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Zine Review: Drawn Out

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Artzine, Stephanie Kervin, Volume 1, stephaniekervin.com, info@stephaniekervin.com

 

Drawn Out is a zine the reader forced to take at face value; it doesn’t etch out narratives with pesky concepts like sentences or paragraphs. In lieu, you get a series of kinda creepy, charcoal-ish drawings that are heavy on detail and perhaps tell stories in their own right. The drawings are primarily caricatures of everyday people, although some of these folks have bodily abnormalities and in general, most of them appear to be insane on some level.

After reading this zine back-to-front a few times, I struggled to pull out any kind of overarching theme and I assume that’s basically the point. Effectively, Stephanie Kervin is letting us into her sketchbook and I’d be curious to know her inspiration behind this project and whether some of the characters exist in reality. (Cam Gordon)

Book Review: Bumperhead

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Gilbert Hernandez, 128 Pages, Drawn & Quarterly, drawnandquarterly.com, $21.95.

 

Coming off Marble Season, his critically-acclaimed meditation on the wide-eyed optimism of childhood, Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets) follows up with this work on the teenage condition.

Bobby is a teenage slacker growing up in the ‘70s who basically wanders through life narrating what happens, but never ever offering any reflection on the events.Like most teenagers, Bobby is completely in the moment. Nothing matters except the right now. A kid with great promise basically descends into a disaffected numbness and can’t come back from it. This is particularly evident after a significant death in his family and his surprising non-reaction.

The brilliance of Hernandez’s work here comes in his ability to draw out the fact that Bobby is still emotional and affected by his surroundings and life events, as much as he tries to stay cool and keep up the facade of a disaffected teenager. In doing this, Hernandez also shows how self-destructive the teenage rebel identity can be as an emotional prison, especially if, like Bobby, it’s difficult to emerge from it after passing the appropriate age for such an attitude.

The drawing style here is basic and simple, but there’s a ton going on under the surface. As a child of Mexican immigrant parents, no one knows better than Hernandez how such a scenario can affect a kid. It’s easy to focus on Bobby’s disaffected nature as his Achilles’ heel, but Hernandez is smart enough to highlight Bobby’s parents as a contributing factor.All in all, this book serves as an elevated companion to Marble Season, but is sufficiently accessible and distinct to stand on its own.(Aaron Broverman)

Zine Review: Abby Bradley is Buxom

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Comic, Carrie Q Contrary, carrieqcontrary.com, $5

 

She sure is – Buxom, that is! This mini-comic contains the brief origin story of Buxom, a super luchadora. She was a champion wrestler in high school who goes on to join the local police, but dons the persona of Buxom when the corruption becomes too much to bear.

I’m not really a superhero comics person, but I know there has been a lot of controversy in recent years about how female heroes are portrayed: the impracticality of their costumes, how they’re often shown contorting their bodies in impossible ways to titillate male readers. I want to note that while Buxom’s appearance lives up to her name, it doesn’t strike me as at all gross or objectifying. She’s stacked and wears a costume that shows cleavage, but she has the hips and booty to match and looks like she could bench press anyone who crosses her. The zine doesn’t say if we can expect more issues of Buxom and her adventures fighting against the powerful cartels, but I hope they are in the works. (Mary Green)

Indie Events March 30- April 5

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Kapusta’s cabbage-like layers launch on Tuesday in Vancouver.

 

Monday, March 30

TORONTO

“This is a Terrible Cover.” “I did it.”, The Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton St, $5 students/interns, $10 non-students.

The Canadian Book Professionals’ Association kicks off their year’s events with a panel about covers! David Gee, Michel Vrana, Natalie Olson, Emily Keeler and Nathan Maharaj make up book covers with crowd-sourced ideas. Hosted by Steven Beattie from Quill & Quire.

Tuesday, March 31

TORONTO

Monitor 11: South Asian Experimental Film + Video, 7:30pm, OCADU, 100 McCaul St, free

The well-loved and always groundbreaking annual video show by SAVAC takes up the theme of trauma, fiction as a way of speaking to hard realities, and fantasy.

The Art Bar Poetry Series, 8pm, 154 Danforth Ave, free

The popular Danforth poetry series welcomes Carmelo Militano, William Kemp and Rob Welch.

VANCOUVER

Kapusta Launch, 5:30pm, Green College, UBC, 6201 Cecil Green Park Rd, free ($20 for advance dinner reservation)

Erin Moure launches a new book of poems in the form of an impossible play or cabaret, “layered like a cabbage”. Reading begins at 6pm.

Wednesday, April 1

Fifteen Dogs Launch, 7pm, Type Books, 883 Queen St W, free

André Alexis launches his new novel at this dog-themed launch!

Thursday, April 2

Queer Confessions, 8pm, The 519, 519 Church St, PWYC

Toronto’s favorite (only?) queer confessional reading event includes film critic and bright guy Peter Knegt on the line-up, treating the theme of “Brave New World”

 

Book Review: Hot, Wet and Shaking: How I Learned to Talk About Sex

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Kaleigh Trace, 144 pgs. Invisible Publishing, invisiblepublishing.com, $19.95

 

When I picked up Hot, Wet and Shaking: How I Learned to Talk About Sex, I was extremely excited to read it.   After reading the first chapter, I was instantly hooked.   Kaleigh Trace has done something extremely important when it comes to literature on sex and sexuality; she’s infused her experience as a disabled person into each story with ease. In this reader’s experience, much of this type of literature spends time attempting to theorize, define or deconstruct disability into what it could or should be. In this narrative, disability simply is.

Reading this book, you felt like you were sitting with your best friend, recounting the embarrassingly hilarious date you had the night before.  If, like myself, you are someone with a disability, you may see yourself on the page as just another part of a great story, and feel as though you are not alone in trying to navigate the often-unchartered waters of sex and disability. This book is a much needed lighthouse that guides us all with love and laughter. (Andrew Morrison-Gurza)

Zine Review: Wholly Shit: Church Reviews From a Serious Punk #2

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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)