Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shotgun Seamstress zine Collection: a zine by and for black punks by Osa Atoe

(Mend My Dress Press) All six issues of Osa Atoe’s short-lived/should-be-legendary zine are collected here in a handsome paperback. There are so many things I love about this zine, and the most formal and beautiful one is its pure zine-ishness. Collages…smudgy Xeroxes…typewriter action… handwritten stuff…cut-n-paste design…every article laid out in a different style…this was as pure and classic looking a zine as possible. Another amazing aspect is the way Osa combines contemporary per-zine aesthetic/content with the kind of lengthy, insightful, smart interviews that invoke the glory days of music zines (engaging with punk ‘n’ roll celebs like Mick Collins and Poly Styrene, d.i.y. superheroes like Trash Kit, and artists, fans, and best of all, a black female tattoo artist elder with a thrilling history). She also covers the history of black punk rockers with an eye towards early punk and hardcore, but also a broad, inclusive definitions of “punk” (she embraces RuPaul, Vaginal Davis, and even “black weirdos” like Sun Ra). That openmindedness is what really made this zine so magical: despite boldly tackling racial, queer, d.i.y., outsider, gender, and scene politics issues, Osa never repeats the dogma or clichés of each movement. Instead, she remains her own woman, and there’s genuinely nothing more political (or interesting) than that.

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