Sex Panic! At the Disco – World AIDS Day, 2022

Cover of the zine Sex Panic! circa 1997Today is World AIDS Day, and while we’re not “celebrating”, per se, we are acknowledging the day, and the incredible impact this stupid fucking virus has had on our lives, our friends, our communities, and the whole damn world. In this vein, we present Sex Panic! – The Zine by the fine activists of Sex Panic!

This 40 page, digest size zine from 1997 is a collection of essays about how the anti-sex policies and politics of the 1980s and 1990s (and into the current millennium) have had a huge negative impact on queer communities. While the zine’s focus, at least initially, is on New York City, it’s contents is applicable much more broadly.

This is an incredible document, up there with Diseased Pariah News and How to Have Sex in An Epidemic in terms of DIY community-based communication about AIDS. Essayists include Douglas Crimp*, Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, Allan Bérubé, Lisa Duggan, Alison Redick, and Jim Eigo, among others.

We’ll be bringing this, along with a bunch of other AIDS activist ephemera, to the panel talk that we’re participating in with our friends from Gerber/Hart and Chicago Public Library on Monday, Dec. 5th, 2022.


*Doug Crimp was also one of the authors of AIDS Demo Graphics, which documents the first couple of years of ACT UP visuals, and has been a huge influence on us and scores of queer zine makers around the world.

19 And Non-Stop!

emoji of a pink glazed donutAt the beginning of November we quietly celebrated the 19th anniversary of the launch of qzap.org. Back in 2003 we had no idea that this project would last as long or be as meaningful to so many amazing folks as it has become.

Our quiet way of celebrating is that we’ve just launched the newest version of this site, making the move from Joomla, our CMS of choice for the past decade or so, to WordPress. SO, yay for that! Welcome to the new site, almost like the old site.

As has been the case, we are mostly a labor of love, with no formal affiliations to other institutions. Internally we work on a consensus-based “little-a” Anarchist model for decision-making and getting stuff done. Also, we’re mostly funded by the sale of buttons, zines, occasionally t-shirts, and donations from visitors like you. SO, thanks for supporting us!

Women’s Health Care IS Political!!

A black and white graphic with a target in the center and the text “Women’s Health Care IS Political” encircling it set on top of text that reads Lesbian bashing • hysterectomy • AIDS • cervical cancer • rape • bulimia • forced child-bearing • Operation “rescue” • Pap smears • incest • endometriosis • RU 486• pre-menstrual syndrome • forced sterilization • sexual harrasment • IUD • pelvic inflammatory disease • cesarian section • liposuction • unitary infection • breast cancer • gynecology • clitorectomy • yeast infection • breast implants • cystitis • ovarian cancer • fibroids • Dalkon shield • abortion

This graphic by WHAM! – the Women’s Health Action and Mobilization is from the split zine CUNT/PRICK circa 1991, and was a direct response to the AIDS crisis.

According to Wikipedia:
“ Historically, women have often been excluded from HIV and AIDS advocacy, treatment, and research. At the start of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, medical and scientific communities did not recognize women as a group for research. Women were excluded from clinical trials of medication and preventative measures. They were also often blocked from being subjects in clinical research with exclusionary with restrictions like “no pregnant or non-pregnant women”. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) rejected grants that were targeted at understanding HIV in low-income women of ethnic minorities. This lack of attention is often attributed to the prominence of the gay rights movement in the area of HIV and AIDS. HIV’s clinical symptoms differ between men and women, and the focus on male symptoms caused medical professionals to overlook symptoms in women. “

As we all knew then, is still true now, and was evidenced by the election in the U.S. this past week, Women’s Health Care IS Political.

 

Not Gay as in boring vegetables but Queer as in Wild Fermentation!

Wild Fermentation coverToday is “Review a Zine” Day of International Zine Month, and the zine we’re talking about is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. Whenever we get asked “what’s your favorite zine in the collection?” Wild Fermentation is always toward the top of the list.

Initially published in 2001, this zine has since spawned a series of books by Sandor Katz (also entitled Wild Fermentation), a website, and an ongoing series of workshops, knowledge shares, and a whole community of positively passionate pickle people.

The zine itself (at least our copy) is entirely text-based. It’s basically a cookzine, but focused on making all sorts of fermented foods. From sauerkraut to pickles to miso to sour dough bread, it’s all about harnessing microbes to make and preserve different things to eat.

Our copy came to us as part of the first large collection of zines that we got as a donation. Honza, a member of our queer punk community in the Bay Area, passed away, and when his chosen family was gathering his things, his zines were sent to us with the request that we would keep them together and honor his memory.

The thing that’s super special about our copy is that Honza used it to press wild flowers and small plants between the pages. From a preservation and archival standpoint, this is not so great, but we’ve kept them in place because to us this represents both him and how we see the zines in our collection as a whole. Important enough to preserve, with the ability to tell stories even when we’re not around, and both precious and non-permanent.

Philosophy aside, we also love Wild Fermentation because it’s a teaching zine. Zines are amazing ways to learn and spread knowledge, and this does that with total ease. I (milo) use his recipes all the time, especially when making kosher dill pickles, kraut, and my own version of asazuke, a spicy dikon, carrot, and hot pepper ferment that I use in vegan banh mi.

Wild Fermentation (the 2001 version) can be found in our digital archive, and Sandor’s books Wild Fermentation, The Art of Fermentation, and Fermentation as Metaphor can be purchased from shortmountaincultures.com.

Aborting Mission Should Be Your Volition

Rock for Choice ad from the back cover of Teen Fag #2, 1993Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began we were thinking about trying to write a thing about zines that talk abut using herbs and DIY abortion. Then came the pandemic, and in the U.S., the confirmation of another anti-abortion supreme court justice, who, it’s speculated, will work to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized pregnancy termination.

We kind of hate that we have to write this at all, but the ongoing attacks on reproductive freedom and healthcare across the world make this necessary. Everybody should have access to the healthcare they need, full stop. This means being able to make informed choices about reproductive options including different methods of contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, and the ability to end a pregnancy as desired.

A couple of notes:

  1. The following links were not digitized by us at QZAP. Abortion and reproductive healthcare are absolutely queer and trans issues, but these zines are maybe outside of our collection policy scope. As such, they are not necessarily up to our standards for digitization, nor can we assure that the original creators permissions were sought before these were put online.
  2. These zines are intended to be informational and not “how-to” manuals. If you need to get an abortion or know someone who might, try contacting Planned Parenthood (in the U.S.) or The International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion (global)
  3. A lot of the research for this (short) list came from Jenna Freedman’s article Unreproductive: Zines on Herbal Abortion and Menstrual Extraction at Zinelibraries.info, which is focused library holdings, and the Let’s Talk About DIY Sexuality Zines handout (PDF) by Emily Bee that was prepared for the 2015 Milwaukee Zine Fest.

The Zines

It’s on Liebigstraße 34

liebig34 berlinWow! It’s been almost a year since we’ve posted anything to the blog. And what a fucking year. As we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, we’re not doing a whole lot these days. At least, not in person. Luckily, online events are a thing right now, and we’re super happy to participate in them.

Coming up next week, we’re co-sponsoring a film screening at the Northwest Film Forum of It’s on Liebigstraße 34.  The screening will include 3 films about the (in)famous feminist-queer squat Liebigstraße 34 in Berlin, Germany and how it was forcibly closed last autumn.

The screening is sliding scale from $0–$25 and will include a Q/A with the film-makers. The links above and below have info on how to get tickets.

It’s on Liebigstraße 34
Feb. 13 at 10am PST / 7pm CET
Northwest Film Forum (online)

Incidentially, we were asked to co-sponsor this by our long-time friend Elliat, who made the amazing doc Travel Queeries, which you can see here.

Queer Love Stories

QLS GRN blgIt seems like a lifetime ago, but it has really only been about two months since we partnered with our friends at the Milwaukee Zine Fest and The Milwaukee Rep to produce a zine from their Queer Love Stories event.  Just as things were ramping up here with the COVID-19 preperations and prior to the Safer At Home orders, we got copies of the community made QLS zine from our local.  That was three weeks ago (it’s 13 April, 2020, a Monday, as we post this.) Since the production of this was funded through the partnership and our initial intent was to make them available during the Milwaukee Zine Fest, we thought we’d do that minus the fest.

If you would like a copy, all you have to do is send us 3 First Class U.S. stamps.

Queer Love Stories c/o QZAP
2935 N. Fratney Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212

Please be sure to include your name and address.

If you are not in the U.S. and would like a copy, please contact us.

Please take care of each other.

Love,

QZAP

In The Maw of the Great White Rabbit

Panel from Howard Cruise's aclaimed graphic novel Stuck Rubber BabyWe honor the legacy of gay comics artist Howard Cruse, who died on November 26, 2019, and share our condolences with his husband, daughter, and chosen family. 

Howard’s work began during a time of tremendous social change in the US in the early 1970s, when he utilized the energy of the underground comix movement to create gay characters and stories with love, laughter, and poignant drama. He was an early editor of Gay Comix, and his breakout work, Stuck Rubber Baby, explored queerness and racial justice through a Southern lens. Perhaps his most well known character, Wendel, represented a bit of Howard himself, with optimistic, simple charms.

Most importantly, Howard worked at a time where he established the frameworks of gay comic storytelling himself, truly a pioneer where few visual artists were creating work by, for, and about queer people. To meet him in person, you would encounter a gentle soul, a very kind and thoughtful human being, in some ways an ‘anti-celebrity’ of sorts. He was candid about how drug use sparked his creativity, and he told human stories in ways that made them universally relatable.

Thank you, Howard, for the path you created, the artists that you inspired to create their own queer work, and for leaving the world with a rich legacy of queer visual stories. Your memory is a blessing.

By Any Means Necessary

P-Form #23 coverIn 1992, the drag queen Joan Jett Blakk ran for presidential office with backing from Queer Nation. Using the slogan “Lick Bush in ‘92,” Blakk’s campaign brought national attention to issues impacting queer communities, particularly the AIDS epidemic that the federal government was completely ignoring1. In the midst of the campaign, Terence Smith, the activist who performs as Blakk, penned an article for the performance art zine P-Form. Smith writes that drag carries a politics of “invulnerability,” providing a means of protection for Smith on both the stage and the streets. “No one can ‘harm’ me in drag,” writes Smith, “Because part of me is hidden underneath a Maybelline shell.” The article is a beautiful illustration of drag as a queer political force—a form of gender-fuckery that according to Smith “stomps out” the signifiers of masculinity and femininity.

Smith’s article is one of many articles on drag performance in this special issue of P-Form. The Randolph Street Gallery ran the zine from 1986 to 1999 and covered the performance art scene in Chicago. (Note: Blakk also ran for mayor of Chicago in 1991.) P-Form regularly highlights the work of queer and feminist artists. In the case of this issue, the majority of the articles are written by the artists themselves, who describe their performance practice as well as the difficulty of surviving and sustaining life as a queer performer.

JJBPIn an article entitled “Every Breathing Moment,” Michael Palmer describes the institutional violence enacted against trans bodies. Palmer writes about endless visits to doctors who challenged his identity as a trans man and refused to provide top surgery. He writes that “listening” to doctors or family would have meant turning toward death. Palmer describes breathing as a radical act—an assertion of life in institutional spaces that negate trans lives.

P-Form also provides reviews of other artistic forms, including painting cinema. In accordance with the drag performance theme, this 1991 issue includes a brief review of Jennie Livingston’s documentary Paris is Burning, which had been released the previous year. The review reads like a collage of interviews and pull-quotes, featuring press statements made by Livingston as well as iconic lines from drag performers such as Dorian Corey and Venus Extravaganza. “The balls used to be about what you could create,” says Corey, “Now they’re about what you could acquire.” Corey notes that theft was not uncommon among the economically struggling performers on the ball circuit. The statement is a strong illustration of how the Harlem ball circuit served as a space of queer of color fabulosity that also gestured toward the precarity of queer life. Performance is a means of sustaining queer life, and it depends on radical forms of resistance to institutional oppression.


1 Goodman, Elyssa. “The Drag Queen Who Ran For President in 1992.” Them, 20 Apr. 2018, https://www.them.us/story/joan-jett-blakk-drag-queen-president. Accessed 13 June 2019.


Jacob Carter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2019 with a master’s degree in English. He is interested in queer cinema and performance art and plans to apply for a PhD in performance studies later this year. He has previously presented his research at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference.

Get QZAP Swag