As we wrap up 2021, let us reflect on some of our favorite zines in the collection! Available for holds through the library catalog, you may request any zine to be sent to your local branch for checkout. Here are five recommendations on where to start with your zine readings in 2022.
Baldwin Hills Branch Zine Recommendation by Ziba Pérez: HomeGirlz Vol. 2 by Brenzy Solorzano
I met Brenzy Solorzano at a Cal State LA zine workshop/presentation put together by Kimberly Robertson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Brenzy led the “How to Make a Zine'' workshop by sharing how the HomeGirlz Zine came to be, and they inspired CSULA students to begin working on their very own zines. I appreciated hearing Brenzy speak on how they got into zine-making as a way of creating revenue for their creative collective in L.A. Brenzy and I traded zines and I received Brenzy’s permission to add the Homegirlz Vol.2 zine to the circulating zine library.
According to Brenzy’s opening note to Homegirlz Vol. 2, “The Homegirlz Zine Press encourages Womxn of color to generate their own opportunities using their talents, hobbies, and life experiences. Homegirlz Zine Press thrives to create a brave and safe space for growth, self-empowerment, and love. Lastly, HZP is a platform proudly created by Womxn of color for Womxn of color.”
With over thirty contributors, Homegirlz is a mix of poetry, playlists, illustrations, photography, and stories of best friends, sisters, and supportive, positive women that are always there for each other. One of my favorite passages is the HomeGirlz Rules of Conduct:
I like this page of the zine because it promotes self-love/self-care which is relevant to all and it’s bilingual! “Nunca Se Ajuste A Lo Minimo - Never Settle” Only accept the best, stand up for yourself and demand what you deserve, never settle! L.A. Homegirlz got your back. Step into the world of strong independent Womxn of Color by checking out Homegirlz Zine Vol. 2 today.
Edendale Branch Zine Recommendation by Daniel Tures: Desert Oracle #1 by Ken Layne
This zine has been around for a few years, but if you haven’t read it yet you should! And now you can listen to it too… after a run of pocket-sized canary-yellow print issues filled with desert lore starting in 2015, Desert Oracle has expanded to become a half-hour weekly radio show live on high desert community radio KCDZ, with past episodes available in podcast form. Creator Ken Layne has also recently started presenting it as a one-man stage show, complete with a virtual campfire and call-in guests. And now there’s even a handsome hardcover print book available that compiles the first 5 years of the Oracle!
As the book copy describes it, “Straight out of Joshua Tree, California, this is ‘The Voice of the Desert’: a field guide to the strange tales, singing sand dunes, sagebrush trails, artists and aliens, authors and oddballs, ghost towns and modern legends, musicians and mystics, scorpions and saguaros, out there in the sand… From journal entries of long-deceased adventurers to stray railroad ad copy, and musings on everything from desert flora, rumored cryptid sightings, and other paranormal phenomena, Desert Oracle collects the weird and the wonderful of the American Southwest.” There are a few copies available; pick one up for your next road trip to the high desert.
Felipe de Neve Branch Zine Recommendation by Susan Fukushima: Training Wheels by Polianarchy
Training Wheels is a zine travelogue of Polianarchy’s coast to coast train ride from Philly to Seattle. Capturing the spirit and essence of train journeying with vivid detail and keen observation, the zine makes you feel like you are right there. There are great descriptions of train camaraderie: “My new friends were farmers, librarians, Blackfoot, and cowboys. I was asked if I knew Jesus at the beginning of one day and offered drugs at the end of it…” I love the pictures of train stations, companions, Midwestern landscapes, and best of all Chicago’s deep dish pizza with an icy soda. Polianarchy’s writing is thoughtful, humorous, and wistful and the zine makes me want to hop on a train and sit “transfixed by the view...From sunup to sundown, my small nose pressed up to the large plate glass window, taking it all in.”
Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch Zine Recommendation by Angi Brzycki: How To Support Your Non-Binary Family Member by Alyssa Giannini
I pick How To Support Your Non-Binary Family Member by Alyssa Giannini published in 2021. This 52-page guide serves as an introduction to nonbinary gender and offers ways to empower families on how to support their non-binary loved ones. Divided into three main sections: Processing, understanding, and support. Also includes a list of web resources and a glossary with the caveat that the language around gender is constantly changing and evolving. The information in the zine is a combination of research and personal experience. Alyssa Giannini is a queer, nonbinary artist in the Pacific Northwest. Their zines explore activism, mental health, nature, and DIY music.
West L.A. Regional Branch Zine Recommendation by Carrie Davies: The Cupcake ATM Misadventure by Eleanor Glewwe
Discovering new aspects of our culture is one of the things I love about zines. Take, for example, the Cupcake ATM! Did you know that the Sprinkles Cupcake chain offers cupcake ATMs at several locations? I learned of this strangely enticing cultural phenomenon from a zine by Eleanor Glewwe titled, The Cupcake ATM Misadventure. Utilizing one of my favorite zine formats, the delightful mini-zine, the author takes us on an adventure to one of LA’s cupcake ATMs where she eagerly orders a cupcake, only to be disappointed when the technology fails her and she gets the wrong cupcake. This fun romp through a niche of LA food culture sent me straight to the internet to find my closest cupcake ATM while heeding the warning that technology is not always as reliable as in-person, human interaction.
Written by Zine Librarians at Baldwin Hills Branch, Edendale Branch, Felipe De Neve Branch, Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch, and West LA Regional Branch.