Bring back the Zine scene: part 2

Angélique Jamail, author and blogger at Sappho’s Torque, is one of my favorite people on the internet. As I said in my 2020 Blogging Valentines post, she has a delightfully eclectic repertoire, with segments ranging from dance-worthy music recs to subversively good recipes to non-obnoxious Christmas music recs to philosophical musings on the Grendels in our modern society.

So it took no convincing at all for me to sign up for her newest project: a re-incarnation of her totally grunge-era zine, Sonic Chihuahua.

Photo of the Sonic Chihuahua zine.  It's a thin booklet with a manila-yellow cover on which you see a simple sketch of a dog's face in the center and a smiley face in the bottom right corner, over the words volume 2, issue 1, May 2021.

In the bottom left corner is a list of topics this issue covers:  

Why Sonic Chihuahua? What does that even mean???
The Year of Living Pandemically.
Apple pie (seriously!)
Convo with author Sarah Warburton.
A Top 5 List not to be missed!
Poetry and art.

Playlist: My Sappho’s Earworms playlist, an homage to the zine and to Sappho’s Torque, comprised of Angélique’s “Monday Earworms” music recs. It’s a work in progress, with 2.5 hours worth of the songs I’ve been able to find so far, including:

  • The intensely danceable “Baghdad Groove,” by Petrol Bomb Samosa;
  • The very 80s Eurovision-esque “Breath of Life,” by Erasure (the music video is the greatest, most adorably trippy adaptation of Alice in Wonderland ever);
  • The road-trip-worthy and very timely “Birth-Day (Love Made Real), by Suzanne Vega; 😉
  • The hilarious monster movie parody that is “Skullcrusher Mountain,” by Jonathan Coulton;
  • and the head-boppingly melancholy “Blame it on Me,” by the Barenaked Ladies.
Image of a Suzanne Vega album cover showing a pale face with straight-cut red bangs and a pale hand holding a green apple over her right eye.

Coffee pairing: New section! For those Bookwyrms who like to fuel their rebellious reading sessions with a shot of arabica activism, I recommend anything by Durham, NC-based Counter Culture. My personal jam right now is their Slow Motion decaf blend — for when I want the shade-grown, Direct Trade flavor without the Jessie Spano energy. 😆

Image of a bag of Slow Motion coffee.  The bag is white on top, with the company name in black, and orange on the bottom, with the words slow motion in white.

According to Angélique, she and two younger friends created Sonic Chihuahua one summer when she was in college and they in high school. The name was inspired by the grunge movement in general and by Ren & Stimpy in particular. It ran for three issues before Angélique started to worry that her friends would get in trouble back at school (a mostly legit but still eye-rollingly restrictive all-girls’ Catholic school that tried to ban students from doing things like attending a Madonna concert…apparently, they’ve eased up since then).

In any case, she always regretted ending the zine and, after a friend recently rebooted her own punk periodical — and (more fatefully) a hilarious adoption ad went viral for an endearingly(?) “demonic” chihuahua named Prancer who’s basically a “haunted Victorian child in the body of a small dog that hates men and children” — Angélique decided it was time to resurrect the project. See this post for the zine’s full origin story.

And so! To feed my own radical 90stalgia, I subscribed to the zine and was both highly entertained and delightfully educated by such devious content as…

  • an excerpt from Angélique’s poetry collection, The Sharp Edges of Water (which features a character who “may or may not be a mermaid”?? 😀 ). “A Brief + Envious History of Particle Physics” is a wistful ode to the surreal landscape — both physical and emotional, natural and artificial, human and inanimate, fluid and stable — that is Los Angeles. She even adds a helpful handwritten note with the publisher info, including the ISBN number!
  • a re-printing of her March 17th post, “The Year of Living Pandemically,” spiced up with doodles and more handwritten notes.
  • a quick recipe for apple pie (the section is very 90s-ishly titled “Eat This”).
  • an interview with long-time friend and author Sarah Warburton, who writes “psychological thrillers w/heart.”
  • and more!
GIF image of the guys from the movie Grease singing Tell me more! Tell me more! while dancing on several rows of bleachers.

In addition to Angélique’s own doodles, the issue includes drawings by her friend Han — including the eponymous chihuahua on the cover. Fun fact: Han has a fictional concept band called Decoupage Cardigan, whose totally death metal album art you can see on the inside back page!

*

So! Have you ever read or written a zine, Bookwyrms? Did you have to keep it a secret from your parents and/or school admin? What’s your favorite rebooted 90s trend?

If you’re interested in re-living the zine scene yourself, reach out to SonicChihuahuaZine at gmail dot com! You’ll get two copies in the mail for just $5 a month. Tell her Nerija sent you!

10 comments

  1. OMG I ❤ this post so much!!! 😀 Thank you deliciously, Nerija. LOVE IT. And I'm thrilled to pieces that you like the zine! Second issue headed your way soon… 😉

  2. […] to, truly, but my afternoon and evening were taken up completely with finishing the second issue of Sonic Chihuahua — which piece of 90stalgia, by the way, got an absolutely delightful write-up …, and while you’re there, browse Nerija’s blog, which is really wonderful and has all […]

  3. This is an intriguing concept. I never really go into magazines. As for my favorite 90s trend, I have to say tamagotchi! Even though I’ve tried replaying them as an adult and they’re not as fun as I remember. Lol. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    • Oooh yeah, all those virtual pets! I remember begging to borrow my friend’s alien Giga Pet and my other friend’s Little Mermaid one. I remember that Ariel only ate crackers…which must be how Disney kept her size -6 figure. 😅😑

      My cousins and I all got alternate-brand versions for Christmas that year, which you could wear as necklaces and which let you choose from about ten different animals. I had a butterfly and thought it was hilariously embarrassing when the screen got stuck on the 90s equivalent of the poop emoji while I was in public. It wouldn’t go away until I changed the butterfly’s diaper or whatever. 😅

      Wait, are you saying they’re back?? 😮

  4. I’ve never read anything quite like the Zine, but I do remember my catholic school being against Captain Underpants. All that really did was make everyone want to read it. Or was that the teacher’s secret intent? Ban a book and the kids will read… hmm… Or it was just them being too strict on things. The world may never know.

    • Funny how that works! 😆 Also, funny story: my tiny Catholic high school was also pretty conservative (saying words like “lesbian” out loud was frowned upon), but I’ll never forget how we read the fourth Harry Potter book in my senior year contemporary novels class, and how the teacher actually crowdsourced us to help him decide whether or not to let his elementary-aged daughter read it. We persuaded him to go for it! 🥳

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