November 07, 2013 — by Tim W.No comments
October 24, 2013 — by Erik Spellmeyer
Anybody ever watch that old movie Night Train to Munich? For some reason every time I get on a tr ain I expect spies and espionage. The night train from Portland to San Francisco, lovingly called, “The Coast Starlight” has a time schedule based on approximations at best, and aside from the uncouth and suggestive remarks from the café car over the loudspeaker, little to no excitement is what you can expect. But for anyone tenured to the ways of rail transit, I’m sure you could amalgamate a fine story, riddled with excitement from all your Amtrak adventures.
Last week I journeyed by way of the “Starlight” to the Bay area for the great Alternative Press Expo (APE). I was to be joined by Corbett Redford of the nefarious satirical duo, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNugget’s, for a two day tabeling event behind a wall of Microcosm! The event took place at the Concourse; this place was, to my guess about the size of two football fields, that’s approximately 116,000 square feet of comics, books, fans, and various collected art from all facets and corners of the imagination.
I arrived a few days early to pound the sidewalks and disseminate the volumes of Microcosm’s gamut to the eager public. Most of this I accomplished on foot, however my friend DJ Freshstep occasioned to scoot me about the city on the back of his Vespa. This was the one, quasi euro transit attack I managed.
Corbett, harnessing his impressive clout, succeeded in shepherding me, during one of my afternoons, though the backdoors of some of the great legendary record and comic shops of the city. The two Amoeba’s, Rasputin, and 1-2-3-4 Go, gave us the royal welcome and what seemed like every comic shop in the city was well enthused to shake the hand of an affiliate of Henry & Glenn.
A who’s who mixer at the opulent office of Last Gasp prefaced the two days of the APE. If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to walk around in a Robert Crumb drawing, while glancing through old photographs of William Burroughs gripping his iconic pistol, Last Gasp wont disappoint. It was like a museum but more along the lines of the home of your parent’s awesome hippy friends. Think of the Barthes collection, but superimpose all the bizarreness of the 1960’s drug culture.
The two days of the APE, Corbett and I huddled, side-by-side behind the great wall of Microcosm titles I created for our display. Corbett was mostly occupied preaching the good word from his newly debuted Microcosm release(s), The Bobby Joe Ebola Song Book, and Meal Deal With the Devil; Signatures were given and reluctantly received! No time to sit and a near 19 hours of collected alternative press left us dizzy and hyper-conscious of the mistake of building a wall, behind which there can be no sitting, less you leave the books to speak for themselves.
APE, see you next year!
September 19, 2013 — by Joe Biel
We had a really stellar first meeting for the Analog Media Party this month after Wordstock!
We'll be having our second meeting at the Lucky Lab on 9th/Hawthorne on Nov 3 at 4 PM.
While other local festivals are extreme micro or focus on author services and promising big dreams with big publishers, the Analog Media Party is Portland's newest mid-sized publishing festival focused on programming and networking for publishers with a bookfair for the public to sell your books!
August 19, 2013 — by Joe BielNo comments
July 25, 2013 — by Joe BielNo comments
March 28, 2013 — by Eleanor Whitney
Grow: How to take your do it yourself project and passion to the next level and quit your job! is a practical field guide for creative people to achieve success and sustainability on their own terms. Part of Grow’s mission is to empower creative people to come up with innovative solutions to make their creative passions sustainable career options. The first step in that process is to assess where you are and define where you want to go. In the spirit of Grow I posed a series of questions to Meggyn Pomerleau, who designed the book, about her career and goals so far. The issues that Meggyn outlines in our conversation are the ones that inspired me to write Grow: How to balance your creative passion with “real life,” how to understand what you and your creative work is worth, and how to face down an uncertain future with a careful planning.
Right now I’m in the process of putting together a series of workshops around the country this summer that will help creatives like Meggyn plan for DIY success. Until midnight on April 1 (9 pm pacific time) we are running a campaign on RocketHub.com to support the workshop tour and the production of Grow. We’d love to have your support!
How do you describe yourself creatively? What do you do and make and what would you like to do and make?
- I am a graphic artist. I make, draw, manipulate, form, paint, and sketch. Professionally, I'm a graphic designer and I primarily build websites. What I really like to do is illustrate and create typefaces.
What skills do you think are your strongest?
- My communication skills have gotten me to a point where I haven't had to seek out work, ever. I'm also surprisingly good at drawing using my touch-pad on my laptop.
What skills do you feel you need to develop? How will you go about this?
- I still need to work on my time management skills, as well as practicing and researching my craft. Unfortunately, because I'm still a full time cubicle drone it’s difficult to find the time to work on my technical skills. That's my main challenge right now--to make the decision to devote myself fully to my passion, or taking small steps to allow myself to have it in the future.
How integrated is your creative work into the rest of your life?
- My life is design, despite having the office job. I dream about typography; I pay attention to advertisements and details in logos, banners, and posters; and I'm constantly brainstorming pieces in my head. If I had to break it down in numbers: 40% of my life is the non-creative office job, 25% is actually creating, and 35% is everything else.
I believe it's completely possible to turn the 25% into 75% if I choose to, but I'm worried about failure, inconsistent work flow, and settling for work I wouldn't be interested in.
What is something you didn't learn in school that you wish they taught about making your life and living as a creative person?
- One thing no one discussed was how to know what you're worth. A lot of fresh graphic design graduates settle for production work, which doesn't do anything for you, creatively.
Additionally, I wish that I had more one-on-one guidance and the professors helped us determine what kind of designer we were, how technically skilled we were, and where we should go to look for work in order to shape our future a bit. Design can be applied to many things, and if it's not narrowed down to a specific category, it's overwhelming to try to decide what category you're going to focus on and try to pursue.
What are your creative goals for the next year? For the next five years?
- This next year, my goal is to develop a consistent style in my design that draws people to my work. I haven't painted in the longest time, and I'm going to start again, to get back to my roots of being an artist.
In the next 5 years, I'd like to work for an agency or something fast paced and high stress or work as a freelance artist full time with clients sending me consistent work.
Check out Meggyn's work in Grow! http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/
And support the RocketHub campaign here: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14039-empower-diy-creative-entrepreneurs-with-grow
March 24, 2013 — by Joe Biel
In the name of fiscal transparency, here's our 2012 financial report! You can read them from 2011, 2010, and 2009 too! We've made a lot of headway this year and feel like we are approaching a good place despite a recession and changing publishing industry. We've resolved a tremendous amount of old debt so big thanks and hugs to everybody who stuck with us this year. We are still working on re-instating last year's reduced wages and healthcare but we are finding creative ways to work out those problems by next October. Here's a toast to continued improvements in 2013! If you want to help, it is always helpful to sign up for a BFF subscription or purchase anything from the site!
2012 Income $264,226.84 (17.3% decrease)
Printing Bills $84,418.65 (34.2% increase, 32.9% of budget)
Total staff wages $46,908.84 (a 106.4% increase, 17.8% of budget)
Shipping $39,153.20 (5.9% decrease, 14.8% of budget)
Paid to publishers and distributors $32,306.09 (64.8% decrease, 12.2% of budget)
Utilities, insurance, phone, office supplies, etc $26,716.09 (32.8% decrease, 10.1% of budget)
Rent $10,400 (17.5% decrease, 3.9% of budget)
Royalties to authors $9,911.44 (27.3% decrease, 3.8% of budget)
Zines bought from makers $6,033.04 (68.6% decrease, 2.3% of budget)
Advertising $5,457.80 (81.1% increase, 2.1% of budget)
Catalog Printing $2,638.56 (8.6% decrease, 1% of budget)
Travel $1,251 (71.1% increase, .5% of budget)
Staff Healthcare $0 (0% of budget)
Donations $15,495 (488% increase)
Total Expenses $265,194.71
Total $-967.87 (loss)
February 16, 2013 — by Jeff Hayes
Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all you lovers out there were out lovin'.
We've been active around here lately. Tim is heading down to Austin for Staple, our store continues to evolve, we've got lots of bright ideas for the future, and we're adding lots of new titles on the website!
If you haven't read the new CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting yet, you should. It's creepy. It's disturbing. It's angering. Some parts are downright sickening. But it's also exciting, enticing, and undoubtedly interesting. It contains minimal speculation and maximal research. Much of the content is admitted by government officials and operatives themselves. And the book compiles it together to let you see more of the big picture. And it's not a pretty one. Not only does it bring un-skewed history to light, it's a time capsule that you can send to friends and family to provoke thoughts and conversation. Even if they don't want to believe most of it, it's provocative so they can't help reading it anyway. If you've read the original zines, you still want this, because it's all been updated.
Stay safe out there!