HELLO ALABAMA: A ONE-SHOT DISASTER (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Courtney's (Muse) anti-love letter to Alabama was written after she packed up and moved from North Carolina to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend library science school. The move came with an unexpected downside in the racist and conservative attitudes of some of her classmates. While certainly not indicting all Alabamans, Courtney describes the self-silencing she must go through to be safe in her new location, from being forced to tear a pro-choice sticker off her car to having to check her political ideals at the door in order to have at least a few friends. There's also a piece about the underfunded and underutilized recycling program in Tuscaloosa, and how its mismanagement by clueless city officials has had devastating consequences for the working-class community who must live next to the plant. I've never moved to a drastically different geographical location (yet), but as someone who grew up in a more conservative area the themes of alienation rang true, and I think this would be a great zine for anyone who feels out of step with their surroundings, whether they're a native or a newcomer.
LETTERS TO WASSILY (Tampa, FL)
Shae's (The Road of Sand, Paingiver, Tragikotatos) new personal zine is built around three separate "dialogues," which can be told apart by their typography. The computer-typed sections are an interview with Shae's "dead Romanian poet lover" Tristan Tzara, where she and "he" talk about writing, politics, religion, etc. The typewritten parts are stream-of-consciousness vignettes about Shae's past (both the real past and the dream past), favorite things, and secrets. Handwritten parts comprise the introduction and a list of definitions, each like its own little one-line poem. Shae sometimes doesn't like it when people say this, but there really are not any other zines like hers out there: raw, honest, intellectual, and gorgeously written and laid out, this is yet another classic perzine from one of my favorite zinesters and people.
ROOTS OF HOPE (California)
Roots of Hope is a chronicle of Korinna's (Rock Star With Words, The Remainder of Zero) past two years working as an academic mentor to high-risk high school students through the Americorps program. She uses zines as a way to get students to tell their stories, and while the resulting classroom comp zine wasn't what many personal/political zine readers would expect, it achieves the goal of getting kids involved with school and with each other. Korinna also writes about being a bitch, and connects her experiences standing up for her principles in her political community with a girl she mentored. After her volunteering is over, Korinna volunteers on farms in Ireland and Spain, and is torn between her two very different volunteering experiences. Korinna was afraid that this zine channels Dangerous Minds, but I don't think so: there's way too much self-awareness and self-doubt for that. Recommended for anyone with an interest in teaching, volunteering, or using zines as a way to foster creativity.
In an effort to highlight different zines available in the catalog and point readers toward a few exceptional titles, I'm offering five-title collections based around a comic and a perzine theme, since those are the two kinds of zines I mostly carry. Sorry, no substitutions, but these collections can be combined with any other order. Collections are priced $10 for US orders, and $13 for international orders... basically, that's free shipping! Take a look at what Black Light Diner has to offer. I will be switching the titles around periodically to keep it interesting! Descriptions of individual zines in the collections can be found under the main zine listings.
COMIC ZINE COLLECTION (Everywhere!)
This collection contains five comics spanning a wide range of artistic and storytelling styles. Included are the personal comic Booty #22, the travel diary Eighteen Long Days, the anthology Play!, the daily journal comic You Can't Get There from Here #12, and the humorous 24-hour comic Evolution Comics #1. Highly recommended for comics fans as well as zine readers who are looking to get into the world of comics.
PERSONAL ZINE COLLECTION (Everywhere!)
This collection contains five of the personal zines currently in stock at Black Light Diner. Included are Ocean's old-school-styled High on Burning Photographs #4, my own personal/political zine Breakfast at Twilight #2, the 23rd issue of Alex Wrekk's seminal zine Brainscan, the incredibly powerful and moving perzine Letters to Wassily, and the uniquely constructed Nothing Rhymes #5. Great for perzine fans, as well as comics fans who want to check out personal zines for the first time (flipside of the scenario above, haha)!
Also, I'm really on the lookout for some new zines to carry, in particular personal comics. If you have something you think I'd be interested in, drop me an email or send it to me!
Thanks for reading,