Victoria BC
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Brand X Media ::: Live Music, Reviews, Art & Writing From The Westcoast Underground
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Zine Reviews
Pavilion - Tove Shea Pavilion - Tove Shea

I used to yearn like a castrated pedophile in a McDonalds playland for some time-out in the sanctuary of a nice, quiet insane asylum. Some cuddly blue pajamas, a good dose of thorazine and a room to share with a lovable schizophrenic who would piss me off, but also teach me valuable lessons about life.. what could be better? Alas, any elaborate fantasies involving such things have been thoroughly quashed since my encounter with Pavilion, a zine written and illustrated by local writer, designer and carnival enthusiast Trixie LaRue (AKA Tove Shea). Yes it seems the chuckle palace isn’t exactly the barrel-o-laughs I’d once thought. In fact, if Shea’s experience is any indication, it doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of respite at all.

Pavilion is based on Trixie’s time spent luxuriating in the fetid anus of our city’s wonderful Jubilee Hospital, otherwise known as EMP (Eric Martin Pavilion…. It used to be Eric Martin Institution, but they changed it a few years ago in an effort to make it sound more cozy-like).

Shea’s writing reveals a rare understanding of cadence; these are lucid, rhythmic proses that betray a poet’s eye for detail and a gleefully sharp intellect. Exploring the difficult terrain of the psychologically (and physically) imprisoned, everything form Trixies own bizarre fixation with Heston the sockmonkey to her unfulfilling encounters with Dr. Milliken (the polyester clad psychiatrist with the “bad ass god complex”)is rendered in heartbreaking detail. Shea’s frightening drawings( emaciated little girls and goddamn bunnies everywhere) lend an eerie visual aspect to the zine.

Ultimately, our protagonist emerges as the most “sane” character in her story, and we are left scratching our beards, pondering the fine line between mentally stable and unstable. We are also left with aching bellies…… from laughing so darn hard!

Forget The Bell Jar. Trixie LaRue kicks Sylvia’s self-indulgent, Ivy League pootie with steel toed boots, then makes sweet love to her perfumed corpse.

- Chelsea Wakelyn


Absolute Underground Magazine Absolute Underground - Issue #1

Toting itself as a magazine about “Punk, Pot & Metal” Absolute underground is the latest full distribution music zine/newspaper since the death and disappearances of past publication such as ‘Phat’ magazine and CFUV’s ‘Offbeat’. The publication offers what’s expected – Show reviews, CD reviews, a few show listings and a few comics from such local artists Gareth Gaudin (Magic Teeth) and Robin Thompson.

The zine starts off with two editorials – both of which focus on the age old complaint that not enough people support ‘the scene’ and how under-rated local bands are. Though I know these are valid observations – people have literally been going hoarse with the same complaint for so many years in so many small cities, but at least they’ve decided to do something about it (i.e. publishing magazine) which has recently become a rare act in Victoria

Though my first impression of the music articles was that they were nothing more than a self-subservient pat on the back of a few bands and friends involved in the metal/punk/grindcore scene, which is partially true – but at the same time when it comes down to it, the punk scenes that have come and went throughout the years have always been somewhat delicate and could die off as fast as a venue closure or a band break-up so the fact that there is a strong and viable community working together to support each other’s efforts deserves notice.

Though I definitely found the musical scope covered here limited, It’ll without a doubt become a habitual resource and reference to those in the ‘punk/metal’ scene, but most of all – the kids who are just getting in to it.

Absolute Underground is currently available at Old Nick's Emporium, Retrowear and other local shops around Victoria

- Jesse Ladret


Alamo Escapades - Lil Miss Fe Alamo Escapades - By Lil' Miss Fi

I've never seen a zine in "choose your own adventure" style, and I must say this is one of the funniest things I'vre read in a long time.

Though you'd suspect the choose your own adventure format to be somewhat restrictive for the storyteller, the dizzying narrative never disappoints, and the fact that your protagonist will most likely die within three pages of reading is excuse enough to pick up the book and give it another shot.
You may be blown away by a laid off meat-packer with a shotgun in "Sunshine's diner", or you may have a swarm of feral cats tear you apart in your sleep, but in the end even if you die a very violent death, at least it was an entertaining violent death.

Alamo Escapades is currently available at Second Story Cafe & Books & Darkhorse Books

- Jesse Ladret

Malcontent Media