesome plans scheduled for January. I laid out an extensive and well-detailed itinerary and plans to follow through.

The schedule includes: sleeping in, writing letters, working on a zine, playing guitar, reading, baking muffins, go to the mikveh, go to the post office, go to metal night, doing Tai Chi, and the usual yet exciting daily activities such as taking out my dog, showering and eating.

Aside from that, I also included specific dates for organizing all my belongings in preparation for my move to the new apartment. We are set to move sometime around the end of January and both my husband and I are so super excited for the prospect of having a bigger space for all our stuff – our seven guitars and respective cases, our three amps, our sound system, our four laptops and one desktop, our enormous yet awesome collection of CDs, DVDs, records, plus our record player and tape deck, my enormous yet awesome collection of zines, books (that is at least 50 books of Stephen King among others), art materials, snail mail stuff, our mounds of clothes which our closet can barely contain, and more.

The best thing about January 2016 is my plans for the Fun-A-Day event I recently joined on Facebook! That event involves picking one activity to do every day in the month of January. So I picked listening to an album I’ve never listen to before in order to discover new music and add it to my iPod.

I made a list of 31 albums I’m interested in checking out on every day in January. Though most of these are bands I’m already familiar with and like quite a bit, the albums listed are those I’ve never really listened to in depth or at all. And here the list in its daily order:

  • Kataklysm: Shadows & Dust
  • Lloth: Dancing in the Dark Lakes of Evil
  • Slash: World on Fire
  • Disturbed: Indestructible
  • Marilyn Manson: The High End of Low
  • Rammstein: Liebe ist für alle da
  • Sleater-Kinney: (self-titled)
  • Iwrestledabearonce: Ruining it for Everybody
  • Winds of Plague: Against the World
  • Earth Crisis: Neutralize the Threat
  • Warbringer: Worlds Torn Asunder
  • Krisiun: The Great Execution
  • Vallenfyre: A Fragile King
  • Arafel: Second Strike: Through the Flames of the Ages
  • Vogelfrey: Zwolf Schritte zum Strick
  • Bratmobile: Pottymouth
  • Le Tigre: This Island
  • The Julie Ruin: Run Fast
  • Kataklysm: Epic: The Poetry of War
  • Astarte: Rise from Within
  • Hatesphere: New Hell
  • Omnium Gatherum: Years in Waste
  • Gates of Ishtar: The Dawn of Flames
  • King Diamond: Fatal Portrait
  • Mercyful Fate: 9
  • Screaming Mechanical Brain: The Policy of Unilateral Hate
  • Einherjer: Odin Owns Ye All
  • Dypsomaniaxe: One Too Many
  • Winter of Sin: Violence Reigns Supreme
  • Be’lakor: Stone’s Reach
  • Pantera: Cowboys from Hell

So once January rolls around, that is this Friday, I’ll start listening to these records and writing a short review of them here. In case you care, and even if you don’t 😛

Oh man, I can’t wait to check out Kataklysm! I heard one or two of their songs once and loved them so much, they actually appear twice in my list!

Peace, love and music forever!

This Is the Painkiller

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It started with pain, then continued with more pain, and along came another twist of pain. So I need to escape with everything I got because anything else happens and I’ll just give up.

So here are my plans to forget, ignore and self-medicate:

Metal night: I haven’t been since this whole ordeal began. I was happy about it at first – keeping a safe distance from a smoke-filled environment is always a good thing – but after a while, I missed it. And now that I feel like shit, I really need it. I’m going tonight.

Writing letters: I don’t know how much of an escape this will be as I will no doubt be revisiting the horror in letters to my penpals… but maybe I won’t. In any case, letters have been piling up for the past month and I really need to reply. And maybe reading and replying to other people’s problems will help me forget about my own.

FindersReading: Always the best escape. I just finished Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams and just started Finders Keepers. King’s fiction is so realistic that living in his world and forgetting about my own is so easy and feels so natural. The dude is my ultimate salvation.

Zine-making: I have yet to start the layout of my zine about my trip to Salem. I procrastinated on
that because the crap I had to deal with left no room for any will to make any crafts. All I wanted to do was go home, wrap myself in winter blankets and cry. But there is a certain sense of peace and comfort in the zen vibes of zinestering. I just need to get it started and let it carry me off to the land of forget-escape-heal.

Guitar-playing: I’ve been neglecting Melissa for far too long. I hope I didn’t forget the opening riff to Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law”. I need to set up a time to play with my husband again. Not just to refresh my fingers on the solos of Marilyn Manson’s version of “Sweet Dreams” or on the blistering riffs of Green Day’s “Basket Case”, but also to relive that elation that only playing guitar can cause. That sense of oh-my-god-this-feels-so-fucking-rad-what-was-I-sad-about-again is an escape like no other. And Melissa is a pro at that.

Peace, love and pain, pain, killer, killer.

Split Ends and Split Zines

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As my husband was looking into concerts in the various cities we are planning to go to this summer, I was doing the same only with zine events and spots. I found a few zine events in Montreal, but not in the time that I’ll be there. I also found some zine libraries in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but I don’t know if I should really go. I mean, I don’t know how inclusive these small local places are, and I feel like unless I go with someone who lives there and knows the scene and the people involved, I won’t feel confident enough and will actually feel like an outcast. So I dropped the idea.

Meanwhile, I’m focusing more on the new split-zine I’m working on with my friend (same one with whom I made the Stephen King split zine). A zine about journal entries is something I never considered until she brought it up, although I’ve always thought of a perzine as a sort of a diary. But I totally underestimated the amount of entries I wanted to include in it, so if the split-zine will have an even number of pages from either side, we are looking at a zine of no less than 96 pages!

Ninety-fucking-six, dude! And my husband will have the arduous task of printing it. I wonder if the binding could work out with staples or maybe we’ll have to design a spine and make it into a book. A paperback split-book written and laid out by hand, all about two zinesters’ adventures with journal writing… Goddamn.

But as my friend so eloquently said “We should never limit ourselves.” So if this zine is destined to turn into a book, I guess that this is what will happen.

Peace, love and make like a banana and split

All I Leave Behind

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I had great plans for the Passover holiday. One of them was rereading all my old diaries to find entries that I could include in a new split-zine I will be writing with my friend. This was an activity that I underestimated in terms of just how long it will take me to read all my diaries, which was basically the entire week. So all my other plans fell through, and I just kept on reading, marking pages, highlighting, noting stuff down…

I also underestimated the emotional effect that rereading all this shit would cause. All the corpses that would resurface. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – some parts made me laugh, some inspired me to no end, some parts even turned me on. But some parts were also shocking and terrifying, confusing and utterly heartbreaking, mainly because I couldn’t believe that this was once me. That I would express myself this way, and that this was how I thought I felt and how, in some instances, I completely misled myself. In 2003, I spent half a diary talking about my boyfriend of the time in excruciatingly graphic detail. Not one page would go by without my mentioning how much I love him and all that shit. After a hiatus of at least a year an a half (about a year after he broke up with me), I wrote an angry entry, in big capital letters:

“[name] is a motherfucking shitty asshole! The only good thing he ever did was reveal his true colors when he broke up with me.” Then I went on to say how guys are only good for one thing and that’s fucking. Then I wrote a note to myself to read this entry a couple million times before ever allowing myself to fall into the abysmal hell also known as love.

Although I knew this before, it was only after I read this entire diary that I realized how true this was – I was never in love with this guy. I was obsessed with him. None of it was true, none of it was real. I was misled into thinking I was in love. I was blind to that until I went through therapy and learned to love without killing myself and without focusing my world around “him”. It was only when I met my husband when I learned what true love feels like. And I wrote about that too in my later diaries, when I first met Elad and felt true love for the first time: “I still feel like I come first. Like my inner child comes first, but I love the shit out of this guy – how is that possible?”

I told my husband about the journal entries I wrote when we first met. It turned both of us on. When I put all these experiences in perspective, I suddenly became more attracted to him, even more than before.

Later on I also wrote about the horrible job I had for two years and how I was struggling to keep myself sane by keeping a steady social life, hanging out with my boyfriend, and writing endlessly, even if it kept me up well past my bedtime and I woke up the next day feeling like a zombie. I was amazed at how strong I was and how I pushed myself to write even if I was beyond tired (or as I put it: “somewhere between excruciatingly exhausted and comatose”), and how I managed to overcome my fatigue with the help of my art.

As I read these entries, I felt overcome with a sense of inspiration like I haven’t felt in a long time.

I want to resume my journal writing and I think I’ll start this week. I’ve just been bogged down with zine plans and zine writing (which is no less awesome, I must say!), plus I have a contribution to write to this riot grrrl anthology, plus I have some letters to write, packages to pack, and shit to mail out, plus I have to start this split-zine as well… basically all the stuff I had planned for this past week and managed to do nothing.

AND, I just got word that I’m about to receive a new stack of Stephen King books… oh boy. You’re just gonna drown me in your prose again, Steve, aren’t you? And keep me from getting any decent writing done, isn’t that right? Why must you always be so fucking awesome?

The inspiration to read Stephen King somehow always demolishes my inspiration for creativity. Always. Without fail.

I feel so happy and so sad at the same time. *sigh*

Peace, love and Deicide show in Las Vegas. Can you dig it?

No Need for Weed

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The wedding was awesome. Everyone said so. They all told me they especially liked the music, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally proven once and for all that Middle Eastern music is not the only genre that gets people dancing and one does not HAVE to torture people’s eardrums with this whiny shit all night.

And yes, we did have some metal tunes playing at the end. The metalhead group that we invited had the entire dance floor to themselves and went bananas, headbanging, jumping, circle pit, all the good stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I danced the entire time, drank a lot of water, sweat it all out in yet another frenzied dance, and drank some more. I sweat so much, I even felt sweat on my legs! MY LEGS! Who the fuck sweats from their legs?

I also tried drinking some alcohol, but for some reason, my husband forgot to order the Smirnoff Ice I like. So I opted for a regular grapefruit vodka cocktail. I took no more than two or three sips from it, and had to set it aside because I just wasn’t digging it. For the rest of the night, I was on a natural high, and that was good enough for me.

On Sunday, four days after the wedding, we went to our first metal night as a married couple. Then on Monday, we went back to the bar for the mock elections they held. That night was amazing. I was on a natural high once again, and when the “Sunday Metal” party won (by one vote, but still a victory), and they played some more metal, I headbanged like I could not headbang on my wedding, because my hairdo didn’t allow it! I went back home with a sore neck, but that’s the sign that I had a blast. Also, my husband got nice and plastered, but experienced no nausea and no hangover the next day. So we both enjoyed a swell buzz indeed.

That night, I got my period and the next day I wrote my contribution for my friend’s zine “After the Blood” which is a special issue on the period. I wrote all about my experience in the mikve and how this monthly ritual affected the way I view my body and my menstrual cycle. I was looking forward to writing it all week, so once I finally got down to it, I enjoyed it so much that I got into the Zone. I haven’t been to the Zone in a while, and it felt so awesome to be back. And yes, that is definitely another natural high I experienced. Boy, if I’m not careful, my endorphins are going to become my drug of choice.

What will be my next fix you ask? Why, zine production of course!

Peace, love and that’s Mrs. Bar-Lev to you!

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