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Urban Homesteader

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Want to learn to make your own soap? Mend your torn clothes? Grow your own cucumbers? Carry your groceries and children on a bicycle? This four book box set teaches you the basics and beyond. Authors Raleigh Briggs, Robyn Jasko, and Elly Blue are your friendly guides to a new, cozy, sustainable life at home and in the world. Live your own revolution!

Books included in this set: 
Make It Last by Raleigh Briggs
Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs
Homesweet Homegrown by Robyn Jasko
Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue

Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue

Yo Miss

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Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look at High School takes the reader inside Wildcat Academy, a second chance high school in New York City where all the students are considered at-risk. Through strong and revealing black and white images, Wilde tells the story of "eight students who are trying to get that ticket to the middle class—a high school diploma." Whether they succeed or not has as much to do with what happens outside the classroom as in, and the value of perseverance is matched by the power of a second chance. It is a story that shows these teens in all their beauty, intelligence, suffering, humor, and humanity (and also when they are really pains in the behind.) A view from the trenches of public education, Yo, Miss challenges preconceptions about who these kids are, and what is needed to help them graduate.

Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland

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The world looks to Portland, Oregon as an example of how bicycle culture can blossom out of the ruinous freeways of car-oriented civilization. Aftermass is the first feature documentary to explore the events, people, politics, and social changes that led to Portland becoming the first major bicycle city in the United States.

Aftermass features many of the leaders and major participants behind the growth of bicycling ridership since 1971. The narrative demonstrates the complex dynamic throughout the 1990s between advocacy organizations, politicians, city planners, and the then new, grassroots Critical Mass ride. The film is full of smiling faces on two wheels, but also explores the controversies, setbacks, and bumps along the way, including riots, political roadblocks, and an illegal police spy.

The film provides new and vital insights into Portland's transportation history as well as into paths other cities can follow to healthy planning and a green future.

 

Hot Damn & Hell Yeah: 10th Anniversary

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Hot Damn & Hell Yeah is a cookbook opting for a casual, layperson's terms approach to vegan cooking by ensuring the recipes are straightforward and the majority of ingredients are familiar and easy enough to find in the standard grocery store.  The priority is placed on taste and providing delicious vegan incarnations of typical Southwestern (and a little Southern) food rather than prioritizing health and nutrition value at the expense of flavor. Hot Damn favors a light-hearted, thematic design and layout, opting for custom illustrations of skeletal characters in the old southwest over stock-standard recipe and photo layouts.

It's Slingshot Season!

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Slingshots are here! We've got stacks and stacks of everyone's favorite activism-flavored weekly planner in so many different colors you won't believe it. Get your 2015 personal life and radical doings organized with the Large Slingshot (it's ring-bound to lie flat and big enough to contain your whole jam-packed schedule, every day) or the Small Planner (it's pocket sized and perfect in every way). Pre-marked with all the holidays and activist landmarks you actually want to know about, plus tons of resources like a menstrual calendar and a guide to your rights when the police hassle you. Get yours quick before we run out of your color!

 

Xerography Debt #36

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"The band played as if they had a full house. They earned twice my respect that night. Zines can be like that too." opens this issue of the review zine with perzine tendencies. Since 1999, Davida Gypsy Breier's H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Xerography Debt might be best summarized as an obsession for all involved and not nearly as horrifying as the muse that inspired the cover. Billy da Bling Bunny Roberts recently said "It's the glue that holds the zine community together." Maintaining three issues per year, the 36th issue of Xerography Debt is still the same ol' charming personality, allowing a hand-picked cast of contributors to wax philosophical about the zines they love, where those zines find them in their lives, and incessantly complain about postage increases. The reviewers hand-select hundreds of zines to write about and the result is enthusiastic, satisfying, and under-saturated! In an age of blogs and tweets, Xerography Debt is a beautiful, earnest anachronism, a publication that seems to come from a different era, but is firmly entrenched in the now. And they want to review your zines in future issues: Davida Gypsy Breier / PO Box 11064 / Baltimore, MD 21212

 

Dwelling Portably 2015

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The Dwelling Portably series returns with Holly and Bert's newest contribution to their fourth decade of DIY homesteading. The 2009-2015 collection assembles their correspondence and what they've picked up over the last six years, lovingly crafted on manual typewriters from a remote Oregon outpost. The tips and tricks presented here are practical and useful—pertaining to things like biking, permanent camping, alternative communities, DIY healthcare, disaster preparation, eating off the land, and MacGyver-like skills to prepare you for any and all situations. Whether you’re planning to step off the grid or just simplify your life a little, Dwelling Portably has something for just about everyone.

Punk USA

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Through hundreds of exclusive and original interviews, Punk USA documents an empire that was built overnight as Lookout sold millions of records and rode the wave of the second coming of punk rock and introduced a teenaged Green Day to the world. In 1987, Lawrence Livermore founded independent punk label Lookout Records to release records by his band The Lookouts. Forming a partnership with David Hayes, the label released some of the most influential recordings from California’s East Bay punk scene. Originally operating out of a bedroom, Lookout created "The East Bay Punk sound,” with bands such as Crimpshrine, Operation Ivy, The Mr. T Experience, and many more. The label helped to pave the way for future punk upstarts and as Lookout grew, young punk entrepreneurs used the label as a blueprint to try their hand at record pressing. As punk broke nationally in the mid 90s the label went from indie outfit to having more money than it knew how to manage. 

Katrina's Sandcastles

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Kaycee Eckhardt created the reading program for innovative New Orleans charter school Sci Academy where students’ reading levels improved by an average of over 3.5 years. Eckhardt was the Louisiana Charter Teacher of the Year in 2009. She has gone on to do national education, Common Core advocacy, and teaches literacy development. She was interviewed by Brian Williams on NBC’s Teacher Town Hall and the subject of the viral documentaries School Works: The Committed Teacher and America Achieves: Symbolism in the Lottery. She continues to work in education policy and lectures to motivate and inspire first year teachers. This is her story.

 motivate and inspire first year teachers. This is her story.
 

Brew It Yourself: Professional Craft Blueprints for Home Brewing

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Brew it yourself is a DIY home-brewing guide, which outlines the key methodologies of the two most common home brewing techniques: extract and all-grain brewing. Erik Spellmeyer provides professional advice on how to get started from square one at home, introducing the reader to the industry jargon and terminology, while providing clear instruction on the formalities of home brewing. Equipped with illustrations, images, glossary, photography, and step-by-step assembly instructions for building your own equipment, Brew it Yourself is an all-in-one guide to getting started, no matter where you are in your brew knowledge.

On The Books: A Graphic Tale of Working Woes at NYC's Strand Bookstore

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A David and goliath story, On The Books is the first-hand comic strip account of the labor struggle at NYC’s legendary Strand bookstore in the summer of 2012. Told by Greg Farrell—an employee of the store who interviewed numerous other members of the staff—the book examines the motives and actions of those involved, including the store, the staff, the union local, and the people of New York City, as understood by the author. Through interstitial comic portraits, Farrell gives voice to his comrades, who often share a nuance of the story that would have otherwise gone overlooked, and provide a depth of opinion and fairness to accompany Farrell’s often very personal interpretation of events. In it’s ten short chapters the book explores at once the inner workings of our national retail environment, the inner struggle to exist within it as a young working person, the current state of the book trade, and what happens when that no longer seems possible.

Xerography Debt #35

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Since 1999, Davida Gypsy Breier's review zine, Xerography Debt might be best summarized as an obsession for all involved, or as she puts it: "The review zine with perzine tendencies." Billy da Bling Bunny Roberts recently said "It's the glue that holds the zine community together." Maintaining three issues per year, the 35th issue of Xerography Debt is still the same ol' charming personality, allowing a hand-picked cast of contributors to wax philosophical about both the zines they love and where those zines find them in their lives. Rather than spending time and ink bashing things (other than Amazon, which this issue picks on a bit) or being forced to write about something they don't care about, the reviewers hand-select hundreds of zines to write about and the result is enthusiastic, satisfying, and under-saturated! In an age of blogs and tweets, Xerography Debt is a beautiful, earnest anachronism, a publication that seems to come from a different era, but is firmly entrenched in the now. And they want to review your zines in future issues: Davida Gypsy Breier / PO Box 11064 / Baltimore, MD 21212

 

In The News

Microcosm In Your Town!

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We're coming through your town soon! 

    • February: World Bicycle Forum @ Medellín, Colombia!
    • March: Women's Forum at National Bike Summit
    • April 25: Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair
    • July 11-12: Seattle to Portland Finish Line! 
    • Dinner + Bikes! from Iowa to Texas! May 2015 w/ Joshua Ploeg (This Ain't No Picnic), Joe Biel (Aftermass), and Elly Blue (Bikenomics)

       

If you’re planning an event and you’d like the Microcosm gang to participate (by tabling, presenting, showing films, etc) please let us know!!

Calling for submissions for the Music Scene History Series!

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Are you stoked about the history of your town? Do you find out interesting nuggets by talking to those who came before you or by scouting out details on Wikipedia? Do you want a reason to hunt out some people you respect for them to fill in the gaps?

Well, the Scene Empowerment History Series is an opportunity to do just that. Like our Simple History Series, we will publish four issues each year of the Music Scene History Series that tell the story of a particular city's music scene.

Gradually, we'll collect them into boxed sets and distribute them far and wide. 

And we're believing in democracy here. We are offering an open submission policy for this series. If you want to write about the history of a music scene that you are knowledgeable about or willing to research, we'll read it, edit it, and work with you, with the goal of us publishing it. 

Suggested length is 10,000-15,000 words. Get as creative as you find gratifying. Learn about your favorite places and how things developed.

Submit or ask questions to joe at microcosmpublishing daht com

-Link-

BFF Book Subscription

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Be our Best Friend Forever (BFF)! Well, not actually forever, but for 6 months you'll receive every new title we publish. The subscription is sliding scale price $10-30/month, and you can either pay in one sum upfront here or pay-as-you-go here. Thanks for your support!

 

Upcoming

Crate Digger

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In this engaging memoir, a small town Florida teenager discovers punk rock through a loaned mix tape and punk music and culture slowly takes over all aspects of his life. His new passion causes him to form a band, track down out-of-print records that he loves and begin to reissue them, open a record store, begin a record distribution operation as a public service, mentor a host of young musicians, and befriend all manner of punk luminaries along the way. Slowly, his life’s pursuit pushes him to the point of personal ruination and ultimately redemption.

Snake Pit Gets Old

 imageBen Snakepit returns with an all-new book of daily diary comics, continuing to draw years of his life day by day in three-panel comic format. No matter how mundane the events of each day appear at the time, and without being able to know what the future will hold from one panel to the next, a narrative always begins to emerge in Ben's life as characters re-appear and interact with him at 'Some Shitty Job,' at the local taqueria, out socializing, or at home. As the title implies, Ben transitions from the pants-pooping idiocy of youth to the dark, sobering responsibilities of adulthood. Read along in amazement as he quits his bands, gets a real job, has a kidney stone removed and much much more. A truly existential text that can be (uh, 18+) fun for the whole family!

Blogifesto!

Rampant Media Consumption #7

February 20, 2015 — by Microcosm

Here's what we've been reading, watching, listening to, and playing this week. abner-jay

Tim

A friend of mine recently sold off all his records in an attempt to make some cash/lighten his load while moving. His loss is my gain. But of the few I bought, the one that has stuck out is Abner Jay. He was a one man band in his 50s, with a strange six string banjo, harmonica, percussion made with animal bones, and what ever else tickled his fancy. Sound-wise, he's like the second generation of country blues meets Daniel Johnston, fueled by amphetamines. I usually dread the "this band on this drug" cliche in music writing, but it's hard to avoid when he's yelling at you about cocaine. 

And if you found your way to this blog, you probably know all about it, but I'm currently on letter "N" of Aaron Cometbus' A Bestiary of Booksellers. Each letter focuses on a different character in Aaron's life as a folding-table bookseller on the streets of NYC. A surprisingly interesting underworld of beardo book hunters and curmudgeonly characters.

I also watched the documentary Florida Man. Less a narrative and more a 45 minute portrait of the characters found wandering the streets and beaches of southern Florida. In the end, I actually ended up feeling a little jealous. Warm weather, a clunky bike, and a cold beer sounds pretty good right now...

Erik 

This week the Champions League UEFA Champions League – UEFA.com began again, so I've been watching some soccer matches. For folks excited about European soccer, the Champions League title is like winning the Super Bowl, World Series, and the Stanley Cup all in one. 

I haven't got much reading done; there were some Hemingway short stories, but I get bored and just wait for the punchlines. Although, The Snows of Kilimanjaro has a man suffering from gangrene, and somehow I find that fascinating... perhaps for the same reasons I keep a copy of A Journal of the Plague Year on my bedside table. 

I think I was swallowed by a slew of Hall and Oates videos... I can't get enough of their use of fog and mesmerizing head-bobbing. 

Meggyn 

read // Afro Vegan by Bryant Terry, started Yo Miss!ManspressionsWomen by Bukowski 

listened to // Giraffage's "No Reason", True Widow's Self Titled, Joey Bada$$'s "1999", Spazzkid's "Desire 願う", MIMM's compilation of "From China With Love", and A Tribe Called Quest's "The Low End Theory

watched // X-Files season 2 and The Other Woman (one of the best rom-coms in my opinion, though I shamefully watched)

played // not enough basketball or Twister

Taylor 

listened to- Jessica Pratt (self titled album)

read- The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 

Nathan

This week's Powell book reading was a fictional tale, but still resonated with me in terms of themes and subject matter! Binary Star discusses body image issues like anorexia and the impact of veganarchism all in one terrific coming of age story we could all relate to, but most importantly find subtle references to lots of the issues we attempt to address with most of our titles at Microcosm Publishing!

 

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