Book Club Preview – Prophet Vol. 1: Remission

This new Prophet series is a radical departure from its roots as a creation of Rob Liefeld for early ’90s Image. It features a completely fresh take on the character in a collaboration led by story writer and artist Brandon Graham, with chapter artists Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, and Giannis Milonogiannis.

King’s Books in Tacoma is hosting a discussion of the book for the Capes & Cowls Book Club on Tuesday, August 27 at 7 p.m. The book is only $9.99 and there’s a 15 percent book club discount (you don’t have to show up for the discussion to get the discount). The book is also available through Amazon and ComiXology.

IMG_0142

The tale features a wanderer called Prophet on his futuristic, yet primal journey that takes him through weird planets and introduces him to interesting cities and biologies.

The story reeks of influence from Heavy Metal and swashbuckling adventure tales like Conan. It offers a fractured take on reality as Prophet meets gross creatures that demand sex, has to tear apart huge ancient cosmic beasts, outsmart beings with crystal brains, and win nearly hopeless battles across huge swathes of outer space.

IMG_0147

The IP that it’s based on was somewhat popular at one point in time, yet has basically nothing to do with that. Yet, in an interview about revamping his entire comic line at New York Comic Con in 2011, Rob Liefeld said Prophet was by far his favorite of the bunch, “You can read the book without any word balloons and follow the story effortlessly.”

IMG_0150

Despite it’s schlock-y ’90s past, Prophet is a book that’s masterfully done. Since the plot is surreal, it can be confusing at times, but it’s incredibly engaging and there’s a new mystery around every turn. Totally worth the price of admission.

Advertisements

Free print entertainment at the Rocket Zine Library in King’s Books

A cornucopia of zines!

A cornucopia of zines!

There’s lots of interesting little publications to check out at the Rocket Zine Library at King’s Books. It’s all free to borrow with donations of materials encouraged.

The eclectic variety of offerings include:

  • Journal comix
  • Advice on anarchist action
  • Anarchist essays on love
  • Recovery stories
  • Gardening tips
  • Youth center publications
  • Les Sar’zine, a collection of zines in a tin can by Seattle writing collective Les Sardines
  • and one really informative comic about the Dvorak keyboard layout!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At first I thought the zine library was an effort by the store itself, but owner sweet pea Flaherty told me the entire idea and execution was due to a customer, Mo Lewis. I got ahold of Lewis through the emails and got her to answer a few of my burning questions about her zine library.

Mike Fitz: How did you come up with the idea?

Mo Lewis: The idea to start a zine library came from a couple different places.

First, I’ve always loved zines – I got my first zines back in 1993 when I was in high school in Olympia, and loved seeing the ways that people can document their lives or tell stories about the things that are important to them.It’s exciting to have this different way to create art, to reach out to people, to learn from each other, and to connect. Over the years I’ve amassed a collection of about 50 zines, and they just lived on my bookshelves.

The second part of the idea came from a conversation with a friend about all these little book libraries that people are putting up in their yards – little mailbox-sized containers where you can borrow a book or donate a book – and we both thought that was such a cool idea, and talked about wanting to do something like that. So when I was thinking about how to actually make this happen, I thought about zine libraries that I’ve seen in places like Olympia and Spokane and thought that it would be fun to apply that little book library idea to zines, and just try it out. I’m not a very good book sharer, but I like the idea of swapping zines and putting them out there for others to borrow or take, and Tacoma is the kind of place that embraces new projects like this. I have to give a big shout-out to sweet pea, who agreed to host the zine library at King’s Books. I’m not sure if all of these photocopied pages in an outside space would survive our weather.

Where did the cool cabinets come from?

When my partner and I first moved into our house, my dad got us these cabinets from Craigslist – some people were updating their kitchen and offered up the cabinets to whoever was willing to take them away. So when I was thinking about making the zine library, I figured why not use one of the smaller cabinets instead of building something new? Plus, it was free and already in the basement. Sometimes I get a little anxious and kind-of “perfectionist-y” about creative projects, so my goal for this was to make it as easy as possible to finish – using a cabinet and some orange paint I already had was low-pressure, and turned out pretty cute.

Where do you find your zines?

I order zines mostly online – there are some great distros that have compiled interesting collections of zines (Doris Press is my favorite, and there is even a distro here in Tacoma – Mend My Dress Press) – it’s really easy to find good zines that way. Plus then there’s the excitement of getting them in the mail! The POC Zine Project is an important resource, since I think zines tend to have a reputation of being associated only with a predominantly white, punk and riot grrrl scene, which is really just one small portion of who is making zines. I also like getting zines from friends, or at local bookstores or comic stores.

What are some of your favorites in the collection?

Doris zine is my favorite of all time – #3 was one of the first zines I read, and Cindy (the creator) just put out #30, which is amazing. There is a zine called Violette’s Letters that is made in Tacoma, and it’s very cute – it’s a four year old girl’s letters to people in her life. Adventures in the Land of Greasecars and Fireflies zine documents someone’s process of converting their car to run on used cooking oil, which is so cool to me.

I also have a particular fondness for zines about sexual assault, specifically around consent, accountability, and supporting survivors. I work in the sexual assault field, and the amount of knowledge and community conversations that can come from zines like these is amazing  – I frequently will hand out these kinds of zines to young folks I am working with, and I try to make sure there are a few copies of these zines in the library at all times.

Any cool stuff to watch for?

Yes! There are lots of new zines in the library, which is heartening to see. After the Wayzgoose festival at King’s Books, I saw a few beautifully printed zines arrive, and recently a writing group brought by a copy of the mini-zines they created, which are compiled in a silver tin. It’s always great to see zines by Tacoma zinesters show up at the library.

What’s the future of the Rocket Zine Library?

The future holds more zines, for sure! Even though the zine library is just a few months old, there are zines being borrowed and brought in all the time, and I expect that will continue. A friend brought up the idea of hosting a zine-making workshop, so we’ll see about that. This whole thing is a fun experiment, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens.

The reason you got on the internet.

The cutest book salesman.

Items from the library can be picked up any time King’s Books is open, 7 days a week 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Feminist-Queer-Postmodern Analysis of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Fox’

Ahhh finals are over and summer can begin. I seriously plan on shuffling the deck and working on some projects this summer. In the meantime I’m going to further revise some of my papers I turned in this quarter for blog posts and perhaps more as I do summer reading and visits to book clubs.

The later chapters in literary criticism class were fun, and while the readings were dense they were only ten pages. I feel like all my classes have been like FEMINISM-PATRIARCHY-POSTMODERNISM but I feel like now that I’ve been put through a lot of it I can finally get a grasp on these movements, which all seem to lead to something like “oh wait nothing means anything lets start over.”

Like the feedback I got in one class, all my papers could use about two or three more revisions, but I hope you enjoy reading it after one! Click the referral link to the novel as I experiment with Amazon referral links! If you live in Tacoma, you can also probably find a copy at local independent bookseller King’s Books for a cost that’s close to nothing.

the fox

Some would say D.H. Lawrence’s “The Fox” was far ahead of its time of publication in 1923, but while it offers some radical foreshadowing to postmodern thought the novel is still very much an artifact of its time. The nature of the relationships between these three characters is a popular topic scholars have ruminated upon ever since the novel’s publication. As the novel progresses, Lawrence uses imagery comparing the characters to animals. First, there’s Henry, the titular fox, a young man returning from his self-imposed exile to his father’s house to find out that he had died. The house is now in possession of the Banford, the bird. She lives there and sleeps in the same bed with her companion, March, the rabbit. Henry abruptly asks March for her hand in marriage, from which the conflict of the novel extends. Feminists, gender and queer theorists, and postmodernists have a lot to say about roles of genders in relationships, the networks of power at work in them, and finally how contemporary thought might be situated in previous eras. This paper will use a combination of feminism, gender and queer theory, and postmodernism as outlined in the Routledge Companion to Critical Theory as a framework while also looking at what some outside sources associated with these movements might have to say.

Henry might represent the patriarchy that the women in the novel should rise against that comes from the school of feminist theory (92). These women are fearful because society’s gender roles see women as subordinate to men, but over time we’ve seen that foundation revealed as not something so solid. Just like their animal totems don’t necessarily translate outside of this culture, which offer new layers of meaning to those familiar with local English mythology.

These gender roles outlined by feminist thought feed into networks of power in relationships, according to queer theory (104). In the Routledge Companion, Susan Heckmen recalls an empirical study by Carol Gilligan the found that women approach things from a contextual perspective while men use universally applicable concrete thinking. So here we have a solid difference between men and women, even though postmodernism challenges the categories “men” and “women” as mere labels. Clearly March and Banford feel free, for the most part, in questioning traditional gender roles as they live together in solitude in the English countryside. Perhaps March is put off by this risk as shown by the scene in which she relents to Henry and confides to him that she doesn’t see her and Banford as “two old women together.” Psychiatrist Qazi Rahman has offered interesting data-based ideas that reveal “under patriarchy, men may tend to propagate attributions that ensure their control, such as viewing risk-taking as something aberrant to their sex” (4). This might be seen in Henry as he doesn’t seem to have much respect for the relationship between March and Banford. He views their relationship as a risk, a weakness he can exploit.

This might be why Henry thinks he can just swoop in. Michael Squires questions this in his essay titled “Modernism and the Contours of Violence in D. H. Lawrence’s Fiction”. In his analysis of “The Fox,” Squires identifies parallels in the relationships in the novel to “the sweeping dislocations of a world war that hastened the innovations of Modernism” and goes on to describe the war as one of “masked aggression” possibly to mirror the conflict of the relationships in “The Fox” (91). Henry is never quite overt in his pursuits as he skulks and slinks around. He tells March his desire for marriage only in private. It is clear that Henry has a goal in mind and is working hard to achieve it, but hard goals like these are shown to lead to violence according to the postmodernist thought outlined in the Routledge Companion (118).

Henry appears quite aggressive when he proposes marriage, after a long back and forth about the whys and why nots, March eventually agrees. When she does, Henry is described in the story as sitting “silent, unconscious, with all the blood burning in all his veins, like fire in all the branches and twigs of him.” He then asks March to go in, and she “rose without answering.” This bucks with tradition of a mutually beneficial marriage proposal. Henry doesn’t appear to know why he is compelled to marry March. It could have something to do with what Donald Hall says in the Routledge Companion about gender and queer theorist Judith Butler. Butler found traditional heterosexual marriages to be a form of scripted performance set to endlessly repeat but never fully accomplish a singular identity (108). So, a queer theorist would question the inevitability of their marriage, although March seems to take it for granted.

When Henry kills Banford, accidentally or not, no one really questions whether or not March will go with him. Even despite the fact that she resisted the idea in the letter she writes to him. In a review in the Journal of History of Sexuality, Charles Hatten notes that author David Seelow dismisses feminist claims that Lawrence holds “hostility to lesbianism if not to feminine autonomy generally” (168). The review notes that the book holds “The Fox” as a work of radical literature and the author is quoted as referring to Lawrence in “pursuit of a utopian community founded on individual emancipation” (167). Hatten’s review notes that this critique ignores counterevidence; especially considering the story ends with the heterosexual male prevailing and taking a wife in victory after a violent act. However, the fact that the novel depicts such a situation at all is certainly quite ahead of its time. One might wonder if with further research we could find out if this ending was merely something that had to take place considering the cultural norms of the time, which considered same sex relationships quite abhorrent. Perhaps someone of this time might even consider this somewhat of a victory—while someone else would be forced to ponder whether or not this is a tragedy in that March truly belonged to Banford.

This analysis sought to look at “The Fox” through a lens of three contemporary viewpoints: feminism, queer theory, and postmodernism. These views would have interesting thoughts on the ideas of patriarchy, gender roles in relationships as networks of power, and help to see how contemporary thought compares to the time the novel was written in. “The Fox” is before World War II, the characters are living in a modern society although they might not hold modern views. This novel highlights relationships that defy traditional heterosexual ones, and the reader is left wondering if the tale reveals them as good or bad. Which of these relationships was the most stable in the end? Would the characters in this novel act any differently in our own time? Like many of the ruminations that come about through postmodern thought, these are also questions we are unable to answer completely, but what’s important is that we are offered a window in which to see them.

Sources:

Hatten, Charles. “Radical Modernism and Sexuality: Freud, Reich, D. H. Lawrence & Beyond by David Seelow.” Journal of the History of Sexuality. 17.1 (2008): 166-168. Web. 12 Jun. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/30114378&gt;.

Lawrence, D. H., and Dieter Mehl. The fox ; The captain’s doll ; The ladybird. London: Penguin, 2006.

Rahman, Qazi. “Gender Differences, ‘Risk-Taking’ And The Need For Empiricism.” Psychology, Evolution & Gender 2.2 (2000): 151-155. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://offcampus.lib.washington.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4463848&site=ehost-live&gt;

Squires, Michael. ” Modernism and the Contours of Violence in D. H. Lawrence’s Fiction.” Studies in the Novel. 39.1 (2007): 84-104. Web. 12 Jun. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/29533801&gt;.

It’s good to be proud.

Tacoma Pride Festival is coming up, featuring almost two weeks of fun events put on by the community. I can’t think of anything else in Tacoma that goes on for that long at so many different and important spots in the city. Things are going on at City Hall, Wright Park, The Grand Cinema, King’s Books, and plenty more that you can find listed at tacomapridefestival.org.

The Mix Block Party 2011

The Mix Block Party 2011, taken by me.

The big day is Saturday, July 14. I plan on at least doing Out in the Park and The Mix Block Party as far as Pride is concerned. I’m not really sure what to expect at the park, there’s no alcohol/beer garden type of thing allowed in Wright Park. Benjii Bittle, a Pride organizer who works for the Broadway Center, said it was going to be family friendly plus drag queens. This I gotta see!

The Mix Block Party should be a blast. Road signs are already out warning motorists that St. Helens Ave. will be closed. I asked Randy and Adam at The Mix if they were ready, they sounded pretty confident and then turned it around to me and asked, “are YOU ready?” Now I’m not sure!

I’m excited that JD Elquist will be emceeing the event. I was kind of curious why a straight guy, although quite dapper, is hosting such a big Pride event. He told me it’s because he’s hosted events at The Mix before with his DJ buddies like DJ Broam that were quite successful. I also think being a part of such a big event in the city brings him one step closer to his plan of taking it over.

Poster designed by Travis Pranger.

Apparently members of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be there. My guesses are Shangela because she’s going to be performing at The Deltan Club and Shannel because she’ll be in town at her friend’s shop, London Couture. We’ll see!

The event at London Couture is recently announced and I’m pretty excited about it. Shannel will be officiating gay weddings with faux certificates. It’s ten bucks but that’ll get you cupcakes, champagne and other neat bonuses like tickets to a Deltan Club show.

Unfortunately those tickets won’t be eligible for use at their sold-out show later that night featuring Shangela, Seattle’s Mama Tits, and a long list of other amazing performers. If you already grabbed your tickets, know that I’m jealous of you.

I’m really excited that City Hall will be such a big part of the event, thanks to City Council member Ryan Mello. The raising of the rainbow flag on the Municipal Building is kind of a big deal. One better than the Space Needle! The gathering happening at B2 Fine Arts Gallery afterwards should be a hoot. Hopefully this will get the word out about Referendum 74 and WA can be the first state to establish marriage equality with a popular vote.

On the 19th, sweet pea flaherty and my librarian boyfriend, Matt, are hosting an event at King’s Books called “Queering Your Bookshelf”. Details are still being hammered out, when I heard they might include graphic novels like Love and Rockets, Wandering Son, and Batwoman: Elegy, I suggested they include Fantagraphics’ new anthology No Straight Lines (keep in mind that this is coming from a guy who volunteers for this publisher’s marketing department).

No Straight Lines comes out the day of the “Queering Your Bookshelf” discussion.

The Grand Cinema is also showing a trio of interesting films. I think the one I’m most excited about is “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same”. The way Philip Cowan (the Grand’s Executive Director) described it to me made it sound like an old Ed Wood film.

I know I’m leaving out details about some really awesome events, and I’m sure there’s some I haven’t even heard of and I’m totally missing out. Check out the festival’s website for more information and be sure to ask your friends what they’re doing!

10 places to check out in downtown Tacoma

Dorky’s Bar Arcade

This is easily my favorite place in Tacoma. They have a number of vintage arcades to play for only a quarter which are surprisingly outnumbered by the selection of beers available. They also have a great lunch menu featuring amazing pizza and a delicious variety of sandwiches made with fresh ingredients and artisan bread. At lunch I like to take a short walk from campus to go there and try to beat the daily high score on the table-top Donkey Kong machine. When the games get tiresome I read one of the local zines they have available and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation or another childhood favorite show they usually have blasting on their TVs. At night they’re also a venue and have showcased some pretty great local bands. Their monthly chiptune night run by local chiptune-ist Tony Pineapple Pineapple has lured artists from as far away as Vancouver, BC.

The New Frontier Lounge

Hands down one of the best bar-restaurants in Tacoma. I like to tell friends it’s the most “Seattle-like” place you’ll find here in town. Lots of interesting local antiques and neon lights on display throughout and the barstaff is quite friendly and features amazing moustaches. The food is quite good, and they feature a cheap eats night with $1 tacos on Wednesdays. The live music certainly has an interesting flavor that you aren’t likely to hear anywhere else. There’s always something going on here.

The Deltan Club

Here in our lovely city you can find the biggest drag venue in the Pacific Northwest with a mighty fine dance floor that has played host to some amazing and unforgettable parties. The Deltan has a great resume featuring over half a dozen contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race and many other well-known performers from abroad and local. Tacoma’s own burlesque troupe, The Gritty City Sirens recently had quite a successful show there which should lead to future appearances as well.

The Webster

I wasn’t sure if I should mention The Mix, Puget Sound Pizza, or the amazing Amocat Cafe so I thought I’d just list them all at once in the same slot! All three are located in the same beautiful building (where yours truly also resides) and good times are easily had at each. The Amocat is a wonderful one-man operation sure to give you the freshest cup of coffee you can find in our fun little town. The Mix is a great LGBTQIA–or just queer–bar that also hosts monthly community art events. Puget Sound Pizza has some the best slices you can get around here and easily the best karaoke.

UW Tacoma

Another tough call is how to talk about Anthem Coffee and Tea, The Swiss, Tahoma Tea & Co, The Rock, Metro Coffee… and the scores of other interesting little places that have sprung up around our gorgeous campus. Anthem, located across the street from the UW bookstore next to the state history museum and bridge of glass, offers an amazing atmosphere and an equally impressive cuppa joe. The Swiss has great sandwiches and amazing art on the walls, and is a huge venue perfect for the college and local crowd. Tahoma Tea & Co is a hidden treasure with amazing furniture and atmosphere located at the back of thrift store Urban Xchange. Did I say Puget Sound Pizza is the best slice in town? Because The Rock’s punk rock pizza is arguably equal in that status. Metro Coffee is a perfect place to study and when I’m too strung out on caffeine, I like to order their unique all-natural Jamaican ginger beer or try some of their freshly brewed local iced teas.

Graffiti Garages

A feature of Tacoma that comes at no charge and shouldn’t be missed. They’re located right next to the Spanish Steps, central to everything. Evidence that art can be colorful and meaningful, but still quite messy. For more information check out this feature in Post Defiance.

B2 Fine Art Gallery and Studio

An amazing gallery that, even though I lived right across the street, for the longest time I would just walk right past it. Last week I noticed their doors were right open so I sauntered in and found myself in one of the most amazing exhibits I’ve had the privilege to witness. So many amazing works of paint/fabric celebrating the 99th anniversary of the death of Harriet Tubman. Originally planned to end in April, but finally being dismantled to make way for the next show. They also host community events for children and to encourage creativity in local artists. Don’t let this place pass you by!

Modern Cottage Company

This amazing furniture store just moved from it’s location next to the Webster to Broadway near Tully’s and offers hand-crafted items perfect for any Tacoma home. Originally on a city-funded Spaceworks grant, they moved to a cheaper location for the time being to continue serving the public, so don’t miss out on this place after they move to their new location and follow them on Facebook to find out their new name!

Tacoma’s Antique Row

If you haven’t lost at least three days exploring this place you haven’t seen it all… and it’s constantly changing! This veritable mall of antiques offers three huge floors of local artifacts. Within you’ll find several businesses including a cafe, an art studio, a tea room, a candy shop, a wine shop, vintage clothing stores and curiosities like a huge model battleship and an authentic Egyptian sarcophagus.

King’s Books

Last but not least, Tacoma’s impressive independently-owned bookstore was my first stop when I moved to the area. Not only do they sport an “almost a city block”-sized collection of new and used books, they are host to a variety of interesting community events including several book clubs which you can find listed on their website.

Hello Tacoma!

Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope I can enlighten you to the amazing arts and entertainment scene in the wonderful west coast city of Tacoma.

I moved here a little over a year ago from my much-loved birthplace of Detroit. I originally fell in love with the Pacific Northwest when I visited Portland while at a college journalism convention. I finally moved here with my boyfriend who was offered a job ordering fiction for the Pierce County library system.

He and I are both very interested in comic books and so we joined the pair of monthly graphic novel book clubs at King’s Books. Through that we’ve made a some great friends and learned a lot of interesting things about our new city.

When I’m not looking for cool stuff to do around town, I’m studying computer science at The University of Washington Tacoma. I just had a successful first quarter and was eager to be more involved on campus, namely at the student newspaper, The Ledger, which has hired me to be their new Arts & Entertainment Editor.

I had previously held the same position in Ann Arbor at The Voice (a.k.a. The Student Voice and The Washtenaw Voice), Washtenaw Community College’s student newspaper. There I earned quite a few honors, including first place for news story from the Michigan Press Association and a first place Best in Show award at an Associated Collegiate Press convention. More importantly, I gained a lot of great experience and a love for journalistic writing. I have also worked as an editorial intern at Wizard Magazine in New York and currently volunteer on Fridays as a marketing intern at Fantagraphics Books, Inc. in Seattle.

After my first quarter here at the UWT, I can tell this student body is made up mostly of commuters. While the campus is beyond gorgeous (if you haven’t seen it, it was built using the original brick buildings that made up Tacoma’s historic downtown), students I’ve met seem to just come here, park, go to class, then immediately go back home and watch Netflix. I hope to encourage students and anyone else who will listen to stick around and find cool things to do; whether it’s a great place to study or an experience to start their weekend off with.

While print seems to be surviving pretty well in this town, currently there isn’t really a paper dedicated to just downtown and I hope The Ledger can fill that niche. Quite a lofty goal but completely doable.

Stay tuned to this blog for some of my favorite places and things to do. Hope you enjoy reading!