KQED Visits Needles + Pens, Reviews Some Zines, Dismisses Blogs as Less Special

KQED just published The Needles & Pens Twenty-Three Dollar Adventure, in which writer Suzanne Kleid asks the question, “If I wanted to get 4 or 5 great zines, and spend about twenty bucks, what should I get?” The helpful staff hooks her up with some good stuff, and she sets about picking it apart.

Now I love Needles + Pens, and I spend $20 there often, and I’m glad they’ve gotten this good press. But after reviewing her haul, Kleid concludes:

Blogs are a dime a dozen. They require very little financial investment on the part of the creator, and none at all on the part of the reader. It takes a bigger, more special burst of inspiration to make a physical object out of your life experience.

Ouch. I mean, maybe she sees it that way because she blogs for big corporate media entities like KQED and McSweeney’s. But you can’t tell me that some zine is better than WHATIMSEEING because somebody stapled some papers together and Plug1 didn’t.

Don’t want to end on a negative note though… What great titles have you guys come across at N+P? (I tend to love everything by that Please Let Me Help guy, Titty City for the articles, and I hear good things about StreetWorthy.)

Needles + Pens on Myspace (for bulletin updates like “Hey KQED wrote about us”).

7 Responses to “KQED Visits Needles + Pens, Reviews Some Zines, Dismisses Blogs as Less Special”

  1. peeque says:

    i’d have to agree with her … there’s an additional level of commitment and risk to creating something physical. zines are like blogs, with the added creative challenge of making a physical artistic statement in your presentation of the material. which, by the way, doesn’t denigrate whatimseeing or any other good blog … they’re just different media. i wouldn’t be surprised to see a resurgence of physical delivery mechanisms someday.

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  4. Suzanne Kleid says:

    Thanks. I thought Needles and Pens was cool and deserved some exposure.

    Thank you to peeque for getting that I wasn’t trying to make some anti-internet statement.

    If it makes you feel any better, I think Mission Mission is pretty special, and the “corporate media entity” that is Northern California Public Broadcasting paid me a grand total of 35 bucks to write that review. the 23 bucks I spent on zines came out of my pocket. So, net profit of 12 bucks, which I have blown at N+P many times over since then. :)

    I wasn’t talking about WHATIMSEEING (or mission mission) when I was talking about no-investment dime-a-dozen blogging.

    I still have never seen anything on the internet that has moved me the way the hand-drawn and hand-lettered Dream Whip #14 has. There is something about buying a zine, which is also an art object, and being able to see the fingerprints of its creator on it. Plus, you have to enter a physical building and speak to an actual person in order to buy it. The internet is pretty cool. (I wouldn’t write for it if i didn’t think it was.) But good zines are rarer, and good neighborhood zine stores even rarer still. And therefore, yes, that makes them more special.

  5. Allan says:

    well then evidently you haven’t seen bomomo.com. believe. also, the vast majority of zines are dime-a-dozen boring too. obviously i like the rare good ones, but it’s like anything. most painters suck, most musicians suck, most plumbers suck, but there are rare good ones in every field. i’d refrain from saying *all painters* are more special than *all plumbers* just because painting is “art” and plumbing is not. because that’s bullshit. a really great plumber is more of an artist than a run-of-the-mill painter. also, when a blog is boring, the only thing it wastes is its creator’s time. when a zine is boring, it wastes paper, ink and other non-renewable resources.

  6. Allan says:

    but thanks for reading, and writing in, and thanks for writing about n+p :)

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