Welcome to Mend My Dress Press’ Blog! We’re a small grrrl run publishing house and zine distro based in Tacoma, WA. To get to one of our other fun online places (the store, our tumblr, peruse our released titles, and many other cool places) just click the link you want to follow. To read our blog, just scroll down a little. Thanks for visiting!
Last Thursday I was picked up at the airport by Jonathan, my guide to Chicago, and dropped off my stuff at my new home for the week. I would be staying in a warehouse–large windows, little bedrooms created out of old doors, 2x4s and plastic sheeting. A room full of recording equipment. Through the wonders of Facebook, I had gotten in touch with a friend that was on tour with her band, Bellow, and they just happened to be playing a short walk from home. The house was small, and smokey, and Bellow was amazing. Of course we met up with Osa of Shotgun Seamstress. Just my good luck! We bonded over our sadness than Colleen could not make it out with me. After the show Jonathan and I stayed up till dawn, talking, staring stories of the four months since we had last seen each other.
Friday was a long afternoon walk through the Ukrainian Villiage. Taking pictures of churches and saints, eating Varenyky and candy sold by the pound. Drinking pear soda. Had lunch with another friend, Jail, who makes amazing creepy music. She was leaving for tour the next day and showed me the best place to get cheap copies. We walked to Quimby’s and was so excited to see two Mend My Dress Press books in the window display! Thank you!The Youth Reading and the Exhibitor Reading at the Boring Store was wonderful. I read from my brand new zine. I was nervous, but happy. All of the readings where really amazing and inspiring.
Saturday morning was a chore: the train line broken, I arrived late to the zine fest, set up my table quickly and settled in. I spent the whole day excited and happy. I met so many friends, both new and old (I will not bother name checking everyone, heaven forbid I forget someone, but you know who you are). I did lots of zine trades, sold bunches of books and found some new stuff for the distro. It was a very productive day on all counts. Thank you so much Chicago Zine Fest!
The rest of my time in Chicago has been become a bit of a blur. What night did I stay up at an after-after party dancing, waiting in the pouring rain, falling into bed at six a.m.? What morning was spent cursing the very real rain (so so unlike the northwest mist), hailing to meet friends at Quimby’s? How many hours where spent eating and talking at the falafel place? How many hugs and promises to write. How many zines did we dream up? When did we eat ice cream sundaes at midnight? Whatever, all you need to know is that my week was magical and that CZF is already on my calender for next year.
We got to L.A. on Friday and all oohed and awed over the palm trees and bright sun, and spent the next few days soaking in the city, riding the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica, spending time with friends, and laying on Venice Beach at night listening to the waves. Neely and Maranda even got matching swan tattoos!
Sunday was L.A. Zine fest and it was totally amazing! We loaded in early and had a few minutes to peruse our fellow tablers goods before the doors opened and the crowd stated rolling in. We ran a “Anthologizing Your Zines” workshop in the morning, and spent the rest of the seeing zinester friends and meeting new people, getting new zines and selling books and zines to the many people that stopped by our booth.
After we packed up and said our good-byes to friends and tour mates (and maybe shed a few tears…) we got a good nights sleep and woke up bright and early and Neely, Myself and my wife (who flew in to join us) headed off to Disneyland and spent the day totally losing our shit as princesses walked by and riding rides until the park closed down and the booted our butts out.
And so our incredible tour ended, and we packed up the car and kissed L.A. good-bye with a promise to return soon. Joshua from Ms. Valerie Park joined us in the morning and we all headed up the interstate until we hit snow and darkness and called it a night. So here we are, in Weed, California, jumping on the bed and waiting for the snow to clear.
The Bay Area has been good to us. Wednesday found us all hanging out together all day; which was really the first time this tour that’s happened. We kicked off the day by sleeping in late and eating tofu scramble, them heading to the beach, where we all just relaxed and walked in the sand.
Then it was burritos for all some quality book time at City Lights, and off to Needles & Pens for our San Francisco reading. The audience was warm and welcoming and Neely even scored some sweet death moon earrings.
After some much needed sleep, we all spent the day in Oakland. Some of us spent the day reading by the lake, or getting manicures, or drinking coffee and folding zines. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and we all just spent the day hanging out and soaking in the vitamin D.
We ended the night at the Holdout for our last reading on the tour. We got a tour of the Holdout (a community space with a bookshop, two event spaces, and a community bike workshop and printing studio. It’s totally fucking rad, and an awesome place to spend Valentine’s day and Mend My Dress Press’ official one-year anniversary. Maranda read from Telegram, Osa read from Shotgun Seamstress, and Neely and I read from our Corin Tucker Fanzine Split. A perfect way to end our time in the Bay Area, and now we’re looking forward to LA adventures at LA zine fest!
Monday morning, Maranda Elizabeth and I hoped in the car and made the short trek down to Portland to meet up with Neelybat and Osa (who had both gone down the night before). We passed the exit for Aberdeen (which I promised I would bring them to the next time they were in Seattle), and enjoyed each-others company (which included an impromptu “industrial history and micro-climates in Washington state” monologue from yours truly…) as we traveled the highway lined with evergreens on the gray foggy morning.
As soon as we arrived in Portland, we stopped by Powells books, spent too much money, and then met up with Neelybat for lunch and record browsing. And then it was time for the reading!
We started setting up at Portland Button Works and pretty soon the place was packed! We all mingled for a little while, meeting friends of friends, chatting, and drinking some delicious apple cider Alex had prepared for the reading.
The reading itself was awesome. Osa, Neely and Maranda all read in “mixtape order” and kept the audience captivated through the evening.
Tuesday was travel day–with Osa and I sharing driving duties (tho mostly Osa drove), and everyone in the car singling along with Greenday, Hole, and Sleater-Kinney Albums. We soaked in the beauty of northern California all day, and Maranda was in awe over the mountains (it was the first time they had seen so many!), and we made it into the Bay Area in time to make some delicious pasta and salad and pass the fuck out. It’s been an exciting tour so far, and we can’t wait for the reading tonight in San Francisco!
P.S.-It’s at Needles and Pens at 7:00. See you there!
Our tour has officially started! A wild rumpus kicked off the tour Saturday night at the Black Coffee Co-op in Seattle, WA, with readings, music, and ice-cream; and we read, danced, and partied. The six cop cars that showed up on a noise complaint just made us happy, it was a good sign that we where doing it right.
To kick off the party, Osa introduced us all and read from Shotgun Seamstress, Neelybat read from Mend My Dress, and Nyky Gomez joined us and read from her amazing zine, Skinned Heart. Unfortunately, Maranda Elizabeth, who was slated to read from their book, Telegram, missed the reading because their plane was landing, and I was picking them up from the airport, but we made it back in time just to see Little Debbie play some tunes.
Ire Adrift kept the party goin’ with their set (which resulted in the aforementioned cop attendance), and our awesome intern Helen and I worked the merch table through the next few sets by some great local bands (Fucking Magnets, RiverMark Harper and OH-DADANGDADEVIL!). There were make-out sessions, dancey-dancing, and a smudge stick that blessed/ narrowly avoided burning up all our books. At 2 am, we all sang “You are my sunshine,” called it a night, Packed up our stuff, and crawled into bed, dreaming of our adventures to come.
After a chill morning, we headed down to Olympia for the reading at the Northern. The evening was an intimate event, Osa introduced Mend My Dress Project (for the second night in the row!) and talked about her involvement with the POC Zine Project, their upcoming fall 2013 Race Riot Tour, and their legacy series. She then read from Shotgun Seamstress, and was followed by readings from Neelybat, Nyky and this time even Maranda got a chance to read!
Check out some pics from the Olympia event above, while we gear up for the Portland reading tonight at Portland Button Works!
***** (5 stars)
This is a beautiful, inspiring, absorbing book. It isn't a traditional novel, nonfiction tome or memoir but instead a collection of self-published zines (if you're unsure what a zine is, then google is your friend) which were handcrafted by the author themself. As a result, the look of the book's pages are much prettier than that of an "ordinary" book, with text written on typewriters, computer and by hand and cute hand-drawn illustrations and embellishments, as well as cut-and-paste images.
Being a super small company that focuses on zines and zine anthologies, we rely on word-of-mouth from our friends and supporters to sustain us. We’ve had an amazing first year, and are so grateful for everyone who has helped us so far on our publishing and distro dream, and have come up with a few simple things that you can do to help support us and keep us going.
Tell the World What You Think
Goodreads and Amazon are (as silly as it may sound) excellent places to leave quick reviews, and reviews help grow readership. So if you think one of our titles should be read by others, please do us a favor and leave a rating or review. Who knows, your review might even persuade someone new to zines to read an anthology and start making a zine of their own.
Tell Us What You Think
If there’s a zine you think we should carry, or title you would like to see put out, please let us know! We love getting feedback and always appreciate leads. Also, if you write a zine you think might be a good fit, we’d love to take a look at it. Drop us an email or send us a letter. Adoring fan mail and/or glittery stickers are also always appreciated…
Lets Get Together… Online and Off!
Just like Haley Mills and Haley Mills sang–let’s get together! Online, we can be found at facebook and tumblr, where we often post about upcoming events, new zines and releases, and what we (and others) have been up to when it comes to zines. “Liking” us on facebook is an easy way for you and your friends to stay up to date with Mend My Dress Press.
While online networking sites are great, they are no substitute for interaction in the flesh. We’re upping our physical presence this year, starting in two weeks, with our mini-west coast anniversary tour and we would love to meet you! So if you can, come to one of our events, or come out to a zine fest we’re tabling and say hi.
Support Us By Supporting Our Authors and Other Zinesters
Of course we want you to support us by getting books and zines from our shop, but we also want you to support our authors and other zinesters by reading their zines, attending their events, following them online, and other rad things like writing them letters. Going to zine fests and readings and zine making workshops are great ways to meet new people and find good zines.
And we don’t just mean on the interwebs. We love lending books and zines to our friends (as long as we get ‘em back)! It’s a great way to introduce people to zines and share ideas. Also, donating zines you’ve read (or made, or have duplicate copies of) that you want other people to enjoy is a great way to share. There are many activist/communal/ radical places, from coffee shops to community centers to libraries that will gladly accept donations–all you have to do is ask.
What are you doing in February? Over here at Mend My Dress Press, February feels like it’s just around the corner. You see, February is the official 1 year anniversary of Mend My Dress Press and to celebrate, we’re hittin’ the road with some of our represented authors in a west coast mini-tour!
Neelybat Chestnut (Mend My Dress: Collected Zines), Osa Atoe (Shotgun Seamstress Zine Collection), Maranda Elizabeth (Telegram: A Collection of 27 Issues) and I will be heading down the northwest coast, making stops along the way do zine readings and even play some music. We’ll be joined by Little Debbi from Los Angles, who will be playing music with us at some of our stops. We’re still hammering out a lot of details, but we’ll keep you updated as this plan comes together!
In the meantime, here’s where we’ll be heading, and a list of shows we’ve booked so far. Hope to see you as we trek down the coast, and if you want to help us fund the tour, please grab some rad zines or books from our online shop, since pretty much any money we bring in till march will end up help funding this trip. We’ll also be posting the promotional fliers on the site and would love your help spreading the word. Thanks!
Saturday, Feb 9th:
Zine reading/ music show in Seattle, WA.
Neelybat, Osa and Maranda will all be reading, and Neely will be playing with her band, Ire Adrift, along with Little Debbie and others.
Black Coffee Co-op, 8PM
Sunday, Feb 10th:
Zine reading/ music show in Olympia, WA
Neelybat, Osa and Maranda will all be reading. Neely will be playing with her band, Ire Adrift, along with Little Debbie and others.
The Northern, 4PM
Monday, Feb 11th:
Zine reading in Portland, OR
Neelybat, Osa and Maranda will all be reading.
Portland Button Works, 7:30 PM
Want to help us spread the word for the Portland reading? Download and post flyers!
(you may need to right-click and download files)
Wednesday, Feb 13th:
Zine reading in San Francisco, CA
Neelybat, Osa and Maranda will all be reading.
Needle & Pens, 7 PM
Want to help us spread the word for the San Francisco reading? Download and post flyers! (you may need to right-click and download files)
Thursday, Feb 14th:
Zine reading in Oakland, CA
The Holdout, 7:30 PM
Want to help us spread the word for the Oakland reading? Download and post flyers!
(you may need to right-click and download files)
Friday, Feb 15th:
Potential zine reading in Los Angeles, CA
Place/ time to be determined
Sunday, Feb 17th:
Los Angeles Zine Fest!
We’ll be hanging out all day with all the awesome folks in LA at the zine fest, and running a workshop on different aspects of anthologizing zines.
And thus our tour ends. We hope you come out and see us on one of our stops!
Well, the disto is up and running full speed ahead, and while we continue to grow our stock of zines (and hopefully soon some buttons and patches!), we thought we’d take a brief moment to highlight some of the titles new in stock! We’re still actively stocking the shelves, and are really excited for zines that are coming our way, and just wanted to remind you that if you’re interested in us potentially carrying your zine, just shoot us an email, we’d love to chat and see if it’s a good fit!
“Jane was a clandestine abortion counseling service which effectively provided safe, humane services to thousands of women prior to the legalization of abortion in 1973. Jane is an inspiration a beautiful example of the battles that can be won without begging, of women taking their lives into their own hands and taking responsibility for their actions.”
Cheer the Eff Up
Reading Cheer The Eff Up is like getting to know a warm and inviting friend, and makes you just want to send Jonas a letter and become penpals. (Which, PS, is totally plausible). If you haven’t read Cheer the Eff Up yet, we suggest you start at the beginning.
Issue #1: What part of Cheer The Eff Up is fiction? What isn’t? In the end, it doesn’t even seem to matter. Issue #1 starts with a letter to an unborn daughter and takes us traveling through Jonas’ life. Going to college, making friends, losing friends; supporting friends. Most of the zine is about what happened to all of Jonas’ friends after college, and stories about family, peppered with little wisdoms for aforementioned unborn daughter, including “cheer the eff up.” There is a also bittersweet story that ends with a passive aggressive message on a cake. And that’s amaze-balls.
Deafula is a rad zine about a girl and her deafness
Issue #4: The employment issue. This issue is all about how the authors hearing loss has related to her ability to get a job. stuff about ssdi, ada compliance, and the ways in which being deaf has affected job searching and holding down a job.
A Personal Political Mexicana perspective zine dealing with issues such as mental health, health, abusive relationships, race issues, sexual abuse, and generally living and learning.
Numero Quatro: About surviving abusive relationships, feeling disconnected from culture and finding a way back, health issues and healthcare and living in the northwest.
Live Through This:
A Retrospective, the early work of Leigh Riibe (1995-2000) is part of a retrospective of my teenage years. This collateral zine includes some of the photographs in this collection, mixtape art, and hand painted stories from Leigh’s life in the nineties. As stated on the first page in the zine, “this is a mixtape archive and a photo herstory of one girl in America.”
A brand new issue of Mend My Dress:
#9 Vol. 4: They were all my friends, and they died. Writings about death
Wow, it’s been a while since we updated y’all with our recent shenanigans (perhaps, in part, because we’ve been so busy), so it’s high time for a post!
Earlier this month (November 3rd, to be exact), Neely and I trucked a bunch of stuff from my house all the way over to the other side of town to take part in Seattle’s Short Run Small Press Fest. It’s always fun going to events, but I have to admit, it’s really fun going to events in your hometown. While mostly comic artists were present at Short Run, there were also some more text focused zines, and Neely and I had a really awesome time looking through everyone’s items, which ranged from Small Press books, to small handmade books of drawings, to beautifully drawn and printed comics, to old school copy and staple zines.
It was really great to connect with some new local artists and writers, and to see friends from all around the Pacific Northwest, plus, I scooped up the Invincible Summer 2013 calendar, which is pretty rad, along with some other sweet zines and comics.
And for the past few weeks we’ve mostly been focusing on filling orders, getting stock out to distros and bookstores (Which brings me to a side note: Bluestockings in NYC will have all the Mend My Dress Press zine anthologies in stock soon, so keep an eye out if you’re in the store for our titles), and getting stock ready for our own distro, which is launching in just a few days.
That’s right, ya heard me. We were going to wait to the new years to open up the full distro store, but figured we had a decent amount of stock so we should open up early. So, in the cheery spirit of the winter holidays, we are officially opening up the online shop on Small Business Saturday (aka Nov. 24th) and running a 10% off sale store-wide through Monday, Nov 26th. To stock up now, just use the code SMALLSAT2012 at checkout to get your discount.
oh yeah, you can also access our shop right from our facebook page. nifty, eh?