Tag Archives: brainscan

New Zine: Brainscan #30 – 30 issues in 15 years!

Brainscan Zine #30!

Growing (literally and figuratively) taking on adventurous tasks year by year from travel to zine tours to event organizing, teaching (or not teaching), and opening and transitioning Portland Button Works zine distro and button shop in Portland, Oregon.

40 pages, 1/4 sized, 5 color Risograph printed on recycled paper

available in my Etsy shop and Portland Button Works distro and brick and mortar shop in Portland, Oregon

Or stick $4 US ($5 rest of the world) postage paid and send it to:

Alex Wrekk

c/o Portland Button Works

1322 North Killingsworth

Portland, Oregon 97217 USA

Or PayPal $4 to brainscanzineATgmailDOTcom


30 Day Photo Meme – Day 21 – Brainscan #29/ No More Coffee #4 split zine

Day 21- A photo you are proud of

I like this photos because of the colors in it and that it respresents a finished product on a table and ready to go. I’m also stoked on the photobooth picture that shows up out of or mind  before the tabling at the zine fest ever started. This was a fun project.
Released at the 2012 Chicago Zine Fest A split zine with Brainscan #29 and no More Coffee #4

Brainscan #29 – Ben Spies (no more coffee zine) threw out the challenge of fiction to my land of perzines and this is the grim result. These three short stories are my stab at fiction wrapped in the usual high contrast cut and paste layout you would expect in and issue of Brainscan. One story is about leaving a hometown for greener pastures only to make a stop half way there to visit an old friend and includes thoughts and reflections about the past. The second story is about a weird housemate and his strange perception of the world through Woody Allen tinted glasses and odd notions about art. The third story is about weighing the value of our short lives against the rock wall embankment of a cemetery. I admit that the voice is similar to mine and the subject matter doesn’t stray too far from what you would expect to find in an issue of Brainscan, but it was a really fun experiment and I’m glad that Ben talked me into doing this split.

No More Coffee is a zine of fiction for people who stay up too late. Stories like these are how I get the black bile out of my system, so to speak. Alex and I agreed to do a fiction split not knowing how morose it would end up, but we’re on similar wavelengths, I guess. I’m still writing fiction because I love it and because I’m too scared to write about my own life, but even if these stories never happened, the people in them did. “Photographs of the Dead” is about what the residents of a suburban apartment complex doesn’t know about their neighbors. “Exit 121” is about an impetuous woman living at a truck stop. The untitled story is about Sunday breakfast at a diner.

44 pages, half sized, 2 color risograph

available in My Etsy shop or on my Small World Buttons site.

or for $3 US ($4US rest of the world) put into an envelope and sent to:

Alex Wrekk

5307 N Minnesota Ave.

Portland, Oregon 97217

Day 22- Something you cooked
Day 23- Your desk or work area
Day 24- Something important to you
Day 25- Graffiti you have seen
Day 26- Something you do everyday
Day 27- Your favorite place
Day 28- A favorite piece of clothing
Day 29- Something you like
Day 30- A photo of you today

Steve Larder is my friend…and stuff….and things… and he draws pretty pictures.

I was going to post this in the last one but I forgot. My friend Steve Larder drew this illustration of me for and article about ihollaback.org

I'm thinking deep thoughts as I stare into the Wilamette River from the Steel bridge.

he also did this one for our Zines on Toast tour last year.

modeled off one of the many photos of me with whispy dramatic hair, when I had long hair.

Anyway, Steve does a zine called Rum Lad is a really great friend and and excellent illustrator trying to make his way being and illustrator in Nottingham in the UK. You can check out his images that have been used in zines, on show fliers, albums and magazines here , follow his blog here or check out his guest blogging at Creative Nottingham here, here, here, and here. Steve was also the instigator for our zine band The Copy Scams. I’m not sure how he scammed us into starting a band in 3 weeks and then playing a show but it sure was fun! Paul just remixed our tape of four songs and I have the available on my Etsy site here.

4 lo-fi pop punk songs about zines!

I also have about 5 copies of Brainscan 26.5 Nine Stories left! I put them up on my Etsy shop while supplies last!

I need to head downtown because I have and IPRC shift tonight.


Brainscan 25.5! Copy Scams tapes! Up the analog zine punx!

Brainscan #25.5
At the IPRC on July 11, 2010 the Portland Zine Symposium sponsored a 24 hour zine challenge. A 24 hour zine challenge is when you make a zine in 24 hours. 

Well, this is the zine I made that night. You are not supposed to have any idea what you will put in your zine before you start so I had no idea what would come out of this. What did come out of those 24 hours, besides sleep deprivation delirium, was some photocopier artwork and stories about all the post boxes I have ever had. The count is 4 and each was a distinct time in my life that I wrote about including the secret admirer who wrote love notes to my boyfriend I shared the post box with and stories about long lost penpals.

32 pages 1/8th legal with black covers hand stamped in silver.

You can get a copy at my Etsy Shop

Also, I started a zine band!

The band equivalent of a 24 hour zine!

Steve of Rum Lad zine came to Portland from the UK for awhile and had the idea to start a band. I said “ok” and we got our housemates Paul and Marc to join in the fun! In 3 weeks we wrote 4 songs, practiced, recorded, and played a show that closed the 2010 Portland Zine Symposium!

What resulted was this 6 track demo of 4 lo-fi pop-punk songs all about zines! We have an obligatory intro song filled with excuses as to why the band is so late, another song reads like a cliche zine article full of things we like and hate, a song about stealing photocopies, and a song about the 24 hour zine challenge.

Cassette tape only! Up the analog zine punx! Comes with a 16 page 1/8 sized zine with lyrics and silly drawings.

The Copy Scams are:
Alex Wrekk – wordy stuff (Brainscan zine and Stolen Sharpie revolution)
Steve Larder – guitar stuffs (Rum Lad)
Marc Parker – Bassy things (Zine Thug)
Paul Burke – drummy and screamy goodness (Lunchroom)

There is also the
How I spent my summer vacation pack

A week back at home…

Greetings from my first IPRC shift in about a month and a half or more. I realized as I was taking the train downtown that this was the first time I had left my neighborhood since I have been home. This just goes to show how awesome my neighborhood is…or what a recluse I am. You pick.

So far I have been catching up on button orders and trying to get my life in order. Paul and I cleaned both bathrooms, and cleaned and rearranged the dinning and the living rooms. We have lived in this house together for 3 years now and it was time to make some changes. We also snaked our toilet to find that there was a comb stuck in it. How did it get there? How long had it been there? Who knows! Now if I can just get to winterizing my yard!

I have also been cooking lots and lots. i love my kitchen. I have made a vegan roast with gravy, lentil soup, pizza, roasted veggies, vegan sausages, shepard’s pie, spagbol band more (photos coming some day) I really just love cooking in my own kitchen after a month long tour of being in so many that weren’t mine where I always find myself playing the how-few-drawers can-I-pull-to-find-the-flatware game. I also enjoy drinking beer out of my own pint glasses.

So, Monday October 18th is my 33 1/3 birthday! I will be 33.3 years old! I’m going to have a low key record listening party in the evening. I really should by a new needle for our record player first. So, if you are in Portland and would like to stop by and listen only to records that are at 33 1/3 rpms stop by with some snack and maybe a pumpkin to carve.

Speaking of pumpkiny things. Paul and I have decided to go as Mulder and Scully from the X-files for Halloween. We talked years ago about doing but never have. We’ll need trench coats and I need a small gold cross as well as a pant suit and some badges. I cant’ decided if  I should cut and dye my hair or if I should find a wig. I’m leaning towards wig because I like the blue and need to dye it again. I’ll also need someone to put makeup on me because I never learned to do any of that stuff.

I’m currently at the IPRC and I need to go make some copies of my 24 hour zine, Brainscan 25.5 , to put them up in my Etys shop and do some distro stuff. I also need to make some more ziney inserts for the Copy Scams tape so I can get them up on my Etsy shop. Paul is supposed to make a digital version too. Details soon soon soon!


Well, there certainly has been a spike in hits for this blog since the last post. I’m trying to figure out if I have the time and energy to make a more detailed version of that post into a zine before the symposium. There are more things that seemed extraneous to post online but might work well on paper. We’ll see if it comes through. Time is closing in on me and it seems that I’m adding things to my to-do list as soon as I check things off. I’m planning a national zine tour (Zines on toast! check out the awesome website), finishing up Portland Zine Symposium organizing, and tomorrow Paul and I are headed to Denver to see the Warlock Pinchers reunion! They are a band I have listened to since jr. high and never got to se live… that sort of seems like a them from the past year of shows I have gone to: Dead Milkmen, Screeching Weasel, The Pixies, and now the Warlock Pinchers! Awesome!

What that all being said, I have been informed that Joe is now starting a third accountability attempt. I can’t help but think that, had he been anyone else, no one would have even given him a second try. I have to find a messed up sort of humor in the fact that he even has privilege in getting more chances than other people. weird. I haven’t read Joe’s We Make Zines statement but I read Ciara’s recap and it reads like the demented rantings of a lunatic with a Twinkie defense. I’ve gotten similar letters from Joe that tell me nothing I want to hear so what’s the point?

Thank you everyone for your support both public and private from the e-mails, facebook messages, blog posts and replies, Etsy messages, phone calls and texts. I really means a lot to me to hear words of encouragement. It was hard to muster the words I posted but I am so very glad I did. I have also noticed the discussions of power within activist/DIY communities and think that raising awareness about it is so important. Here are a couple of links to these discussions and general discussions on it that I am aware of:

Feminist Memory


order of the gash

there’s our catastrophe

And when my blog was posted to facebook it got….interesting

And with that I’m off to finish my laundry and packing before heading to Denver tomorrow morning.

Wow, this quickly went where I didn’t expect it…

Ok, so, writing this went completely in a different direction than what I intended…

When I was younger I used to be afraid of of being forgotten. I worried that I would flow in and out of the lives of people without leaving a mark or imprint on their memory. Which is sort of ironic because my parents’ named me Sunshine and I have been told that’s a hard name to forget, mainly because there are so many damn songs with my name in it and that weather forecasters are even fond of reminding those that would rather not remember.

Now that I’m older I find worrying about being forgotten is silly and that the people who flow in and out of your lives do so for a reason and those moments and that time and space are the more crucial part, the parts of the story to pay attention to. This led me to worrying about being misunderstood in those crucial bits. The first time around that Paul and I were together he used to joke that I was too afraid of being misunderstood. He was right. He even mentioned it in a Downers song way after we had broken up the first time.

The Downers- Staring at you

(or listen to the song at Last fm if you would rather)

“Words are never enough to explain anything and even if they were I would still feel the same.”

I knew when I first heard it that song was about me and my stupid need to explain and understand everything.

This flowed into my next relationship with the man described simply as “J” in my recent zines.  After several years in that relationship I would come to understand that “J” was emotionally abusive. I was thinking the other day about this intersection of me coming into a relationship wanting to explain everything, wanting to understand everything and being met with “J” telling me that I didn’t make sense, that my ideas were flawed, that I was crazy and insecure because of wanting to explain everything. It took me years to realize that the reason”J” thought I was broken was because I didn’t see things like him. I guess that was one of the most important lessons I learned.

Actually, it is a lesson I have had to work through a few times: Sometimes my sanity is more important that making someone else happy and that I can’t please every one. I can’t fit into their boxes and sometimes it is ok to walk away from things and give up trying to explain myself or trying understand another person. All you can do is either accept someone as they are in relation to your boundaries.

Ah, boundaries, something else I have struggled with. I have struggled with this mainly because I can be ridiculously flexible. The gray area between what I absolutely do want and what I absolutely don’t want can be monstrous and, in the past, easily manipulated and abused. In recent years I have firmed these up a bit and made them a bit more visible to the people around me which has been helpful for the most part and sometimes frustrating at others.

that wasn’t really where I wanted to go with this…

I wanted to post Paul’s song Staring at you because it is one of my favorites that he has written… and not just because I know it was about me. I also wanted to write about the soundtrack to my latest zine and how Paul has coaxed me into writing songs with him. Which is pushing a different sort of boundary but in a good way. It pushes the boundary of my insecurities. I have always been intimidated by Paul’s perfect pitch and great rhythm,  curious about music but not wanting to actually learn to play an instrument as past attempts have ended in failure. Music is really important to Paul and he suggested I write words and he writes music and then we both sing… which I also find intimidating.

Paul wrote a song called There’s A Lot In Life You Can’t Explain and had me sing back up vocals after drinking a few beers (you can fit There’s a lot in life you can’t explain here as the last song) then before my big autumn trip we sat down to work on lyrics for another song. The concept was our first date. See, this gets me back to the not wanting to be misunderstood bit. I fear that the song would sound disjointed if you didn’t really know what our first date was. It also makes me realize that I left a few details out of the zine.

Alex Wrekk and Paul Burke-Phoenix lights on the piano sounds so sad…

Ok, so on our first date we watched the Opera Carmen, went back to Paul’s house and listened to Frank Sinatra and then fell asleep listening to Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell on the night of the Pheonix Lights. There were these damn loud birds with a nest in the bush by his window that were really loud but his housemate’s skate ramp was louder so we made jokes about feeling sorry for the birds having to live with a skate ramp in their back yard. That’s me explaing things too much, sorry about that.

Paul played all the instruments and just had to wait for me to get home and drink enough liquid courage to get me into the basement studio to hit the Tascam 4-track.  Paul was really stoked on the lo-fi-ness of the air organ recording: right into his computer mic in our dining room with people walking around.

Paul has been working on re-recording some songs and finding an order for them for the soundtrack. Most of it will be the stuff that was on the preview CD but there will be a few more songs added. We were thinking of pressing CDs but seems that most people just want the digital files so we are going to set it up as a setlist you can download instead.

In the end, I had a lot of fun working with Paul. It wasn’t as intimidating as I thought and I think we are going to continue to write more songs together.

You should come to my zine reading tonight and a couple other things

Tonight is the zine release for Brainscan 25. I have been working on this zine on and off since 2004. Come hear me read some stuff and pick up the new issue in the shiny new gocco printed envelopes with other goodies in them.

I talked paul into playing a few acoustic songs before I read. He, however, did not convince me to sing with him. He’ll be performing some of the songs that will be on the audio soundtrack to the zine. Some of the songs are here, including the very last one where paul did convince me to sing back up vocals.

I hung out with my new housemate M the other night. We just drank some wine and talked about stuff. I forgot that there is a photobooth at a bar that is walking distance from my house. How rad is that to live within walking distance of a photobooth?

Paul and I went to see Jonathan Richman last night. It was really fun and felt a bit like a childrens’ rock show for adults. Lots of giggles and silly dancing but full of smartness. We came home and played records and danced for our full moon dance night. December has two full moons so we’ll get to dance on the blue moon too this month at the very end of the year.

Wow, the end of the year is coming. It has been a super awesome year in the zine department. Paul was joking and calling me a zine ambassador after traveling 4 countries for zine related activities. But it has been an active zine year. I put out the new Stolen Sharpie Revolution, two new zines, attended 7 zine events including the zine librarian (un)conference and organized yet another successful Portland Zine Symposium.

It has also been an awesome year for bands we have seen. I’m not going to list them here because I really need to get to work. I have a huge button order that has been hanging over my head. I’ll write a more comprehensive year end post once it gets closer to being over.

Happy Sunday!

A bunch of us went to Slappy Cakes this morning. It’s a restaurant where they have griddles built into the tables and you can make your own pancakes! It was gimicky and fun.I had a green Bloody Mary (I opted out on the non-vegan one with worcestershire sauce full of anchovies and accompanied by a stick of bacon, ew.) I think it was made with tomatillos and was yummy and green. Here’s a picture of my delighted sister making vegan pancakes:

She resorted to plain circles after many unusual shapes. I think the ones on the plate says "I ❤ food"

My housemate Marc’s cat was attacked by something. We keeping saying it was a Chupacabra but it was more likely a raccoon or something. Either way he needed 21 stitches and a tube to drain the bad junk out. I’d feel worse for him but he’s got an “Elizabethan” cone that make his look ridiculous. He spends a lot of time outside and the idea of him being inside for 2 weeks is going to drive him crazy. Especially since jackie still gets to go out.

poor OJ

I spent the afternoon gocco printing the new envelopes that go with my new zine so I’ll have them ready for my reading on Thursday. All three of the zines fit into these nice envelopes from recycled materials that I have been holding onto for at least 4 years. I’m glad I finally get to use them! I used the Brainscan Key design that I put on t-shirts a few years ago. I think I’m going to make some more shirts soon. I’ll need to stock up on used shirts or make an order for new ones.  I wish shirts weren’t so expensive.

Anyway, here’s what the package deal with my new zine looks like: Brainscan 24 (small 32 pages with vellum covers), Brainscan 25 (80 pages with transparency covers), a16 page epilogue all tucked into a gocco printed envelope. I’m throwing in some small stickers of the brain design and buttons with some order. They can be ordered here.

brainscan 24 &25

Currently I’m on shift at the IPRC. I haven’t been in here much since I have been back and I feel sort of out of the loop. I think I need to go read the staff log and get up to speed.

Brainscan zine release party and open mic!

zine reading!

I have a new issue of Brainscan and I’m doing a zine release accompanied by and open mic in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 7pm at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC)

For more information about Brainscan #24 &25 go here.