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!
It’s been a month since LA zine fest, and we’re already planning next years visit. To start the trip off, we celebrated the presses 2-year anniversary at DisneyLand. We even got “happy anniversary” buttons, which confused the hell out the park workers but c’est la vie! Neely and Colleen’s wife, Lindsay rode every roller-coaster that was open, and we all shed tears that “It’s a Small World” was closed…again…for the second damn year in a row. wah! But we spent 13 hours at the park anyways and then crashed.
The next day we swung by Exene Cervenka’s moving sale where Neely scored some sweet rhinestone bracelets, some bangles, silk carnation hair-pins and other gifts for equally obsessed friends in the northwest. She even got Colleen a pair of dangly gold earrings. After a satisfying, well-balanced meal of french toast sticks and tatertots from the Sonics Drive-in (because, seriously, they don’t exist in Seattle and we clearly needed a junk food fix) we were back on the road to LA.
We picked up our books, including the newly released Truckface anthologies and Nights and Days in the Dark Carnival, and headed off to set up our table at the LA Zine Fest. A Major thank you to Colleen’s wife, Lindsey, for driving us all over town and helping us make our table look as stellar as possible. We love you!
So, anyways! L.A. is always wonderful, and Zine Fest proved just as wonderful as the city itself. We started off by delivering LB her first box if the newly released Truckface anthologies (and it’s quite possible a few happy tears may have been shed…and a few happy hugs may have been shared… by all of us…). We then settled up to the table for most of the day and spent the next 6 hours chatting with the gazillions of people that came by our table and our zine friends from near and far. Just a small sampling of titles we picked up were the newest Cheer The Eff Up by Jonas, the newly reformatted Rad Dad, Don’t Hide Behind Your Skirt by Aurora Lady and put out by Fair Dig press, and a mind-blowingly awesome set of zines about queer artists and activists from around the world by Miyuki at Queer Scribes Productions. We also scored a copy of Datacide by Amanda Rae and Nathaniel Eras… given to Neely because her outfit was so cool. ha!
The day was full of trades and meeting new people, workshops and panels (unfortunately, we were too busy to make it to all the workshops and panels, but did make it to a great panel hosted by the POC Zine Project on cultivating community and culture), seeing good friends and getting lots and lots of zines. At the end of the day, we packed up our books and unsold zines, put our piles of new zines in our bags to read later, hugged a ton of wonderful people, and said goodbye to another great year at LA zine fest. Colleen and Lindsey took off to go mail back books, and Neelybat continued her LA adventure.
A few words from Neelybat: After zine fest, I spent the evening with Nyky of Brown Recluse Zine Distro and Ari (MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL). First we had dinner with a whole mess of zine buddies. Afterwards we swooned over the house of 10,000 leggings just down the street and drove to Mulholland Drive for some tough bitch photo ops. We drank tea in a diner, looking over the suitcase of zines Nyky had collected and eavesdropped on a d&d game the next table. I was dropped off at my dream apartment, snuggled under a pile of blankets I read zines in the blue light until I fell asleep. Monday was a free day, I was lucky to have a crew of people willing to help my high school wannabe mall goth babe dreams come true. Most of the day was spent with Brodie Foster Hubbard, Fiona Avocado and Alex Wrekk… and a bunch of dead people. If you are ever given the chance, Hollywood Forever cemetery makes a wonderful date spot, even if your date consists of four people and their five cameras. I kissed graves and whispered secrets. I made a pact with Janye Mansfield, and held hands over Dee Dee Ramone.
Thanks for everything, L.A.! We love you, and can’t wait to come back soon!
Our newest book is now out! Summer Time, A Graphic Novella in 4 parts, by Gina Siciliano, is a beautiful and redemptive tale of sex, violence, punk, love, self-destruction and survival. Gina’s skillful drawings, all done with a ball-point pen, highlight the heartbreaking depth of the novella.
Originally produced as a zine series, the book includes all four original issues, plus some extra story-boards, sketches, and notes, highlighting the process of how Gina created the story.
We met Gina a few years ago, while tabling at the Portland Zine Symposium, and both immediately were drawn to this important body of work. She self-published a small run of the book in 2012, and we are extremely proud to be able to continue keeping the work in print by adding it to the presses catalog, and can’t wait to see what’s next in store from this incredibly proficient storyteller and artist.
We just said good-bye to our very first intern at Mend My Dress Press and we are so sad to see her go! We had an awesome five months with Helen, who helped us us table to first few stops of our 1-year anniversary tour, helped keep our inventory up to date, edited manuscripts, reviewed zines, kept us laughing, and entertaining us with educating us on sci-fi literature. But now Helen is on her way to explore different things and we are so sad to see her go, but so glad she dedicated her time and efforts to helping us.
Check out what Helen thought about her internship:
I had no idea what I was getting into when I applied for the internship at Mend My Dress Press, but I am so glad and privileged to have had this experience. Being an English Literature major and having a life long interest in books, I have always been intrigued by publishing. Even with my basic knowledge I can see that the publishing industry is changing and small presses like MMDP are becoming much more common. I liked MMDP’s focus on zines and zine culture, social justice issues and personal stories. It was a very different world from my academic one, one that sometimes felt more real than my college experience.
My tasks at MMDP were wide ranging and varied. I helped Neely and Colleen put together inventory for tabling events and run book readings. There were several late nights and long hours and schedule changes to deal with. Even exhausted, I enjoyed these readings and getting to meet both authors and readers. I edited manuscripts and made calls about potential titles. It was amazing and rewarding to be given so much independence and trust in my tasks.
Of course, there were less interesting tasks like counting inventory, pricing, or putting together various mailing lists, but I got to work with Neely at MMDP headquarters which was always fun and usually involved the softest cat in the world sitting on my lap!
Whatever the tasks included, whether it was researching zine libraries or potential tabling events, I was so happy to get to help out the Press. Independent publishing companies like this one are hugely important, but they take a lot of time and effort to run. I feel honored to have met and worked with Colleen and Neely and to have gotten a glimpse into this world of independent publishing.
Thanks for letting me be part of the team!
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!