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Friday, November 22, 2013

BLOG ZINE! It's a Signal! Buy a Zine Grab Bag!

by Kari Tervo

Okay, you guys. For a brief moment, I want to address those among us who are curious about zines, but aren't really feeling them yet (or might appreciate the FAQ).

"Kari," you say. "I know that there's an independent spirit in zines, and that there are no limits except your imagination and the laws of physics, and that there are a lot of really creative people making great zines. But. . .what about the cost?"

I totally feel that. I'm budget-concious, too. I mean, I'm collecting grocery store stamps for the Rachael Ray place-setting promotion at Albertson's. I feel like a 1950s housewife, but I'm now the proud owner of some colorful salad plates, gratis!

I know everyone likes a bargain. So before this week's review, let me tell you about zine grab bags. Zine grab bags are pretty much what every grab-bag is: a mish-mash of this and that and whatnot. But the beauty of a zine grab bag is that its personality will vary based on who is sending it to you: A general zine distributor? Anything from politics to music to travel to gardening to. . .everything. A feminist zine distributor? Expect a lot of frank discussion about sexuality and womanhood, with some punk reviews and band stickers thrown in! An Etsy seller? You may get an amazing selection of the best in zines, but you might also get a mediocre distribution of things the seller wants to get rid of. This one time? My zine grab bag from an Etsy seller was full of zines that the seller had cut things out of and put into her own zine! But most of the time, you'll get a good to great sampling of independent creations.

"Okay, Kari," you sigh, quickly losing your patience. "I said, what about the cost?"

Oh yeah. I'm sorry. I tend to pre-amble. Let's get to the point:


ZINE GRAB BAGS ARE USUALLY ONLY TEN DOLLARS! You usually get a selection of at least ten zines. That's a dollar a pop! Plus, a lot of sellers will throw in extras, like stickers, postcards, and buttons! Zine grab bags are one of the best bargains on earth, I am telling you. If you have ten dollars, and you're interested enough in zines to read this far, go and google yourself a zine grab bag.

I bought a grab bag this week. I put it out into the zine community that I was in the market for such an item, and bam! Within literally minutes I got responses. The first was from Vanessa Rosales and Daniel Garcia, who put together the excellent Influentza. Not only did they send an impressive collection of quality stuff, they included postcards and some very cool, very meta, very subversive stickers!

I was immediately drawn to Signal Hill, a photo zine about Long Beach, CA. I love zines about places. So that's what I'm reviewing this week! A grab bag find that I loved!

Here’s my Rating System:
Recommended: !
It’s Aiight: .
Maybe If You’re Into That Sort of Thing: ?

Signal Hill
Rating: !!!
Price: Not listed
Daniel Garcia and Vanessa Rosales

I remember a summer afternoon as a teenager in rural Michigan. I had a bee in my bonnet about something, so I rode my bike for miles and miles. It always made me feel better. There were lots of sights along the way: a turtle making its way across the lonely highway; a deer munching an apple off a tree, staring at me. Abandoned 1960s cars and dilapidated farmhouses were nonetheless chimeras of a basic happiness. Sometimes, just looking around can be really profound.

In Signal Hill, Daniel Garcia looks around. He takes us on a bike ride from Long Beach, California to 10 miles away in Lakewood, snapping shots of his perspective along the way. Signal Hill is a city, and also a symbol. Daniel can't escape its monolith. So he embraces it, with art director Vanessa Rosales superimposing song titles by a band named Signal Hill over the humble beauty of the surroundings.

The artistic black-and-white photos simultaneously evoke both appreciation and sadness. But that doesn't mean it's a bummer. For instance, Vanessa cleverly chose to write the song title "Chase the Ghost" in curly-swirly handwriting over a photo of the Sunnyside Cemetery.

Daniel and Vanessa take us on a fascinating tour. Signal Hill is eerie, beautiful, and life as it is. An art zine for everyone.


Send 'em to me at:

Kari Tervo
Blog Zine
PO Box 7831
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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