By Danielle Warhola
Yeah, have i got a zine crush. His name is J. I don’t know if he’s got a pen name. I met him a few years ago when I was a Lesbian, and I thought he was a nice gay man (turns out he’s a nice queer man, not a nice gay man. Turns out i’m not a lesbian anymore.) who wore cute little 70s slacks and had a distinctly nasally voice, moppy brown hair and cute glasses. I met him a few years back while my future band letters played without me in a Portland, Oregon collective cafe, an after party to the zine symposium. I gave him my zine, but i’m pretty sure he lost it without reading it.
Fast forward a few years, i’m living in a fairy-light lit attic in Portland during the winter. Most of my time is spent watching my primitivist roommates skin skunks and crush acorns or crying watching ingmar bergman movies. I lived with a really magical person named Bartle. Whip smart, with soft dreads, full of dance and craft with their hands, reminding me to stretch and drink water when i needed to. So anyway Bartle and J came stumbling up my stairs one day, to show J the attic. I quickly jumped in front of a small jar of my own urine that i was planning to sell on craigslist’s Adult ads to an adorably kinky old man, but on realizing there was nowhere to hide it blurted “I don’t usually just pee up here, i’m selling this!” Bartle laughed and J didn’t seem to really care. I was really embarrassed. I showed J my zine collection downstairs after we abandoned the vessel that outed me as either a sex worker or someone too lazy to even empty a pee jar.
In spite of the bodily fluids, we hung out at a party in his house, where one of his friends was having a birthday party that they abandoned. We made popcorn and danced to soul music, and he invited me to sleep…in his guest room.
I had a dream about him last summer, where he was building a nest in the woods to accommodate himself to sleep in. I told him and a few weeks later we took a ridiculously indecent post-party summertime walk straight to my bedroom, and to my surprise he ended up sticking around. I figured out at this point that he was not a nice gay man.
We share a love for zines, and that’s one way i know he gets me…such tender moments shared reading Avow to me when i’m sure i’ve got pink eye and can’t see, opening the window in the morning and discussing Breakfast for Dinner before breakfast, laughing our drunk asses off reading SKAM zine because we’re degenerates and stories about drugs, college, and family trips still make us laugh. That’s more than a zine crush – that’s zine love to me.
There was no moment more nerdily thrilling than when he disappeared into my basement for an hour and had produced the intro to a really good zine about lifestylism…
Hey zine crush – if you put out your zine, I’ll Put out.
From Anonymous in Oregon.
A million stupid songs played on the radio all that year, the year after Desert Storm. On the rock station and the oldies station and that cable channel in those days when it still played videos. I don’t know why I liked you so much and let you write poems on my arms and color in my toenails with black sharpie.
There were times when I looked into your eyes, twin green free-falls into the depths of high school, and saw in the periphery a cloud of moths and butterflies where normal girls have hair. This was how you got me to sneak out of sixth period so we could walk slow, close circles around each other in the hall.
By Liz Mason and the Sex Pistols. Performed as part of the Chicago Zine Fest opening ceremony at Quimby’ s Bookstore, on March 12th, 2010. Sung along with the karaoke version music.
God save the zine
Haven’t heard of this thing? What are you, a moron? Independent publishing.
God save the zine
Page count multiples of four There’s no publishing schedule I print it when I feel like it
Don’t be told what you write Don’t be told what you read There’s no future, no future, No future for my last distro
God save the zine
We mean it wo-man
We love our long-arm stapler
God saves (each issue of Cometbus)
God save the zine
‘Cause it makes no money It’s a dollar or free with trade Or just send me some stamps
Oh God save history
God save your cut and paste I use Media Mail
It’s way cheaper
I’m sorry it’s been so long
since my last issue
I had a lot of stuff going on
I made a mix tape to express how I feel Here’s comics and a poem.
Here’s my per-zine
Stick it to the Man
I write about biking to work In the winter
God save the zine
Here’s a recipe
For doing an abortion
With herbs picked by the side of the road
Check out these bands, that you’ve never heard of I interviewed them in here
If you really want to know me, you should read my zine You’ll think that I’m really awesome
Submit your work, to me and I might publish it in my zine
No future, no future For mainstream media
Back in October, the organizers of the Richmond Zine Fest — Celina, Mo, Liz, Becca, and Mara — had the fantastic idea to set up a Zine Crush table at the event. I mailed them a flat of Vol. 1, so they could make and sell copies. And they made an attractive box to provide attendees a place to submit. I hope this catches on, because I really enjoyed the results! Los Angeles and Chicago Zine Fest organizers, let’s talk!
What follows is a sample of the (mostly) anonymous notes from RZF 2012:
I just want to cuddle with you and your dogs and draw silly things and talk about how art school is lame but I secretly think it’s important. Remember that time our friend tried to set us up? I knit you a hat and you gave me your zines, I swooned so fucking hard. Then your girlfriend moved back to Virginia.
Your ass is killer with your jeans with the bright red flowers embroidered on. Beyond that you write too, which is more important more appealing than your fantastic ass. Also important is your pretty face and your friendliness. HTH
I love that Muslim girl. She’s beautiful.
The way you fold paper astounds me. Exact with speed. Sharper than paper ready to cut. Will you fold zines with me?
☐ Yes ☐ No ☐ Maybe
Safiya Bridgewater is so passionate, funny, creative and all around sass-tacular. I just love her.
I can’t tell if I’m still hung up on you, but thanks for ending things, I guess. We were doomed to rip each other’s hearts out.
One wears a fedora, the other a crown, but what I like best is they rarely frown. Always with a smile and laugh at a zine fest, they are easy to chat with, and I forget all the stress.
To: Rusty & Joe
I heart Aijung Kim. She’s super talented! All her stuff is great!
Richmond Zine Fest Crush 2012 Deafula!! The warmest smile and awesomest lady!
My zine crush is new, because I’ve had so many over the last 20 years, so maybe I will write about my latest one, right here at Richmond Zine Fest. This person has put out a zine called “hawt dayum booty jam” and it’s the most positive and sexy queer/erotic/consent zine I’ve seen in a really long time. It’s very body-positive and it doesn’t erase people’s identities — there is loving (& hawt) attention paid to all kinds of folks. I feel like the writer of this zine is probably a bad ass, outspoken, resourceful, hilarious, and creative person. I wish this person would teach sex ed to all middle school P.E. classes. Maybe then folks wouldn’t feel scared and alone like I did (when I was younger). I <3 this zine for that. L.D.
I have a crush on the international proletariat.
It’s tempting to post the recent submissions I’m most excited about: Alex Wrekk or Kelli Callis, to name a couple. But I’m going to hold off on those, and entice you to buy the zine. For today I give you one of the zine-only exclusives from Vol. 1, by Anonymous in Massachusetts. This one is great, too. Only ten days remain to submit for the next issue!
So I saw my zine crush on TV not too long ago and all those feelings came rushing back to me. Let’s make no mistake here – when I say this was a “crush” it was more of a puppy dog style crush than anything I ever took seriously or thought anything seriously could ever happen. About 10 years ago I read a zine called Cartography for Beginners by April Richardson and as I read I thought to myself “God damn, this girl is funny.” Then she published a picture of herself and I was in love. She was abso-fucking-lutely adorable. I couldn’t even take it. How could somebody this funny and this cute exist? And how could she have the gall to get married before I even had a chance to make a move? Not that I would have really made a move. Not that I could have made a move. Not that I would have even known how to make a move if there was a move to be made. But the idea that somebody like that was taken before I even was made aware of her existence bugged me, man. I never even had a chance to fail.
April made the move from zines to stand up comedy and as a comedy nerd in addition to a zine geek this did nothing to squash my crush. I saw her recently on Chelsea Lately and she was just as funny and adorable as ever. As I watched I realized that there were plenty of comedy nerds out there watching who had the exact same reaction to April that I had all those years ago when I first read her zine. And you know what? This kind of comforted me because their crushes are just as unlikely to bear fruit as mine was, but I had my crush first and mine was not based on a mass medium, it was based on zines which to me makes it more pure.
By (another) Anonymous in Oregon.
For JQP, six years ago
I’m too young to be this bitter
That’s what they say
You know how they like to talk
Saying, what did this world really do to you?
And, what does this girl really do to you?
I just don’t know
If it’s worth saying I love you
I just don’t know
If I’ve got what it takes to move mountains
To cross continents
I just don’t know
If you’re the person I talk to
When I’m all alone at night
When I think about you and remember
Afternoons in grade school
As though I should have known you then
As though I should have spoken up
Before I turned twelve
But I can’t go back
And I can’t fix the past
And all I can really say
Is that I wish you were close enough
And that I could hold your hand.
I postponed the deadline for Zine Crush Vol. 2 until December 31. And now that’s only two weeks off! Real life required that I shelve my secret side project for awhile. The submissions have continued to come in, but I could always use more. So in the style of an NPR pledge drive, I will be posting daily updates through the end of the year and strongly encouraging you, dear reader: Have you enjoyed this website and/or its complementary zine over the past nine months? If so, isn’t it time that you send in your own tales of zine infatuation? Act now! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Text files can be any format. For images, please scan at least 600 dpi in black & white. Page size is 5.5″x8.5″. TIFF files are preferred. You can also submit via snail mail: Zine Crush, PO Box 936, Portland, OR 97207, USA. All contributors receive a free copy of the zine, and a flat if you’d like to make and sell your own.
I guess this zine is like a missed connexion board, and you’re probably getting a dozen more submissions after this week end of intense zine-ing whether in Berlin, Milwaukee or Leeds. I didn’t get to see any of my zine crushes, which makes me miss them even more. I’ll start a new countdown after finishing this letter. Without much surprise, I found out I was obviously sharing some of these pen pal crushes with other friends, which I guess has to be the case when it comes to truly amazing people, although discussing it openly would still be unbearably awkward. I met my zine crush through a message on we make zines, asking her about her polaroid pictures, and, as she was a vegetarian, if she knew any vegan friendly alternative to the gelatin film ? She didn’t and took it like most people as a snarky comment. I gave up on that film photography quest a long time ago, even if it’s still the only thing I miss from my pre-vegan time, but I’m digressing.
We traded zines anyways, and kept writing each other long letters, about our trips, our plans to keep having fun during the winter and our many crushes. Even if we met at a zine fest a year after, I am still more familiar with her handwriting than I am with her voice. I still have to admit I was surprised when I flipped the last page of a long letter consisting of a list of reasons to move to her city with a post-scriptum : “I have a tiny crush on you”. Going back, I’m normalizing my reaction as something in between “I knew it !” and “Wasn’t it obvious ?”, but it wasn’t as simple. I wrote in yet another letter that I had one too, but didn’t know how to deal with it, because that is the thing with zine crushes : they’re usually far away, and I actually intended to move closer to her town. I came back home one day to find a piece of her familiar stationery sitting on my kitchen table. Enclosed was another list of cool things to move there for. “I want you to actually love this city”, she said, comforting my feelings by announcing that we could keep this postal relationship by leaving notes on each other’s bikes, slowly switching from zine crushes to crushes, as we did a couple years ago, switching from penpals to friends.