Zine Review: The Happy Loner

ZINES_happylonerZine, Izalixe Straightheart, Issue #4, 30 rue Ste-Ursule, #16 Quebec QC, G1R 4E3, $4 

In this edition of The Happy Loner, a deeply personal and intimate perzine, Iza tells parallel stories of loss and renewal. The zine is dedicated to Aime, a cat and companion who passed shortly before the zine’s creation. It’s clear that the author has an immensely powerful connection with Aime and has been deeply affected by the loss.

The story moves from the loss of Aime to detail the similarly deep connection Izalixe has with the neighbourhood in which they grew up and now live. The neighbourhood has recently gone through a transitory period, with new businesses moving in, a beach being created by the ferry, and a ferris wheel installation on the waterfront.

Iza has a tangible relationship with the physical spaces in which she moves, and you can feel the deep roots in her writing. She writes about financial hardship and the instability created by being in that space, mirroring the uncertainty of the outcome of the neighbourhood’s transition.

In the zine’s final pages, a new, rewarding, secure romantic relationship is created to replace a toxic, tough relationship left behind. In all of these stories you can feel the author’s unwavering connection to herself, and a hope and surety of purpose that we should all be so blessed as to possess in times of struggle. This zine personifies the perzine ideology by walking you through daily life, hard times, and tough feels. Though the author may have lost a dear companion, they still have hot tea, high-fives, and four strong walls. (Read our review of another Iza zine, Meetings, on page TK.) (CJ Blennerhassett)


Online Exclusive Fiction – “Pivot” by Javier Rokusaburo

I felt the blow to the back of my head again. Some asshole dressed likeFrankenstein had elbowed me from behind. I was trapped in the corner of the packed room, talking to some chick dressed in a Playboy bunny outfit with furry cat ears on her head. I turned to look at him doing some frenetic dance with a girl who was painted green from head to toe. No shirt, no underwear. Just some green maple leaves which were still hanging on to her. This was the second time he had gotten me. Even the French maid was beginning to wince at the swinging elbows of his. People around us were dancing but they were just rocking their bodies like being slowly tossed by an invisible wave. Eventually, the elbow came at me again. But I had begun to read the pattern of his jerky motions coming from a mile away and without even thinking, I uppercutted him in the back of the ribs. It was the one punch I really knew how to throw. And it was just about perfect in my cramped little corner. The guy reacted with a “Ah!” and turned to look at me while clutching his rib. His frame was just a few inches taller than me. But scrawny. And it didn’t help that he was wearing a blazer that was a cut too big for him. Everyone stopped dancing and preternaturally stepped to the side. I glanced down at my bright white suit with bright white slacks and bright white slip-on sneakers. I had a pink, v-neck shirt underneath which was all supposed to mimic Don Johnson in the tv show, Miami Vice.

Zine Review: Dreams of Donuts #20

ZINES_Dreams of DonutsComic, Heather Wreckage, 5867 San Pablo Ave., Oakland CA 94608, USA,, $2

“This shit still doesn’t get old for me” says Heather Wreckage on reaching her 20th issue. She still gets stoked when she exists the copy shop with a steaming pile of her photocopied comics depicting her life as a west coast punk kid trying to get by. This issue sees her move back to Oakland after some heartbreak, take a small, curtained room in a punk house, and illustrate her life in a style that – if I was forced to make a comparison – resembles the work of Fly of Zero Content fame, while still very much being its own thing.

What I love about this zine is the way that Heather is able to relate the day to day with a spot-on social criticism. For example, the “burning man chic” prospective roommate who presents himself as a chauvinist is critically dissected by Heather with the conclusion that, “his attitudes towards women is a flesh eating bacteria in not just a punk or whatever other counter culture, but to society as a whole.” But not all observations are autobiographical. Take her reviews of ‘80s action movies. Her take on Predator 2 (4 out of 5 donuts) concluded, “the aliens only hunt people with guns, & not kids ever. Aka predators hate the cops as much as we do.” Heather gets it. This zine? Get it! (Chris Landry)

Zine Review: Different Shades of Normal

Zine, Zippity Zinedra, issue 3,, $3

The author’s note at the end of Different Shades of Normal advises people to “Just read the zine. That’s why it’s here. It’s a glimpse of time. That’s it–just a glimpse.” However, it’s also a glimpse of 21 years, starting in 2014 and going back to 1993 in descending order, told in diary entries.

Writer Zippity Zinedra covers a lot of ground (depression, heartbreak, being a “queer loner”), but rarely goes into detail about any one event. In many ways, this is an intensely personal zine, but one of the most effective passages is a verbatim transcription of an overheard conversation where a blind man argues that his sighted friend doesn’t have an obligation to read a newspaper because “you have a choice.’” No comment is made about how this conversation fits into the writer’s life, but it perfiectly illustrates the issues of fitting in, personal choice, and individuality broached throughout the zine. It’s understandable that the writer feels vulnerable sharing details of their life with an unknown public, but even a little more detail would go a long way toward drawing us deeper into their world. (Joanne Huffa)

Indie Events Roundup Sept 1-8


Ted Gudlat’s Funny-Hahas launches Thursday at Weird Things

Tuesday, September 1


Hoser Punx Vol 3 Zine Lunch, 8pm, Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave, free

An entire zine dedicated to all things Canadian punk! Zine is for sale for 5 bux all night.

Art Bar Poetry Series, 8pm, Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave, free

Art bar above and beyond! Robert Priest, Kelly Pflug, Evan Whyte read.


Resonance Reading Series, 9pm, Resonance Café, 5175A Avenue du Parc, free

Readings by Danila Botha, Steven Mayoff, Richard Rosenbaum, Rachael Simpson and Neil Smith.

Wednesday, September 2


Forge: Grant Writing 101, 6:30-8:30pm, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St W, free with registration

The Ontario Arts Council hosts an information session on grant writing strategies.

Thursday, September 3


Barista Skills Workshop, 7pm, D-Beatsto, 1292 Bloor St W, PWYC

A DIY barista skills workshop! Anyone is welcome to apply but priority will go to marginalized youth seeking employment experience.

Funny Hahas Book Launch, 7:30pm, Weird Things, 998 Bathurst St, free

Weirdo comix kid Ted Gudlat launches his book about Slurpie and the gang!

Friday, September 4


Giving Birth To Yourself Chapbook Launch, 8pm, CEDA, 2520 Lionel-Groulx Acenue, PWYC

Performance by by Kim Ninkuru and Elena Stoodley flank the launch of Kai Cheng Thom (aka Lady Sin Trayda) and Emily Tee Clare.

Saturday, September 5


PLAY: A Series of Microtalks, 2pm, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St George St, free

Microtalks from the likes of Jenny Sampirisi, Natalie Zina Walschots and more.

Batty Bwoy Book Launch, 6pm, Glad Day Bookshop, 598a Yonge St, free

Jamaican-born author Max-Arthut Mantle launches his new novel, Batty Bwoy.


Calls for Submissions


Got art about the future of food and farming? Country Heritage Park wants to know! 

Call for Submissions: Naked Heart – The LGBTQ Festival of Words

Glad Day is putting on a queer lit festival! It’s gonna be awesome, and you can be a part of it. It runs October 16-18. Sign up here!

Call for Submissions: Future of Food and Farming 2041: Changes and Choices

Country Heritage Park invites artists to submit works for an exhibition in October in Milton, ON. Works should explore the theme of the future of food and farming. Deadline is September 20th. Submit to $20 entry fee.

Call for Submissions: OCZ

OCZ will be a zine by and for people who have obsessive compulsive disorder, including folks who are self-diagnosed. Writing and artwork will be accepted through the deadline of January 2, 2016. Submit to

Call for Entries: The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

Restless Books has a new prize created to foster emerging writers of sharp, culture-straddling writing that addresses American identity in a clobal age. The prize? $10,000 and a book deal. The fee? none. What are you waiting for? Submissions run September through December. More information on their website.

Call for Submissions: Dreams of Orisha Zine

Dreams of Orisha is a zine series that celebrates the brilliance, magick and creative richness that is Black queer and trans women and Black non-binary people of Canada. Currently they are accepting submissions to Volume 1, Oya, a warrior orisha of the Niger River who is loyal, unapologetic, and fiercelet protective. Submit to with the subject Oya Submission by November 1.

Call for Entries: 3 Day Novel Contest

Can you produce a masterwork of fiction in 72 hours? The annual International 3-Day Novel Contest is your chance to find out. The contest takes place every Labour Day long weekend, and attracts writers from around the world. This year’s 3-Day Novel Contest runs from September 5–Sept. 7, 2015! Register now.