Tiffany Lee Brown (jonl) Thu 24 May 01 17:36
Whups! MORE email from Tiffany: weblog addendum: i posted that when i hadn't seen boingboing.net yet. duh! this seems very much like something i could consistently read. i'm just skimmin' along, following every fifth or sixth link, reading the results every 3rd or 4th hit. that's a pretty good followthrough, for someone like me. another thing i realised is that while some paper 'zines and some webzines concern themselves with techie things and Internetty things as subject matter, a great number of them do not. these weblogs i've been hitting frequently link away to meta-Net or meta-tech things... even blogs that don't purport to be "about" that. the medium really is the message. what if all print 'zines contained several pages of Odes to Paper? i'm on nine solid years of staring at the frickin' computer screen waiting for epiphanies to float down the modem. it's been great, but i'm burned out. i like a bit of Nettime, and covering some cyberculture/crit is part of Signum's deal. but otherwise, i guess i'm turned off by reading personal musings mixed with Slashdot links and NTK references. apparently i'm looking at the wrong weblogs & will continue nosing around...
Shaun Dale (stdale) Thu 24 May 01 19:21
One of the major ways I've found weblogs to be like zines is in the quality ration. I could easily put 100 zines in front of you that would convince you that there's simply nothing worth looking at, then show you one or two that would send you off to sort through the next 100 in hopes of finding one or two more. Same with blogs, except that they're somewhat easier to get at for most of us. I just started paying attention to them a short time before this conversation started, but now there are a few that are daily hits for me, and a few more that I look at every week or so. And dozens that I've scanned and decided not to bother with. And thousands, it seems, that I haven't got to yet. I've been pretty heavily involved with a music webzine for the last few years, and the notion of doing something on paper is a matter of ongoing discussion, in no small part because there are still people who refuse to believe we're doing anything at all unless we have something to actually put in their hands.
Life in the big (doctorow) Thu 24 May 01 22:54
Oh, I'm harvesting! BTW, I leave for 2.5 weeks holidays tomorrow, and won't be back until June 10. No computers where I'm going. No power! Costa Rica, here I come.
Berliner (captward) Fri 25 May 01 02:26
No computers? No power? Hey, say hi to Ticonet down there. Guess they must all run on batteries.
Life in the big (doctorow) Fri 25 May 01 06:02
Erm, I meant, of course, that where *I'm* going there are no computers (Cano Rito de San Jorge de Upala, a 10km hike through a swamp past the end of the last northernmost dirt road in the country, a couple clikcs from the Nicaraguan border). Nor running water. Nor power. Nor phone lines. Nor, indeed, roads. But you shoulda known that, right?
Tara (taragl) Fri 25 May 01 06:12
It's all personal preference at the end of the day. When I looked at boingboing.net I said, there's something I would definitely NOT read regularly. I like a more commentary with my links - which is not pure blog form, I know. My ideal blog would be a link accompanied by a paragraph or two of original content. Maybe a Lockergnome with a more serious bent?
Paper - The Undead Medium (jerod23) Fri 25 May 01 10:57
Tiff writes > another thing i realised is that while some paper 'zines and some > webzines concern themselves with techie things and Internetty > things as subject matter, a great number of them do not. these > weblogs i've been hitting frequently link away to meta-Net or meta- > tech things... even blogs that don't purport to be "about" that. > the medium really is the message. what if all print 'zines > contained several pages of Odes to Paper? _The Match_ was big on the superiority of not just paper but offset printing as well. But, yeah, so much of web-anything is information about information about information.
http://www.syntheticzero.com (mitsu) Sat 26 May 01 04:43
For me, the fact that weblogs are not conversations is precisely their appeal. I am attracted to very fringe interests; things and ideas and people who are not very well represented in the mainstream. Let me clarify that: it's not that I like iconoclasm for the sake of iconoclasm, it's that the things that happen to turn me on just happen to be things that I see practically none of in the mainstream. I've been on the WELL and have noodled through USENET and conferencing systems and bulletin boards since the beginning; and of all of these sorts of formats I've found the WELL to be the most interesting. But even the WELL, due to its very nature as an open "conversation", tends to self- limit its topics (at least in many conferences), to subjects which can be discussed by relative strangers logging in, scattered around the world. Which is to say, there is a tendency in conversational formats to become limited to some extent to the *intersection* of the interests and expertise of the various vocal participants. This has its value, and of course there are those times when this sort of interchange is exceptionally valuable and can go outside those boundaries. Which is why I remain on the WELL. However, in the weblog world, quite simply, I find more diversity of viewpoint. I find people regularly talking about subjects which I almost never see on any conferencing system, even the WELL, which is perhaps the most intelligent one out there. These are things I personally care about, but I was sort of shocked to see that other people were willing to brazenly talk about these things too, even in the face of their relative obscurity and/or unpopularity in some circles. In this respect I see a parallel with zines which is fairly obvious. The weblogs I frequent rarely discuss technical matters. I myself, though very technical, almost never refer to anything technical in my weblog; although funnily enough I just did a few days ago, if you read back through my archives you'll see very few references to webtechsubjects. This is not particularly because I consciously avoid this, but it just happens to be the case that despite my technical prowess I guess I'm just not that interested in technology for its own sake. The weblogs I like to read talk about cyberculture, but also about art, architecture, society, time, mind, body, literature, culture, trends, ideas, and on and on. None of the ones I frequent talk about technology very much if at all. I'm aware that quite a few do, but... who cares? You don't have to read those. That's the idea.
Tara (taragl) Sat 26 May 01 20:40
I was at a store today and saw a number of zines for sale, nearly all seemed punk-centered. Are most zines punk-focused? (Sorry for the very silly question - I was interested in getting a zine to read, but kind of put off by the limited subject matter.)
http://www.jimwich.com/ (jleft) Sat 26 May 01 21:11
One 'zine that has grown larger from its beginnings and also has a pretty good corresponding website, though it's not a blog, is Giant Robot, which centers around things Asian/Pac Rim.
http://www.jimwich.com/ (jleft) Sat 26 May 01 22:23
Here are some zine-related links from the web: The zine resource start page: <http://www.zinebook.com/main.html> The zines read by some of the leading zine editors: <http://www.zinebook.com/recom.html> Big List o' Zines: (with mailing addresses and some links) <http://www.zinebook.com/rec-ord.html> Interviews with various zine editors (contributors to The Book of Zines) <http://www.zinebook.com/interv/index.html> Zine store of Giant Robot: <http://www.giantrobot.com/grstore/grstorezines.html> Braincase Collective Zine Catalog: <http://www.olywa.net/braincase/zine%20catalog/zinecatalog.htm> South Chicago ABC Zine Distro catalog: (anarchy, political, prison, art, miscellaneous) <http://members.nbci.com/thoughtbombs/zinecat.html> Broken Pencil - the guide to alternative culture in Canada (zine reviews section) <http://www.brokenpencil.com/reviews.shtml> The Zinemart's See Hear Web Catalog <http://www.zinemart.com/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/zinemart/order.seehear> Fanzines Explained (by Jim Romenesko - 1993 - Published in the American Journalism Review) <http://www.primenet.com/~obscure/zinesajr.html>
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 28 May 01 06:50
Thanks, Jim - hot links!
http://www.syntheticzero.com (mitsu) Tue 29 May 01 14:07
I should also note that there is an element of conversation that goes on in weblogs --- similar to the "conversation" that happens with zines or even just in the literary world, but much faster (so it's sort of halfway between a conferencing system like the WELL and regular literature), which is when weblogs "talk" to each other, respond to each other's posts. I do this fairly often myself, and other weblogs do this to me, which I read. So there is a community feeling without things tending to get semi-homogenized to a group voice. Individuality within community. I should also mention that zines are far from dead where I live, Portland, they're still pretty alive and cooking. Our local zine/obscure books/small press store, Reading Frenzy, has tons of zines produced up to the minute, and it's always fun to browse in there. They're affiliated with the Independent Publishing Resource Center, http://iprc.org, which offers self- publishing help to the local community (similar to a place in Olympia with a similar mission, Community Print, I've actually helped a friend typeset once there on their old ink-based printing presses --- though they're now learning Photoshop and Pagemaker and stuff, too.)
snow poster city (kalel) Tue 29 May 01 15:42
Tara, while most zines are not about punk rock these days, one of the healthiest subsets of zinemaking is indeed music zines. Since its emergence in the late '70s, punk rock has fueled itself via zines... and while there are many Web sites dedicated to punk, the zines remain one of the best ways to enter this community of interest and practice. (Sidenote: When I say "healthiest," I don't mean "best," but perhaps "most visible." Doing music zines is relatively easy. Doing GOOD music zines is slightly more challenging than doing good non-music zines.) No longer a sidenote: Why is that? Largely format, I'd wager. Look at some of the biggest music zines today. Jersey Beat, Tail Spins, MRR, Hit List, HeartAttack, etc. all follow the same basic format -- columns, interviews, reviews. Punk Planet has shaken that up a bit, but for the most part, most punk -- most music -- zines follow the same format, largely riffing off MRR. In fact, in MRR's case, the direct descendents and lineage is clear. Kent McClard started HeartAttack while a columnist at MRR -- Tim Yo started dictating what "punk" was, and he started his own zine to have his own say. Ditto for Hit List -- Jeff Bale, again an MRR columnist, tired of MRR's dictums and started his more-inclusive zine in response. This might be one reason why I'm tired of music zines... punk zines even moreso... and not overly interested in blogs. If people are creating blogs using the same one or two or three tool sets -- and modeling the same format and basic behavior, don't they quickly become the same? I miss old Web journal sites a la Justin' Links -- which is still up -- and Geek Cereal. Doubtless, they're not blogs, but they were navigational and formatting innovations -- somethings that's rare in zines and blogs alike. Jimwich dropped Giant Robot. Full disclosure: I'm friends with Eric, Martin and the gang, a GR Foundation supporter, and an occasional contributor (look for several Haruki Murakami reviews in the upcoming issue -- by yours truly!). But GR has prided itself on design innovation. If you look at their Web site -- http://www.giantrobot.com -- it's not your usual Webzine. And if you recall their previous redesign, you'll know that they took some real design risks, some that didn't work so well, hence their retraction to a more staid design sensibility. What zines and blogs are pushing the envelope and buttons in terms of design, format, and innovative content? Farm Pulp remains one of my favorites. Sam Pratt's old Ersatz rocked the boat. Cardhouse -- http://www.cardhouse.com/ -- continues to funk things up. As does McSweeney's -- http://www.mcsweeneys.net -- in its journal AND Web forms. Any other groundbreakers not riffing on the Sniffin' Glue cut-and-paste or Raygun typographic-hell dynamics? (Or the MRR columns-interviews-reviews 1-2-3?)
snow poster city (kalel) Tue 29 May 01 15:50
More, yep. Re: Mark's #99, the best and last two issues of Karma Lapel were made this way -- printout, waxing, clipart. I'd do another zine in this fashion in a minute. Re: #107 on The Match. Fred Woodworth, publisher of the Match, is an offset printer. His almost-Luddite Zerzan-styled takes on printing technology fascinate me, but his productivity and sharp thinking fascinate me more. Since 1969, Woodworth has been practicing what he preaches -- and preaching what he practices. He's who Doug Holland went to when he wanted to start publishing Zine World. While searching for Match references, I stumbled across Jim Romenesko's take on discovering zines -- http://www.poynter.org/centerpiece/060700.htm might make for an interesting read.
snow poster city (kalel) Wed 30 May 01 15:23
Anyway, isn't this scheduled to end tomorrow? If so -- and if I'm unable to get online to participate while I travel to Louisville, Kentucky -- let me just say that I've enjoyed this discussion, appreciate the ideas and involvement of everyone who joined this conversation, and encourage us all to continue this in the magazines.ind or media conferences here on the Well. Or hop over to alt.zines or something. It's been fun to think these thinks.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 30 May 01 15:33
Hey Kalel, it's been great having you! We'll be wrapping up on Friday in time for the new interviews - we will be having our first-ever double-header.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 31 May 01 19:43
And it's okay to keep this conversation going forever, like the Neil Gaiman topics...
Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 1 Jun 01 11:07
E-mail from Jeff Potter: Bye everyone! Thanks for putting up with me and my lack of witty, punchy brief posts like all you expert Netizens put up! I'll keep looking into these blog things. As for Tara's remark about finding zines at zinestores: she summed it up. The best of zining was always a MAIL ART thing. That underground Boy Scout camp counselor newsletter we talked about was probably never sold on a newstand. I do see the newstand emphasis on kiddy-punk zines as part of the decline in zining. When zining was big, Doug at Tower pushed my outdoor culture (bike) zine globally. The new Tower guy won't even stock it...probably coz it ain't about kiddy-punk. Well, maybe that's who buys from newstands. Except my zine always sold just fine. Oh well, who knows! Go mail, go real! All work hung as received! Talk about peer review... : ) Oh, one last thing: another resource that helped launch hardcore zining was "Anarchy" mag. It's really a zine itself. A one-man no-ads show. Thanks, Jason McQuinn! Their stable now also includes "Alternative Press Review." Their tiny team has always published good stuff steadily. They've been a good base. They've always had thoughtful reviews of diverse zines. Hmmm, but they don't review kiddy-punk zines. Maybe something about standards? See ya'll---JP Jeff Potter **** *Great Lakes Press * http://www.glpbooks.com (#1 publisher of engineering license reviews & discounts on techbooks) *Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com (friendly zine of modern folkways and cultural rescue...with bikes)
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