Monthly Archives: March 2017

Small Biz Spotlight on Brown Bear Herbs

Zines featured at the Brown Bear Herbs store

In an ongoing effort to tell the world about the great places that valiantly stock Microcosm’s work, this week we’re highlighting Portland’s own Brown Bear Herbs, an herbal apothecary in NE PDX.

Founded and run by herbalist Arati Ursus, Brown Bear Herbs stocks herbal cigarettes and blends, crystals, tinctures, teas, and a curated selection of wellness zines. Curious about this magical place, we asked Arati a few questions about what they do at Brown Bear…

 

1. What’s the story of Brown Bear Herbs? What makes you most excited to get up every morning and do what you do?

I like to help people wake up or become lucid with their personal stories. For me, herbal healing has been one of the biggest sources of “aha” moments and realizing that my reality is not as fixed as I thought. We can transform our realities. Calling certain things “bad” is poisonous to our minds and not at all conducive to deep healing. I like to make “bad” things “good”. I started with herbal chocolates that address the reasons people supplement with chocolate–mostly emotions. Now I primarily work with smoking blends and the reasons behind smoking. People can heal their
addictions by the same means that binds them. This is transformation!

I love hearing success stories from people who have quit smoking using my herbal cigarettes. Breaking free of addiction and dependence on greedy corporations is super empowering. It makes me smile to see it happen.

“Mother Earth, we are here to learn.”

2. Thanks for selling the books and zines we publish and distribute! What are your favorite ones that you get from us?

“Blood and Boundaries herbal bath, a chunk of raw hematite to ground intense energy and “What the Ladies Have to Say” to read while you’re in the bath.”

We have really been enjoying the School of Life Designs–but also like to have on hand political zines and books to help people get out and make a difference.

3. What’s your favorite thing you have in the shop right now?

A trio of support/empowerment: Our Blood and Boundaries herbal bath, a chunk of raw hematite to ground intense energy and “What the Ladies Have to Say” to read while you’re in the bath.

4. Based on your interactions with customers in the last couple months, what’s your prediction for our political/cultural future? Or what would you like to see happen?

I am inspired by the level of outrage and activism I see. I’d love to see a increasing surge in loud, voices and sharing personal stories. Everyone’s voice matters and everyone deserves respect and human rights. I want to see the realization that we (the collective minorities and undervalued and those who believe in human rights for all) are actually the majority and we will get what we demand.

Check out Arati’s shop online at BrownBearHerbs.com and in the real world at 309 NE Wygant Street, PDX, or follow them on instagram: @brownbearherbs or on Facebook.

The team at Brown Bear Herbs

Good Trouble Giveaway

Greetings!

One thing I love about my new position at Microcosm is that now I get to give away books — free! I mean, not all the time… but a lot, and it is becoming one of my favorite things to do.

Here’s the deal: This year I’d like to spend time telling the story of not Microcosm but the people who work here, make us what we are, and helped build this business along the way. But for each month I’d like to host a great big book giveaway of past books! Each giveaway (hosted on Goodreads) will offer up 50 copies of one back-list title.

For the first, though, we start at the beginning:

Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life & Business with Asperger’s is the memoir of Joe Biel, Microcosm’s founder, and the story of Microcosm itself; how it came into existence, the troubles it (and its members) faced along the way, and how it became what it is now [a thriving indie publishing house with books and zines all over the world, of course]. The history involved is deepened by Biel’s rocky childhood and (at first un-diagnosed) place on the autism spectrum. Published one year ago to mark Microcosm’s 20th anniversary, Good Trouble dives into all the shit and splendor that’s gone into making us who we are, from the very beginning.

Check out this book trailer from a kickstarter project launched for the book’s release:

So, starting today and ending March 31st, just before the start of Autism Awareness Month, enter to win one of 50 copies of Good Trouble, and get a nitty-gritty glimpse behind the Microcosm curtain.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Good Trouble by Joe Biel

Good Trouble

by Joe Biel

Giveaway ends March 31, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Stay awesome and good luck!

Cyn

Indestructible, Edition 3, Now Available

While our web-shoppers have been able to snag the new edition of Cristy C. Road’s rad intersectional memoir via our website, the rest of the world has had to wait– for today!!

Starting today, Indestructible: Growing Up Queer, Cuban, and Punk in Miami is now available wherever your favorite books are sold!

And, you know… on the website still too…

But what’s it about?

In her Miami high school, Cristy Road fought valiantly to figure out anddefend her queer gender identity, Cuban cultural roots, and punk-rock nature, and just be her own damn self. Her illustrated memoir of those times is particularly ideal for today’s social climate. Through daring writing and illustrations Cristy reminds us of the strength and ability of punk youth—for addressing things like rape, homophobia, and misogyny. This is no exception; giving a voice to every frustrated fifteen year old girl under fire from her peers for being queer or butch or punk.

Is it any good?

We think so! And other people do, too; here’s some of the praise it’s gotten:

“Literally drawn from the intersection of Road’s Cuban identity, her queerness, punk rock, …this portrait in black and white is electric.” — BUST Magazine

“Refreshingly candid, Indestructible is a worthwhile read for teenagers who are struggling with their journey in to adulthood, particularly gay teens, and for adults who have forgotten how difficult the teenage years are.” — Mass Movement

Road’s novel is a testimony of survival ­ a powerful reminder of how we must create (and re-create) our identities ­ whether the mainstream is with us or not.”— Feminist Review

“[Road’s] artwork is a party on the page, or a riot, or a revolution. With language and imagery she is creating a mural of radical joy.” – Michelle Tea


Who’s Cristy C. Road?

Cristy is a Cuban-American artist and writer currently in Brooklyn, NY. Her previous works include Distance Makes the Heart Grow Sick, GreenZine, and Bad Habits: A Love Story. She can be found sharing her radical art and magically rad new tarot deck on her website.

Learning Good Consent

Curated by Doris editor Cindy Crabb, Learning Good Consent looks at the culture of sexual consent from a standpoint which is both sexy and educational. During the course of 46 pages, Cindy and friends create a well-rounded consent workshop, with all sites set on healing and helping. In the midst of rape culture, “blurred lines,” and troubled relationships with power and boundaries, Consent has your back. As says Cindy in the zine’s intro, “Talking about our experiences with consent, our struggles, our mistakes and how we’ve learned, these are part of a much larger revolutionary struggle.”

Make a Zine

Do you have a passion that you want to obsess about in a love letter to the world? In this new edition of Microcosm’s popular DIY guide to zine-making, Joe Biel updates the information provided in the first and second editions (edited by Biel and the late and great Bill Brent) to address zine making in today’s digital and social-media-obsessed world. Covering all the bases for beginners, Make a Zine! hits on more advanced topics like Creative Commons licenses, legality, and sustainability. Says Feminist Review, “Make a Zine! is an inspiring, easy, and digestible read for anyone, whether you’re already immersed in a cut-and-paste world, a graphic designer with a penchant for radical thought, or a newbie trying to find the best way to make yourself and your ideas known.” Illustrated by an army of notable and soon-to-be-notable artists and cartoonists, Make a Zine! also takes a look at the burgeoning indie comix scene, with a solid and comprehensive chapter by punk illustrator Fly (Slug and Lettuce, Peops). Part history lesson, part how-to guide, Make a Zine! is a call to arms, an ecstatic, positive rally cry in the face of TV show book clubs and bestsellers by celebrity chefs. As says Biel in the book’s intro, “Let’s go!”

Getting in a rebel mood…

This month we asked a few staff members to share something they dig about a few of the books & zines in our new Rebel Alliance Superpack

Jeri Cain:

Edible Secrets: “Seems like the CIA tried hundreds of times to kill Castro, and still he died an old man.  He vowed to not die until he saw the destruction of America.  Then Trump was elected.  Castro died soon after….”

The Spanish Civil War: “A fascinating read with lessons to be gleaned in our current political climate.  Hemingway’s participation as a war journalist led to his penning For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

Cyn:

Coping Skills: Social and political burnout is getting more and more real by the day, people! I’m exhausted! Dr. Faith’s very useful zine is getting me through it one tip at a time. My favorite parts:

“Escapism is intentionally moving to another space in a mental and emotional way… It gives you a chance to soothe your tired self without getting trapped in a nasty cycle of perseverating on memories. Seriously. Go to a thrift store and buy up all the Babysitter’s Club books, run a bubble bath, and escape the fuck up outta this mess. Doctor’s orders.”

and

“4) Put something new in the world that didn’t exist before. Destruction, as you well know, is not an abstraction. It’s a very real entity we cope with on a daily basis. … When other people out there in the world take away from you, create back.”

Everyday Bicycling: One of the things we love about bikes here is the level of freedom they allow for so many different types of people. When I first started riding (I couldn’t afford transit tickets and was about to lose my car) this useful tome gave me a really good foundation to start from. And if you think about it (we do!) if the apocalypse comes, bikes are going to be the way to go, so start learning now!

Tomy:

Six Days in Cincinnati: Socially relevant, informative, and poignant… this is exactly what comix journalism is all about! It’s a must read for everyone who lives in this time of turmoil and social injustice, especially those who need to be reminded of what happens when the United States falters.