lowercase reading room

March 13, 2009

New in the reading room

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 6:25 pm


We’ve received some wonderful new material in the reading room over the past few months: Six issues of Illusory Self by Jack Bride, http://www.johnbride.com, and a new package of zines and other great material (including posters and this postcard by Sarah Evans) from Anchor Archive. There are books made during last year’s 24 Hour Zine Challenge: 10 words that I wish you wouldn’t say by Kaley, Why I like to Pee Outside by Amanda Stevens, and Botanical Hairstyles by Sonja Edworthy (see Zines Found and Received, Sept 11, 2008). Another from Anchor Archive is a two volume book bound into one book: Messy Baby by Julia Hartley and Messy Dog by Sarah Evans. The book has pages of recipes for healthy meals for both dogs and babies organized in alphabetical order. The 24 Hour Zine Challenge was an occasion to make a collaborative zine about the day’s activities that included a celebration of Anchor Archive’s third anniversary.  Congratulations!  Drift by Dustin was made during the day too. It’s a collection of hand drawn psychological maps of Halifax as seen or remembered-possibly in a dream.

Also new to the reading room are issues 1, 2, and 3 in the first volume of Y2K Compatible by Robert Dayton. Robert has moved from Vancouver to Toronto and we are happy he is staying in touch and sending his work – which is always a pleasure to receive.

Several copies of Show me the Money! have come to us from Coon Rapids, Minnesota. It’s a great DIY zine with articles about the economy and Utopian thought and The Winter/Spring 2009 issue includes a $10,000 forged U.S.bill displaying Dwight D. Eisenhower’s face. Very nice addition!

Donato Mancini’s new zine, FREE, is proof of his (currently) being worth 58 free coffees. Mancini has been collecting Bean Around the World cards since 2004. He displays the cards in this zine where we can see that on only three occasions has he weakend and claimed his free coffees.  If you’re broke and in need of a coffee try to find Mancini and maybe he’ll lend you one of these cards.

Two volumes of The Adventures of Matthew have stories, maps, and traveling tips. Thailand/Cambodia is a double volume that can be read front to back or back to front.

A mysterious little zine about Lististics has appeared. There is no author’s name on it but it’s a swell zine.  Jeff Miller in Montreal sent us Issue No. One of Negative Capability. Negative Capability defined by Keats is the state when “man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”.

We have two volumes of Rain, Radical Art in Nature magazine published in Vancouver. These volumes both have hand made art pasted into the pages. The whole production is made with a great deal of care. You can email Rain at rainzine@gmail.com to find out how where to pick up a copy.

Aaron Fitzpatrick from Hamilton, Ontario sent us Volume 1 of The Progressive Thinker. This is the debut publication from Leaf House Press and “features commentaries on the state of western society. The Progressive Thinker presents viewpoints from alternative perspectives not touched on in the mainstream media”.

And last but not least! A tiny book by Kelly titled My Good Fortune, a collection of  her fortune cookie fortnues from the past five or six years. Wow! I counted over 60 little strips of fortunes in this zine.


September 30, 2008

The Shuffle of Things: A New Exhibition

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 9:41 pm

September 11, 2008

Zines Found and Zines Received

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 10:14 pm

We now have lowercase reading room business cards! Stop by the reading room to pick one up. You’ll find our email address on our card as well as the address for this blog. We are always so very happy to receive new books from our readers and want to thank each of you personally. Therefore we need to know your email address or your postal address. The reading room email address is: lowercasereadingroom@gmail.com. Please write to us with any questions or concerns.

The Russian zines and Estonian artists books exhibition has closed and while I was putting books away and setting up a new display from the collection I discovered two books of poetry I hadn’t seen before.

th emerald dreems uv port colborne ontario by bill bissett was published Warren Dean Fulton’s Pooka Press in 1999. It was great to find this chapbook in the collection. Thanks to whoever donated it.

The copy of Force Movements by Nelson Ball is the 2nd edition “slightly revised”. The first edition was published by bp nichol’s Ganglia Press in Toronto in 1969. Thanks to whoever donated this book. Stand up and take credit. There is a great deal of Canadian publishing history embodied in these two chapbooks.

Recently added to the collection are two zines from Halifax that were made during the 24 Hour Zine Challenge hosted by Anchor Archive. You can read all about the 24Hour Zine Thing here: www.http://24hourzines.com

This is a project where participants make a 24 page zine from the start to the finished printed copy in 24 hours. No stopping, No sleeping! The idea is to not have any ideas until the day you sit down to work. I made a 24 hour zine last year. It was great fun and wonderfully exhilarating to spend such a concentrated time working on a book. It was also exhausting. I thought of doing it again this year but that’s as far as I got.

How I Got Over my Fear of Spiders is by Amanda Stevens. Educate Yourself about Botanical Hairstyles is by Sonia Edworthy. Both women (of great stamina) should be congratulated on finishing their projects.

Also briefly noted in New Contributions is issue #1 of Enthusiasm a free zine by Susie and Tim from Norwich, England and a small poetry chapbook by Edwin.

For those of you who were at the gala third anniversary party for the Regional Assembly of Text (where the lowercase reading room makes its home) you will remember the cake to end all cakes by Allison Chambers. For those who couldn’t come to the party, here are some pictures now.

July 22, 2008

New Exhibition: Russian Zines and Estonian Artist’s Books

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 6:34 am

The exhibition Russian Zines and Estonian Artists’ Books is a selection of some of the new books in the collection of Jo Cook and Wesley Mulvin. The following blog entry written by Cook is a short introduction to some of the books you can find in the lowercase reading room during the month of August.

Just across the street from the Moscovski Railway Station in St Petersburg is the Contemporary Arts and Culture Centre, The Pushkinskaya 10. The three-story centre is a warren of halls, stairwells, outdoor courtyards and doors with hand-lettered signs in Cyrillic that say John Lennon’s Temple, Fish Fabrique Club, The Museum of Non-conformist Art and the door to the “Kultprosvet” Information Bureau & Book Club, an intimate bookstore well-stocked with local publishers’ books on art and culture along with a good selection of St Petersburg underground publications.

The books we are showing at the lowercase reading room for the month of August are zines and comics by St Petersburg artists. There are half a dozen volumes of Van Gogh’s Ear, a quarterly photocopied zine with a different theme for each issue, usually with hand-painted covers.

Two pages from the Book of Dead Poets, Thirteen Poets Destroyed by Their Own Country. Published in an edition of 100 copies.

Wild Division, by Grigory Katsnelson. Published in an edition of 50 copies in blue ink on newsprint.

There are small press books about anatomy and other subjects and a wonderful box filled with sheets of drawings on recycled brown paper. These drawings are not only beautiful but funny too – even if you can’t read Cyrillic. You can find out more about the Pushkinskaya 10 here: http://p10.nonmuseum.ru and the link to Gavril Lunin’s website is here: http://www.lubnin.pp.ru/ and link to the artist who publishes Van Gogh’s Ear is here: http://www.girsh4.narod.ru

Another beautiful set of books by Dimitri Prigov (5 November 1940- 16 July 2007) is the box of 13 mini-books published by Stop Over Press in 1996. You can read an interview with Prigov by Philip Metres here: http://behindthelinespoetry.blogspot.com/2007/07/ends-of-russian-poetry-interview-with.html

The Estonian artists’ books in this exhibition are a diverse cross-section of publications that we collected randomly or were given to us as gifts by other artists when we were in Tallinn, Estonia at an artists’ residency.

Rääkivad Majad, Speaking Houses by Mark Adam and Marko Mäetamm is a bilingual edition of 10 stories that are profoundly dark and disturbing. Hand bound in an edition of 200 by Lennart Mänd who teaches book binding at the Estonian Art Academy, this book is a typically stunning example of the unparralled craftsmanship in Estonian artists’ books. Published by Royal Incest Books of Pain.

A Complete Guide to Estonian Bus Stops by Eve Kask and Signe Kivi is a two inch thick book with photographs of the1545 bus shelters in Estonia. The two women spent three years traveling 13,000 kilometers along Estonian roads documenting the unique and diverse architectural structures that serve as shelters for waiting bus passengers.

Eesti ’00 aastate autorikoomiks is a catalogue for a traveling exhibition of graphic narratives published by the Estonian Arts Academy. Check out this link to work in the exhibition here: http://www.hot.ee/koomiks

Please join us for the opening of this exhibition. The opening is from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday August 3rd. Jo Cook will be there to answer any questions. Please join us or visit the reading room any day of the week. We are open daily from noon to 5:00 pm.

July 3, 2008

The End of Hell!

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 11:28 pm

The End of Hell party! Photos from top left: 1) The lowercase reading room display of all 24 volumes of the Hell Passport Project. 2) Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Dolen proprietors of the Regional Assembly of Text, the store that gives the lowercase reading room its home. 3) Both blue and red boxes of the Hell Passport set. 4) Owen Plummer, Chief among the Fiends. 5) Wesley Mulvin is proud to show off his passport. 6) Red snacks only for this event! 7) Rebecca and Terry Plummer celebrating the End of their Hell. 8 ) James Whitman reading a book that makes him laugh.

The End of Hell

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 11:04 pm

We are pleased to host the launch of Perro Verlag’s box set of 24 Hell Passports. The party celebrates the completion of a project that has grown from the initial 12 volumes to include artists from across Canada. This series of visual art chapbooks includes work by comic artists, visual poets, carpenters, publishers, scholars, and layabouts. See http://www.perroverlag.com for more information.

April 25, 2008

lowercase reading room

Filed under: Artist's Books — lowercasebooks @ 9:50 pm

The lowercase reading room, “one of the richest collections of unusual zines and artist-made books in the country,” is located at 3934 Main Street in Vancouver, BC. Assembled from the combined collections of Jo Cook, Rebecca Dolen and Brandy Fedoruk, the reading room houses over 500 books in a 9′ x 3′ space at the Regional Assembly of Text, a gift store of hand-made textual oddities. Open seven days a week from noon until 5 pm, the reading room provides a quiet place to read or research the endless possibilities for self-publishing. There are full-colour comics, photocopied grocery lists, zines about personal obsessions and enthusiasms. There are pamphlets and manifestos, the rude and crude and X-rated, alongside lovingly handstitched books with fur-lined covers. An afternoon of browsing may uncover books about holidays from hell, brochures about the end of the world, a survey zine about New Year’s resolutions and a quiz about toast.

The first systematic defence of one’s right to self-publish was written by John Milton in his Areopagitica in 1644. Milton argued that the survival of an ideology-based state hinges on its tight control of ideas and that state control is impossible to challenge unless self-publishing is allowed. Whether or not the authors of the books in the lowercase reading room collection have read Milton, they share the impulse to create works without censorship. The self-publisher has a dream: she sees the world and its variety of creatures and inventions, she hears the many forms of speech and sees its written symbols, she is not afraid of inconsistencies. She welcomes accidents and the beauty of human imperfection that is edited out by homogeneous ideologies.

The wood engravings here are from the book Orbis Pictus, published in 1658 by the Czech educational reformer Jan Amos Comenius. Orbis Pictus was unique in its day for both its conception and appearance. The use of numerous illustrations and the use of the vernacular language alongside Latin were radical innovations that departed markedly from the traditional grammar school textbooks that were written in Latin only and without any illustrations. Orbis Pictus initiated a new tradition in school textbooks designed to be put in the hands of the children themselves.

For more information or to send your books to the lowercase reading room contact: lowercasereadingroom@gmail.com or 1.604.877.2247.

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