Apologies for the very long time between drinks – I’ve been living and breathing the next issue of Ampersand, and just got it to the printer, so I now have my life back.
Here we go!
I waz ‘ere 2011. Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers in Willamsberg. I spent some $$$$. Here’s what I took home:
This is a catalogue for Julian Duron’s art, which is that faux-crappy-early-computer aesthetic that is in vogue at the moment. Printed on a RISO with an 80s colour palette, I bought it because I thought it was REAL. It’s not though. I enjoyed it but art school talk about “practice” makes my skin melt so it lost me a little.
What is more interesting about this find is Swill Children, the publisher/printer. From the looks of their site they are doing some really interesting print projects. I’d check em out.
2. The Baffler
Edited by Thomas Frank and Chris Lehmann, Chicago | USD$12
The Baffler is a left-wing magazine of cultural, political, and business criticism that was founded in 1988 and published until the spring of 2007. It was revived in 2009, with the first issue of Volume 2 published in January 2010 (which is the issue I bought, above). It’s great – in the tradition of politico-literary journals, crossing boundaries somewhere between the Paris Review and New Statesman, with visual art.
According to their website, they’ve just signed a five-year publishing deal with MIT Press (lucky bastards), and who knows with the extra support maybe they’ll get distribution out to Oz.
3. Crystal Friends
Created by Dave Ortega, Massachusetts | USD$10
The description of this on Ortega’s Magcloud page is very good: “Notes from the Die World, this mysterious place between life and death. Crystal Friends form out of Flaming Robots when exiting the ‘Die World’ where Princess Die reigns over the near-dead. This journal has the most thorough notes of this strange (al)chemical process to date.”
A nice art book of paintings and illustrations on cardboard tags.
4. Fire to the Prisons
Published by Fire to the Prisons, somewhere in the USA | USD$4 and often free
Fire to the Prisons is an activist journal ‘agitating’, not ‘inciting’ violent revolutionary action, which is kind of like drinking a bottle of whiskey and going to Sexpo.
They cover things like Arab Spring, but their main thing is ‘prison’s aim of social control’, and most of the content is about what they refer to as ‘prisoner resistance’. Solidarity in the face of repression is all well and good, but it starts to get questionable with their ongoing ‘Chronology of Prisoner Resistance’ – a list of acts of violence by inmates against prison staff or the prison itself. Whatever the disturbances are, ‘each time the prison cannot proceed with routine operations it loses control of itself; each time the prison loses control, its inhabitants are able to act outside of its constraints, in accordance with their own interests’, and hence, are encouraged and celebrated in this list. Includes: ‘10/26/10 - Martinez, CA, USA – An inmate at the Contra Costa County Jail faked a seizure and hit a hurse over the head with a lamp. The nurse later died from her injuries.’, ‘11/08/10 – Pine Knot, KY, USA – Two guards were stabbed at USP-McCreary while conducting a routine cell search.’, alongside ‘11/11/10 – DeBary, FL, USA – A state prisoner doing roadside work rode away on a lawnmower.’
Lawnmower escapees and protestors aside, I’m not sure you can justify assaulting and killing prison staff as just ‘prisoner resistance’. Hmm. As far as lists go though, this one was fucking fascinating.
Amid its murky ethics and hyperbolic anarchist shouty quasi-journalism, there’s one really interesting section called ‘Solidarity’, which lists prisoners (who are often incarcerated for anarchist actions – animal liberation and domestic terrorism), gives updates on their cases and, interestingly, their postal addresses.
It’s a good one, a nice change from the self-indulgent art books that are the staple of my found publications diet.
Edited by Katie Raissian, New York | USD$12
A very pretty, unobtrusive literary journal with a poetry focus, which is nice. Beautiful print quality, a couple of really interesting reviews, collage and a smattering of colour. I would recommend this to poets as a good one to submit work to.
Surprisingly, the pictures in this little book by photographer Paola Ferrario are not her own – they are found photos from flea markets. This is a heartfelt chronicle of family recipes and prose on food and life.
Kaugummi is an extremely prolific independent publishing house that kicks some arse in curation choices and printing quality – I highly recommend checking them out (although their website tells me they have closed up in the current capacity).
One of the many publications on their label (artist books mostly), this issue of the house magazine combines psychedelic illustrations, collage, painting, photographs to create a visual adventure. It’s brilliant.
8. Gratuitous Type
Published by Elana Schlenker, NYC | USD$15
An infrequent pamphlet of ‘typographical smut’ for font design enthusiasts, this is a great little compendium of current and older work from many different sources – film, books, and different artists from different countries. You won’t see any boobs but there is a centrefold that you’ll find sexy if you are into 60s Cuban posters.
Their website is also well worth checking out – there’s heaps of good new stuff to have a perve at if you are into design or independent publishing.
CORRECTION FROM THE EDITOR – The picture of this bundle of mags at the top of this post includes ZG (the red vintage one) BUT it does not feature in the post. That’s because I realised that I bought it from Printed Matter Inc, featured in the next post, which is significant because they are the independent publishing Mecca, and I couldn’t be bothered making a new picture. More to come guys don’t get upset!