How Are You Feeling Today?

August 23, 2010

by Tommy

Cos I’m feeling great. No seriously, and naturally. This past Saturday was the release party for birdsong #13 at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn.  We read some things, sold some zines, I got to reference that Roseanne/Ab Fab crossover, PAPS made everyone cry (god, “Sometimes” is like the best song in the Universe [it plays toward the end of the video]), Wilkes talked about w33d and a story where a sparrow named Jack is getting surgery to appear more human I mean– we have it going on. And now, starting the birdsong publication cycle over has made me realize there are some loose ends to tie up and new beginnings to mention.


Mainly I’ve been using it to visually catalogue where stickers of ours have popped up

and where our publications have made themselves available,

but I also have a different intention.  With birdsong #12, I made a bunch of postcards, addressed them to the Birdsong HQ, stuck each one with a stamparooni, and began leaving them around neighborhood cafes, inside books at The Strand, against bathroom windows, inside refrigerators.  I also had friends in Philly, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Seattle leave them around for me.  The postcards simply say, “How Are You Feeling Today?” leaving the rest up to the discoverer.  I’m sure many got lost in the mail, thrown away, or still sit in the books, BUT.  A few made it back to me, and starting today I’m going to publish them on a regular M/W/F schedule on the tumblr until I run out of lovelies.  Here’s the front of them:

The first polaroid is of a brick wall that used to say “DO NOT FALL IN LOVE” but is now washed clean (and a pet grooming store!).  The second is a polaroid from 2007 when I lived with Isabelle and Sav, in a windowless room in an apartment Max lovingly named “Pussy Heaven.” The guy sitting is Jesse Benjamin (who created the buzzing animated series Nature Boy) and the hands belong to Jess Paps.  There is a painting of a pug, a picture of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, Mondonna in her “Italians Do It Better” t-shirt, and a poster of Janis Joplin (amongst other ephemera).  The back says, “birdsong year 2.”

SO follow us on tumblr and see results of all the casting.


L Magazine contributing editor and birdsong contributor Paul D’Agostino also operates the Centotto gallery, which is now housing Citational Graphologies or A Show of Hands, and they are still open to submissions:

Select a quote, in any language and from any source — book or film, song or speech, periodical or website, or even something you’ve heard uttered by a stranger in passing — write it out BY HAND on any sort of piece of paper, scrap or not, noting the source and your name, and send it via post to Centotto or bring it to one of our events. Submissions from any and all will be welcome, and all will be exhibited.

You can see some of the entries they’ve already received here, and it’s a good addition to yr CV!


Birdsong fave Erin Markey will be performing this coming Wednesday for Our Hit Parade at Joe’s Pub @ 9:30 pm (you can get tickets here).  This Thursday Max will read some poems for a night of contemporary poetry and music at A Gathering of Tribes, with other local literary luminaries like Chavisa Woods, Gian Maria Annovi, and Tiq Milan, with Maria Gran on sax– 6 pm.


Pete’s Mini Zine Fest

July 29, 2010

Just a heads up, this Saturday is Pete’s Mini Zine Fest. There will be $2 pints of Yeungling Lager and $3 pints of Brooklyn IPA and over 20 zinesters, graphic artists, photographers and bookmakers attending. PLUS performances by local singers, bands, bookmaking demonstrations and more!

FEATURING: Esther K Smith, author/designer of HOW TO MAKE BOOKS, Magic Books & Paper Toys and THE PAPER BRIDE

And music by Scott Magri

Rad Unicorn

sarah y su cochito

Full attendance list:

Andria Alefhi – We’ll Never Have Paris (

Paul Assimacopoulos – Strangers Gate Books (

Darryl Ayo – Little Garden (

Joseph Carlough – Displaced Snail Publications (

Matt Carman + Kseniya Yarosh – I Love Bad Movies, Oh My / Oh No (

Alexis Clements – Dance Away Your Debt, Your Own Personal Apocalypse (

Marguerite Dabaie – The Hookah Girl (

Tea Fougner – Pygmalion, Different Comics (

Alan Grow – The Devil Made the Dinosaur Bones

Katie Haegle – The La-La Theory (

Andrew Hoepfner – All Kinds of Bees (

Lola Batling – Sweet Angel, Suicide Kiss (

Josh Medsker – 24 Hour Zine (

James Molenda- FOUND Magazine (

L. Nichols – Jumbly Junkery (

Rachel + Sari – Hoax Zine, You’ve Got a Friend (

Redguard – Absent-Cause Zine (

Kenan Rubenstein – Drought, Tick, The Oubliette (

Esther K Smith – Purgatory Pie Press (

Joe Younglove – Oculomotor


June 14, 2010

by Tommy

Hillstock was a blast this weekend, as always PAPS tore it up.  Got some BBQ– the meat was big and the buns were small so I did a little Chris Farley song & dance in my head.  This coming week is pretty big.  Since changing gears and slowing the production schedule of birdsong (and deciding to charge for the zine [which I hadn’t done before]), I have wanted to do something free in the off-months.  Something smaller, a lil more manageable, something quick and fun.  Taking a huge cue from Showpaper and Desert Island Comics’ Smoke Signal, Birdsong Micropress is adding a free, bi-monthly, double-sided-quarter-folded newsletter, BRD SNG, to our publication list!  So we’ll still have six publications a year, but only three will be full zines.  Each BRD SNG will have one short story, some short poems, one piece of art, and one five question interview.  I’m checking the press copy today yay.  Look for it wherever you pick up free shit.  And on to the week…

Monday June 14

MoMA Presents: Neil Diamond’s Reel Injun.  No, not that Neil Diamond.  This is happening all week, but tonight (and Saturday) are the only evening shows.  Given that pop culture references to Indian people play on a continuous loop through my mind (it’s like a baggage claim in there. OOOOH BAGGAGE CLAIM!! I seriously just came up with that it’s mine. Drama read. Tired read. Tara Reid).

Neil Diamond is an award-winning filmmaker from the Cree community of Waskaganish, on Canada’s James Bay. His most recent documentary feature is a vivid, lively essay, both critical and optimistic, on the history of the representation of aboriginal people on the big screen. Reel Injun uses footage from Hollywood films to highlight that industry’s perpetuation of cultural misunderstandings both tragic and comic, while also highlighting feature films made by aboriginal filmmakers the world over. The film also features native actors like Adam Beach, Chief Dan George, and others discussing self image, as well as filmmakers like Clint Eastwood who helped challenge popular and negative “Injun” stereotypes.

As Wilkes pointed out to me, Clint Eastwood is probably going to say some shit that’s gonna piss me off, but I think a lot more people are going to say some really awesome things.  I have my own theories about how George Catlin drawings begat Edward Curtis photographs begat Wild West shows, print media, and then film.  I’m just really glad this critique is happening and I am coming at it with an open mind. 2010, case-by-case basis (CVJ).

MoMA, 11 W 53rd St., 8pm

Tuesday June 15

This Tuesday is another installment of Joseph Keckler’s Inner Beauty Parlor.  It promises “LITERARY READINGS! COSTUMES! MARINA ABRAMOVIC REENACTMENTS AND MASHUPS! OPERATIC GOSPEL MUSIC! X-TUBE COLLAGE!”  Featuring, amongst others, birdsong interviewees the aforementioned Mr. Keckler, Erin Markey, and Gerry Visco, and poet Chavisa Woods.

Envoy Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., 6:30-9pm

Thursday June 17

birdsong contributor Catherine Chung (named one of Granta‘s “New Voices” of 2010) is reading at the release party for SISTERS: AN ANTHOLOGY about… sisterhood!  I mean, I haven’t read it but I’m just going to make a bold prediction.  And is there anything better?  Reading with Catherine are Ana Maria Jomolca, Myra Shapiro, and Jan Freeman, director of Paris Press and co-editor of SISTERS.

McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince St, 7-9pm

Saturday June 19

The Museum of Art and Design is hosting a Gay print/Queer zines discussion panel with Michael Bullock of BUTT Magazine, Scott Hug of K48, and others.

Tracing the history of queer publications, from underground “gay rags” to current contemporary independent and mainstream magazines, GAY PRINT / QUEER ZINES looks at how design and the editorial process has both been shaped by and help shape the attitudes and identity of the queer community.

Museum of Arts & Design, 2 Columbus Circle, 3pm, $7 general $5 students

The Yardmeter Editions reading series hosts The Harp & Altar Anthology, a first foray of the online lit mag into print publishing, with a multimedia fête.  Artwork by Lorene Taurerewa, readings by Ana Božičević, Dan Hoy, Eileen Myles, and Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, and a musical performance by Miracles.

267 Douglass Street, 6:30pm, free

birdsong #12- the issue and the event

April 22, 2010

First things first, WE FINISHED BIRDSONG 12 finally.  It’s been a long, hard road, but there are lots of improvements and shiny things.  The guts got a facelift, thanks to InDesign and Catprint, and the cover was deliciously silkscreened by Gabe “The Babe” Cohen of the Bread & Butter Collective at Flux Factory and hand-stamped by Daniel Portland and I.   Speaking of Danny, many many thanks go to the editors (because we have a new, fancy masthead): managing editor, the aforementioned DP, and contributing editors Roy Pérez and Lauren Wilkinson.  The issue features writing and art from the Birdsong Collective and interviews with artist/theorist Seth Kim-Cohen, poet Thomas Moore, fellow zinester Aaron Lake Smith, videomaker/artist Joshua Thorson, and poet/playwright Rodrigo Toscano.  There’s also a nifty “birdsong year 2″ postcard, buttons and stickers, and all of it wrapped nicely in glassine.  You can order via Paypal here, for 6 bucks plus $1 for S&H.  There’s also a small quantity of the bare-bones, xeroxed copies available for free for a limited time.  But I think you’ll want the printed version.  If you asked me.

AAAAAAAAAANDthe reading/release party!!!

with a smattering of short readings from the BIRDSONG COLLECTIVE and (in honor of our second year) TWO count em TWO guest readers, author of GIRLS TO THE FRONT: the true story of the riot grrrl revolutionSARA MARCUS and Edinburgh author ALEXANDER CHEE!!!

with a set by that gritty folk duo you’ve heard so much about, darlings of the New Yorker– PAPS

Hosted by (me) Tommy Pico and there will probably be free red red wine because who doesn’t look better with a little color in their teeth?

FRIDAY May 14th 8pm at 3rd Ward, 573 Metropolitan Ave @ Lorimer, steps from the Lorimer L stop. Be there or be scared. justkidding

Weekly Roundup

April 16, 2010

So there’s a few goings on and what-had-happened’s by some Birdsongers that you should be aware of.

Sometime birdsong artist and all around nice guy Will Varner, who basically illustrated the birdsong #11 release party at 3rd Ward, has a drawing in the latest issue of Nylon Guys.  It’s this ominous western drawing that I’m pretty sure is for a video game–

The Scorcher #5 zine release party last Saturday went smashingly, I mean we got smashed.  Written by Max Steele and published by Birdsong Micropress, it’s a zine about “Kissing Practice, Coded Love Letters, Feline Fantasies, Pornoscopes and Mnemonic Sex Toys. Billy Cheer’s guide to romance.”  You can see pics of the event up here, there’s a really awesome article on Max in Time Out New York, and you can order a copy of the zine here!

PAPS has two shows coming up right away!  TONIGHT at Vox Pop, which was mentioned in this sweet New Yorker blurb (and we were, too!), and tomorrow at Silent Barn.

Vox Pop – 8pm
1022 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn NY
718 940 2084
(Directions here)

Silent Barn
915 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood NY
Halsey L stop
(Directions here)

Aaaaaand last but not least, you can now read Cathy Chung’s story on the Granta website, and it’s fantastic, emotional, gut wrenching, riboflavin.

happy weekend….

do lovers still meet at the chiang kai-shek memorial?

July 8, 2009

by Daniel

do lovers still meet at zine fests?

from the looks of it, yes. pride weekend, and after what for some of us was a long night, i.e. a night on tommy’s roof, we reconnoitered at the zine fest at the brooklyn lyceum (fyi, lyceum = a public hall for lectures and concerts). kinda cavernous and dank and in all the right ways.

bad things: that one guy who asked where the not-gay/not-embarrassing zines were.

good things: beer, crawling back and forth under the table, and most of all, all of the kool things we traded zines with or who took ours or who gave us theirs.

we ended up running out of stock before the day was over, so i honestly don’t know what was done when i left to go to dyke march. but i do know that my bag was stocked with precious ephemera (stoked about the straight to hell calendar) and that brandon and i had concocted an idea for our forthcoming collaborative zine throwback to high school.

au revoir,

p.s. i’m meant to be doing some abstracts of zines birdsong has received, so be on the lookout for those, such as the one below.

big hands #7
aaron l. smith
photocopy on paper, unpaginated: (5.5 x 8.5 in.)
cary, nc: self-published

neatly divided into three “books,” entitled music, death, and home, smith’s big hands follows the 25-year-old author as he tours with his band and muses on culture both at a local level and in a more general sense. nostalgic, ian mackaye-quoting, and in a broadly activist vein, big hands recalls al burian’s burn collector. choice line: “i chose emptiness and now am a ‘floater,’ allowing coincidences and chance to make decisions for me. when you leave things to chance, you never have to worry.”