Sunday, October 21, 2012

Canzine 2012

I love Canzine. I've been going for a long time, since it was at the old Big Bop at Queen at Bathurst. I like Broken Pencil a lot too, and subscribe. This year was no different, I went with $70 doll hairs and came home with $10. In terms of alt press stuff and regular Toronto events, I like Canzine the best, then Toronto Comics Art Festival (both are amazing, both will empty your wallet), and I also like the OCAD small press book fair and have not yet been to the Toronto Anarchist Book Fair. I like the whole thing, the way you can find total gems and silly perzines that are still engaging somehow. It's sort of a gentle world where the most mundane observational or haphazard writings can share the spotlight with meticulously crafted literary art (like Liz Worth).
So....I picked up a bunch of stuff. And took a terrible picture of it all. Starting at the top left, there are two Detour guides--written accounts by Kelly Dessaint about being tour guide/tourist trade worker in NOLA. Having been to NOLA fairly recently, I am fascinated with these. The tour guides there are amazing, if you're there for a short time it's a great way to see a lot of stuff quickly, or in the case of the 'Ghost Tour' type things, a great way to be entertained for cheap. 
The next thing is an account of how to stop washing your hair, which still fascinates me. I tried it years ago with good results but just kind of missed the ritual of shampoo, or the smell or whatever. I like the idea of DIY health and hygiene products. I already read this and it's nothing new per se, but this woman's goal is to actually only wash her hair with water alone, which I never attempted. Most techniques use baking sode and apple cider vinegar. My issue is that if it wasn't for dirty hair I would stop showering altogether, because, meh, it's a lot of fuss and bother, right? Right? Anyway. 
The next one was an impulse purchase, Small Talk a compilation from a lecture series that the writer conducted. The topics are wide ranging and looked interesting. Next is '7 Sisters of the Storm, and 'Crooked Teeth' which I bought from a nice guy that seemed shocked that someone was buying their shit. Which brings me to the other thing I love/hate about Canzine--the wrenchingly awkward exchanges with writers/artists/zinesters/artstars that are even more socially stunted than me. It's the stuff of a hundred Portlandia-type sketches, the averted eyes, crossed arms, awkward exchanges, uncomfortable fumblings with that dirty money: Eeeeek. 
Every time I have occasion to interact with the producers of my stuff, to look into the eyes of the producers, I always find it excruciating. I have no idea why. I'm uncomfortable to pick someone's stuff up, I imagine they are very invested in how it's absorbed, enjoyed, consumed. Inevitably I am rejecting more stuff than I'm enjoying or consuming, I find that hopelessly awkward too. A friend of a friend today said "yeah, it's one of the few places where you can make someone's day for $10". It's true and funny but I understand the discomfort--the typical artist is not the typical sales(wo)man, de facto. And yet, these types of events thrust the producer and consumer into the same space, to confront each others taste and temperment, for better and worse. And it can be awkward as shit. There was one really nice, outgoing (which is unusual) girl, who explained the humour of her work to me. I was forced to engage, smile and nod, accept a business card, about work that hinges on a type of humour I don't give a fuck about. She explained to me that "It's funny"--clearly I was missing the point, possibly due to a total lack of good humour. And she was nice, adding another layer of painful. 
Terribly photographed below is "Licking the Beaters 2: Vegan Chocolate and Candy" by Siue (please let that be a diminuitive of 'Siouxie') Moffat. She wrote 'Licking the Beaters', a great compilation of low fat vegan desserts. She was super nice and gave me a free pumpkin chocolate truffle for buying her last zine (which seemed backwards to me, but hey). She wrote another great short piece my partner bought about how she left the punk/hardcore scene because of rampant sexism. I can't recall the title. 
'Misfit Matriarch" seems to be a perzine about being a young punk mom. The authors kid was there, and asked repeated if I "had 2 dollars" which was incredibly fucking cute and sold the zine. I love the idea that she was prescreening the browsers, basically if you didn't have the 2 bucks, move on Clyde. 
The last thing I'm stoked on is the Liz Worth Eleven: Eleven. I had bought her chapbook "Arik's Dream" last year, and it was awesome. I guess she's also a poet, she wrote "Treat Me Like Dirt", and oral history of TOronto punk and hardcore music. But Arik's Dream is sort of a horror story that truly creates a sense of dread, apprehension and fear in the reader. She is super talented. 

The last thing I got was stuff for my partner, the comic about '500 years of resistance', basically colonialism thru the ages, plus a couple of screen printed kerchiefs, a wolf for him and a beaver for me; then the free goat head/baphomet/pentagram/silly satanic mask. 

And that was Canzine. Another amazing year. It was even catered by a vegan company which I didn't realize was vegan until after I'd left. So, yeah. 

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