Zine, Stéphane Doucet, Issue 2, whollyshitzine.wordpress.com, $1
Sometimes even best zine ideas play themselves out. Such is the case for 20-something punk Stéphane, who throws in the towel at the end of this second and final issue of Wholly Shit, a rich anthology of Winnipeg church reviews.
Compiled from blog posts from last December though April 2014, these reviews sharply account for each church’s music, humbly faithful, ideology, decor, foodstuffs, and “scare quotient” — and then lets us in on the experience of it all through his blasphemous, conversational account of the proceedings.
Although introduced as “destructive criticism” on the first page and nihilistically dismissed as a “redundant and boring” experience on the last, Wholly Shit is more generous toward its subject than one might think. Several pastors are, of course, written off as boring hypocrites while live muzak failures are laughed at in ALL CAPS, but these are punctuated by Stéphane’s more exposed moments when he’s stuck in an unwanted hug, imagining a church bell spliced into a doom record, or calling out the punk community for its own fucked-up conformities. While this ethnographic writing exercise has gotten old for Stéphane, Wholly Shit’s victory lap is a thorough and thankful joy for readers. (Jason Luther)