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Above/ground Press is a publisher. Unique in its kind. It was created by rob mclennan. For $40 Cdn, you can sign up for an annual subscription. Once subscribed you will receive chapbooks, asides and broadsheets from local Canadian writers and poets.  So what do you get for $40/year? Well it’s not exactly clear to me. If I had to guess you get a lovely piece of coloured paper

mailed to you from the selected authors!

Once again poetry takes it back to the basics. Love it! When was the last time you received a piece of snail mail that wasn’t a bill! You get a little culture in the mail…well sometimes. Though I do love the practice of giving each author a short write, giving you insight as to where they are coming from.

I have to say of the 5 excerpts I received; only 2 of them piqued my interest.  The one I liked the most was from Gwendolyn Guth a mother of 3 boys. She was former waitress, turned teacher.  The poem was titled “The dimensions of the enterprise are such.” Poetry is about interpretation and it may just be me that …didn’t get it! All in all I applaud the effort, the simplicity, and ability to give Canadian artists exposure to a larger audience.

To be on e-list for above/ground press, etc. www.abovegroundpress.blogspot.com .

In the past few years Zines have grown in popularity. Along the often twisted road they have also evolved from more of a cut and paste to an almost Chap Book quality. Because of this I rarely come across Zines of yore and when I do I find that there just isn’t that edginess I once admired and I am often disappointed with my findings. Without sounding nostalgic, I really miss that style of crazy, artistic photocopied expression. Don’t get me wrong, I do still come across hand bound Zines, but not at the level of quality that I was use to, that is until recently.

Shoebox is a ten page Zine, filled with fun facts about Maddy Lyons Coopers room and apartment. It’s bright pink cover is what originally grabbed my attention and once I opened up the Zine I found many wonderful illustrations and fun facts, such as her reason for putting up curtains right away. (you will have to purchase the Zine to find out)

If you just want something that is a quick, fun, easy read you won’t be disappointed with Shoebox. It is one of those Zines you leave out on your coffee table for everyone to enjoy. Because of it’s obvious cover art, it will be the first thing that is noticed and once you open it up, you will start off with a giggle, nod your head with a ‘ya, I’ve seen my room like that’ and finish off with a ‘huh, I didn’t know lavender oil was good for that.’

I’m a huge fan of vegan cooking zines, blogs and cookbooks. i came across Katies blog a few months ago via a website called theppk.com. Her blog alone is well worth the visit and imagine how excited I was when I realized that she produced zine cooking zines.

The tag line for issue one is ‘simple recipes for complicated vegans’. I knew I had had to get my hands on this zine as soon as I saw that. I wasn’t disappointed. The recipes are fabulous and the page titled ‘How not to set your kitchen on fire.’ After I stopped giggling, I read through the very poignant tips.

Issue number two is just as delicious and cheeky. I wish I had read the tips on ‘How to cook a holiday meal and not kill your family in the process.’ before the yule dinner, however the tips have now inspired a horror story. But seriously this zine is also chock full of fulfilling recipes, written in basic, easy to follow instructions with easy to find ingredients.

Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk zines are perfect for the person who is new to veganism or a Vegan veteran. Her zine is so popular that issue #1 is now sold out, but you can still get your hands on issue two and the third will be out this spring.

Not only does the author’s poetry flow seemingly effortlessly, her words also fill those hard to reach spaces in the reader’s psyche. Writing something from the soul is difficult under the best circumstances but writing personal experiences as poetry is daunting indeed. Chronicling a personal journey full of questions and longing, her poetry re-enacts what is most important to us in the realm of love and religion. Her personal journey to find the answers to those deep questions many of us hold in our dark spaces, ‘Sea Change’ is full of fluidity and grace even when dealing with ugly material. Many people will eschew reading it simply because it isn’t as inviting as a novel, whose straightforward chapters are easy to read and understand. Her prose invites the reader to come into her home and sit down, tuck their feet under a blanket and sip a nice warm mug of tea as she breaks their emotions wide open and makes them weep. Each piece has something very definite to say and as a reader it is difficult to put the book down without feeling as if something has just happened within your own soul.

Beautifully illustrated with black line by Ian Sullivan Cant. Illustrations are reminiscent of Charles Addams. They have the dark edginess that helped to make Charles Addams famous. Though similar, Ian’s illustrations have their own uniqueness and I am hoping to see much more work from him.

Zine #1 is called Bela Lugosi is Speaking. It is Ian’s interpretation of the story of Dracula. The art is dark and creepy and perfectly used when telling the story. For those who have never read the original by Bram Stroker this is the condensed version and just the perfect amount of story, so that you know exactly what happened.

Zine #2 is called It’s Too Bad We Can’t Read Each Others Minds. This zine is a poem about three things, but is it really?

I found that the poem hit on a bunch of emotions that I am currently feeling and am sure many others are as well. This zine is only 16 pages long but, carries a huge punch! The words are clear and to the point and the message is very strong. To find out what these three or more things are you will need to buy the zine to find out.

Ian has a couple new zines out, one is called You Were Born Yesterday. You can purchase it via his blog.

Ian Sullivan Cant is a montreal based writer and illustrator of no real significance. he has never been published in any prestigious journals, won any awards, nor distinguished himself in any way at all. his entire artistic career can be seen in the low-quality photocopied publications of the unkindness of ravens press.

He is ostensibly a poet, but if you’ve ever read his words you know that’s a stretch. his writing is neither intellectually challenging, nor particularly beautiful. He has an unsophisticated mastery of the english language and literature, and explores a highly limited thematic range with the subtlety of an ape.

He attempts to distract readers from the shortcomings of his words by overpowering them with drawings. it is a cheap ploy, but he’s doing his best with what he has. anyone can see he lacks any formal artistic training, and although his drawings look like the stuff they are, they are unoriginal, and of mediocre composition.

He doesn’t really have anything to say, he just wants people to listen.

His readership is pretty well limited to friends and acquaintances, but they seem to really like what he does, and I don’t think they’re lying, so he may not suck as bad as all that, but merely fears it.

bio from http://theunkindnessofravenspress.blogspot.com

Upon opening dig12 to the table of contents I was very excited to see the names Sandra Alland, Jim Johnstone and Zoe Whittal, as these are some of my favourite Toronto writers. However the first thing that caught me attention with dig12 was it’s fun cover. Who couldn’t resist picking up a zine whose outside cover is a map of Bermuda.

dig12
is a nice mix of poetry, short stories and a hot interview with writer Robert Lopez. I have to admit the interview was definitely the highlight for me. Alexandra Leggat asks many poignant questions and Robert doesn’t disappoint with his answers.

Other highlights of this zine are the poems by Gary Barwin and Jason Heroux and the piece written by Zoe Whittal called ‘Taking Space’. There is also a clever piece called ‘Fuselage’ by Alexandra Leggat.

I have to give Kudo’s to Jennifer on her choices for the zine. Each flows well with the others. There isn’t a disappointing piece in the entire book. I am definitely looking forward to dig13.

About the Publisher
dig publishes primarily poetry, but also fiction and non-fiction prose, black and white visual art and photography, as well as interviews and book reviews, and anything in between. dig prefers work that is challenging, innovative, and impactful.

When submitting, please include a cover letter and a self-addressed stamped envelope, or proper International Reply Coupons if sending work from outside Canada. Also include a brief bio and appropriate bribes.
Send to:
wayward armadillo press
91 Avondale Ave.
Toronto ON
Canada M2N 2V1

Ordering dig
dig is available as a three-issue subscription for $15 CDN. Individual copies are $5 CDN each for all issues except #11, which is $6.
Payment in Canadian funds, to Jennifer LoveGrove (not dig.). Cheques, money orders, and concealed cash accepted. NEW! You can now use Paypal to pay for issues of dig.!
Write or email dig to order:
wayward armadillo press
91 Avondale Ave.
Toronto ON
Canada M2N 2V1


KitschyKoo recently launched issue 2 of their subcultural lifestyle magazine. As with issue one, it is filled with vivid art and photography, interviews and commentary. The colourful issue has a very kitschy rockabilly feel that will appeal to everyone.

Issue 2 is even edgier than the first issue, this time around, including stories about the Edmonton road demons, polyester, Gamboogies and the much anticipated kitschionary part 2.

My favourite piece is Chrome Sweet Home. Since I was a child I have fantasized about living in a motorhome. Reading Kait Kucy’s article has me itching to get on the road with one!

Being a recipe fanatic, I loved the section with all of the vegan friendly goodies. Apparently I no longer have to go to Hawaii for Coconut goodness! I can’t wait to have my own Tiki party.

If you are in Calgary you can find this zine at Plan B Kustom 1520 6th Street SW, Blame Betty on 17th Ave, Carbon Media 100 7th Ave SW and Lucky Lotus in Edmonton or you can order online from kitschykoomag@hotmail.com

Kitschykoo is looking for submissions. Please send all submissions to kitschykoomag@hotmail.com.

Three paragraphs in to General Slocum’s Gold there is already a film noir feel, to this story with the story already full force into the action and supberb storyline. Sackett is an extroadinary thief with, mutant like powers who is not only up against other desperate thiefs but unknown dark forces.

The story unfolds with our introduction to Sackett being strong armed into giving up a treasure map. Little did his captures know what they were up against, but we soon find out that the main character of the story may be on a leaky boat himself.

General Slocum’s Gold cleverly weaves back and forth between between flashback and present. Flashback doesn’t always work well but in the case of General Slocum’s it is a plot twister that makes the story sensational.

Nicolas Kauffmann is a brilliant story teller who is able to keep the reader on the edge of their seats while taking them through an exciting rollercoaster of a ride. You can purchase General Slocum’s Gold at www.burningeffigy.com and it is well worth the purchase. Go buy a copy now!

About the Author
Nicholas Kaufmann is the critically acclaimed author of numerous horror, suspense and erotica stories, many of which have been collected in Walk in Shadows (published by Prime Books/Wildside, now out of print). He has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Horror Writers Association.

Professionally immersed in books his whole life, he’s been the Publicity Manager for a small literary press, a pitchman for a widely respected PR firm specializing in TV and radio author appearances, a bookstore clerk, an independent bookstore owner (the late, lamented Tell-Tale Books), and a manager for Barnes & Noble. Nick lives in Brooklyn, NY.

bio quoted from www.nicholaskauffman.com

About the Press

One of the inaugural chapbooks in Burning Effigy Press’ new horror line, GENERAL SLOCUM’S GOLD tells the story of what happens when an extraordinary thief faces off against a legion of the dead who protect a fortune in gold on an island in New York City’s East River.

Review – Apr. 28, 2007

Stu is stuck in limbo and bored out of his skull with no one to talk to, no TV, radio or any other type of entertainment. Out the blue appears a scraggy old cat called ‘Old Tom’. With out question Stu puts all of his trust in Old Tom and allows him to lead him down an unknown path. A path that ends up being ‘Heaven’. Could Stu finding his way to heaven been a mistake? I’m not going to let you know, you have to pick up a copy of The Distance Travelled. A Little Slice of Heaven’, to find out.

Cleverly written by co-authors Brett Alexander Savory and Gord Zajac, this is a chap book everyone should read. I am a personal fan of other peoples points of view of what they think, heaven, hell and limbo is and this one is exceptional. Written with the same biting humour as ‘Lamb’, The Distance Travelled, takes you down a road to a very different type of adventure, though I wish someone would explain why there are so many rabbits in heaven.

If this is any indication of the quality of chap books, we will be seeing in the future from Burning Effigy Press, then I’m making sure I’m on their mailing list.

About the Authors

Brett Alexander Savory is the Bram Stoker Award-winning Editor-in-Chief of ChiZine: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words, is a Senior Editor at Scholastic Canada, has had nearly 50 short stories published, written two novels, and writes for Rue Morgue Magazine.

In 2006, Necro Publications released his horror-comedy novel The Distance Travelled. September 2007 will see the release of his dark literary novel In and Down through Brindle & Glass, as well as his first short story collection, No Further Messages, coming in August through Delirium Books. In the works are three more novels, and a dark comic book series with artist Homeros Gilani. When he’s not writing, reading, or editing, he plays drums for the hard rock band Diablo Red.

Savory is represented by The Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency. He lives in Toronto with his wife, writer/editor Sandra Kasturi.

as quoted from www.brettsavory.com

Gord Zajac has written over 50 cartoons for The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and its sister show, Evil Con Carne. Gord is also a fiction editor for ChiZine. He recently co-wrote the novella, The Distance Travelled: A Little Slice of Heaven, with Brett Alexander Savory, published by Burning Effigy Press.

Gord was the head writer/producer of the sketch comedy show, This is Screaming Halibut. He’s currently chronicling the adventures of Major Karnage. When he’s not writing, you can find him animating cartoon shorts, yelling at various inanimate objects, and tending his garden.

as quoted from www.gordzajac.com

Trash talking, loaded with hilarious horoscopes, season finale spoilers and it’s free. The smart Canadian’s National Enquirer, expect hilarious!!!

We’ve reviewed the Special before and like the last time this free tabloid is a load of fun. This issues #1 scoops is the expose on the ‘Pillow fight League’ and ‘The Secret behind the Secret.’ I love their very witty narrative, when giving their views on the over media hyped DVD, book, multidimensional, money making franchise. I’m also thankful that I’m not the only one who is tired of seeing the Brad J. Lamb ads!

My absolute favourite article in this issue is FunnyGal’s Guide to Romance. Nicole Arbour is a gorgeous Comic. Yes I used both gorgeous and Comic in the same sentence. Why shouldn’t I? This article is hysterical. Nicole talks about some of the best places to meet men, in person, where you see the colour of their eyes. How refreshing! You can see/read more about Nicole at http://www.myspace.com/Nicole Arbour. In the meantime go get your free issue of The Special to read the entire article!

I also strongly suggest you check out The Special’s website. They always have new articles. http://thespecial.ca/

You can order back issues or subscribe to upcoming new issues at www.thespecial.ca. You can also pick it up free at several location around Toronto (see below). See their website for more information.

Good Catch 1556 Queen st. W
MITZI’S SISTER 1554 Queen St. W
THE FILM BUFF 73 Roncesvalles
MEZZEROWS 1549 Queen St. W
GLADSTONE HOTEL 1214 Queen St. W
THE DRAKE HOTEL 1150 Queen St. W
EMBASSY BAR 223 Augusta Ave.
RONNIES LOCAL 69 Nassau St
EINSTEIN PUB 229 College St.
CROOKED STAR 202 Ossington
PAGES BOOKS 256 QUEEN ST. W
CIRO’S BAR 1316 Bloor St. W
GOOD FOR HER 175 Harbord St.
Imperial Pub 54 Dundas St. E
REVUE VIDEO 207 Danforth Ave
DONE RIGHT INN 861 Queen St. w
Bad Dog Theatre 138 Danforth Ave
QUEEN VIDEO 680 College St.
SONIC BOOM 512 Bloor St. W.
54 East Shop 2068 Lawrence Ave
Shanghai Cowgirl 538 Queen St. W
Devil’s Advocate 655 Bay St

 

Life So Far Zine

Cynthia Gould it seems, is a genius. Life So Far is proof of this. Issue three of her zine is filled with stunning photography and art, witty journal entries, poetry and random thoughts. It’s a fun, quick read and a great way to keep your sanity during a subway ride to work in the morning.

I am madly in love with the poem buddha at the crosswalk and the photo that accompanies it. As with anything I’ve read of Cynthia’s you need to expected the unexpected and that is exactly what I got with this poem.

‘one heart stand’ is my other favourite from this zine. Cynthia talks about the one heart stands of her past using humour and emotion to catch our attention. And catch it she does.

Whether you enjoy clever writing or are an appreciator of beautiful art, I suggest you pick up this zine. After you have read it, put it on your coffee table with your other coffee table books. This zine deserves to be seen.

Cynthia Gould: Poet, painter, candlestick maker. She puts punch into poetry and slapstick into satire. Her paintings are mystical, magical and modern. She performs spoken word with a spiked sense of wit and humour . . . . and yet can be as gentle and graceful as eider down quilt. quoted from cynthiagould.com/bio below is from cynthiagould.com

about cynthia
writing a bio is always a strange task. until i write a more complete blurb for myself, here are a few different versions:

ART
Cynthia Gould is a Toronto painter, performance poet, & coffee junkie, who was voted Best Local Visual Artist in the 2004 NOW Readers Poll, and Best Visual Artist in the 2004 and 2005 Eye Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards. In the four years she has been concentrating on painting, she has sold over 60 pieces, and had over 8 solo shows at various funky venues. Her first book is available at somewordsspoken.com, her paintings are on display at cynthiagould.com, she plans wild parties at funkless.com, and her mailing list & art diary is at http://cynthiagould.coffeehouse.ca Apparently Cynthia lives online.

WRITING
Cynthia Gould is a performance poet, artist and instigator. Her co-poeted book “Some Words Spoken” and her chapbook/zine “Life So Far” are available online, or from her knapsack. Cynthia lives in artistic bliss at cynthiagould.com. She’s been on two spoken word tours with The Perpetual Motion Roadshow, appeared on TV, radio, was shortlisted in the 2004 Three Day Novel Contest (she’s a nine-time survivor!), and had one of those short funny bits published in the back of Reader’s Digest. She throws wild parties such as Bridesmaidmania and The Tinfoil Hat Contest – check out funkless.com for info & invitations.

Sassy, hand bound and clever. The first three words that come into my head for this zine. The first three things you see when you pull back the cover of Etiquette is a big lipstick circle where someone has kissed the page, the words ‘this book belongs to’ and the fact that the pages of the book are made up of Kleenex.

Most women I know use Kleenex to blot off excess lipstick after application, I myself have done the same and many times and until now didn’t realized how much of a contrast their was. Seeing Lipstick kisses on tissue isn’t an unusual site either, I’ve seen many women kiss a piece of paper, napkin or tissue and write their phone number on it when trying to get someone’s attention. In the case of Etiquette, they aren’t words of flirting, rather words of a broken heart.

Lipstick kisses, type written and angry words on tissue, make this a great zine to pass on to a friend who just had their heart stomped on. In today’s world I am sure everyone knows someone who is as angry as the creator of this zine. Go out and buy several copies of it and keep them in your bag. You just never know when you will need to hand them to an angry friend.

If you enjoy freakish, odd things, then the Delete, Flesh and Bone zine is for you. With a macabre feel to the writing, illustrations and photography, you feel like you have secretly entered one of P. T. Barnum’s tents.

If this was a P. T. Barnum event the first act on the program would definitely be Adam Bradejs Animatronic Flesh Shoe. Even in black and white the flesh shoe had an eerie presence, clearly getting it’s point across. I will bet this guy always won first place at the science fair.

Next on the roster would Sandro Castelli’s very dark and sinister sketches aptly titled Bone Doll 1 and Bone Doll 2. Seeing these sketches reminded me of the outstanding art of stef lenk.

Not to be left out of the show, and following steadily along would also be art by Andy 44, photo manipulation by Simon Farrington and articles by Tammy Kenward.

I finished reading Flesh and Bone feeling fulfilled and anticipating Issue 4.

Review – Feb. 18, 2007

Kitschykoo is a Calgary based subcultural lifestyle zine featuring all that is kooky and kitschy in Calgary and beyond and they have made their grand debut and what a debut it is.

When one thinks of Calgary, you automatically think farmland, Canadian Rockies, The Olympics and The Calgary Stampede. Many of us forget that this is a large, beautiful city filled with creative, quirky and extremely talented artists. We also forget that it has it’s own subculture of indie artists and performers. Kitschykoo zine is about to help you remember.

Right away the cover catches your attention. It has a photo of Master Sarah Moaneis in a sexy red corset and fishnets and has a fun Burlesque feel to it. Once you open up and start to flip through the pages, more fun ensues.

The premiere issue includes articles written by Andrew Payne, Kirsten Wiebe, Kait Kucy, Munkospeni, Ryan Sadler, and Sean Stewart. I have to say my favourites are Boom Swagger Boom, I mean who doesn’t love Burlesque, the well written A History of Tattoo, and the fun and quirky column Kitschionary.

I look forward to the next issue, I am hoping they delve even further into the subculture of Calgary and fill the zine with even more articles and photographs as. I found myself on the last page I yearning for more. But for a debut zine they’ve done a fine job of helping us learn a little bit more about what really goes on in the Calgary’s subculture.

If you are in Calgary you can find this zine at Plan B Kustom 1520 6th Street SW and Looks Could Kill Art Boutique #11 100 7th Ave Sw or you can order online from kitschykoomag@hotmail.com

Kitschykoo is looking for submissions for their SUMMER 2007 issue. The deadline is April 15, 2007!!! Please send all submissions to kitschykoomag@hotmail.com.

Review – Feb. 18, 2007

Issue Zine is all about Toronto. Bad Toronto, Zanta Toronto, Weird off beat Toronto. The real Toronto, not the Toronto that people living in Rosedale wish it was.

You ever walk into a wall and promise yourself that the next time you will be more careful, but, you walk into that very same wall again. You have, well then you are going to love this zine. It is all about the Toronto where helmetless fallen cyclists are picked up by a stranger and then stranger than fiction the stranger tries to pick them up or how about the Toronto where you move to a ‘safer’ neighbourhood only to get mugged.

Good or bad Issue zine shows us all sides of Toronto through writing and photography. Inside this zine you will find clever stories and realist photography that gets to the nitty gritty of the side of this city that we need to get to know better.

James Lindsay runs this Toronto based, based on Toronto zine (soon to be renamed Exploding Face) and he has a talent for pulling together the right type of writers and photographers to make this zine fascinating, fun and filled with folly. Issue zine arts/culture/comedy zine who are always looking for bright ideas. If you have one that fits the bill emailing them at issuesubmission@yahoo.com.

I’m looking forward to the next issue. Who knows, maybe I will submit one of my tales of woe, I am after all the girl who buys the bookshelf that is missing the screw that holds it up.

A bit about James Lindsay

ISSUE no. 3 (the Toronto ISSUE) retails for $4 and can be purchased at: Book City Annex (501 Bloor St. W.), Book City Danforth (348 Danforth Ave), Silver Snail Comics Ltd. (367 Queen St. W.) and Pages Books and Magazines (256 Queen St. W.). All stores are located in Toronto.

James Lindsay is a graduate of The Writers Studio program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. His writing has appeared in Quills, Prairie Fire and the Emerge anthology. Stayed tuned for Exploding Face (the Anti-Magazine) from the people who brought you ISSUE 1-3.
www.exploding-face.com
www.myspace.com/issuezine

Another hip Canadian Vegan Cooking Goddess is Jae Steele, jae is a registered holistic nutritionist who has recently moved to Montreal to start up a practice and study shiatsu. Her interest in food began six years ago when she was living on an organic farm, fell in love with a vegan and became one herself. With five cookzines and a herbal healing zine under belt, she’s putting it all together to create a cookbook jam-packed with simple and delicious, whole-foods recipes. Her specialty is vegan baked goods that don’t “taste vegan” and she holds a position as a baker at a popular vegan restaurant. jae has written for numerous publications and currently pens Pulp Kitchen, a bi-weekly column for Concordia University’s student newspaper. She regularly posts veg recipes and holistic health tutorials on her weblog at http://domesticaffair.ca

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