If you were a teenager in America in the 1980s or 1990s, and if you belonged to the punk or indie subcultures, chances are you or a friend had a zine (short for magazine, appropriate for a small magazine) that you made with a typewriter and old school cut-and-paste techniques. Blogs have largely replaced zines, but there are still a lot of good ones out there. My favorites from the nineties were Cometbus and Pants That Don’t Fit. Shout-outs also go to Fizgig, Henry Fanclub Maga, The B.O.A. Constrictor, and Window Copy. Cometbus, which always had great writing and artwork, is still around and has expanded into Microcosm Publishing. I don’t know what happened to Pants That Don’t Fit, but someone drop me a line if you know anything. Zines render that down-to-earth feeling that, yes, I too have have something to say, and no, I will not be hindered by the lack of an advertising budget. Zines were ahead of the curve on LGBTQ issues and feminism, they reviewed bands from small and nonexistent labels, and they gave expression to idiosyncratic, first person points of view. Reading a zine was like sitting down for a cup of coffee with a friend. They were, and are, traded on a person-to-person basis or sold in independent bookstores and record shops.
In the best of that tradition, I offer you The Sacred Thread, a dharma punk zine for the 2010s. The zine will be distributed on a very limited basis in physical form, via mail and at a few shops in Augusta, GA and Aiken, SC. Or you can download it here. In this first issue:
EAT: GREENS AND BLACK-EYED PEAS
CONFESSIONS OF A MIDDLE-AGED SKATEBOARDER
KALI PRANAM MANTRA
NON-ADVERTISEMENTS FROM AWESOME PEOPLE WE SUPPORT
This was a whole lotta fun to make, and there will hopefully be new issues quarterly, for starters. Here are two versions that you can download. First, for the hardcore dharma activist, who can make copies, fold, and distribute:
And if you can’t be bothered with print and just want to read online:
In the future, I hope the zine will feature more vegan recipes, more about skate/punk culture, and more mantras and spiritual practices. Enjoy!