Hey Portland!

The Microcosm Publishing zine store is throwing a book reading for author Andrej Grubacic on December 11th, at 7pm! Grubacic is in town for the Portland Anarchist Bookfair happening on the same day and will be reading selections from his new book on PM Press, Don’t Mourn, Balkanize! Essays After Yugoslavia!

From PM Press: “Grubacic is a dissident from the Balkans. A radical historian and sociologist, he is the co-author of Wobblies and Zapatistas and editor of The Staughton Lynd Reader. A fellow traveler of Zapatista-inspired direct action movements, in particular Peoples’ Global Action, and a co-founder of Global Balkans Network and Balkan Z Magazine, he is a visiting professor of sociology at the University of San Francisco.”

Also, the Microcosm store now has a full-scale coffee counter courtesy of Currier Coffee Roasters! (http://www.couriercoffeeroasters.com/ ). Coffee is $1.50 for 12 oz cups, or $2 for 20 oz. The beans are ground in a hand-crank press and the coffee is French pressed. Zines and coffee go hand in hand and now folks that come to our readings can have a piping hot beverage just in time for the pre-winter!

Microcosm has CAWFEE! from Cantankerous Titles on Vimeo.


Andrej Grubacic reading Don’t Mourn, Balkanize! Essays After Yugoslavia!

December 11th, 7pm, free

Microcosm Publishing zine and book store

636 SE 11th

Portland, OR




Don’t Mourn, Balkanize! Is the first book written from the radical left perspective on the topic of Yugoslav space after the dismantling of the country. In this collection of essays, commentaries and interviews, written between 2002 and 2010, Andrej Grubacic speaks about the politics of balkanization—about the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, neoliberal structural adjustment, humanitarian intervention, supervised independence of Kosovo, occupation of Bosnia, and other episodes of Power which he situates in the long historical context of colonialism, conquest and intervention.

But he also tells the story of the balkanization of politics, of the Balkans seen from below. A space of bogumils—those medieval heretics who fought against Crusades and churches—and a place of anti-Ottoman resistance; a home to hajduks and klefti, pirates and rebels; a refuge of feminists and socialists, of anti-fascists and partisans; of new social movements of occupied and recovered factories; a place of dreamers of all sorts struggling both against provincial “peninsularity” as well as against occupations, foreign interventions and that process which is now, in a strange inversion of history, often described by that fashionable term, “balkanization.”

For Grubacic, political activist and radical sociologist, Yugoslavia was never just a country—it was an idea. Like the Balkans itself, it was a project of inter-ethnic co-existence, a trans-ethnic and pluricultural space of many diverse worlds. Political ideas of inter-ethnic cooperation and mutual aid as we had known them in Yugoslavia were destroyed by the beginning of the 1990s—disappeared in the combined madness of ethno-nationalist hysteria and humanitarian imperialism. This remarkable collection chronicles political experiences of the author who is himself a Yugoslav, a man without a country; but also, as an anarchist, a man without a state. This book is an important reading for those on the Left who are struggling to understand the intertwined legacy of inter-ethnic conflict and inter-ethnic solidarity in contemporary, post-Yugoslav history.


“These thoughtful essays offer us a vivid picture of the Balkans experience from the inside, with its richness and complexity, tragedy and hope, and lessons from which we can all draw inspiration and insight.”
—Noam Chomsky, MIT

“The history of Yugoslavia is of global relevance, and there’s no one better placed to reveal, share, and analyse it than Andrej Grubacic. From the struggle of the Roma to the liberating possibilities of ‘federalism from below,’ this collection of essays is required and radical reading.”
—Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

“This book of essays shows a deep grasp of Yugoslav history and social theory. It is a groundbreaking book, representing a bold departure from existing ideas, and an imaginative view to how a just society in the Balkans might be constructed.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

“I cannot think of another work that even tries to accomplish what Andrej Grubacic has artfully undertaken in this volume. Don’t Mourn, Balkanize! is the first radical account of Yugoslav history after Yugoslavia, surveying this complex history with imagination and insight. Grubacic’s book provides essential information and perspective for all those interested in the recent history of this part of the world.”
—Michael Albert, author of Parecon

“Andrej Grubacic is a rare genuine authority on the recent history and politics of the Balkans. I have known him for a decade, have followed and read his work with profit, and corresponded with him on matters which I found difficult in doing my own writing in this field.”
—Edward S. Herman Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Product Details:

Author: Andrej Grubacic
Introduction by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-302-4
Published: November 2010
Format: Paperback
Size: 8 by 5
Page count: 272
Subjects: History-Yugoslavia, Politics

Meet Microcosm, Episode Nine, Meet Dylan GW!

For this, the ongoing Meet Microcosm blog series, we talk to Bloomington collective member Dylan GW. So without further adieu meet Dylan!

Q: What kind of stuff are you doing outside of Microcosm?

A: Well, I’m just getting adjusted to life in Bloomington again. I grew up here, but I went to college in St. Paul, Minnesota for a year. I moved back here during the summer. It was sort of an accident, but I’m happy with it. College was crazy! It was nothing like American Pie, but it was a weird adventure. I lived in dorm with about 100 other freshmen, and they were largely the only people I interacted with the whole time I was there. My college was about the same size as my high school, and it did kind of feel like living in a high school. It was my first time really living in a big city and my first time living in a place where my accent was considered “southern” by a lot of people I met. The winter was long and cold. I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of zines. The whole thing freaked me out. I’m glad to be home.

More recently I’ve been busy getting set up here. I recently moved into a new house. I’ve kept all my stuff in a couple duffel bags for the last 6 months and it was really nice to finally unpack. I’ve started doing creative projects again, which is really exciting. Some housemates and I started a band, the first band I’ve ever been in and I’ve just finished working on my first zine. I’m stoked!

I have a few hobbies. I read for pleasure. I play a lot of Tetris. That may not seem like a hobby to you, but when you’ve dedicated as much of your precious time here on earth to Tetris as I have, it becomes a hobby. I play games on the computer, board and role-playing varieties. A major interest of mine is ravioli and other stuffed pastas. I am very interested in finding new things to put in pasta. What else could one fill a ravioli with? I don’t know, but I’d like to find out.

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Q: What’s your favorite zine, and why?

A: Let me just start this off by saying that it’s so hard to pick a favorite zine! There are so many great zines out there. But if I have to pick a favorite, I’ll pick Nuns I’ve Known by Prunella Vulgaris. Nuns I’ve Known was one of the first zines that I ever read. It’s short, it’s well written and it has a nice hand made cover–you can tell that the author really put time into it. It’s about a very specific topic, it’s literally a list of nuns that the author has known, yet it’s super interesting to read. To me, it’s a perfect example of what makes the zine medium unique: information or writing with merit that would never otherwise get published that, thanks to zine culture, gets distributed to a large audience.

Q: If you had to evacuate your home, what are the five things you’d take with you if you could only take five?

A: Is it assumed that I’m wearing pants? I only wear pants when I absolutely have to so I probably wouldn’t be wearing them when the hypothetical emergency occurred. So I’d need to take them as one of the five items. The first item, probably. Then I’d take my laptop. It contains my tunes, my jams and my video games, so it’s pretty crucial. I’d take a copy of God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut–it’s my favorite book. Then my stuffed penguin, Pengi. Finally, I’d need a light jacket. It’s getting pretty chilly out there.

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Word Association
1) Explosion.
2) Realism.
Keepin’ it
3) Television.
Star Trek!
4) Fun.
I’m against it.
5) American.
John Cougar Mellencamp

Q: You’re based out of the Bloomington office. What’s your idea of a good day in Bloomington?

A: It would be late May or early June–The college students are gone. The town is peaceful. Sleep in late, but not too late. Walk into town to get some coffee. Read or play Tetris in the coffee shop until your friends also show up at the coffee shop, which they will. It’s pretty much guaranteed. If it’s warm enough, get a group together and go swimming in the limestone quarries or in Lake Monroe. Then go eat some pizza before going to whatever awesome thing is going on that night starts. Remember to stay up late.

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Q: What are your five favorite things about Bloomington? As well as the five things you like the least…

1 I love the size of the town. I can walk or bike to anywhere I would ever want to go.
2 Bloomington has everything that a big city has, pretty much. Except for an Ikea.
3 Bloomington has a great music scene, Boxcar Books, an awesome radical book store and a tight-knit, friendly punk/radical community.
4 The food! Bloomington has such good food! We have so many different kinds of ethnic restaurants and so many different choices when it comes to pizza. Disclaimer: We do have an Italian food problem here.
5 It’s beautiful here! Lots and lots of trees, cool old limestone buildings and cute little houses (with cheap rent).

1 Every fall, 40,000 morons move here and spend all their free time drinking, puking and breaking things.
2 Bloomington is so small that you can’t really leave your house without seeing someone you know. It can be a problem if you sometimes don’t feel like talking to people.
3 In Indiana, under 21 folks can’t go in bars at all. Which means that every show in a bar is 21+. That’s a lot of shows.
4 It’s really tough to get jobs in Bloomington. With all the college students, competition for even minimum-wage jobs is pretty stiff.
5 For some reason, developers keep building gigantic ugly high-rises here. It seems like a bad idea, like there aren’t enough people to fill them because they usually sit half empty. They must turn a profit, though, because more keep getting built!

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Q: Finally, what do you do for Microcosm day in, day out?

A: Well my specific job duty is shipping–I put labels on all of the packages, fill out customs forms and email customers if there is a problem with their order. I also pack orders–all of us do that in Bloomington. If there’s time left over in the day after packing and shipping I do whatever needs to get done, usually organizing, stapling zines or proofreading new stuff.

The Zinester’s Guide to NYC Zine-vasion” @ St. Mark’s Bookshop November 30, 7pm

Dear NYC friends,

In celebration of our new book, the Zinester’s Guide to NYC, St. Mark’s Bookshop is helping us host a “Zine-vasion” zine party. Ayun Halliday, editor of the Zinester’s Guide to NYC, will be on hand with a select crew of the book’s contributors for zine readings, a Q&A, and an open consignment session. (Bring three copies of your zine if you’d like St. Mark’s Bookshop to sell it on a consignment basis.)

Q&A discussion topics include;
How do you make a zine?
Why do you make a zine?
How did you get into zine-making in the first place?
What other zines do you read?
Where can I get my zine photocopied?
How are zines distributed?
Where are zines reviewed?
Where can you go to buy zines?
How do you pronounce “zine”?
And how can I find out more?

The evening’s presenters include Ayun Halliday (The Zinester’s Guide to NYC, The East Village Inky zine), Andria Alefhi (We’ll Never Have Paris zine), Melissa Bastian (Anywhere I Lay My Head), Leslie Henkel (aka “Dear Drunk Girl” of The Tight Pantsy Drew Mysteries), Josh Saitz (Negative Capability), and Esther Smith (Purgatory Pie Press.)

Come say Hey!

“Pol Pot Luck” Genocide-Themed Thanksgiving Party @ the Microcosm Publishing Store Nov 25th!

Dear Portland friends,

We’re throwing a genocide-themed Thanksgiving party Nov 25th at the Microcosm Publishing zine store in SE Portland (636 SE 11th). Along with tasty veggie pot luck food, the “Pol Pot Luck” will feature select books on genocide and a board game battle based on imperialist themes.

Says Microcosm Publishing founder Joe Biel, “We’d like to remind people of the historical significance of Thanksgiving as told by those who didn’t get to write history—as well as those who didn’t get to write history throughout recorded time.”

All food will be vegan and gluten-free or clearly labeled otherwise. (Any major allergen ingredients will be labeled.)

The event runs from 2pm to 8pm and it’s absolutely free. Come hang out all day. Bring a pot luck dish and your appetite (for destruction.)

Pol Pot Luck
Microcosm Publishing Store
636 SE 11th
Portland, OR 97216

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The Microcosm Interview with Ayun Halliday, author of the Zinester’s Guide to NYC!

Our brand-new New York City DIY travel guide Zinester’s Guide to NYC is out now and we’re helping throw a release party at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo on November 11th. We talked to Ayun about that, her zine The East Village Inky, and much much more!

Q: Why do you live in New York? Why not Alaska? Tokyo? Omaha? Indonesia?

A: I have a strong cardiac preference for New York. I have wanted to live here since I was a little girl in Indiana, where I was once overheard informing a playmate that I was a city dude. For my money, what little I have of it, there is no better city on earth in which to be that dude.

If Sam Shepard’s 1978 play Curse of the Starving Class is to believed, Alaska is “all frozen and full of rapers.” A hypothesis not borne out by the month I spent in Juneau, but still, one of the greatest lines in American theater history.

Tokyo I will visit any time you pay me! But I have never been to a Tokyo neighborhood that did not feel like Japan, whereas there are many neighborhoods in NYC that give me the impression I am no longer in the United States. I would miss that if I were to live in Tokyo. (I do wish our department stores had their wonderful food selections…)

Omaha I cannot say anything good or bad about, having never visited there, but I will say that my friend Jeff is not only redesigning my website, he is a son of Omaha. He recently passed through it on a road trip with our mutual friend Kathryn, and when asked what his favorite stop of the whole tour was, he picked Omaha, because no one ever visits Omaha, and it was so thrilling to be able to show someone else around.

Indonesia, again, I will visit any time you pay me! I had fantasies of maybe moving to Bali one day, plying my trade as a massage therapist, but… when it comes to relaxation, I’m rather dependent on knowing I have a hundred options at any given time. Movie theaters, bookstores, cultural events, museums, hole in the wall restaurants from every conceivable culture, eccentrics of every age, race, and creed riding with me on the subway… I would like to have an Indonesian style bathroom though, with a squat toilet, and a big jar of water with a dipper for throwing it over your head.

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Q: My 6th grade English teacher just asked me to ask you to give us one sentence about each book you’ve written since birth…

A: The Big Rumpus is about a period in my life when I was totally immersed in motherhood, running around New York City with two little kids in tow.

No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late is a semi-scatological, low budget travel memoir, as well as a knee jerk response to Seal Press’ suggestion that I should write a sequel to the Big Rumpus.

Job Hopper revisits some of the crappy day jobs I had when I was an actor.

Dirty Sugar Cookies is a bildungsroman with recipes and the greatest index in the world, though Joe Biel’s index for the Zinester’s Guide to NYC is a close second.

Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo is 32 pages long, was illustrated by Dan Santat and is best read aloud to a bossa nova beat.

The Zinester’s Guide to NYC is a dream come true, and I will spend the rest of my life mentally adding to it.

Peanut is a graphic novel about a girl who fakes a peanut allergy, with illustrations by Paul Hoppe, who would no doubt join me in encouraging you to buy many copies of it when it is published in July 2011.

There are also two unsold picture books and a novel that could use another go in the rock tumbler. Interested publishers should present themselves forsooth. I mean forthwith.

Q: My 6th grade English teacher (who is turning into a total pest) asked me to ask you to sum up your zine, TheEast Village Inky, in less than 50 words, using the words “cantaloupe,” “Mr. T.,” and “rabbit fur.”

A: What is this, Twitter? The East Village Inky is a handwritten, quarterly chronicle of my life in NYC, as well as a time lapse portrait of my children, when viewed as a hold. No cantaloupe, Mr. T., or rabbit fur, but these topics may well be covered in upcoming issues.

Q: What are your five favorite pieces of NY-related art?

A: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side by Magnetic Fields

Next Stop, Greenwich Village

New York City by Cub, and the cover by They Might Be Giants

An essay about the General Slocum memorial David Rakoff read aloud on episode 194 of This American Life, shortly after September 11, 2001

Q: If you were taking my 6th grade English teacher on a one day tour of New York where would you take her?

A: Oh lord, not her again. How about a downtown literary whirlwind? The Strand, Idlewild, Bluestockings, Housing Works Bookstore Café, St. Mark’s Books, and Unopressive, Non-Imperialist Bargain Books… we could have a browse every time we run across a street seller. I’d tell her to add the 2000 documentary Bookwars to her Netflix queue. Then because she is a closet Flight of the Conchords fan, I would take her past Bret and Jemaine’s apartment on Henry Street, which puts us in spittin’ distance of Bar 169, (also a location on the series). How convenient. I could no doubt use a drink. Though I could also get my drink at KGB or Happy Ending, both of which have excellent and frequent readings. If Teacher’s not turned off by Happy Ending’s former incarnation as a Chinatown massage parlor, I’ll send her to Babeland or Burlesque at the Beach. She can make her own way home to the Gershwin Hotel, conveniently located by Wholesale Copies and the Museum of Sex. I would also send your English teacher to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, a front for drop in tutoring and amazing free writing workshops for kids and teens. She could buy some anti-matter…it goes to a good cause.

Q: If you were taking your first boyfriend on a one day tour of New York where would you take him?

A: Depends on how you define boyfriend, son. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, I’d tell him to hold his fire ’til April, so we can spend the whole weekend at the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art Fest. We could spend the whole weekend there. If he gets hungry, he can find an Indian restaurant in Curry Hill, and bring me back something, since I’m thinking of ante-ing up for a booth.

Q: If you were taking the President of the United States on a one day tour of New York where would you take him?

A: I’m going to assume that for him, it would be a relief to be treated like a regular civilian, so we’d start with breakfast at Panya (I recommend the curry pan, fatten him up a bit), then make our way down to the Wall Street Baths (so he’d have to bring his bathing suit). Lunch at the Vegetarian Dim Sum House, followed by a self-guided walking tour of Chinatown with stops for coconut buns and souvenirs for his daughters from BJ99. If he wants some exercise, we can do the Monkey Bars in Columbus Park. Then like most visitors to NYC, unaccustomed to so much walking, he’d probably be pooped, so we could recharge our batteries by seeing a movie at the Sunshine. Then we could go book shopping, or alternatively thrift shopping (if it was Wednesday, I would insist we go to Salvation Army since it’s family day and everything’s half off.) If he’s really into thrifting, we’d go to the Thing in Greenpoint. Eventually, we’d make our way back to Otto’s Shrunken Head for cheap drinks and a spin in the photobooth. We’d get some tacos at the Zaragoza Grocery on Avenue A, and finish the evening at Decibel Sake Bar, where I would not be above using the President’s VIP status to jump to the head of the line. If he’s really into burning the midnight oil, maybe I could be talked into accompanying him to Mehanata, the Bulgarian bar.

Q: If you had one hour to live and you had to spend it doing something amazing in NY where would you go?

A: Maybe to the top of the Empire State Building—I’ve never been there before. I’d have to be allowed to go to the front of the line, though. Otherwise, I’d probably just go embrace an arch of the Brooklyn Bridge and sing “New York, New York,” and think about how I’ll soon be flung off it, in ash form.

Q: Finally, Tell us about the 11/11 book release party…

A: Oh, it’s going to be so awesome. A half dozen or so musicians from the Bushwick Book Club will be playing original songs inspired by the guidebook. Many contributors will be on hand for the mini-zine fair. If you’re the sporting type, you may wind up vying for exciting prizes in the live ZG2NYC $2 Pyramid onstage game show. It’s my Hoosier homeboy Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday, so there will be a short reading in his honor. We’ll also be reading a few of our favorite listings. And it’s the Day that Most Resembles Corduroy, so please dress appropriately. Full disclosure: food and drinks aren’t free, but they are cheap, and all purchases will help Housing Works Bookstore Café in their fight to end homelessness and AIDS. Speaking of money, bring some, so you can guidebook up—make things easy on yourself by securing a copy for everyone on your holiday shopping/obligation list!

The Zinester’s Guide to NYC Book Release Celebration, Zine Fair, and Reading
Thursday, November 11, 2010, 7–8:30 pm
Housing Works Bookstore Café
126 Crosby St (btwn Houston & Prince) NYC, 212-334-3324
FREE to the public!
Food and drink available for purchase
The book: https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3038/
The author: http://ayunhalliday.com/

ZG2NYC Book Trailer Contest!

Calling all filmmakers, animators, and folks with a penchant for screwing around in iMovie: We invite you to celebrate the publication of our low budget, highly participatory, illustrated, anecdotal guidebook, The Zinester’s Guide to NYC, by creating an original online book trailer. The winner will be showered with analog prizes courtesy of Microcosm Publishing and Ayun Halliday, the ZG2NYC‘s primary contributor. Your video will also be given a permanent place of honor on Microcosm & Ayun’s websites.

The ZG2NYC is for folks who crave participation, the offbeat, and a dirt cheap deal! They’re creative, just like you! They ride bikes, love a parade, and dress funny on purpose.

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You have until December 15 to upload your video to Vimeo and send the link to ayun@ayunhalliday.com (please cc joe@microcosmpublishing.com). Live action, animation, puppets, a slideshow – anything goes. NYC’s awesome and beloved Hungry March Band has graciously given us permission to offer their song, “Jupanese JuJu” as a soundtrack – or write your own.

You can order a copy of the book here, or from any number of online vendors, or ask your favorite indie bookseller to lay one in for you – they will be available November 15.

A few parameters
The following phrases need to be prominently displayed. The timing is up to you, unless otherwise noted:
The Zinester’s Guide to NYC by Ayun Halliday
The last wholly analog guidebook to NYC

“If I could still walk the streets of New York among my People, I would use this truly funny and truly affordable guidebook. It kicks ass.” – Stephen Colbert

Support indie booksellers by ordering the ZG2NYC from them!
Final page should be a card that says:
© 2010

for those using “Jupanese JuJu”:
“Jupanese Ju Ju” by Yokoyama, Candler & Fairey
Performed by Hungry March Band

You must have the rights to all photos and video clips used in your video. If you’re not NYC based, try searching photo sites for NYC-specific photos with a Creative Commons license.

There’s more info about the book:
& here:

You can download the book cover, and a few illustrations here (scroll down):

We can fix you up with more if you want -email your request to ayun@ayunhalliday.com
Download an mp3 of Jupanese JuJu here:

Please help us spread the word by forwarding this to your friends, posting it to your blogs, and just generally smearing it all over the Internet.

The Microcosm Interview with Tomas from the Rad Dad Zine!

We recently talked with Tomas Moniz from Rad Dad about zines, zines, and zines! Tomas’ super awesome new issue is now out and you can wrangle that here. This is what he told us.

Q: If you were asked to define Rad Dad in less than 100 words what
would you say?

A: It’s a zine about how we all can parent in conscientious ways, how whether we are parents or  not we can foster communities that are multigenerational and supportive of children.  It’s also a zine that strives to challenge the mainstream representation of fathers and parenting in general   parenting does not equal mothering.  And simple being a father doesn’t mean you are rad.  Parenting is also not a white middle class, hetero experience.  Rad Dad works hard to present the diversity of parenting from young parents, to parents of color, to anarchist parents.

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Q: Tell us about the new issue; what can people expect?

A: The new issue was a lot of fun…many of the issues often deal with specific difficult situations in relation to parenting children.  For number 18, I wanted to explore how our relationships with other adults impact our parenting; I wanted to remind us all that there are numerous kinds of families besides the hetero-normative monogamous partnered couple.  Oh and I get to share my story of discovering my daughter making out with “hot boys.”

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Q: What do your kids think of Rad Dad?

A: They actually read every issue before I print it, threaten to write their own version of the zine “Bad Dad,” and when they come to readings they generally heckle me non-stop.  But they are totally supportive.

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Q: If the President of the United States asked you to sum up Rad Dad in less than 10 words what would you say?

A: I’d scold him: white parents need to take responsibility for racism, unlike his admonishment of black parents in his famous speech on race.

Q: If your first grade teacher asked you to sum up Rad Dad in less than 10 words what would you say?

A: I wish my daughter’s first grade teacher read it…

Q: If Osama Bin Laden asked you to sum up Rad Dad in less than 10 words what would you say?

A: It’s not about what we are, but what we aspire to be…or I’d ask how he
got a copy of it?

Q: Who are your three favorite zines and why?

A: Artnoose’s Kerbloom and, of course, Doris; they’re like the godmothers of zine culture and what they write about and share is so specific to their experience but in sharing their struggles and thoughts I discover such connections and inspiration…and as for a new zine I’ve been really enjoying photography zines…I think I wanna try and make one myself…

Q: What’s next for Rad Dad?

A: An anthology of the best of Rad Dad will be out in fall 2011; the zine I hope will continue and someday I look forward to passing it on to other rad dads and mamas to continue.  I’m always looking for coeditors so if you interested, let me know…

Our new DIY book, How and Why, is on Kickstarter!

Hello friends of Microcosm!

We’re reaching out to you because you’ve all been very supportive of us over the last fifteen years.

Thanks again for helping make so many things happen. These projects mean a lot to us, and it’s always heartening to hear they mean something to other people, too. It’s been extremely cool to connect with so many rad people in recent years. Thanks for being out there and doing what you do!

The motivating force behind this message is to let you know our new DIY book How and Why is being designed and is nearly ready to go. We’ve put a few years into making it as awesome as it can be and the only thing remaining to get it out there is to raise the money for printing. If you’d like a copy (or five) of How and Why, or need to replace some of our other books that you loaned to a friend, or need some presents for special people in your life, or just want to continue supporting our independent publishing:



If you’re into what we’re doing, it would help a lot if you could spread the word via email, facebook, twitter, yelling on street corners, or whatever comes naturally to you.

Thanks a lot! And do stay in touch.



P.S. We don’t plan on using Kickstarter for every new book that we release. We really try to only use it when we have to but it’s been a rough year, so of course we respond by trying to do a lot of stuff that we think is awesome!

The Microcosm Robnoxious Interview!

In Shut Up and Love the Rain, Oakland-based zinester Robnoxious takes along his path from early sexual exploration to his current sex-positive, constantly-deprogramming, über-healthy queerness! Rob’s writing and comics show us that experimentation should start early, that guilty pleasures needn’t be guilty, and that talking it over and being honest with each other will lead to nothin’ but good. Over the course of 64 pages you get personal history and sex/queer-related reviews. There’s hilarious, illuminating essays, intimate accounts of relationships outside the margins, and a touching, inspiring interview with Rob’s parents after his father came out as transgendered. Subheadlined “To Queer Anarchist Happiness Thru Good Living,” Rob’s brand-new comix and writing zine is just that—happy, living well, queer and anarchist and damn proud!               

You can order Shut Up and Love the Rain right here.

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Q: Let’s talk Shut Up and Love the Rain. What was the genesis for this one? When did you get started on it and what made you want to do it?

A: I wanted to do a zine like one I did years ago called Girl-Boy, but I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to do it with me. I just started writing about sexuality, queerness, gender, and personal experiences based on those things. Then I took those stories and made them into comics! A lot of the zine is sequential art, also known as comics. I decided it was time to get back into drawing, so I took a figure drawing and portraiture class at Laney College in Oakland. The classes were awesome, and after that my neglected drawing skills were re-activated. When I was growing up in high school I would receive and assignment and just flip it over to the blank side of the paper and draw whatever I wanted.  That’s really where it all started, with me saying, “This is bullshit. Let’s flip it over and try something different.”

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Q: I thought the section on your dad was really brave. What’s your parents’ response been to that part? Seems like their attitude is super healthy in regards to her change.

A: My parents were really happy with the interview focusing on my dad coming out as a transgendered woman. I think it meant a lot to my parents to have their son think that what they were doing was important enuf to put down in writing and share with the world. My parents seem much healthier now than they ever have been. It’s really great to see them happy. Sometimes I think my mom falls into the shadow a little bit, which is typical, because transitioning is such a big thing, a huge event in people’s life, so that the partner of the person transitioning is like, “Can we talk about something else for a minute?” Ha! They’re working it out.

Q: It seems to me that zines have been kind of sexless for years. You read these personal zines about love relationships and the characters never talk about sex, never have sex, never think about sex, anything like that. Which is unrealistic. Lately though I’ve seen a lot more zines with sexual content coming out. Have you noticed any change in that respect? Do you think zinesters are afraid of talking about sex?

A: I think that fear of sex is inherent in our whole culture, and that translates down to our alternative world too. I became more aware of our sexually repressed culture while living in Europe for three months and seeing the open attitude to sexuality and naked bodies. I saw huge posters on streets in Vienna with full nudes; if someone did this in the States they would probably be arrested! So even tho zines are underground and alternative, the mainstream mentality is still there inside our minds. A lot of people are repulsed by depictions of sexuality. It’s something you do only in the dark and you don’t talk about it and you can’t let anyone else know or hear you while you’re doing it; it has to be secret! Every year I go to this queer music festival in Tennessee and it’s great because there are these meadows with wall-to-wall tents, and at all times of the day you can hear people getting it on, fucking in their tents or out in the woods, and they hear you laughing, and then they laugh, and they keep going. It’s like the way things are in tribal situations, where people don’t have rooms to hide in, and where sex is seen and heard happening among various generations, and it’s just part of life, there’s nothing shameful about it.

Q: Who are your favorite zine-makers right now?

A: Craven Rock: he is writing about what he does to survive, working, and it’s interesting. Cindy Crabb: one of the first zines I read that was not superficial but was trying to get to the bottom of things, and still going! Full Metal Faggot: a sex positive queer porn zine with explicit photos of punks being sexual in seasonal labor jobs. Very unique. John Isaacson: comics about traveling around and having fun with the other people in the world. Max Clotfelter: comics about rough people, people that we know, people that we are, people that we could be.

Q: Give us your top six zines…

A: Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf (comic zine open to contributions), Eaves of Ass by Craven Rock, Full Metal Faggot, Doris, Loitering Is Good, The Roaming Heart by Gina Sicilliano.

Q: Are zines important in 2010?

A: Oh yeah, people are still getting a lot out of printed zines. They still read a zine, and if they think it’s good, they hand it off to someone else. Blogs are great to spread things around the world for cheap and easy, but not everyone has internet or a computer, and giving someone the address to your website and expecting them to stare at a screen connected to the grid is such a different experience than handing them a real physical zine to carry with them wherever they may go. All they need is for the sun to be up, and that I think zines are much more empowering in that way.

Microcosm Publishing Interview with the Team Colors Collective!

Team Colors is an awesome activist collective with members stretching across the US. Their latest venture is in publishing. Winds from Below: Radical Community Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible (Eberhardt Press) and Uses of a Whirlwind (AK Press) are out now and available here and here, respectively.

Q: Tell us a little about Team Colors…

Currently the collective is made up of Conor Cash (Tucson, AZ), Craig Hughes (Queens, NY by the time you read this), Stevie Peace (Minneapolis, soon to be Chapel Hill, NC), and Kevin Van Meter (Portland, OR), though we often work with other friends and organizations. As a collective our purpose is to examine current struggles, organizing, and movements, and to share findings that in turn better radical practice and build radical movements. Though each of us has had or is in the midst of academic training (i.e. grad school), we pull predominantly from our own experiences as organizers and active participants in revolutionary struggles.

Team Colors initially arose out of a decade-long organizing project in suburban Long Island, New York, that involved three of the collective’s current members. In organizing among DIY punk folks, hardcore kids, and related communities on Long Island–and in successful ways–we felt that we had developed a framework and set of experiences for examining how other organizations and projects functioned. This paired with an interest in militant and co-research–that is, research on militant activities and research produced in the encounter between the research team and those looking to produce knowledge about their communities and struggles. This focus brought us to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, where we met our fourth collective member.

The collective sees its role as examining struggles and circulating them, but not in a way that is removed or above or in ideological conflict with them or aspects of them. As organizers ourselves, we feel that it’s important to describe and share how an organization or campaign actually functions. Too often, organizers and activists give the “press release” version of their work: you read a short article on Indymedia or in the radical press that lists what’s great, what’s succeeding, including “orgasmic moments” of resonating power and potential, but what you miss is an in-depth description and analysis of how a particular organizing project works. We certainly need press releases and positive outlooks on our work, but we also need documents and media that reflect the complexity of organizing and struggling in the United States today.  

Additionally, we feel it is important to ground our politics and practices in our own life experiences, and we all have different interests that come through in our collective publications, including issues of class struggle, care work, and struggles around care. Each of us, and us as a collective body, have gone through some pretty traumatic experiences: state repression; a violent racially motivated attack; watching a friend and partner pass away; dealing with mental health and post traumatic stress disorder. We believe that unless movements address in real ways the mental and physical health issues, chronic pain, trauma, grief, and related experiences and realities of its members and surrounding communities, then they aren’t grasping the substance of life and the purposes of our struggles. Similarly, we are deeply frustrated by very problematic and lacking discourses on class and class dynamics around the Left. In our view, it is class struggle (in its multitudinous forms) that drives our history and present, and it is in the working class’s ability to recompose and renew itself and build power that we will get beyond the exploitation and domination of capital and state.

Q: You have two new publications coming out. Tell us a little about them.

Uses of a whirlwindA: Our first new publication concludes a two-year research project into radical movements in the United States. This began with an on-line journal called “In the Middle of a Whirlwind: 2008 Convention Protests, Movement, and Movements,” and has developed into a collection just out through AK Press, called Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements, and Contemporary Radical Currents in the United States (Whirlwinds).

The book collects over thirty voices from farms, forests, bookstores, streets and street corners, homes, and corporate chains (among many other spaces) so that they resonate with each other and share their stories. It is our intent that readers find this collection as simply one step forward in their organizing work, to encourage reflections about the complexities and cycles of struggle and examinations of their organizing.

As we wrote the introduction to Whirlwinds to help set up the context of the collection, we found we had a lot we wanted to bring forward but no space to do so. We wanted to examine the past thirty years of struggle–of this cycle of struggle, of capital’s response to it and the state violence used against it, and how this has developed into the current situation radical movements and communities face. So instead of straining to fit such a large amount of material into an already ambitious collection, we decided to place it in a separate pamphlet, called Wind(s) from Below: Radical Community Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible.

Winds from belowBoth of these projects are interventions. We are intervening into the current state of radical organizing and revolutionary struggle, and pointing toward exciting developments as well as the impasses that are limiting these potential struggles. One thing we want to stress, and we hope it comes off in our work, is that radicals need humility. We don’t have all the answers, we cannot understand all the complexities of life and the conditions of peoples’ lives through ideological lenses, we cannot presume that we are correct and that those who don’t agree with our politics are somehow immoral, ignorant, or corrupt. But we can walk together, ask questions, and create new ways of moving and living.

Q: The pamphlet’s being printed over at Eberhardt Press, who we love and support with all our heart. How’d you guys get hooked up with Charles at Eberhardt.

Since Kevin moved to Portland, OR two years ago, all of us have become fast friends with Charles and Eberhardt Press. But actually this is not how we encountered him and his unique and incredible printing work. Three years ago, we were looking to print a small run of about 350 cookbooks as a memorial and tribute to a friend who had recently passed away, and current “Green Scare” political prisoner Daniel McGowan pointed us in Eberhardt Press’s direction. (On that note, Team Colors would like to strongly suggest that those reading this take a moment to write a postcard, short letter or send zines to Daniel (www.supportdaniel.org) or another imprisoned activist (www.prisonactivist.org). It is these notes and printed materials that allow their lives to continuously flow into ours, and is among the best ways to show support for someone behind bars.)

Q: Tell us a little about what happened at the US Social Forum that took place between June 23-27th in Detroit?

Team Colors organized two workshops, a panel discussions, and a collaborative book party during the USSF (www.ussf2010.org) in Detroit at the end of June. We hosted a panel on radical research (with Chris Dixon, Harmony Goldberg, and Michal Osterweil of the Turbulence Collective), a workshop on research for radical movements (with Midnight Notes Collective, Institute of Anarchist Studies, Radical Reference, Frank Edwards and Robin Hewlett of AREA Chicago, Julie Perini, Chris Carlsson), a workshop on care (with SICK: A Collaborative Zine on Physical Illness editor Benjamin Holtzman, Philly Stands Up, Domestic Workers United, and Rockdove Collective), and finally, an amazing collaborative book release party with eight other authors (including Ben of SICK and Justseeds’ Firebrands, both Microcosm titles), co-organized by AK Press, Autonomedia, Black & Red, Fifth Estate, the Institute of Anarchist Studies, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, Microcosm Publishing, PM Press, Turbulence Collective, and author Jordan Flaherty.  New York based artist Seth Tobocman concluded the party with a slide show of recent work.   

All of this was part of a radical track of workshops and events called “A New World from Below” and we will be uploading audio from many of these events on our website as well.  Additionally, Whirlwinds was officially released during the Forum and we were super excited about the positive responses we received from new and old friends alike.  

Q: Do you have any other book events people can come meet you at?

Team Colors will be doing a national tour for most of the summer and into the fall. Immediately following the USSF we visited, and then Chicago, Madison, and Minneapolis. In July we will be doing events in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Asheville, Nashville, Gainesville, Lake Worth, Hollywood (Florida), Miami, and other areas of the Northeast and South. We are excited to do August events in Portland, the AK Press warehouse in Oakland, and San Francisco, as well as events in the rest of the Northwest later that month. Many of our events will include contributors to the book and other friends. It is the discussions that arise during these events, and from the book, that we hope to learn from and continue to circulate. Our USSF events and tour dates can be found at: http://warmachines.info/?page_id=241

Q: What’s next for Team Colors?

Aside from the book tour, each member of Team Colors has their own interests that they are excited to explore as the intensity of this project slows down in late fall 2010. Stevie will be going to graduate school and pursuing research on radical Asian America. Craig will continue his research on suburban social struggles. Kevin will focus in on issues of care, death, and mourning, and will look to produce a pamphlet and other pieces of writing on these subjects. As for the collective itself, we are always looking at new ways to connect with projects that we love and respect, and share how they function in order to improve radical practice and movements.  

Q: Where can people find more info on you guys?

The collective’s website, which includes numerous articles we have published as well as excerpts from both of the books, is at www.warmachines.info. For the website for the Whirlwinds collection, you can go directly to www.whirlwinds.info.