Tag Archives: zine

Zine Review: Trail Mix 3

Trail Mix 3

Trail Mix 3

At Richmond Zinefest 2013 I headed up a storytelling workshop.  One of the folks in the session was Megan.  Before the workshop broke up she handed me issue #3 of her zine Trail Mix.

Now, as fans of zine culture know, there are zines and there are zines.  Some are just thrown together, some are assembled with care; some are outstanding and some are horrid.  But when they are good they are very very good, and it is this fact that compels me (like the folks who sift through piles of junk at yard sales or purchase brown paper grab bags with unknown contents) to read zines.

Trail Mix is one of the very very good ones.

In terms of production value, it is in the classic cut’n’paste mold: there are black and white pictures snipped and glued, handwritten pages mixed with typewritten sections, and ransom note headlines.  It is relaxed and unstudied in its feel, but that doesn’t mean it is slapdash.  Relaxed doesn’t mean poorly constructed.  Trail Mix is organized and flows perfectly.  The time, effort and skill it took to organize the work of so many contributors reveals itself as art rather than artifice.

The centerfold is an autobiographical story Megan wrote called “Rookie.” A sweet and genuine piece, tender without being treacle, it is the work of a writer in control of story.  I was moved.

Maybe Megan should be the one leading the workshop next year.  Trail Mix is highly recommended.

A Waterfall of Creativity


My 2013 Zinefest Table

Saturday I went to RVA Zinefest.  If you haven’t been to a zinefest before, let me tell you that it is like standing naked in a waterfall of creativity.  Icy waves of unfiltered self expression wash over you, bracing you, exciting you, waking you up to new possibilities.  It is the exact opposite of Hollywood polish, the antithesis of the focus-group powered ad pitch, the additive inverse of the end-cap, checkout-line-powered sales machine.


Assorted Zines I brought home

Behind every table to you visit there is a person, an actual human being, who will talk to you and interact with you and have an actual conversation.  You can stop and talk to Mo from the Wingnut, the hardest working human in the anarchy anti-business, or spend a few minutes with Oura whose art will blow your mind.

Start a conversation with Aijung Kim and you not only will you have a better day than you expected, but you will see fifteen things on her table that you can’t leave without.  Hang out at the Adhouse Books table and be smashed upside the head by some of the most beautiful productions you’ve ever seen.   Over at Studio Two Three you can get zines that will show you how to silk screen and linocut and express yourself, and they’ll tell you about all of the amazing stuff they’re doing over at 1617 W. Main St.


More zines I brought home

Free stuff is everywhere — music cds, flyers, pamphlets, and yes, ‘zines.  Some people are just trying to break even, others are trying to make a couple of bucks, and there are a few semi-pros running from one event to the next trying to pay the bills.

On one end there is a guy named Yuri Realman (or is that an alias?) selling a fascinating project called Conspiratorial.  On the other end of the hall you can meet Christine Stoddard from Quail Bell and buy something truly beautiful.


Zinefest hall full of cool people

There are workshops on everything from beekeeping to reproductive rights.  There’s an area with free materials where you can make your own ‘zine right there on the spot.  You can ramble from pillar to post.  You can drink great coffee and eat good food from Lamplighter.  You can forget you even have a cell phone.

Before I knew it it was time for my five o’clock “How to Tell a Story” workshop.  It was the end of the day and everybody, including me, was fully exhausted.  Attendance was low — only two people — but both of them tolerated my rambling without yawning too much.  One of them was Megan who heads up Trail Mix  (a cool person who puts out a very cool zine).

See what a mean?  Everywhere you go at Zinefest there’s another person to meet, another smile to share, and another inspiration.

Wunderkammer and Crunchholdoh

Crunchholdoh.net album cover — if you guys spot this and ask me to take this down I will.  It’s really cool though, so I hope you don’t make me.

This weekend I was cleaning out my Sanctum Sanctorum (a.k.a. “The Shed” — my workout room and ritual space) and I came across some stuff from Zinefest (either 2010 or 2011, I can’t be sure).  Among them was a zine called “Wunderkammer” by Whitney Rainey and this CD by Crunchholdoh.net.  I’m pretty sure Whitney did the album cover — her style is pretty distinctive.

Whitney’s zine is thought provoking and well worth a read.  Someday, maybe at a future Zinefest, I’ll be able to look her up and discuss the imagery.  She seems to have a fascination for patriarchal, presidential figures like Teddy Roosevelt.  Based on imagery alone, I suspect she has the same conflicting feelings toward Teddy that I do — admiration for a tough old bird who may have been forward-thinking for his time, but fearful and distrusting of what worship of these figures has become.  Like all good art though, everyone who reads it will see something different.

On the way to work this morning I put the CD in the truck stereo and was treated to the existential earwig that is Crunchholdoh (Track 5, Addressing the Homeless is still stuck in my head).  I’m not a music critic, and I’m not very hip, but I’ll try to write a review by suggesting titles for this apparently untitled record: Echoes of Atari Mindscapes, Scales of the Infinite City, Metronomes and Thought Museums, Mode: Life-Mirrors.  Anyway, with the early morning sun coming in through the truck window, it was pretty magical.

It’s so amazing that people make art that enriches other people’s lives.  I don’t even know these people, and yet they made my day.


Tabling at Richmond Zinefest


Two-and-a-half Busy Weeks

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.


Original post:

Studies show that you can kick 150% more ass in boots than you can in sock feet.  Actually, that’s not true.  I watched dozens of people (including my son) defeat Tough Mudder in glorified sock feet (a.k.a. Vibram five finger shoes).  Go figure.  Me? I’m sticking with the boots.

I haven’t posted the blog in 2 1/2 weeks.  Been a little busy.

10/19/11: After a slow start, began  working in earnest on the new Cabal Fang website over at Tumblr.  Re-write of the Cabal Fang Manual is about 75% done.

10/21/11:  Wrote and submitted a 500 word essay to a ‘zine called Get Fit for the Pit — a “a compilation zine that focuses on health and fitness from a punk/activist perspective.”  Hopefully they’ll use it.

10/23/11: Went to Wintergreen and watched my son kick butt at Tough Mudder — 10 miles, 27 obstacles, and brutal hills.  A truly amazing experience.  Way to go Robert!

10/25/11:  Got hit in the face with more than the usual force at the martial arts club.  Didn’t seem like a big deal until I started seeing black spots and flashes of light.  After several days I decided to call the doctor…

10/30/11:  …spent two hours at Virginia Eye Institute (yes, they open on Sundays for urgent eye stuff) getting a nightmarish exam that revealed a vitreous detachmentGood news: I’m not blind and it’ll heal.  Bad news: no more getting in the face (at least not that hard).

10/31/11: After collecting and delivering water, food, blankets, sleeping bags, and other supplies to Kanawha plaza twice a week for two weeks, I watched the news in horror as I discovered Occupy Richmond was bulldozed.  That night I went trick-or-treating with my kids and grand-kids, feeling lucky that I have a house and job and a beautiful family!

11/1/11: Started collecting money for the 2011 Kidney Walk on the All for Audrey Team.  Walking in honor of my granddaughter Audrey and in memory of my father.  Kidney disease is a debilitating disease that affects 1 in 9 Americans — over 85,000 people are waiting for kidney transplants as you read this.  The walk is this Sunday.  Make a donation here.

I can’t remember the date of the most remarkable thing that happened in the last 2 1/2 weeks.  Somewhere in this period of time I had a couple of really wonderful conversations with my beautiful wife.  She pointed out how I’ve lately started to see the glass as half empty instead of half full, which is strange and alarming, because everybody knows I’m Mr. Positive.  She opened my eyes about a lot of stuff and basically got me back to my old self.  She’s cool like that.

I’ve laced up my boots and I’m back in the game.

Richmond Zinefest 2011

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.


Original post:

Our Order of Seven Hills Table

Zinefest ’11 was a blast.  Our table had a ton of traffic, we met dozens of great folks, and quite a few said they were going to try working out with us a The Order of Seven Hills.

The joy of Zinefest is direct access to writing and art, the ability to directly communicate with the authors and artists, and a huge injection of creative excitement.

After a day spent in the company of this much creativity, talent, and energy I go home feeling inspired and encouraged to say something, draw something, express something.

My paperweight


Top: Mo Karnage from Approaching Apocalypse Zine Distro, the Wing Nut, etc.

Martial Arts Zine for Activists

I wrote this ‘zine for my friends who are out there every day trying to make the world a better place.  The .pdf is formatted to be printed double-sided and center-stapled to make a 5.5″ x 8.5″ booklet.  I hope it helps.

Self-Defense for Activists