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Zine Stream 

They're coming at us in waves, all of a sudden. Little mags, digest-sized, very cool, short run, totally unique art forms, celebrating spring busting out all over. Especially in zine mansion.Here's to turning heads and turning pages.

Local talent gets noticed in the most recent issues of Heeb, Teen People, and mental_floss. Carrboro's Michael Taeckens dissects "Queer Jews" in Heeb's book review section. Only three issues old, Heeb, subtitled, "The New Jew Review," goes after their "cool" personae with a witty editorial and "photo special."

Would you ever expect to find a William Carlos Williams' poem in Teen People? Even better, Chapel Hill's Aileen Liu is right there on the same page, under the heading "two talented young poets." Her poem "Man," doesn't hold back, with a power and focus not usually found in TP. Fresh from her book tour, Durham's Virginia Holman digs through her kitchen to describe "10 Secrets Hiding in Your Pantry" for the latest feel-smart-again edition of mental_floss. Here's a clue (you already knew right?): Peanuts are beans, not nuts.

Three nationally distributed magazines deserve your attention if just for their fun names. How can you not be curious about Before the Mortgage, Modern Dog and Motionsickness? The best essay I read last month was Carson Brown's hilarious "part of the problem" treatise in Before the Mortgage, titled "Costco Obsession Disorder." Do YOU have 144 bottles of Snapple in the closet, a ream of waffles in the fridge, and a dozen tubes of toothpaste in overstock?

Haven't seen actual copies of Modern Dog or Motionsickness but I loved their pitches. From Canada, debuting March 24 in America, Modern Dog is described as "a glossy, high-end magazine for well-heeled dog owners, a lifestyle magazine for urban dogs and their companions." Motionsickness is a great title for an investigative, alternative travel magazine, which looks into the impact tourism has on places.

There's never a dull moment for the Timothy McSweeney clan. Sherman Alexie, Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, Karen Joy Fowler, and Aimee Bender highlight their fiction issue No. 10, a "mammoth treasury of thrilling tales." They're already promising a free DVD with McSweeney's No. 11. AND they're putting out a new monthly mag, The Believer. The inaugural issue is expected to ship from San Francisco any day now and you can expect interviews, reviews and poetry. Printed on heavy stock paper, The Believer might just be spring's pick hit in the magazine world. Look for Jonathan Lethem and a conversation between Salman Rushdie and Terry Gilliam. Hillsborough's Tamler Sommers talks with English philosopher Galen Strawson in the first issue.

With internet zines losing money and shutting down (e-lit darling Salon, is down $81 million, and is teetering, three months behind on rent payments) one Canadian print publisher, Drawn and Quarterly, is reviving rack size comix. Their first issue, Atlas, features New Zealand cartoonist Dylan Horrocks. You gotta love the angst graphics. Atlas sets the mood with their title page quote, "We have our little life and when we're gone, we're gone." Yeah, well, their little magazine's so neat they're gonna be all gone, too.

Some contact info:

heebmagazine.com
mcsweeneys.net
drawnandquarterly.com
moderndog.ca

More by John Valentine

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