birdsong #13 and Junior High Yearbook

August 18, 2010

Friends and lovers,

In case you haven’t heard it through the grapevine, the new issue of birdsong (#13, theme: buzz) is fresh off the press and ready for your perusal. It features new things to read by: Roy Pérez, Tommy Pico, Max Steele, Tatyana Kagamas, Katie Naoum, Geoff Trenchard, Chantal Johnson, Jane Yoo, and Daniel Portland; new things to look at by: Jess Paps, Cara Fulmor, Patrick Dyer, Cat Glennon, Will Varner, and Julia Norton; and new interviews with: Zan Amparan, Edie Fake, Brando Skyhorse, Justin Taylor, and Rachel Zolf. The cover was designed by the inimitable Blanco and printed with tender loving care by Gabriel Cohen of the Bread and Butter Collective. Pick up a copy at your favorite place to find zines, or, if it’s more convenient for you, order one off the internet.

Also, remember that we’ll be celebrating the release of birdsong #13 unto the world this Saturday evening. All the details are here.

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in other news, i have a zine report for you:

junior high yearbook
fiction by carolyn tuttle hansen, chris besinger, + spencer keralis
print on paper w/cardstock cover, 43 pp.: (5.5 x 8.5 in.)
littleton, co: laughing mouse press, 2003. second edition: 2010.

admittedly, the pic to the left is not the cover of junior high yearbook, but it does say junior high on it, so just roll with me. anyway, if there’s one thing i don’t need to remember, it’s my own junior high yearbook, so i’m glad to see the word fiction on the actual cover of this zine. as these stories attest to, however, sometimes you don’t need the promise of pictures in a yearbook; the experience of junior high is formative enough to be recalled without them. so, how might you relate to the stories in this petite collection? well, the first is a magickal realist account of girlhood and self-affirmation; the second is from an (arguably) more administrative perspective and about the banalities and epiphanies occasioned by such a position; the third is, in short, the delightful story of a couple young sodomites. choice line: ‘i had blurry fantasies of myself on a louis quinze settee, directing lithe boys in pornographic little speedo swimsuits to fetch me this book or adjust the lamp just so.’

happy winds-day

July 14, 2010

i hope i’m being redundant here, but for the uninitiated, the title of today’s hump day post is in reference to winnie the pooh and the blustery day. i wholeheartedly (i know no other way) encourage all of you to take flight in today’s inclement weather, visiting all of yr friends and wishing them a happy winds-day (especially cancers you know who might be celebrating their birth):

of course, winnie the pooh isn’t the only winnie in my personal cosmology, and i can’t really mention one without mentioning the other.  moreover, i, for one, find incredible romance in ugly weather. so, after you’ve done yr winds-day well-wishing, you might want to indulge yr amorous inclinations / imaginations (perhaps over a dark ‘n’ stormy):

as you may have guessed by now, winnie is one of those subjects to which this applies.

i’m gonna go ahead and help myself out here sister girlfriends and change the subject: happy bastille day, frenchies! traditional forms of celebration include setting off fireworks, imbibing fine wine, and running naked through the streets. but you could probably also do right by the french by partaking of whatever you consider to be fancy. for myself,  i’ll probably celebrate by listening to the following song whilst looking at pix of the following french (canadian) beauty:

in closing, i leave you with a french tribute to ingmar bergman, whose birthday it is today:

p.s. our prayers go out to our homegirl max, as his teeth are finally returned to their original, pristine state of a year ago.

double feature! savage forest and psychedlic summer

July 9, 2010

savage forest
dani golomb
photocopy on paper, 82 pp: (4.25 x 5.5 in.)
bloomington, in: microcosm, 2010

i’m not above judging a book by its cover. in fact, i advise it. if it sounds pretty, then it oughtta look pretty, too. savage forest (i just typoed savage garden, natch) looks neat, but it sounds . . . problematic. i gotta say, as a rule, i’m kinda wary when it comes to the word savage (even when in reference to dante) and especially when it’s accompanied by primitivist graphics on top of a photograph of ferns. so i can’t say i was surprised to encounter elements of the racial imaginary — talk about nature and africa and deep understanding — in the content. when talking about the banalities and difficulties of work, or musing on dion and the belmonts, or critically engaging her own subject position, however, the writing is moving. the layout, organized seasonally and interspersed with intaglio-tinged drawings, is great to look at. finally, compiling over three years of writing, what comes across is the substantial amount of time and care this took to make. choice line: ‘another night getting loose and sappy telling people whom i love that i love them and that they make me happy.’

psychedelic summer
john malta, cassie ramone, c.m. ruiz, matthew volz
newspaper, unpaginated
new york, ny: rare gallery, 2010

psychedelic summer accompanies the summer group show and pop-up shop of the same name at rare gallery. here are some of the things it has going for it: the name, john malta’s spread of pizza being birthed accompanied by the words gross gross, and horoscopes (speaking of birth, mine says control it). while some of the humor bespeaks a breeder mentality, in the end, what i’m left with is the queerness of a rebellious dolphin who groans, ‘fuck you, mom + dad!’

pounding the pavement

June 24, 2010


BRD SNG, which is our new broadsheet publication that has popped up a couple of times on this blog already, is rapidly making its way to a FREE location near you. keep an eye out for it, so you’ll be sure to pick one up whilst the getting is good. alternatively, if you ask super nicely, we might be able to help you get one.

and just a reminder for those of you in locales near and far, you can pick up a copy of the latest birdsong at the following locations:

in new york city at bluestockings, cinders, and st. mark’s bookshop

in phildelphia at wooden shoe books

in san francisco at city lights

in los angeles at false start

in other news, if you’re looking for a way to beat the heat in the next few days, coolest band ever, PAPS, has a couple of shows coming up:

thursday, 24 june, 8 pm at cake shop (w/ landlady, miniboone, and miracles of modern science)

friday, 25 june at northeast kingdom

no, dear

June 18, 2010

no, dear issue 5 edges
editors: emily brandt, alex cuff, jane van slembrouck
print on 25% cotton rag, unpaginated: (5.5 x 8.5 in.)
new york, ny: self-published, 2010

birdsong traded zines with no, dear a couple of weekends ago at the bushwick open pages mag-and-zine fair during bushwick open studios at 3rd ward. and this issue of the self-described hand-sewn print poetry publication featuring the work of new york city poets contains, amongst its twelve contributors, a piece by matthew rohrer, who appeared in birdsong‘s five on it #8. as a whole, no, dear — from its title to its minimal appearance to the poems themselves (each one a delight to read!) — comes across as dainty, but, importantly, not in a diminutive way. this issue’s theme is edges, and most saliently, edges seems to refer, here, to the frontiers of bodies, to the edges between one body and another and to the edges between a body and the space in which it finds itself. the edges issue, then, might be equally well described, by a word that appears in the title of one of the poems in this collection, as the skins issue. choice line: ‘i live not far from the center, and nor do you. we’ve probably touched each other at the little restaurant where the golden gelatin pours onto the floor, and just keeps on coming.’ —james copeland, skin assignment

combating inertia

May 28, 2010

combating inertia
morgan evans
photocopy on paper, unpaginated: (5.5 x 8.5 in.)
new york, ny: self-published, 2008

morgan evans’ illustrated perzine, combating inertia, begins with a typeset introduction that sets the groundwork for the handwritten words and drawings contained therein. that container is the between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place of seeking contentment whilst continuing to be positively challenged by life, love, and art. evans explores this dilemma through the affective lenses of girlfriends and family. her drawing, which she also addresses in the introduction, is slight, which means you have to position your face close to the page and let her whisper to you. though frames are employed for much of the zine, it’s the full page spreads that ramble groundlessly across the page that are most pleasing. choice line: “once we went to a sheryl crow concert with her parents because they had free tickets.”

Hump Day — notes about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

May 26, 2010

by Tommy + Danny

On the morning of April 22nd, two days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and exploded, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashley Butler told CNN that oil began flowing out of ruptures in a well on the ocean floor. I’ve been mind numbingly worried / depressed / obsessed with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the economic / environmental implications for now and the future. I’m particularly bummed that there seems to be a lot of hand-wringing and “tests” and “study,” but not a lot of action. You know when all that careful thought-planning would have been helpful? Before a single fucking drill went into the seafloor. Given the fact that today BP’s “top kill” method is set to hopefully (but not likely to) plug up the hole (and, in fact, might make it worse), I thought it could be helpful if Danny and I mined the internet for some oil spill related links and looked at ways we could help out locally.

The Oil Drum has a good explanation of how the “top kill” method — shooting a mud mixture down the pipeline to overcome the flow pressure — should work, complete with diagrams and this handy YouTube video:

If you’re a masochist, check out this widget, courtesy of PBS, where you can see in realtime the amount of oil spewing into the ocean #endofdays and using Google Earth you can see how the oil spill would look mapped on your home town!

Here’s a really fucking depressing photo collection from the Huffington Post, with such gems as

Here’s the live spillcam, at least where it’s supposed to be. For some reason the page is now curiously blank . . . Thankfully, Mother Jones has posted videos that capture some of the worst of the oil blooms. Speaking of Mother Jones, here’s an article about why the video feed is blank today. Why so camera shy, BP? [update, you can watch on the NYtimes blog here] Ugh, and here’s this MJ article about the media blackout on Louisiana beaches. BP is actually still in denial that it’s oil, calling it “red tide, dishwashing-liquid runoff, or mud.” Speaking of BP, here’s a hilarious twitter account that’s not to be missed — “BPGlobalPR” (thanks Justin)

Here’s a grim prediction by the Weather Channel about the transportation of oil, via the Gulf’s loop current, to the Florida Keys and beyond:

Now that I’ve done a sufficient job of doomsdaying, I’m going to hand you off to Danny for some good news?  Maybe? (ps don’t forget about Brooklyn’s own ongoing oil spill in Greenpoint!!!)

So the thing about Doomsday is that it’s always already on the horizon. This is, as Mama Sontag notes, a modern phenomenon and largely a rhetorical one: “Modern life accustoms us to live with the intermittent awareness of monstrous, unthinkable — but, we are told, quite probable — disasters.” In the midst of such confusing and paradoxical media coverage (has trying to comprehend the scope of the oil spill made you dizzy?), Tommy has asked me to remind you of some of the simple actions that can be made on a local level in response to the spill:

If you eat meat (and there’s no convincing you to do otherwise), then consider eating seafood sourced from the Gulf States; it’s more sustainable than imported farmed shrimp and helps keep the economies that support this industry functional. Food & Water Watch’s Smart Seafood Locator is a good resource if you’re wondering where to start.

If you drive a motorized vehicle, then don’t use fuel from BP or its retail brands, the corporation responsible for the spill. Better yet, STOP DRIVING.

Matter of Trust is not currently accepting donations of hair, but they are in need of more recycled nylons.

If you have a few extra dollars, then donate to the National Wildlife Foundation, or another similar organization, and help rescue animals endangered by the spill.

Continue to demand that New York senators, Kirsten E Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumersupport climate and clean energy legislation. Or, consider adding yr name to any one of these petitions.

Finally, and most importantly, stay informed and let us know of any ways that you come up with to help clean up. It is, no doubt, hard to say how effectual any one method, small or grand, will be in combating such a catastrophe; however, the more we acknowledge it, the more likely we’ll deal with the problem.