The Zine Collection

…at Jacksonville’s Main Library

Know Your Zine Author: Plastic Crimewave

Posted by Matthew Moyer on July 29, 2011

Galactic Zoo Dossier, a tripped-out compendium of comics and psychedelic music, with every issue hand-lettered and hand-drawn, is currently my favorite zine. It’s the brainchild of Chicago fixture Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave, who also is keeping himself busy running a record label, playing in multiple bands, and doing the weekly comic strip “The Secret History Of Chicago Music.” And though it doesn’t hew to the classic photocopies aesthetic, you’ve gotta love a zine that includes a portrait of Christopher Lee in Dracula regalia on the last page – just because.

What was your first exposure to zines?

I guess when I was a teenager I was into comic-book related zines, and some underground comics. I started picking up some music zines in college.

How long have you been writing Galactic Zoo Dossier? What made you decide to create this zine?

I started GZD in 1995, just wanting to combine my love of comics and music, which many zines didn’t seem to do. I had a hook-up at a copy shop, and a job where I could draw during downtime, which was key. I also had a sample I had been trying to shop around of an underground comic “Third Eye Comics,” which there were no takers for, so I repurposed a lot of the contents for the first issue.

What kind of work goes into an issue of Galactic Zoo Dossier? Was the hand-lettering and hand-drawing something you knew you wanted to keep up with from the beginning?

I was priming myself to draw normal superhero comics in high school, so I learned how to letter and lay out panels and all that, but I became disenchanted with the idea of drawing other people’s stories (and big muscle-men) not to mention stuff I hated to draw like cars and buildings. It’s really just easier for me to hand-letter/lay-out, I really am still an idiot on computers. It does take about two years to complete an issue, but mainly because I’m constantly working on other projects that pay the bills more immediately, like posters, album covers, and I play in a few bands that tour, DJ, etc.

The last issue of GZD featured everyone from the Beach Boys to Yahowa 13 to the Gods – I can’t imagine any of the big rock magazines having such wide-ranging coverage.

Well, they used to–! Mags like Crawdaddy, Back Door Man, Mojo Navigator, Psyche Scene, Bomp!, even Creem and the old school days of Rolling Stone were pretty eclectic. Ugly Things and Shindig! are keeping the torch going currently.

The comics collages in that issue were pretty amazing too. Where do you find all of that stuff?

I have about 30,000 comics, and I’m always perusing cheap bins for more! I read a LOT of comics.

What is the most surreal interview/encounter you’ve ever had as a result of doing GZD?

Hmmm…hard to pick one.. I guess my first big interview with Simeon of the Silver Apples when hardly any info was available about them maybe? They appeared to be New Yorkers via another planet, but in fact he was a funny good o’l boy from Alabama! Reclusive acid-folk legend Clive Palmer (originally from the Incredible String Band) was surreal too, never thought the Cornwall bohemian would make it to Chicago! I couldn’t believe it was happening.

Tell me about the Secret History of Chicago Music comic. Where else might we find your work?

The SHoCM “info-strip” (as I call it for lack of a better word) sort of grew out of GZD. I found myself covering Chicago acts a lot (yeah I have some town pride, I admit it) and thought it could make a good local feature in the paper, maybe formatted a bit more like R.Crumb’s “Heroes of the Blues” trading cards. After an editor or 2 didn’t get it, one finally bit, and now it has run every other week for 7 years. I will cover all from blues to jazz, folk to garage rock, etc. I do a band portrait and research their history, often interviewing actual band members. We also do a radio show segment every time the strip runs where we play the music and try to have the artists on, and fans call in.

I also do a regular strip for the Roctober zine, and work for the mag Signal To Noise, and I used to have regular stuff in Arthur and Stop Smiling if you can track down back issues. As stated earlier a lot of posters, album covers, and even an occasional mural.

You keep very busy on a lot of side projects – a band, djing, running a label – would you run them down for us?

Well technically I have 5 bands right now– Aa…the rundown:

Plastic Crimewave Sound–acid punk band going for 10 years now (yeesh), we have 5 LPs, collaborative lps w/Oneida and Michael Yonkers, 3 45s, and a lot of compilation appearances, we’ve toured w/Acid Mothers Temple, Oneida, Comets on Fire, Marble Sheep, etc, and opened for a lot of my heroes like Sky Saxon, Ya Ho Wha 13, Love, Zolar X, Trad Gras Och Stenar, etc.

Moonrises–newish “avant-prog” trio with my gal Ms. Libby on keyboards and free-jazzy drummer Ben Billington, we’ve toured a bit and are working on getting an LP we recorded out.

Solar Fox–space ambient duo, Ms. Libby also on keys and me on guitar, we have a cassette out on Medusa tapes in Toronto.

Scum Ra–another duo of keys and guitar with Kathy of Spires That In The Sunset Rise–sorta goth/noise, cassette on Catholic tapes due soon.

Gleaming–(formerly DRMWPN) large ensemble of largely-acoustic drone, with jazzers like Michael Zerrang and Josh Abrams, Jim Becker of Califone, etc. We have one LP out, and some limited UK CDRs/cassettes. Sometimes I play solo too, or conduct the Plastic Crimewave Vision Celestial Guitarkestras, which have featured up to 70 guitarists.

I do DJ a few times a month, and have done so everywhere from LA, NY, to Japan. Usually do all 45s of 60s/70s funk, psych, garage, punk, bubblegum, glam, mod, hard rock, soul, etc

I run the label Galactic Zoo Disk with Drag City manufacturing/distributing, all reissues of obscure 60s-70s stuff from loner punk (JT IV), to full-tilt psych (Spur), and private pressed synth madness (George Edwards Group) to odd folk (Ed Askew, Michael Yonkers).

I also curate the Million Tongues festivals, we’ve had folks like Bert Jansch, Terry Reid, Michael Yonkers, Tony Conrad, Mark Fry, Simon Finn, etc.

What sort of feedback and reactions do you get from your audience and peers?

Oh, everything from pats on the back and fan mail to people thinking i’m a drug-damaged lunatic or not understanding a single thing i’m into.

What zines are you enjoying right now?

I’ve been liking stuff by Leslie Stein and Avi Spivak.

What are you listening to right now?

Oh gosh, way too much as always… Prog like East of Eden and T2, folk like Keith Christmas and Wizz Jones, Asian psych like Shin Hyun Jung and the Jacks, revisiting UK psych like Kaleidoscope and Please, song-poem genius Rodd Keith, and old timey stuff like Carter Family and Dock Boggs. I also dug out a college-era Beach Boys tape comp I made and have been loving it all over again.

What are some of the projects you have coming up soon?

Very excited to have drawn my first linear comic book in like 15 years, which is a collaboration with Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple–its sorta biographical, and is going to be an old-school comic-book and 45 record set, like I loved as a kid. It’s taking ages, but will be worth it. Knee deep in a new GZD (#9) too, which will hopefully be ready by the end of the year… hopefully! Plastic Crimewave Sound is working on an album too, and I’m about to leave for my first European tour, playing a festival in Dorset, and also Twickenham, Paris, Netherlands, etc.. I will also be interviewing UK legends like Arthur Brown, Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope, Edgar Broughton, Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention) and folk lord Martin Carthy!

Posted in Interviews | Leave a Comment »

International Zine Month: San Marco Loves Zines!

Posted by Matthew Moyer on July 19, 2011

Our friends at the San Marco library have caught International Zine Month fever! For this month only, come read and check out the zines on display there. More branch-ing out to come!

Posted in Announcements, Outreach | Leave a Comment »

International Zine Month: Art Walk Photo Edition

Posted by Matthew Moyer on July 15, 2011

If you missed our International Zine Month kickoff at Art Walk, shame on you! We had a passel of new zines, our brand new Read Zines poster, and live sets from Willie Evans Jr. and Paten Locke! Much fun was had, and many library cards were waved in the air.  More Zine Month goodness to come!

Performance photos courtesy of Walter Coker. Group shot courtesy of Max Micheals. Thank you!

Posted in Events | Leave a Comment »

Know Your Zine Author: Aaron Lake Smith

Posted by Matthew Moyer on July 14, 2011

Aaron Lake SmithNewsstand junkies among you might recognize the byline “Aaron Lake Smith” from his pieces in Time or Newsweek Magazine, but the discerning zine-o-phile lives and dies by Smith’s more personal outlet, the fearsomely well-written Big Hands. In the pages of Big Hands, he blends the personal and the political in punchy, autobiographical vignettes that make for compulsive reading. You can find many issues of Big Hands in our collection, as well as his one-off Unemployment zine.

Search JAXCAT for Aaron Lake Smith’s zines.

What was your first exposure to zines?

The first zines I came into contact with were the Crimethinc publications that were littered like ticker tape around North Carolina in the late 90s and early 2000s. Evasion, Dropping Out, Inside Front–all of these publications had a massive distribution. They had this propaganda newspaper called Harbinger, and I remember reading somewhere that they printed a million copies. 1,000,000 copies. That’s what The New York Times prints today.

As for more literary, personal zines I was affected by a zine called Ride On that was basically a Cometbus rip-off written by a kid from the suburbs of Philly. Jim will probably be embarrassed that I mention it, but Ride On had a nakedness of spirit and a strong command of prose that you didn’t see in other zines. It was more like a Bruce Chatwin book and less like Evasion. It revealed the other possibilities for the pamphlet medium.

How long have you been writing Big Hands? What made you decide to create this zine?

I made the first issue in Fall of 2005. I had a part-time job and very little else going on, so I borrowed a friend’s college ID and would sneak into the university computer lab late at night to write. Kept writing, then did some editing, then gave out the zine. It got a good response and I feel like I had said something that hadn’t been said yet, so I kept making them.

What kind of work and time goes into an issue of Big Hands? When do you know that an issue is done – as far as being fully written?

It’s different for every issue. I’m always writing. But regrettably, my creative cycle involves spending several months languishing–reading books, watching movies, drinking and walking around–and then waking up one morning and with a good Protestant lashing saying, “That’s enough!” and getting to work. Once started, the zine practically writes itself. Then, rather than getting to work on the next issue, I celebrate or take a trip and then the fallowing and harvesting cycle starts itself all over again. There’s a lax supervisor inside me and a slavedriver inside me– When this slavedriver makes an appearance, I write seriously and don’t stop until he says its done.

How has your writing in Big Hands shaped or honed your writing style? In Big Hands you intermingle blunt honesty and self-deprecating humor very easily.

Every sentence matters. Each issue of Big Hands is like one of those old Swiss clocks–all the parts are delicately wrought and need to be positioned in the machine with the utmost of care. It’s like surgery, everything needs to be done carefully. The zine is a small thing made of small moving parts–kind of like Robert Walser’s microscripts. It’s not a novel–there’s no long flowing paragraphs or excessive character descriptions or chapter-long ramblings on the problems of the regional Russian Zemstvos like in Tolstoy.

Tell me about writing the Unemployment zine.

When I have a full-time job, I put my energy into having the fulltime job and living my life in the world. It’s difficult for me to have a disciplined yoga-like writing practice–you know, the ballerina gets up at six AM every morning and practices for two hours. Practice makes perfect! Small tiny steps forward. Doesn’t really work for me. The zines are made in one great push, usually when I have nothing else going on in my life. So when I had no job and no “real life” the natural thing to do was to make Unemployment.

You’ve written for everyone from Newsweek to Arthur on a broad swath of subject matter – how do you approach writing a piece for a bigger magazine/publication?

I approach writing essays, journalism and criticism the same way I approach writing a zine. The only difference is there’s an outside deadline, not the deadline I’m putting on myself. Writing for pay is the same–you psych yourself up, pace around the living room, drink a lot of coffee, and then sit down and make it happen. But you have to keep in mind that there’s a wider audience and that your language has to be more inclusive. You’re not writing for your little niche that understands all these cultural references.

Big Hands v.5. 1/2What sort of feedback and reactions do you get from your audience and peers? How did people react to the Chumbawumba issue, for instance?

I get a lot of letters, snail-mail, but now also plenty of random e-mails. I get the feeling that my audience is kind of like Morrissey’s audience, but obviously much much smaller–lost and lonely misfits who don’t fit into any scene or category but feel dissatisfied with all their various options for living-in-the-world.

People really liked the Chumbawamba zine. I’m first and foremost a fan. I hope it served as an entry point for people who didn’t know the Chumbawamba anarchist backstory and only knew them from “Tubthumper”.

Do you see a point in the near future where you will shift the majority of your independently produced writings from print to the web?

Sure. But I’m not too keen on just tossing them up on a Tumblr blog.
The medium affects the way people read a piece of writing. So it’s preferable to have the writing framed nicely, the way you frame a painting, so that it gets read with care, and not just skimmed over quickly.

What zines are you enjoying right now?

I don’t read many zines, I read books. More and more zines today read like Deepak Chopra books–they should be classified in the Self-Help section. I like zines that smell like literature, criticism, and polemic. Brandt Schmidt’s zine Shiny Things On The Ground. I always pick up Cometbus whenever there’s a new issue.

What are some of the projects you have coming up soon? Where else will we be seeing your work soon?

I’m currently up house-sitting in rural Vermont working on a new writing project. It’s mutating–maybe it’s a zine, maybe it’s a book. Also look for more articles to come out soon.

Visit Aaron Lake Smith’s blog.

Search JAXCAT for Aaron Lake Smith’s zines.

Posted in Interviews | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

New Zines: International Zine Month Edition

Posted by Matthew Moyer on July 12, 2011

With International Zine Month in full swing, what better way to celebrate than kicking back and reading a mess o’ zines? We’ve got you covered with these new selections…

Ache. Vol. 4
A.D.D. Vol. 15 : Attention Deficit Disorder
Avow. Vol. 12
Booty. Vol. 2
Brainscan. Vol. 19 : Typewriters
Burn Brandon. Vol. 17
The Constant Rider Omnibus: Stories From The Public Transportation Front.
Croq. Vol. 12
The Days Run Away Like Children: 5ive Songs for 5ive Points.
Dessin Libre : Freinet Pedagogy and Its Approach to Art Education.
Diary Of A Mosquito Abatement Man.
DigDog: Phatty Reiser.
Doris. Vol. 15: D.I.Y. Anti-Depression Guide
Doris. Vol. 19: ABC
Doris. Vol. 20
Gullible. Vol. 24
Honey Chamber: Bridge To Homesick.
I Hate This Part Of Texas. Vol. 4
Infintesmal. Vol. 1: The Real Better Jacksonville Plan.
Junket. Vol. 2: Taxi Stories Part Two.
Kilter. Vol. 5: The Journal Of Gothicartchicago.com.
Damian K. Lahey: The Days Run Away Like Children
Loitering Is Good. Vol. 8: Post Modern Reflections In Turd Town.
Manderz Totally Top Private Diary. Vol. 1: Keep Out!!!
Manderz Totally Top Private Diary. Vol. 3: Keep Out!!!
The Memphibians: How To Be Followed Alone.
Movement Magazine. Vol. 1.4
Movement Magazine. Vol. 1.6
Not Very Nice. Vol. 1
Pick Your Poison. Vol. 1
Pick Your Poison. Vol. 2
Please Let Me Help.
Popnihil. Vol. 3: Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.
Primitive Toothcare: A DIY Guide To Uncivilized Oral Hygiene.
PTBH! Vol. 10
Razorcake. Vol. 62
Scam. Vol. 5
Seven Inches To Freedom. Vol. 6
Scenery. Vol. 15
Simple Complexity: The Complex Theory.
Snakepit. Vol. 9: Quarterly Edition
Snakepit. Vol. 10: Quarterly Edition
Snakepit. Vol. 12: Quarterly Edition
Snakepit. Vol. 13: Quarterly Edition
Snakepit. Vol. 34:  Gullible. Vol. 26 split
Somnambulist. Vol. 1
Spring Goals.
Status. Vol. 27
Tales Of A Traveling Panty Salesman.
These Are The Days. Vol. 5
The 2416: Puddled.
You Idiot. Vol. 1
You Idiot. Vol. 2

Posted in Announcements, New Items | Leave a Comment »

Happy International Zine Month!

Posted by Matthew Moyer on July 8, 2011

Thanks to everyone who showed up for our concert during Art Walk on Wednesday night. Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr. put on an amazing show and we had a great time. But we’ve got more new projects and surprises to unveil this month. So keep checking back! First off is our new READ ZINES poster, featuring Paten Locke, Willie Evans Jr, and Tough Junkie! We’ve given away a bunch already but there’s more at the Main Library, so hurry on down!

Thanks to Max Michaels for designing this amazing poster!

Posted in Announcements, Events | Leave a Comment »

Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr live at Jacksonville Public Library!

Posted by Andrew Coulon on July 6, 2011

Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr live at Artwalk!

The Jacksonville Public Library Zine Collection presents Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr live in the Main Library on July 6th! We’re kicking off International Zine Month right with a combination of independent publishing and independent music! Since before Asamov these two talented performers have been setting the standard for artists coming out of Jacksonville. Touring all over America and Europe, these two are some of the most intriguing live acts you will find. From video manipulation, to record scratching, to the art of MCing, to doing all that at the same time! You can’t find anything better than Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr! My word on that! Plus it’s free! And we’ll have a bunch of brand new zines available for checkout as well!

We’ll be in what was formerly Shelby’s Café, right near the Laura Street entrance. The Main Library is at the corner of Laura and Duval, across from Hemming Plaza. Event starts promptly at 6:30p.m.

Posted in Announcements, Events, New Items | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Zine of the Week: Practice Apartment

Posted by Matthew Moyer on June 23, 2011

Practice Apartment

Interesting concept, this. Practice Apartment is either a “greatest hits” or a “Whitman’s Sampler”-esque compilation zine compiling some of the best stories from the now out-of-print zines “Laundry Basket: Tales of Washday Woe,” “10 Items Or Less: A Grocery Shopping Zine,” and “Potluck! A Cooking Compilation.” (Incidentally, all three of these are available separately as well from your Zine Collection here at the library!)

With a new introduction drawing all three threads together under a Home-Ec theme. The end result is a series of short, snappy vignettes and cartoons that capture the absurdity, humor, and even beauty that result from mundane tasks we’d often rather not be doing. The tone shifts from fond reverie to biting satire at the drop of a dryer sheet. On one page you’ll find out how NOT to wash a vintage Agent Orange concert shirt (hint: certainly not in a washer load with a bunch of cloth diapers and bleach) and on the next you’ll find fond reminiscences of gorging on comfort food with grandparents, then you’re off to a tale of a shopper looking for cheese that’s “particularly Christian.” (They went with Saint Andre because it sounded religious.) All this and cartoons by the likes of Shawn Granton and Carrie McNinch? Your weekend to-do list never looked this good.

Find it in JaxCat

Posted in New Items, Zine of the Week | 1 Comment »

1000 Zines

Posted by Andrew Coulon on June 22, 2011

The Jacksonville Public Library just cataloged its 1000th zine!

In just under two years, we’ve built an impressive collection of zines and we literally couldn’t have done it without you.  We have received boxes and boxes of donations from generous people around Florida and around the country.  Keep it up!  Check out a zine and show your support!

To celebrate this milestone, we are planning a zine release party for the new materials at the July Artwalk.  More details to come.  We will have lots of new stuff to check out that day, so be sure to stop in at the Main Library.

Posted in Announcements | Leave a Comment »

Zine Machine at Gregory Drive Elementary!

Posted by Josh Jubinsky on May 31, 2011

Thanks to art teacher Ed Saulk and media specialist Jack Betancourt, we got to spend nearly a full school day at Gregory Drive Elementary teaching six sessions of Zine Machine classes to 3rd – 5th graders.   The all day Arts Festival event they put on was amazing and we were very glad to be a part of it.


Some classes got inspired by Chris Van Dusen’s “If I Built a Car” before designing a car of their own, while other classes reviewed the elements of superheroes and villains before designing one of their own.  They even had our “Read Zines” poster up in the media center!

The material the kids created will be used for the next 5 issues of Zine Machine, available next month in the Main Library’s Children’s Department.   The library at Gregory Drive was also very excited about cataloging the new issues for it’s students to check out.   The kids were also very enthusiastic about coming to the public library and checking out the zine they contributed too.  Everyone wins!

Posted in Outreach | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.