Tag Archives: Brainscan zine

Fingers in too many pies and too many hats on my head…..

I turned 35 last week! It’s the Presidential Birthday (American civics lesson: as stated in Article 2, Section 1 of the US constitution the president must be at least 35 years old.) I don’t want to be President. It seems like a shitty and stressful job. I already have too many “jobs” that are stressful enough, but at least I don’t have to deal with congress.

Anyway, I’m so over trying to organize birthday parties. They end up being too much work with too much expectations. I just went out for a yummy vegan meal with Paul at Portobello and had a drink with some friends.

But there are lots of other things going on!

The Portland Button Works distro and shop are humming along beautifully.

Derek and I released the 6th episode of Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast! We talk about what we have been up to for the past year as well as the upcoming International Zine Month.

Derek and I also organized a 31 Days of International Zine Month with zine related things for you to do each day! What? Last year I wore a zine shirt for each day. How was I going to top that?

We also just put together the Portland Button works Quarterly. It is part zine/part catalog for PBW. It looks like this and is available free with every Portland Button Works order, free at the shop and other places around Portland, or a self addressed stamped envelope sent to the shop.

Two color risograph print, 8 pages.

Let’s see…paul and I have also been working in the garden but I haven’t been taking photos. They all just seem to look pretty similar as years past. I’m working on a new zine to have out by the symposium. I just need to sit down and work on it. I’m also working on the Portland Zine Symposium again and getting stoked for all the guests we are going to have!


Brainscan Zine #27 & #28

These are the two zines I created this year.They were each released already but have been repackaged and reprinted.

Brainscan #27
A tiny zine that reads like a snapshot. 1/12 legal sized (3″x4″) 28 page mini zine, A single story wrapped in photocopier art. This zine takes place in an elevator between a 9th floor divorce lawyer and the ground and a bike ride home. It explores disappointments and the human inability to consider endings.

“We rode 9 stories down in silence like shedding 9,000 stories of our own”

Brainscan #28
1/6th legal (4.25″ square) 28 pages with color covers and color fold outs. This is my 24 hour zine for 2011. It was created in 24 hours at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. The theme was to answer the question “what do you do?” I explored the fact that most people want to know how you make money. I have a sort of strange income to some people so this will answer the question. I also talk about the cats that live in my house and how I have learned to love cats, even though I always thought I was a dog person. I also answer the question “how long have you and Paul been together?” in a fold out time line that includes color photos of us from years past.

This was originally sent to the people who sponsored me in the 24 hour zine challenge. also made 50 copies to trade at the Portland Zine Symposium. After the sleep deprivation of creating a 24 hour zine I wasn’t sure if wanted it to be an issue of Brainscan. I decided to go for it and after a bit of tweaking and reformatting I’m re-releasing it as Brainscan 28.


You can get a copy of this at my Etsy Shop


Paypal $4 to alex(AT)smallworldbuttons(DOT)com


You can send $4 to:

Alex Wrekk

5307 N Minnesota Ave.

Portland, Oregon 97217


I will also be at the Richmond Zine Fest in October if you wanna pick on up there.

International Zine Month day 6 of zine shirts: Brainscan Zine

So I'm wearing my own shirt but I really like the design. I still have the screen so I can make more some time. Also, this is my kitchen. I keep planning on posting more photos of my kitchen.

constructive alternatives

While it was pointed out to me by my sister that my last post regarding my experience with Microcosm and Joe wasn’t as angry as I have been in the past, I realize that it doesn’t offer anything helpful besides information. I guess that’s what some people have wanted from me all along, information. I documented a very small fraction of my personal experiences of emotional abuse in a romantic relationship with Joe Biel in my Zine Brianscan 21. It seems people wanted more information about the business side so I tried to tie those together in that blog post.

What I didn’t offer was solutions or what I want specifically from Joe or the community. As for Joe, he has been given sufficient information as to what he needs to do to actually complete an accountability process, and he has been given yet another chance for that. As it was put in the statement of the last accountability team, Joe’s accountability should not be the burden of the community as it has already exhausted everyone involved. that being said, I think we need to seriously look at what can be done constructively.

When I said that survivors of abuse should be supported I alluded to boycotting Microcosm, but it’s not enough to simply boycott. If you mean to send a message you should let them know why you are not spending your money with them, why you don’t want your zine/book distributed or published or your artwork used by them. Also, if you have had specific problems with your interactions with Microcosm you should speak up. Trust me, you are not the only one. Let them know what they need to fix, what they need to pay more mind to. Give them an option, give them a choice to change because ultimately, it’s not only in their best interest, it’s the right thing to do.

If Microcosm truly wants to show that it is a collective, that they do not struggle with Joe’s abuses of power, and that they support the ideas and values behind the books and zine they publish and distribute  then then should as Cindy Crabb said in this post, “come up with a collective statement confronting/admitting Joe’s abuse and manipulation, and/or for Joe to legally remove himself from the collective”. I’d also like to add another option, for people in the community and people who are associated with Microcosm to seriously encourage Joe to cooperate in a transparent accountability process because his hurtful actions and problematic behaviors are putting people’s livelihoods in jeopardy.

My intent was never to destroy Microcosm or Joe or anyone that works with Microcosm. I left Microcosm in October of 2006 because I was not happy with how the business worked or how I was treated. With a whisper I have been asking for accountability for almost 4 years,  I got tired and left it to smoulder. But now I’m tired of seeing other people hurt and disrespected and having no voice and I’m really glad to hear that other people are recognizing this..

So, if you aren’t on the “Alex Wrekk is crazy” train,or the utilitarian “my calculator does social math and it tells me that the good out weighs the bad” camp, or the “Microcosm is great for me so why should I care?” brigade here’s some other awesome distros to check out to buy zines and maybe even have your zines distributed. If you know if more distros that should be on this list let me know:

Bird In Hand(Australia)

Click Clack Distro(US)

Black Lite Diner(US)

False Start(US)

Fight Boredom(Canada)

Marching Stars(UK)

Riot Grrrrr(US)

Stranger Danger(US)

Sweet Candy(US)

Things You Say(US)

Vampire Sushi (UK)

Check out the links on my site (ya, I know I need to update it) for stores, and zine events. Also check out all the people who sell zines directly on Etsy. We even have Team Zine with lots of people who sell zines on Etsy. I think ordering zines directly or trading for them should really be at the heart of the zine community, not one stop shopping at zine Wal*Mart.

welcome to my basement!

It has been a busy little bit away from the internets which has been nice except that I have been slacking on my work. I got up at 8 this morning and just now finished getting caught up with orders, bill paying, coffee roasting and assembling 1oo copies of Brainscan 24 &25. I love the way the zines look and feel and that they have all these distinctive parts but damn, they take a long time to put together. This what what I spent the afternoon doing:

box of brainscan 24 &25

Paul and I spent the past few days working on some weatherization for the house. We got some duct covers and spray foam to fill cracks and we still need to put in the weather stripping around the doors and silicone sealant around the floorboard and windows. We did exchange a cracked window pane with some plexiglass that we cut a hole in for an exhaust port for our clothes dryer. Then we sealed it up with a shim, some screws and insulation spray foam. It is pretty amazing how much warmer the basement is now!

exhaust port!

And while I’m showing your the dingy basement of my home that is over a century old I may as well show you some other corners. This is all of the stuff on a pallet that I ended up storing for the Portland Zine Symposium. All the signs, workshop materials, info desk stuff, t-shirts from years past, and what not sits in the corner there for most of the year until it is needed.

yup, it has its own little corner.

And don’t ask me about the dates for the symposium this year… Finding dates and a space has been more difficult than usual this year but we hope to have it sorted soon.

And while we are talking about zines, one of my housemates is the zine librarian at the Independent Publishing Resource Center and when the IPRC’s storage space was cleaned out our basement became the new home to over 10,000 zines. This is a photo of some of the pile. A lot of the stuff in the back is empty boxes and even farther back is a bunch of firewood from the two tree branches that fell last year. We have been seasoning them for a year so they burn really clean.

zines, they hold the floor down in our basement.

Paul and I also FINALLY set up my tool bench wit ha peg board. I feel like an adult with all my took in once place and 98% of the tools are mine! I amassed quite the collection while fixing up my house. If I wanted to be completely nuts I’d outline them all with a sharpie like my grandfather did! There is something appealing about the outline of the chainsaw! Also on the bench is my wind up radio and Paul’s 6 track recorder that he can’t find the power cord.

Speaking of recorder… I didn’t take a photo of the practice space in the basement. I have spent 2 out of the last 3 nights in there with Paul. We wrote some lyrics to a song about the first night we spent together where we went to see the opera Carmen, listened to Punk Rock music and then fell asleep listening to Art Bell. Well, Paul spent Sunday recording drum, bass and guitar tracks and I drank most of a bottle of wine when I got home from my IPRC shift to get myself into the singing mood and we recorded it.

After we were done Paul decided that he wanted to do it in a different key so he had to record the bass and guitar tracks again and I had to drink more wine last night to get myself to the singing space. I have yet to hear it again and I hope I’m happy with it. Paul is a critical bastard when it comes to music and he seems happy with it. I’ll post links when we have it on the internets. It is supposed to be part of the music that goes along with my new zine. Writing music with Paul was actually really fun. I have been learning more about music… even though I don’t want to really play anything.

I have had a long day of work and my housemate, Dan, just handed me a swiss alps “rabbit” stew made from the seitan I made yesterday. It smells delicious! Time for food and a beer and some rest.

Last hours in Halifax.

I’ve got about 45 minutes before Lucas shows up to take me to the airport and then I’m off on my next adventure, Toronto.

I’m really glad I got my zine done in the first week and a half I was here. That left me time to play for the last few days. I think I spent the first four days getting myself situated and my project started and hiding out in the shed. Plus, the weather was crappy and wet and cold but the past few days it has been beautiful and in the 60’s (17C)

Caleb is my new favorite person. So now I have 3 new favorite people this year. It’s enough to make me not want to travel because I don’t want to meet awesome people that live so far away. Cap, Caleb, Sky and I got a car and went to the ocean on Sunday. It was bright and sunny but the water was cold. I drew a labyrinth in the sand and collected a few rocks. It was great to see the atlantic again.

Caleb and I had about a 14 hour conversation yesterday. He showed up around 1pm at the Anchor Archive and we went walking around town and up to the citadel that had a great view. I’ll post some photos later. The we went to his friends house and watch this ridiculous horror movie called Suspiria. I’m not a big horror fan but the film was sort of eye candy with interesting sets and things to look at. Then we can back to the Archive and sat in the kitchen finishing up my last 4 beers and talking until 3 am. It has been a long time since I just talked for that long with someone. Good times!

I’m seriously trying to sort how to have some sort of residency at our house. We have a spare room and Marc needs some help with zine cataloging and I’m sure we could  use zine symposium help or the IPRC could use some help. I’ll have to think about it some more because I really want my friends to come and visit and work on projects. This whole trip has sort of set a new spark in me for community projects like that

So, ya, the trip has been awesome and just what I needed to get what I needed to get done. I even finished the mini Brainscan 24 that I was working on so now I have two new zines! I sold more than I expected at the Halifax zine fair. More people bought things that traded things which was unexpected. Ithink only 2 people traded. I have a ton more copies of SSR and brainscan for Canzine. I made 50 copies of the massive Brainscan 25 and I think I got rid of and gave away 20 copies but still, my pack is bulging with books and zines, I hope to not have to cross the boarder with them.

I guess that’s about it for Halifax. I don’t know if I’ll ever be coming back here but I enjoyed the time I have spent.

Just to tease you…unless you will be at the Haifax Zine Fair tomorrow

Images of brainscan 25: Pre-existing conditions. I am not taking preorders. I will be at the Halifax Zine Fair tomorrow and at Canzine next weekend with copies. This is the first print run of 50. I’ll be making a few tweaks before I print more. I will also be leaving some at Blue Stockings in NYC when I’m there and I will also have then at the Richmond Zine Fest on November 6th and 7th. I will be home on November 9th and then I will start selling them. I have to come up a clever description first. I’m a bit drained after finishing this.

Basically, it’s the story of my Saturn Return. It is also a love story that spans over a decade with flashbacks from 96-98 spliced between the story of getting out of a very unhealthy relationship and back together with an old love. I have been stalling at putting this zine out for about 5 years but here it is: 80 pages half legal (7″x8.5″) with transparency and cardstock covers and a 16 page 1/8th  legal epilogue zine tucked into an envelope in the back:


intro page

intro page

inside page

inside page

a flashback page

a flashback page

the mirror image buttons is almost as cool as the pos/neg button.

the mirror image buttons is almost as cool as the pos/neg button.

outro and the epilogue min zine.

outro and the epilogue min zine.

And that’s it.

I’ m currently bummed that my favorite Portland talk show has been booted off the air yet again. I have been listening to Rick Emerson since he was Rick Taylor and I was a 17 year old girl in Utah. I hope they land on their feet soon because its a staple of my day.

Also, tomorrow is the Halifax Zine Fair and I’m teaching a workshop on zine distribution. Wish me luck!

My zine is an “institution”, who knew?

These are reviews from maximum Rock NRoll:

Stolen Sharpie Revolution #2

“This is the second installation of the how-to guide to making zines. Kind of similar, but totally overhauled, and now Stolen Sharpie Revolution includes stuff about the internets. It’s really useful and pretty open-ended, unlike a lot of how-to guides that get way too this-is-the-only-way and mega complex and stuff. It’s also a good resource for finding distros, review mags, and zine libraries. Totally seems like something to give yr[sic] little sister to impress her towards being cool, but I also felt like I learned some stuff, though I couldn’t say what. Not essential but really super gelpful.”

Brainscan #23 (and they even included a cover picture!)

“Brainscan is and institution in the world of personal zines at this point, and Alex Wrekk has been holding it down with her narritive writing style and her distinctive cut-and-paste aesthetic for years and years from the depths of her Portland bunker. I guess I haven’t read this zine since probably about issue #8 but from what I can remember, it doesn’t seem like Alex has led this publication too far astray from what it once was. This one’s theme is “travel stores that never quite went as far as the travel written about,” with each story representing a different time and place in Alex’s life and featuring and ever changing cast of characters. She covers everything from awkward situations in bars, to the ups and downs of nation-wide zine tours, to fleeting romances on family vacations. The travel theme makes for a more cohesive collection of writing and I’m psyched that Brainscan is going strong.”