On the Coffee Table: Women Warriors, Dune, etc.

Yeah look at all the cool material possessions

Yeah look at all the cool material possessions

I thought I’d start a regular feature documenting all the cool shit I plop on my coffee table with the intention of reading at some point… most likely by candlelight during a power outage as I’m usually deferring to one of my digiscreens for the entertainsments.

Probably the ultimate in navel-gazing… but hey it’s free content for you right?

Items may or may not have been enjoyed and/or stained with coffee.

So strong... my heroes!

So strong… my heroes!

Women Warriors Volume 1

I don’t remember buying this zine, it must have been from some late night tumblr binge! Upon looking at it the shadow of the memory was happily ignited with a fierce squadron of blade-wielding badasses depicted in a glorious pinkish purple duotone. Highly worth the price of admission if you’re into this sort of thing, which is probably the best evidence of my bisexuality.

Very necessary

Very necessary

“I Voted” Sticker

Not sure how this wound up on the table, there’s an election coming up in Tacoma but I don’t follow local politics enough to even know what the Commissioner does. You’ll have to forgive me, I’m from Detroit and probably have an inflated sense of trust that by contrast Tacoma is doing just fine with its politics. Apparently there’s a controversy about not sending out these stickers anymore. I guess I feel like some people might be reminded to vote if they see this sticker around… the lady that got rid of it said it saved $20,000… but that hardly puts a dent in a municipal budget for a city like Tacoma… but it’s all done by mail here so really shouldn’t someone just fill it out right away?? Stickers are fun tho.

A.K.A. everything I do

A.K.A. my social life

Downtown Tacoma Map

Ahh yess someone busted out the Illustrator and made a cool looking guide to Tacoma’s downtown, Stadium District, and Sixth Avenue areas. Their website is down but here’s a link to Google’s cached version. Hopefully this generates enough interest in Tacoma’s university district that would convince businesses to stay open past 5 on a weekend!

Was going to read it... but it's long

Was going to read it… but it’s long

Dune by Frank Herbert Park

I bought a copy at King’s when the push to rename a local park after the author, a Tacoma local, started with the intention of reading it over the summer… haven’t even cracked it open. In the meantime you should sign this petition if you weren’t aware of it.

Oh I get it, you're putting the modern... in the past!

Oh I get it, you’re situating the modern… in the past!

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Getting ahold of advance reading copies through my bf librarian is usually a mixed bag, but this one is a delight. Actor friends from Detroit were in town recently and said they were thinking about putting on a live version of this. I bet it’s possible!

Meatbars

Meatbars

Vice Photo Issue 2013

I hate how difficult it is to get Vice in Tacoma. When I lived in Detroit I had to hunt it down at various boutiques in Royal Oak… now that I’m in Tacoma I usually have to visit Seattle to find it at an American Apparel, despite the fact that there’s tons of boutiques here. Anyhoo, I actually nabbed this copy while visiting a friend in Vancouver. I like what they did with this issue–the theme is collaborations–but it’s extremely flippable and kinda meh. And no Johnny Ryan comic at the back 😦

Apparently newspaper turns yellow?

Apparently newspaper turns yellow?

Mother’s News

Always great surrealist, stream-of-consciousness rag from Providence, RI. Great for taking the mind on a nice swim. Highly recommend the annual subscription to this in the link. Lots of great comics and the ads are actually lookable-at.

Popular PNW destination

Love maps like these

Dash Point Trail Map

Brought the Detroit friends here for some camping nostalgia. I love all the undeveloped nature trails Washington parks have, as opposed to the formerly-improved, now-dilapidated parks of Michigan and Ohio. This was a great trip, although it’s close to a bridge so we could hear traffic and other weird machinery, but it’s always good to be full grown adults walking like children in nature.

I wouldn't have thought I could come up with something dorkier than "Team Discovery Channel"

Not allowed to eat pixie sticks

Dorky’s Trivia Book

Ahh my dearly departed trivia partner has gone off to a better life in California. I paired up with another solo fighter and somehow we ended up with a team name more dorky than my idea of “Team Discovery Channel,” which I gotta hold on to for later. He ended up being stumped on most of the questions but we got third anyway… enough to fund a delicious and nutritious plate of veggies and hummus. Anyway! Click that link to check out my old buddy’s podcast! Search “Gabby Hoffmen” on iTunes and give them a good review! The time travel episode is my favourite.

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!

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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.

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!