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Creative Politics: Creating a DIY Newsletter for Rural Punks

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Country Grind #2 image supplied by Gretchen!

Gretchen Bonegardener is a rad person who runs a newspaper for rural punks called The Country Grind. She does all the work herself with the help of a few volunteers and distributes it across Canada. She wrote our Creative Politics column for Issue 65 about how she started the paper and why. She will also be speaking at our From Print to Pixel panel at Canzine Central (Winnipeg) on Saturday October 25! Check out the column below and be sure to check out the panel if you are in Winnipeg this weekend.

I started my slow move to rural living about 5 or 6 years ago. I liked how calm life was out in the bush, how much more control you had over your own life, and how the cops never seemed to bother you, even if you were standing on your front porch, shooting squirrels with your .22 in your underwear at 5am.
But in the beginning I would always find myself driving (or hitchhiking, before I got myself a truck) back to the city for a weekend because I needed to get my fill of punk. Being a part of punk culture has been and always will be very important to me. But as I slowly became more involved in rural living and culture, I found myself having less and less in common with even my closest city punk friends.
I had a few rural punk friends who I would keep in touch with via phone and snail mail and slowly the idea formed in my brain to have a rural punk newsletter so we could all keep in touch, because sometimes living rurally can be really lonely. I had always been a big fan of the punk zines Profane Existence and Slug & Lettuce and after writing an article for the former about being a Rural Punk and getting a lot of supportive feedback, I decided that there really need to be a magazine for us. That’s how The Country Grind was born.

Canzine Winnipeg Vendors!

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Here’s who you can visit when you come to Canzine Central (Winnipeg) this Saturday October 25!

 

Cockroach Zine
Of Course You Can! Zine Distro
Briarpatch Magazine
Wholly Shit
ArtsJunktion MB
Junto Local 114 Radical Lending Library & Distro
Microcosm Publishing
Lucky’s Comics
Fernwood Publishing
Jeanette & Maurice Dzama
Robert Pasternak
Edible Alchemy
The Country Grind
Kustom Kulture
Geez Magazine
Bring the Muthaf@*&ing Ruckus
Turning the Tide Bookstore
Year of the Dandelion
Rorie Bruce
Heather Hall
PM Press
Screaming Skull Press
Linda Hazelwood/MMPA
Arbeiter Ring Publishing
Rip/Torn
Intercontinental Cry
Organic Planet
New Socialist
Changing Suns Press
Sandra Drosdowech

Canzine Central (Winnipeg) Location Info

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Canzine Central is coming up! University of Winnipeg, The Bulman Centre, Riddell Hall, Spence St entrance!
Pay What You Can admission – suggested $5 admission comes with the Fall issue of Broken Pencil: magazine of zine culture and the independent arts.

Please peek below the jump for info on how to get to our venue and what to do once you get there! Thanks to our partners at the Winnipeg Anarchist Bookfair for sharing this info!

Canzine Central (Winnipeg): Junto Library

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Canzine Central (Winnipeg) is just a few days away! We’ll be posting a full list of vendors shortly. In the meantime, we’ll be profiling some of the fest’s vendors right here.

Firstly we are pleased to welcome Junto Local 411. Junto is a a collectively-run lending library which provides rare, radical, and relevant political materials to all. From the collective’s website: “We feel it is vital to see ourselves reflected in print, to provide a forum for alternative information and lifestyles, to challenge what we have been spoon-fed, to share the skills and knowledge we need to live our chosen lives to the fullest and to inspire ourselves and others to action.”

The library carries zines and books ranging on a whole swath of subjects, including Gender, Health, Sexuality, Alternative Education, Queer, Indigenous Struggles, to New Afrikan Struggles, Food Issues, Animal Liberation, Foreign Policy, Cuba, Socialism, Poetry, Radical Fiction, Labour, Kid’s Books, Art and Revolution and event Cooperative Board Games!

This wonderful collective will be at Canzine Central to fill you in on their resources and tell you how to get involved! We are so happy to have them at Canzine Central and to be partnering with the Winnipeg Anarchist Bookfair and DIY Fest. Visit the link for more info!

Canzine Central: 3 Questions for Tim Runtz

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Canzine Central is this Saturday, and we couldn’t be more excited to head out to the prairies and bring together a whole host of indie creators, zinesters, activists, writers, artists, and others at this first ever edition of a Canzine in Winnipeg. We’re especially excited for our panel, From Print to Pize: Zines as political tools in the digital age. One of our guests will be Tim Runtz from Geez Magazine. We asked him a few quick questions to get to know him before the event.

 

1. What is Geez Magazine, and what do you do there?

Geez is a quarterly ad-free magazine printed on 100% post-consumer-waste-paper for activist types who are mostly disenchanted with Christianity. Many of our readers would situate themselves on the “fringes of faith,” or call themselves post-Christian; that is, they’ve abandoned much of religion, but it still informs their worldview.

Each issue covers a different topic, and over the years we’ve looked at concerns like feminism, police brutality, disabilities, body image, education, peace activism, Christian anarchy, work, leisure, privilege, art, and more. (See a complete list of our back issues at http://www.geezmagazine.org/magazine).
About ten years ago Geez’s co-founder Aiden Enns was working as the managing editor at Adbusters, and saw that in many ways Christian culture was worse than the North American culture at large targeted by Adbusters. He started Geez with a few others to call out the consumerism, homophobia, unchecked privilege, and political entrenchment among people of faith.

My official titles are Associate Editor and Circulation Manager. Given that we’re a small operation (three of us, working half time), each of us does a little bit of everything – writing, working with writers, copyediting, acquiring images, fundraising, promo, social media, etc. I also guest edited our Winter issue on Apocalypse.
2. The role of print magazines is changing in a digital age— how do you see Geez fitting into that?
This summer we positioned ourselves explicitly as a print-only magazine with an issue called Life Offline. (We see our modest social media presence and blog as essentially necessary evils for attracting new subscribers.) We also changed our tagline from “holy mischief in an age of fast faith” to “contemplative cultural resistance.” This was part of a larger move to situate our magazine as a place you can go to escape news feeds, advertising, and hyper-information, and maybe recharge from some activist burnout. Our older issues were more playful, but recently we’ve gone a little more literary.

I think we’re trying to provide resources for our particular niche (in the sense of cultural critiques, as well as “how to” type pieces) but we’re also trying to provide these resources in a way that enables readers to get away from their devices and be “unproductive” for a while. I don’t think digital networks are completely evil, but I think the impulse to passively flit through news feeds is the same as the impulse that tells us to shop for things we don’t need, and not unlike our tendency to stick to surface level conversations instead of maintaining eye contact for extended periods of time. In a way, I hope, publishing a finite physical object with longish articles can encourage ways of living contrary to the dis- attachment assumptions that seem to be dominant today. We, culturally, need to relearn how to just sit with a book for a while, and I think this can teach us how to be more satisfied with what we’ve got.
3. Have you ever been to Canzine? How do you think Winnipeg is going to take to Canzine Central?

I’ve never been to Canzine, but I’m looking forward to it. I think Winnipeg has strong activist and literary impulses, and this is a great opportunity for those communities to gel. I’m hoping to meet a lot of writers and artists, and discover some new and clever reading material.

Winnipeg seems to have a fairly mediocre reputation among outsiders, especially when compared to some of the bigger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. But in that sense, it’s a perfect venue for a zine fest. I like to think that Winnipegers have no ambition for glossy large-scale corporate periodicals. We’d rather spend our perpetual winters working on little projects and sharing them with our friends. I think if enough people hear about the event it’ll go really well!

Indie Events October 20-26

 

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The (FU) Drag Musical, one night only! [image via facebook]

Tuesday, October 21

TORONTO

Ghost Stories Zine Making Day, 1pm, Learning Zone, 113 McCaul, main floor, free

The OCAD Ghost Stories Zine is coming! And the deadline to submit is October 27. The learning zone is hosting an event for people to get ready— drop by and contribute to the zine!

Tightrope Books October Launch, 7pm, Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave, free

Tightope Books launches its fall lineup with readings, door prizes, and other surprises. New books include releases from Roxanna Bennett and Rosario Lloret, with guest readers including Tara-Michelle Ziniuk and Charlene Challenger

Wednesday, October 22

TORONTO

Curationism Launch, The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St W, free

David Balzer launches his new Coach House Books release, Curationism: How Curating Took over the Art World and Everything Else. The fun starts at 5:30pm.

Eat Pray Love the (FU) Drag Musical, doors 7pm, show 7:30pm, The Sanctuary, Bloor St United Church, 300 Bloor St W, PWYC

Awesome partners the 519 and Asian Arts Freedom School’s present the fruits of their drag mentorship program for first time LGBTQ youth of colour performers. It looks downright awesome.

Suffer-gette City! A Municipal Politics Cabaret, 8:30pm, Videofag, 187 Augusta, $15

Laughs, sex, and debate in cabaret form! 2-Man No-Show, Stevie Thunder Rubie Magnitude and more celebrate and critique this silly city of ours.

Thursday, October 23

TORONTO

Chilly Tales Launch, 7pm, The Central, 603 Markham St, free

The Beguiling and 11th Dimension Press presentthe anthology Chilly Tales: Comics from the Canadian Undertundra, featuring work by Cory McCallum, Matt Daley, Mark Connery, Wm Brian MacLean, Marta Chudolinska, Fiona Smyth, Keith Mclean, Noam Sussman, Dakota McFadzean, Robb Mirsky, Shira Haberman, and Marc Bell!

Sunday, October 26

Draft Reading series, 2:30pm, Paint Box Bistro, 555 Dundas St E, PWYC
The first reading of Draft Season Ten! With readings by Judy Fong Bates, Caitlin Galway, Michael Fraser, Ellen S. Jaffe, and Grace O’Connell.