Posts Tagged ‘zine’


Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I don’t have the attention span for creative blocks. I procrastinate my way around them by inventing newer/quicker projects to cough-up with Heimlich-like thrust. The first of what’ll be a two to four-issue stretch of M.D, F.A.C.S. Poetry Zine was my most recent heave of creative bulimia.

I was born on the Upper East Side of New York City. I’ve lived there most of my life. The neighborhood has the same perverse magnetism that homeless men shitting in phone booths, crime scenes, multi-car pile-ups, serial killers, bottled siamese fetuses and pregnant crack addicts have. It’s a Morrissey fan’s wet-dream–a wilted daisy to tear flaccid petals from–all the while mumbling,”she hates me. she hates me more.” The Upper East Side’s a bottomless banquet of pop-corn vulgarity and beer-battered decadence, and the shame I carry knowing that I’m an alum of the Madison Presbyterian Day School is enough to make me want to gift every anxious mommy-business-card-toting, wait-list-play-group-attending mother in the ‘hood an Hermes-boxed, stainless-steel razor blade for Christmas. That, or… write a zine.

M.D, F.A.C.S. is my trophy room. After a 2-week safari–armed with only a pen, a book of cloakroom check tickets and an intimate familiarity with the migratory habits of the garishly wealthy–I’d accumulated the shorthand genomes of a dozen botox-rigored corpses in dire need of taxidermic attention. Two-dimensional pen and ink busts upon Haiku pedestals would be the aesthetic. Each set of trophies would be displayed behind a vitrine bearing the tools of the hunt. The entire exhibition hall would be cloned 200 times–stapled, folded, chopped, signed and numbered.

Neighbor, won’t you sniff my sawdust and hides? Please?

M.D., F.A.C.S. HAIKU ZINE VOL. 1: Upper East Side Women

mdfacs cover
mdfacs note spread
mdfacs haiku spread


Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

The time that Sensational Fix curator, Roland Groenenboom, has spent with the work of Sonic Youth and their friends seems to have been superbly digested. Something that many of the artists involved in the show share widely in common is an involvement in the production of accessible, serial ephemera. Most are still generating print editions, publishing or writing zines, books, broadsides, chapbooks or pamphlets, printing tshirts, making records… Regardless of perceived value as artists, most everyone in the show is still actively making collectible works available to admirers of their creativity via channels beyond the hyper-inflated fantasy-priceland of galleries.

Having completed an exhibition catalog potentially priced beyond the reach of many young exhibition attendees, Roland decided to tap the over-arching communal belief in democratic content distribution and enlist exhibiting artists to contribute new work to a series of cheap, numbered, thematic, xeroxed zines. I contributed the piece below to the first issue, SILENCE. I can’t wait to stuff a sliver of my shelves with the entire series.

habib silence illustration


Friday, November 21st, 2008

I love Ed. It’s been a lot of fun watching the subtle twists and shifts his work has taken over the years as it’s matured. I think he has a show up now on the west coast. I got an email with a picture of a striking sculpture of the profile of a man’s face–cut to contour–out of wood, I think. He has a bent metal rod implanted in his skull that acts as the support for a stream of serpentine text spewing from his mouth. I’m not sure I ever saw that coming–that hyper-designed, sculptural evolution of the paintings, drawings and photographs. But, it makes sense.

A lot of Ed’s work is influenced by his access to and his ability connect with just about anyone he stumbles across while skating. Awesome Ellis is one of those trip-hazards turned epic pratfall. It’s just a 7-page xeroxed bunch of text with a couple of polaroids thrown in–a conversation with this guy–Mark Ellis. Mark–a then 48-year old neighborhood guy who worked at the 7-11, did some substitute teaching, picked up a security guard gig, was a Christian and adored skateboarding and skaters–discussed all sorts of shit with Ed. Never shy about dipping into the waters of the chickenhawk, the interview–of course–goes there. Ed questions Mark on his virginity and relationship with women. He asks him about his relationship with children and to specific pro skaters.

“We were completely unsure what the whole situation was. We were young kids, and this grown man was offering us rides places. In general you would say that seems pretty scary, you know? There’s a lot of crazy dudes out there who want to abduct young kids and so… But we just…I think we felt that you were real nice and wouldn’t do anything to us. And we just took the rides. I remember one time we spent the night at your house…”

But, Ellis responds to that naturally and explains that he really just loved good street skating and knew the kids’ parents…that there wasn’t anything else to it. Appropriately enough, by the time you finish reading the whole thing–you realize that’s probably true. For the dozens of reasons the interview seems to present the possibility of a sketchy guy–Ellis just doesn’t come across as creepy–and Ed knows this all along. He doesn’t just know it. He’s pointing and laughing–not at Ellis, but at all of those kids who grew up in bubbles–sheltered from the weird neighbor who hung out with kids, by parents who were afraid of everything–pointing, laughing and telling them, “you assholes could have met some cool people if only you weren’t so fucking lame.” I agree and applaud both Ed’s mockery of his collectors and peers as well as his deification of Mark Ellis.

awesome ellis


Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Glen’s another example of doing it right. I’m not sure he could avail himself of the convenience of tarnishing his integrity if he actively sat there at his stainless steel desk and tried. This zine didn’t really start it all for him, but in a way, it started him for him. Specifically, it marked the start of his independence from the corporate publishing world–something he’s maintained right up to the KYEO fugazi book he just published. It’s a practice he’ll likely never stray from.

The guy was a professional photographer by age 12. What exactly does that mean? It means he knew that the things he loved watching were worth documenting. It means that he had the drive to pick up a camera and document those things. It means he’d put up with being the grom–getting beat up, ripped off, scammed and laughed at because he was a child with a child’s instinct that what he loved was, in some way, pure–elemental–the atoms that would smash together and outgas the culture we all accept as ubiquitous today. He was getting published in Skateboarder magazine regularly. He was shooting his friends–not just doing what they were known for, but enjoying themselves away from those anchors.

Album covers, publicity shots, magazine spreads–punk, hardcore, rap, skateboarding–it was all the same. It was all energy as far as his affinity to it went. Initially, though, he didn’t edit it that way. I’m not sure Glen felt comfortable telling people, “it’s all the same thing. get used to it”.

At the start, he delivered the goods piecemeal. MY RULES, is indicative of that. There’s an ad for Thrasher in it, but there’s none of Glen’s iconic skate photography in the zine. He kept that in the skate mags back then. There’s no rap in it, but it was ’82 when he released it, so he wasn’t really shooting enough rap yet to have it make much contextual sense. So, in the canon of Glen Friedman, MY RULES, has, until relatively recently, stood alone as a crystalline composite of singular focus–music–or, more precisely–the aggressive music that Ronald Reagan’s America helped inspire. In the past few years he’s bookended My Rules with the DogTown book, the Jay Adams book, Recognize and KYEO which have all been content specific–but in the decades connecting My Rules to KYEO, he took the liberty of allowing the diversity of the images he composed to be the message.

While we were designing one of his other books, he gave me a few copies of My Rules and made me promise to keep them safe. They’re under lock and key and that’s where they’ll stay.

my rules cover


Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Thurston and Byron have always been models of “doing it right”. Take this zine. They wrote this ridiculous, yet visionary, thing–a David Bowie discography in the form of a set of 27 tankas. The guys cranked out 100 of ’em on a home office printer, stapled them, numbered them, boxed them up and took them down to Galapagos (when it was still down on N.6 St in Williamsburg) from Massachusetts on a particularly snowy night in 2002 for a reading. As far as I remember, they sold them cheap–for gas money, I reckon. They wrote a fucking book expressly for a single poetry reading–and you know what? It wasn’t the first time and it wasn’t the last.

Why? Why the hell would someone do such a thing? Because those motherfuckers write tankas and like glam. Why the fuck not?

When people have not just multiple passions, but also unique personalities–they have a responsibility to concoct mediums thru which to share their knowledge and perspective with others in interesting ways. That’s what creativity is. It’s what art is–making impractical things that have no business existing and no viable market, then loading your bladder with them and pissing wildly from the tallest barn, bridge, rock or tree into a gale wind and seeing what happens. People tend not to know how much they enjoy an accidental golden shower until they catch a couple of drops on their tongues. Next thing you know, 100 people are flipping Webster’s open to T to figure out what exactly a tanka is and then browsing thru the Bowie discography to see just how much sense this truly makes:

(RCA 1972)

limp wrist hoot rock gas
naive enough to make lou
spit out a mouthful
on john giorno’s old black pants
very same place andy did

trash tankas for lady stardust


Friday, April 4th, 2008

“FIRST ISH    MARCH 1995 / MARK GONZALES    HARMONY KORINE” The ADULTHOOD zine was another Aaron Rose agitation. So much of the literature that Aaron’s released on Alleged Press has left an apparent impression on what exactly pop-culture tastemakers have chosen to plagiarize since the 90’s. Like that moment of confused discomfort that sweeps in waves about one’s body following a notable crunching of the testicles, ADULTHOOD has left a persistent mark on those groins displaced by its steel-toed wit.

ADULTHOOD rolled two brilliantly damaged minds into a stromboli of crack-mania and mushroom-sautéed-observation–glopped together with the odd mozzarella of intermittent imagery–like Stephen Hawking displaying a record album edited to read, “tap dance music” with images of a swastika and a male portrait drawn atop the text. 

The zine was also ripe with sage wisdom–gems–“I DON’T KNOW WHAT KINDA RELACHIONSHIP YOU EXPECKTED YOUR GIRLFRIENDS ONLY TWELVE”.  Harmony typed up a list of 80 rumors. They forever changed my opinions of Tom Petty, Jessica Tandy, Nick Nolte, Corey Haim, Nestor Almendros and Kate Moss. Six toes? Elongated vagina? Tonsil wrasslin’ your dying sister? A dirty fish tank? Hector? Rehab-lockdown skin-flute to the tune of a photo of River Phoenix hanged?

People spend a lot of time fishing for genius in the deepest trenches of our intellectual oceans. Mark and Harm have made it their life’s work to remind us that it’s easier to just splash around with it in the kiddie-pool.

 adulthood cover