I went over to Academy Annex’s new location the other day. They’ve moved to a space not far from where I live — or, more precisely, even closer to where I live than they did before. And their location relative to WORD and Permanent Records means that, in theory, I can drop a lot of money on books and music in the span of less than ten blocks. Besides picking up Siltbreeze’s reissue of The Victor Dimisich Band’s discography — which is excellent, and will be written about more here soon — I also grabbed the first issue of a zine called Street Preacher.
On the first page, the phrase “The New York Hardcore Review of Books” has been written. This made me incredibly happy; it also fell into the category of “phrases I am amazed no one’s run with until now.” I was even happier, as I read the zine, to discover that it wasn’t really said in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
It’s both punk as fuck and very literary: there’s an interview with Paul Sann, son of Kill the Dutchman! author Howard Sann, and notes on the life of Amsterdam Stories author Nescio. Though it doesn’t lose sight of the hardcore inside the front cover: one essay opens with a nod towards Rancid’s self-titled album from 2000, and a long riff on punk lyrics opens the zine. There’s a talented array of writers in here, and I’m hoping to read more from all of them.
Issue 6 of The La-La Theory takes a similar joy in the different permutations of words. This zine’s focus on language leads it to some compelling ephemera — from unearthed volumes to the contents of archaic studies and manuals of language. There’s one fantastic riff on, essentially, poems made from found language; “the Kathy Acker novel I found hiding” in one such volume is pretty spot-on. Equally intriguing is a long discussion of words without an English equivalent. “Obsolete words have stories like obituaries,” editor Katie Haegele notes in her introduction, “but the words in this zine are all still alive.” Which is very true.
The first issue of Omitted notes that the pages contained inside were written from 2003 and 2006, when the author was between 19 and 22 years of age. And it feels like an object out of time: the reproduced journal pages, with certain words blacked out; the references to then-active bands like None More Black. It’s a kind of coming-of-age narrative, as the editor (Miss Omitted, as she’s referred to on the back cover) discusses her sexuality, commitment issues, and her own upbringing. And it absolutely feels like a trip inside someone else’s head, with all of the concerns and insecurities that can ensue — and all the empathy that can arise from that.