Punk Rock pessimism best describes Arthur contributor Aaron Lake’s Smith narrative of the anguish of being an aging, unemployed, punk. After receiving a zine written by German squatters titled “Happy Unemployed” Smith is forced to realize that the punk rock fantasy of outsmarting the work-world and eradicating deadtime do not so easily go hand in hand. Unlike the happy squatters, Smith is too old to be a crusty, too ambitious for some sort of career success, and too not-German to suckle off a welfare state.
Published by the zine world’s HarperCollins, Microcosm, Unemployment is formatted in the style of a Jack Chick tract. The story reads nothing like a classic Evangelically-polemic Jack Chick storyline until Smith turns to Crimethinc’s Days of War Nights of Love like the Good Book, and is climactically visited by its messianic author in a dream. The religious turn cements Smith’s pessimism, both for integration into capitalism and the faith that his ideals will deliver anything better.
Perhaps Unemployment‘s thematically closed approach lead Smith to release it as a single issue instead of as a regular issue of Big Hands. The punk zine form reminds us of a collective project underway, while Unemployment is the isolated story of an isolated person that is lacking something far more significant than a paying job. It’s the perfect read for urbanites like myself who appreciate allusions to Black Flag and Nietzsche within pages of each other, drinking black coffee, and waxing endlessly about the ugly confines of civilization.
Do you dream of a room filled with one-of-a-kind zines and art books made by amazing people, where you are free to spend long, contented afternoons perusing at your leisure? Consider Printed Matter your fantasy library. Currently on view is a collection of 100 + titles by Swiss publisher Nieves, ranging from “limited edition, photocopied zines, to more-formally recognized hardcover, perfect-bound and offset books.”
“I’m giving a little slide talk about the Mirror Horror section in MYTHTYM. Horror films, sexy ladies, mirrors in myth. Should go about 30 minutes, then a cup of wine and hello. Wine-soaked signing to follow event.”
MYTHTYM is a collection of zines that Trinie has produced through the years:
“…I deliberately include not only established artists and writers but also young people who are relatively unknown in their field. The idea of introducing and contextualizing artists by hanging their art on the same wall is a fundamental one in the art world. To me, my zines are literary/art/music history anthologies, following the group-show or salon style. They’re like parties on paper, and I want to be an exquisite host.”
When: Saturday, April 25th, 7pm
Where: Observatory (same building as Proteus Gowanus, Cabinet Magazine, &
Morbid Anatomy Library). 543 Union Street (at Nevins), Brooklyn, NY 11215
The Small Science Collective makes free, totally awesome zines about earwigs, protein structure, intestinal bacteria and facial gestures. Their motivation for this DIY public science publishing project? “Overall scientific literacy in the U.S lags at the very same time that the privatizing and patenting of scientific knowledge becomes more and more common.”
All the SSC zines are available as downloadable PDFs, and are distributed for free in “subways, benches, coffee shops, and any place someone might least expect them. Perhaps catching the attention of strangers who might what to learn something new about ants, spirals, food, or genetics?” Or those who want to know how to best play host to the parasitic bot fly.
Check out the full zine library here. Print one out, follow the folding instructions and pass it along. They’re looking for new contributors too. Sweet. Read their manifesto after the jump. (via Bug Girl’s Blog.)