Zine Reviews

Six Letters Addressed to You #1
There’s something inexplicably wonderful about a hand-written letter. The envelope addressed to you, the stamp, the distinctive scrawl of hurried (but comfortingly human) penmanship—this is why Six Letters Addressed to You #1 works. It’s a zine by default (Xeroxed, stapled and given an issue number), but at its core, it’s merely a compilation of thoughtful letters written to you, the reader. It does fly the “per-zine” flag and boasts a detailed itemization of the author’s commitment to anarchism, but graciously resists veering into that romanticized CrimethInc. “rich-kids-posing-as-radicals” territory. It teems with enjoyable little nuggets, including a tender dissection of the author’s job as a wilderness counselor, dreams involving giant cats and a blurb about making toothpaste from coal. Admittedly, the author does reference a lot of literary greats (Hemingway, Emerson, Woolf) and frequently weaves them, and healthy portions of their cited works, into these letters. It certainly delights THIS English major, but the contrived name-dropping might turn off a few heads. Regardless, it’s a fulfilling hodge-podge of self-reflection, personal declaration and even a smidge of pleasant absurdity, all in fluid ballpoint script. Webzines don’t come in envelopes this pretty. Recommended. Contact patrokolos@gmail.com for a copy. –Dylan Chadwick

Utah’s Homeless Paper: Ogden, UT Edition
Elvira, Ezy and Chris James Walker
To be upfront, this zine is difficult to understand. It’s a convoluted visual disaster, sporting chaotic layouts that frequently run off the page, indecipherable scrawling and fistfuls of grammatical bloopers. Still, the zine follows the “enjoy me, but don’t try to understand me” pattern, and beneath its grizzled exterior lie some poignant little gems and even a “take home” message (no pun intended) or two. “The Story of Lump the Bummy,” though choppy, beautifully depicts Lump, a free spirited invertebrate with a frazzled mind who lives underneath a washing machine and speaks directly with deity. The artwork is crass and gleeful, and the “hobo philosophy” section (“Happiness is a choice, clean underwear is a blessing.”) is warm and full o’ heart. I won’t say it’s immediately accessible, nor easy on the eyes, but the more I read it, the more it seems to make sense. It’s not an overly romantic portrait of homeless livin’, but a scruffy, quasi-journalistic street chronicle endowed with a special strain of frenetic brilliance, and a certain dose of creative gusto that only comes to those who’ve spent a few nights sleeping under bridges in sub-zero temperatures. –Dylan Chadwick

Wheelbite #1
Jesse Tucker
High school English teacher and prolific Utah County garage rocker Jesse Tucker (of the Gonorrhillos, Burnt Reynolds and His Hot Bones, Neighborhood Zero, Brainstorm, Clearcoats, etc.) thought that he’d cultivate a love for literature among his rowdy class of 16-year-old assholes by assigning them a zine writing project. While the young minds were busy x-actoing and gluing their stupid articles, Tucker also pieced together a zine to show them how it was done. Wheelbite #1 is refreshingly juvenile, glorifying days when skateboarding with your friends was just as much about stealing and breaking shit as it was about slamming your bare noggin on the bottom of a mini-ramp. There aren’t any pictures of stair sets or handrails, but there are plenty of shots of Tucker and his buddies skating loading docks and parking curbs as well as plenty of bonus features, like some weird comix, a short story about a kid who smashed a truck windshield with a fencepost, skate video reviews, a love letter to San Francisco psychedelic rockers Thee Oh Sees and pictures of strange garbage that Tucker found while skating.  Like I said, there’s nothing in here about Lizard King or anybody in Utah who’s actually any good. Rather, this is a zine about what it feels like to be a scabbed up skateboarder, drinking beers with your crew in some ditch with shitty transitions and bloodstains on the walls. Amen. Email brotherjrex@gmail.com to get a free copy.  –Nate Perkins