Zine Reviews By Mike White. Dame Leche #1 This is a cool music and entertainment zine out of Baltimore with a bovine theme. There are interviews with Babe The Blue Ox (the band), and Big Heifer, as well as stories of Zen and Whole Milk...

Dame Leche #1
This is a cool music and entertainment zine out of Baltimore with a bovine theme. There are interviews with Babe The Blue Ox (the band), and Big Heifer, as well as stories of Zen and Whole Milk. Other non-cow items include an appreciation of Ed Grimley and, coincidence of coincidences, a hilarious cartoon about being a PA on SHE'S THE ONE involving the star of CdC #5, Jennifer Aniston’s nipples, and a ton of record reviews. I’m looking forward to future installments. $1? (maybe $2) from Joe Tropea @ 18 S Schroeder St., Baltimore, MD 21223.

Here’s a synopsis of Crawfish in three words: damn funny zine. Stephanie Webb has put out six of these gems, so far, and each one is as fun than the last. Her regular features include an appreciation of her co-workers called "Idiot Realtor Of The Month" (gotta love those salespeople!), and Clip Art World which has the most potential to be lame at the hands of someone without a twisted sense of humor but pays off in a big way with Webb in charge.

Stephanie has a way to turn a phrase to make just about anything fun and interesting. This would definitely be among my top ten favorite zines, if I were into making such a list. $2 should cover it. 2701 University Ave. #404, Madison, WI 53705.

Thrift Score
Ah, my youth. How I loved the days of going to Value Village or (if I had a lot of cash to spend) Penny Pincher to shop for second-hand clothes. But then, fashions changed and so did I. As the demand for baggy clothes became greater, I became larger and soon I was out of luck when it came to finding anything that fit.

Al Hoff’s zine about "Thriftin'" makes me long for those days of hitting the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Pauls, and American Council of the Blind for decorative wall hangings and needed practical items like dishes and frying pans. Hoff captures the spirit of adventure and lifting of the spirits that one feels after digging through piles of albums to find the one gem you never thought existed, only to buy it for a lousy quarter!

Thrift Score’s endless enthusiasm is sure to entertain even readers who haven’t ever step foot in a retail shop. It’s a great read! $2 PO Box 90282, Pittsburg, PA 15224.

Spork, Gumption & Stewie
Even today I remember a fun-filled fact from the first zine I ever read. I was in Mr. Bourne’s computer class, sixth hour, and Jeff Zick showed me the latest issue of his BMX zine, Prototype. Inside he had included the reason for the posting of "BRIDGE MAY BE ICY" signs: bridges can be cooled underneath as well as on the surface and, thus, they freeze a lot faster than the rest of the road. The rest of the zine didn’t really do anything for me—I had sworn off bikes after a bad accident I had on my way to Junior High so free-styling was of no interest. What did hold my attention was the idea of a zine.

Years before, when I was a freshman in high school I had done some mailings of stories I had written. I did the old "no postage/return to sender" scam and sent them out for free to some of my classmates. However, it had never dawned on me to actually bind them and add pictures or drawings. After Zick showed me his zine (he had been doing it for years, I heard) I never shook the notion of doing one myself. I really need to get on the ball about doing one.

With this in mind, I wasn’t surprised to discover that Zick is still doing zines. There’s not one mention of a bike in Spork which takes its name from the combination fork and spoon and questions those items in our culture which are neither entirely one thing nor another and their need for proper respect. The spork is a metaphor for WASP society’s notion that there are two diametrically opposed genders whose boundaries should not be transcended. This idea is explored in one way or another throughout most of the articles, but the one that really got me was the tale of an experience Zick had in high school. I’m not sure if how the story will play to the general population but it was a tough read for me since I hung out with him in class.

It’s a strange experience to read a zine by someone you haven’t seen in years and what was neat about Spork is that I got it from another old friend, Sheri Trudeau, when she sent me a copy of her zine, Gumption. I hadn’t heard from Sheri in years and didn’t even know that she was in the same state until I read a review of Gumption in Box of 64.

Could there be another Sheri Trudeau in Ann Arbor? Nope.

Although I didn’t go to high school with Trudeau, we hung out quite a bit and tried our best to survive Downriver. I got to know her pretty well but then we kind of drifted apart after I went to college. When she started attending the same school a year later, we saw each other all of once and that was it. U of M is a big place so it wasn’t like I was just going to bump into her on campus. I went my way and she went hers and it was neat to try and figure out the path she had taken in the last four years as I read her zine.

Both Spork and Gumption are very gender-aware. Some of the topics Trudeau hit on in her first two issues include why Juliana Hatfield is a traitor to her gender, why the Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet are offensive, and a girls’ guide to living in the punkest house in town.

Gumption #3 is set up as a journal chronicling Sheri’s trip across the country via rail and thumb. I love to travel and I love reading other people’s diaries so this is a perfect combination.

Sheri’s still got some copies of Spork so write to her for it or Gumption: P.O. Box 7564, Ann Arbor, MI 48107-7564. Send a couple bux for both.

Zick and Trudeau have gone on with their lives since I knew them but my high school chum, Leon Chase, is still trying to exorcise his personal demons.

His mind is still reeling and he can’t quite come to terms with the idea of a bachelor pad on wheels.

The concept has been in existence for over thirty years and had it’s hey-day and greatest impact in the nineteen-seventies but Chase is still trying to reckon the cultural significance of those chariots of the swingers—the custom van. With its widely varied styles of windows, murals, upholstery, and other accouterments (fireplaces, CB’s, chain steering wheels, etc.), the custom van rolled into the hearts of millions and has definitely left something behind for Chase who has used his zine, Stewie, to explore and share the joy of taking a few long week-ends (if there isn’t a big game on) and turning an ordinary vehicle into a thing of pride, joy, and nookie.

It was at our high school library that we discovered The Do-It-Yourself Custom Van Book (Peterson, Franklynn & Kesselman, Judi R., Regnery Press, 1977). It included page after page of do-it-yourself van alterations and example pictures of how other Van-atics configured their vans to suit their own pleasure purposes. Oh, the time we spent pouring over this tome of wisdom and teardrop windows, wishing we could meet Ivan, the maestro of the airbrush who created the majority of the murals decorating the book’s vans and whose name may or may not be a pun. In other words, I can understand why Chase is still plagued with this cultural icon and why he has devoted an entire issue of Stewie to its majesty.

Dozens of technical drawings, a set of custom van trading cards, the entire Custom Van section of the San Francisco Public Library and a lifetime of rock ‘n’ roll have gone into the creation of Stewie #5, and all of Chase’s hard work is apparent.

This time out, Stewie and his former band-mates take a road trip in Ron’s Van (briefly glimpsed in Stewie #2), only to find themselves captured by the Secret Intergalactic Citizen’s Band Coaltion of Holy Custom Van Owners. I don’t want to give away too much of the complex and engrossing plot, suffice to say that Leon’s really outdone himself this time.

Leon’s address is 527 Guerrero, San Francisco, CA 94110. Since this issue is so huge (40 pages!) he’s asking $2 in cold hard cash—believe me, it’s worth it!

As a fellow child of the Seventies, I can relate to the importance of custom vans. They were the coolest means of transportation ever, perhaps only being beaten out by the Millennium Falcon and the General Lee.

With such fervent van-aticism, customization made its presence known in pop culture. They were even the rides of choice for two of the coolest television shows around.

Though it would seem more apropos for the stoned and sleuthing teens of Scooby-Doo to ride around in a VW Micro-bus, they chose a van customized down to the hubcaps for their means of transportation.

I’m sure that Hannibal, Face, Murdock, B.A. (and, in later years, Amy) had their choice of cup-holders, plush seats, and 8-track cassettes once they got inside their early-eighties edition of the Mystery Machine. But, The A-Team made the ultimate sacrifice of style for secrecy with the lack-luster outer appearance of "The Van" which allowed them to remain incognito.

I love it when a van comes together.

But enough gibber-jabber. It was movies that really put the phrase, "If the van’s a'rockin', don’t come a'knockin'" to the test with vans being a common motif in most teen exploitation films. Movies that featured vans prominently include Pick-up Summer, Van Nuys Blvd., Drive-In, Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, Midnight Madness, and, of course, The Van.

I would be equal parts shocked and impressed on the day that Leon brings us a Stewie devoted to another popular high school library book—The Prison Anthology. This collection of short stories and poetry by actual prisoners boggled our minds. Why was it that our librarian refused to carry Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Slaughter House Five but allowed us every lunch period to read and memorize Untitled Poem #1? It’s been a policy of mine to not allow any poetry in the pages of CdC but I swore to myself that I would make two exceptions: song lyrics by Red Sovine and anything by Craig Dee Anderson. So, for your pleasure....

by Juno Bakali Tshombe/Craig Dee Anderson
Got me a hard-on.
A god damn, black, blown-up, throbbin',
ass-bustin', for real hard-on.
I ain’t found nuthin' to calm this monster down.
Because it ain’t what you think it is
And it ain’t where you think it is
But you can dig it, if you look for it
It’s everywhere. Even in your troubled sleep
It’s there, alive and kickin'
Like some kind of gnawing madness.
Chewin' at your bones and suckin' on your brain
Biting on your nerves
mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm
Got me a hard-on
It’s a mutha!
And it’s swellin' up my thighs
and teasing my toes
Making my calves bulge with great expectation
and this urge is getting next to meeeeooooeeeee
Got me a tiger by the balls
I got the greatest hard-on in the world
Got me a hard-on for some
Cracker jacks.

Back to Issue 7