Microcosm Blogifesto Independent book, bookette, and zine publisher based in Portland, Oregon focusing on diy, self empowerment, gender, punk, and hidden history. http://microcosmpublishing.com/ PHP/5.4.17 webmaster@microcosmpublishing.com Bikenomics At Work in Michigan's Upper Peninsula <p><img style="display:block; margin:6px;" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/michigan.jpg" alt="Alt text" align="right" /> <p>As a result of the mining legacy of the Gogebic Range (Northern Wisconsin and the western end of Michigan's upper peninsula, two great railroad lines were built to haul out iron ore out of the region.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.3em;">And since the surrounding towns were built before cars took over the landscape, our downtowns, neighborhoods and schools are all located within an easy walk from the railroads. Now, these abandoned rail lines run right through the center of five cities on the Gogebic Range. And having two rail lines eliminates any argument about whether they will be converted for use by bicycles and pedestrians or motorized vehicles.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.3em;">Even so, despite these near-perfect conditions, many efforts to build a bike trail along this corridor were unsuccessful. Objections centered on the</span><span style="line-height: 1.3em;">&nbsp;question, “why spend money on bike trails with all those pot-holes that need filling?”</span></p> <p>In the beginning, the rationale for the trail system was generally recreational or related to tourism. Then we learned that more and more young people were looking for a place to live where they can have a high quality of life, rather than finding the best job. So we focused on the need to attract and retain young workers. And then the major employers in town got excited. Similar to what happened in Houston, TX, they understood that in order to attract young people who wanted to live nearby and work for them, they needed to create an attractive environment. They focused on building a stronger community and developing a network of regional bike trails. With their support, credibility, name recognition and connections, we jumped the hurdle and started to build traction for this long-held dream. Every single municipality, chamber of commerce and school district along the proposed sixteen mile trail passed resolutions of support for the trail's vision. Now we have $1.2 million in place to build trailheads and the first phase of the trail, including the retrofit of a historic train trestle over the river separating Wisconsin and Michigan. And another million dollars of grant funding for phase II is going out the door as we speak.</p> <p><a href="http://bikenomics.com/">Bikenomics</a> is right, by demonstrating the economic justification for bike trails, it is much easier for the community to support, and even demand action on the project. For us the justification was attracting and retaining young people to build a workforce for our local employers, for others it may be some other economic angle.</p> <p>If you're interested, <a href="http://iron.uwex.edu/category/team-fe/" target="_blank">here is some more information</a> on the<br /> <a href="http://www.felivelife.com/" target="_blank">Gogebic Range Next Generation Initiative to attract and retain young people.</a></p> Fri, 4 Apr 2014 13:33:30 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2014/04/bikenomics-at-work-in-michigans-upper-peninsula Paralleling the Dinosaurs or How To Be The Biggest Small Publisher You’ve Never Heard Of <p>How To Be The Biggest Small Publisher You’ve Never Heard Of<br /> As Microcosm enters our 19th year, we hear nothing but doom and gloom about the publishing industry, but 2013 was our best year since 2006. Through business savvy and hard work, we paid off our old debts, re-instituted raises and a year-end bonus for our staff, published twenty new titles, and moved into a new, larger office that we are working towards owning. And we did all of this without a single book selling over 5,000 copies. </p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 11:25:33 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2014/03/paralleling-the-dinosaurs-or-how-to-be-the-biggest-small-publisher-youve-never-heard-of Financial Report for 2013 <p>In the name of fiscal transparency, like a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we publish our financial reports each year. You can also read them from 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009! We've worked very hard this year, one of our hardest ever, and we have a lot to show for it. We were able to re-institute a year end bonus for all employees. We've paid off all of our old debts. We feel that we have reached a place of stability with a certain future through the recession and the evolving publishing industry. We moved into a newer, larger building last month that we own. Thanks for all of your support and for sticking with us through our 18th year. If you want to help, the best thing you can do for us is to sign up for a BFF subscription or purchase anything from the site! </p> Sat, 4 Jan 2014 14:13:01 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2014/01/financial-report-for-2013 2013 - Top Things Made of Words <p>I'm generally not one for year end lists. Usually I'm late to the party. Often times I'm not invited to the party. Sometimes I get lost on my way to the party and end up at a different party, but still have a really good time. With that in mind, this is my list of 2013's "Top Things Made of Words." These days format is less relevant than ever, so for this list, everything qualifies. Whether it's an old book I didn't read until last month, a blog, a zine, or the post-it that was stuck to my shoe, it all has a chance.</p> <p>If you're here, you probably already know the things </p> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 13:42:16 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/12/2013-top-things-made-of-words Our New Office Digs <p>December was a busy month for us! Between trips to Chicago, Oklahoma City, Houston, and Fort Worth, we've also been moving into our new location—2752 N Williams Ave. Portland, OR 97227!</p> <p> </p> <img style="display:block; margin:6px;" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/http://www.microcosmpublishing.com/uploads/IMG_3615.JPG" align="center" width="500" /> </p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 07:03:57 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/12/our-new-office-digs Behind a Wall of Books <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml><br /> <o:officedocumentsettings><br /> <o:allowpng/><br /> </o:officedocumentsettings><br /> </xml><![endif]--><p class="MsoNormal">Anybody ever watch that old movie Night Train to Munich? For<br /> some reason every time I get on a tr<br /> <img class="floatright" alt="Alt text" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/erikkk.jpg" />ain I expect spies and espionage. The night<br /> train from Portland to San Francisco, lovingly called, “The Coast Starlight”<br /> has a time schedule based on approximations at best, and aside from the uncouth<br /> and suggestive remarks from the café car over the loudspeaker, little to no<br /> excitement is what you can expect. But for anyone tenured to the ways of rail<br /> transit, I’m sure you could amalgamate a fine story, riddled with excitement<br /> from all your Amtrak adventures.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"> <p class="MsoNormal"> <p class="MsoNormal"> <p class="MsoNormal">Last week I journeyed by way of the “Starlight” to the Bay<br /> area for the great Alternative Press Expo (APE). I was to be joined by Corbett<br /> Redford of the nefarious satirical duo, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children<br /> MacNugget’s, for a two day tabeling event behind a wall of Microcosm! The event<br /> took place at the Concourse; this place was, to my guess about the size of two<br /> football fields, that’s approximately 116,000 square feet of comics, books,<br /> fans, and various collected art from all facets and corners of the imagination. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"> <p class="MsoNormal">I arrived a few days early to pound the sidewalks and<br /> disseminate the volumes of Microcosm’s gamut to the eager public. Most of this<br /> I accomplished on foot, however my friend DJ Freshstep occasioned to scoot me<br /> about the city on the back of his Vespa. This was the one, quasi euro transit<br /> attack I managed. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Corbett, harnessing his impressive clout, succeeded in<br /> shepherding me, during one of my afternoons, though the&nbsp; backdoors of some of<br /> the great legendary record and comic shops of the city. The two Amoeba’s,&nbsp;<br /> Rasputin, and 1-2-3-4&nbsp; Go, gave us the royal welcome and what seemed like every<br /> comic shop in the city was well enthused to shake the hand of an affiliate of<br /> Henry &amp; Glenn.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;<br /> <img alt="Last gasp" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/img_27853.jpg" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal">A who’s who mixer at the opulent office of Last Gasp<br /> prefaced the two days of the APE. If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to<br /> walk around in a Robert Crumb drawing, while glancing through old photographs<br /> of William Burroughs gripping his iconic pistol, Last Gasp wont disappoint. It<br /> was like a museum but more along the lines of the home of your parent’s awesome<br /> hippy friends. Think of the Barthes collection, but superimpose all the<br /> bizarreness of the 1960’s drug culture. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;<br /> <img class="floatright" alt="Alt text" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/img_2798.jpg" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The two days of the APE, Corbett and I huddled, side-by-side<br /> behind the great wall of Microcosm titles I created for our display. Corbett<br /> was mostly occupied preaching the good word from his newly debuted Microcosm<br /> release(s),<a name="_GoBack"></a> The Bobby Joe Ebola Song Book, and Meal Deal<br /> With the Devil; Signatures were given and reluctantly received! No time to sit<br /> and a near 19 hours of collected alternative press left us dizzy and<br /> hyper-conscious of the mistake of building a wall, behind which there can be no<br /> sitting, less you leave the books to speak for themselves.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">APE, see you next year!</p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 13:25:54 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/10/behind-a-wall-of-books Analog Media Party <p> <img style="display:block; margin:6px;" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/amp1.jpg" alt="Alt text" class="floatright" /><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small;">We had a really stellar first meeting for the Analog Media Party this month after Wordstock!</span></p> <div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small;"><div style="font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">It's a publisher's meetup group with the goals of forming both a regional publisher's association and organizing an annual bookselling event!</p> <div style="font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">We identified some things we are interested in last time: networking, brainstorming, cover review, helping each other grow, developing the business end, meeting each other, venting/kveching (a new word for me), creating a supported industry, sharing resources, and eventually developing some clout.</div><div style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"></div><div style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="line-height: 1.3em;">We envision a one day bookselling event partnered with a one day trade show with programming for publishers&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.3em; font-size: 13px; font-family: arial, sans-serif;">in Dec 2014</span><span style="line-height: 1.3em;">.&nbsp;</span></div></div><div style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="line-height: 1.3em;"><br /></span></div> <p><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">We'll be having our second meeting at the Lucky Lab on 9th/Hawthorne on Nov 3 at 4 PM.</span></p> <p> </p> <div><p> </p> </div></div> <p><span style="line-height: 1.3em;">While other local festivals are extreme micro or focus on author services and promising big dreams with big publishers, t</span><span style="line-height: 1.3em;">he 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!</span></p> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 22:31:56 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/09/allied-media-party Why Not? Minot Festival <p>There aren't many events that we go to every single year for Microcosm, so when we make repeated appearances it's either a matter of three different things: Getting to catch up with very special friends who live there, consistently awesome support for what we are doing, or a truly amazing and inspiring event. Somehow Why Not? Minot Fest offers all three.</p> <p>You wouldn't exactly think of Minot as a cultural epicenter or even associate it with art, necessarily. Which is why it surprised me so much when I made my first trip back in 2006, after seven years away, to discover a vibrant music scene at The Red Carpet, a DIY venue on the outskirts of the city. </p> Mon, 19 Aug 2013 00:50:18 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/08/why-not-minot-festival Dinner & Bikes Tour Reflections <p>It's been over a month since we returned home from the now-annual Dinner &#038; Bikes Tour but it remains the kind of activism that I think about most frequently.</p> <p>For those unfamiliar, it involves Elly Blue, Joshua Ploeg, and I renting a car for a month, hitting up a different region of the U.S., and depositing our food and bike love in our wake. </p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 18:19:02 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/07/dinner-bikes-tour-recap Get to know Grow: Introducing Designer Meggyn Pomerleau <p> <img class="floatright" alt="Grow cover" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/grow2_lg1.jpg" height="309" width="259" /><strong><em>Grow: How to take your do it yourself project and passion to the next level and quit your job!</em></strong> is a practical field guide for creative people to achieve success and sustainability on their own terms. Part of <em>Grow’s</em> 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 <em>Grow</em>: 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.</p> <p>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 href="http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14039-empower-diy-creative-entrepreneurs-with-grow">a campaign on RocketHub.com</a> to support the workshop tour and the production of Grow. We’d love to have your support!<strong></p> <p>How do you describe yourself creatively? What do you do and make and what would you like to do and make?</strong></p> <p>- 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.<br /><strong></p> <p>What skills do you think are your strongest?</strong></p> <p>- My communication skills have gotten me to a point where I haven't had to seek out work, ever.&nbsp; I'm also surprisingly good at drawing using my touch-pad on my laptop. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong><br />What skills do you feel you need to develop? How will you go about this?</strong></p> <p>- 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. </p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p><strong>How integrated is your creative work into the rest of your life?</strong></p> <p><img style="display:block; margin:6px;" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/https://microcosmpublishing.com/images/grow_ch_5.jpg" align="right" height="356" width="273" />- 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. </p> <p>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. </p> <p><strong><br />What is something you didn't learn in school that you wish they taught about making your life and living as a creative person?</strong></p> <p>- 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. </p> <p>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. <br /><strong></p> <p>What are your creative goals for the next year? For the next five years?</strong></p> <p>- 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. </p> <p>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.</p> <img class="nofloat" alt="Grow tips" src="http://microcosmpublishing.com/images/grow_tips.jpg" align="left" /></p> <p>Check out Meggyn's work in Grow! <a href="http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/"><a href="http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/" title="http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/" target="_blank">http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/</a></a></p> <p>And support the RocketHub campaign here:<a href="http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/"> <a href="http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14039-empower-diy-creative-entrepreneurs-with-grow" title="http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14039-empower-diy-creative-entrepreneurs-with-grow" target="_blank">http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14039-empower-diy-creative-entrepreneurs-with-grow</a><br /></a></p> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 18:19:55 PST http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2013/03/-get-to-know-grow-introducing-designer-meggyn-pomerleau