The randomness that spews forth from my mind

Zine Reviews

17 Strangers
Katie Haegele

At first I thought the little 2-inch-by-2-inch booklets that came in the package might be part of the zine. It turns out they were just freebies filled with poems from I approve!

I put the little booklets and the thing actually with the title 17 Strangers on it in a little ziplock bag and tossed it in my backpack to read later.

17 Strangers had been in my stack of to-read zines for a while so i had forgotten what it was about. The cover though certainly points you in the right direction. On the brown-paper-bag cover is a “HELLO my name is” sticker with “17 STRANGERS” written in pink sharpie on the sticker. To me, this says that I am going to be introduced to (however briefly) a number of people I have never met before. That was exactly what happened.

17 Strangers is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” writing experiments or challenges. Haegele presents for us seventeen brief sketches from her life where somehow a stranger affected her (at least enough for her to remember them).

Some of the sketches are of brief moments shared with strangers where a common shared experience is created in an instant, like on a subway car when something completely bizarre happens and you turn to your neighbor and ask them “what the fuck was that?”

Others are of those strangers you see regularly but never interact with, like the guy who you see walking down the street every few weeks who dresses like a pimp from a 70’s blacksploitation film.

Still others are of those strangers who affected you but you never even saw, like the person who crushed the bumper of your parked car and then drove off.

What I am most impressed with though is how well everything works as a whole to point towards (from many different directions) the idea of the “stranger.” Haegele offers no introduction nor closing statement and yet she doesn’t need to. It all just works.

Glass Orchid #6

Once again the people behind Glass Orchid bring us a tight package of vinyl obsession. This time around they focus on The Mission, a folk/pop group from the 60’s and 70’s made up of (initially aspiring and eventually unconfirmed) seminarians!

The story (as is often the case with Glass Orchid) starts out randomly flipping through vinyl at a Goodwill. There the future object of obsession is discovered. From there the research is done and the story comes to light. We are told the story of a group of seminarians who thought they could be a force for progressive change by playing music for the masses. The tale has highs (such as getting signed to a major label) and lows (such as their getting dumped from the seminary) but always has the hope of changing the world for the better.

In this issue we are also treated to the final installment of the David & Anthony saga (started in issue four), a review of an ultra-violent Hong Kong crime film, and a few music reviews. All of this is wrapped up in a lovely cover giving nods to both HP Lovecraft and the classic Chick Tracts!