Meet Microcosm–A Buncha Questions for Portland Store Employee Rio Safari!

For this edition of Meet Microcosm we chat with the awesome Rio Safari who works out of the Portland Microcosm store and does the zine Homobody!

Q: You work at the Portland store. Tell us a little about the new location.

A: Totally! We’re going to be sharing a space in SE Portland with two fine printers we have worked with, Printed Matter and Eberhardt Press. Yup, a bookstore/publisher with printers in back–pretty rad. The walls are being painted bright colors and the windows look out toward Portland’s downtown.

Q: Any good Portland store stories from the time you were in the old location?

A: Well, there was the one time we took over the space next to us and Joe knocked a doorway out of the drywall solely with his mental powers. In terms of impressiveness, that’s right up there with fitting 13,000 zines and books into a 13’x9′ room.

Q: If somebody came in the Portland store and asked you for five of your favorite things the store carries what would they be, and why?
(1) The zine trike.  It’s used as an in-store display when immobile, but if people forget its true purpose, I will absolutely sit on the seat and ring the bell.
(2) Every drop of pink paint.  The can is labeled the color “Bunny Fluff”.
(3) Everything in our Espionage book section.
(4) Everything in our Circle A book section.
(5) That we have zines divided into “Fix Shit Up” or “Fuck Shit Up”.

Q: Last time I was at the Portland store the free box was totally insane. What’s in there these days?

A: Let’s see…a few bags of figurines, some costumes, a pair of pants, scrap wood, some books…and a lotta love.

Q: So all the rest of these questions, besides the last one and the One True Game are open-ended. Feel free to answer them and interpret them any way you’d like. We’re throwing out the rules but if you want to catch them while they fly past, that’s okay too. Alright, Rio, your zine just got in a fight and got called into the principal’s office. Rumor is Mean Principal Miller is talking suspension. Why?!

A: That Mean Principal Miller has only one thing in mind for my zine: he wants to co-opt it to better market “alternative” culture for the corporate subsidiary that runs the school! I get a suspension for non-compliance.

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Q: Who’s the boss? And why?!

A: I’d have to say that my boss is Amy Goodman, investigative journalist and host of Democracy Now!. She’s a compass to keep ya headed the right direction!

Q: Paper called and it wanted to say…

A: It made like origami and folded?

1. Give us one true sentence about things your zine might have in its pages and two untrue ones and let the reader guess which is true… Ads for losing belly fat. Ads for whitening teeth. Drawings of scruffy homos who don’t read ads.

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2. Give us one true sentence about what you like to do outside of Microcosm work and two untrue ones and let the reader guess which is true… I play banjo. I do competitive cross-country vegetable julienning. I hate cats and they hate me and also oh yeah the world is flat.

3. Give us one sentence about the zine community and two untrue ones and let the reader guess which is true…
The zine community is a shady network of miscreants and psychopaths. The zine community will turn you into a bomb-throwing radical. The zine community recruits.

Q: Your Microcosm co-worker Matt Gauck, as featured in episode one of this series, has just turned into a bird. Why?! Birds are the living descendants of my favorite creatures (dinos!). And Matt’s my favorite person to discuss vegan deserts with. Isn’t it obvious?

Q: Your Microcosm co-worker Joe Biel, as shall be featured in an episode of this series soonish, has turned into a bike. Why?! The Bielbike, which looks like Joe riding a bike, is actually a species of cyborg (check your D&D Monster Manual, kids). The flesh just gave in and turned into bike, too.

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Q: When I say “zinester” you say:
Well, again referencing my Dungeons & Dragons manual, the zinester class is a cross between bard and thief-acrobat. Skills include Work Aversion +3 and they get an extra saving throw for bad reviews.

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Q: When I say “comics” you say:
I can’t stop drawing them. I just finished one about Amazonian river dolphins and I’m making one about skeletons that put on shows at my local cometary.

Q: When I say “activism” you say:
Activism is finding the word you insert for “(Blank) Not Bombs”!

Q: Finally, back we’re back on dry land: What do you do for Microcosm and how did you and Microcosm become acquainted?

A: My business card says “shopkeeper.” So I try to keep the Portland Microcosm shop from, well, I just keep keeping it. An average day entails helping somebody find that one zine with the stuff, packing and biking an order, shelfreading and organizing, painting wood brighter colors than nature intended, coordinating volunteer tasks, and building perilous monuments of cardboard boxes to ready for our upcoming move.

I met Microcosm online (who says online dating doesn’t work out!) about, oh, six-ish years ago? And then I volunteered for Microcosm at Liberty Hall, oh, fourish years ago? As for today, let’s just say we make quite the couple.

Check out Rio’s zines here.