zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Friday, September 11, 2009


Zine review: Miranda
Posted by Amy Wang, The Oregonian September 11, 2009 06:22AM

A few months ago, while attending a Time Out comedy night at the Airplay Cafe (701 E. Burnside St.), I heard local writer Kate Haas read an essay about maternity clothes. Her mother's maternity clothes. Which said mother wanted to pass on to said daughter, a generation -- and in terms of fashion, a geological age -- later.

Haas wrote of the box her mother shipped: "Its contents would have elicited a shudder from even the most retro-chic pregnant hipster: the yellow cotton dress with black buttons and piping (for that pregnant bumblebee look), a brown wool number with a drawstring under the breast, and the dreaded lime-green and blue polka-dotted smock, which even my old Holly Hobbie doll would have scorned."

The essay was funny, eloquent, insightful and touching. It got a good response that night and at other readings, so much so that Haas made it the lead piece in the most recent issue of her zine, Miranda: Motherhood and Other Adventures.

A zine is a self-published magazine; in a testament to Portland's DIY spirit, Powell's Books has a whole section devoted to zines, including Haas'. I have to admit I've not been a huge fan of zines; just because you can produce one doesn't mean you can write.

But Miranda showcases a truly capable and interesting voice. In the current issue, for instance -- August 2009, No. 19 -- Haas writes about her 9-year-old's unusual enthusiasm for The New York Times' wedding announcements, his even more avid passion for Tintin comic books, her decidedly mixed feelings about the teaching job she left to stay home with her children, the importance of responding correctly to a toddler who hands you his stick, even parent-friendly challah.

Not all the pieces are about parenting. Haas also writes with great poignancy about a long-ago acquaintance whose doppelganger she spotted in the park one day, decades later.

The zine is 28 pages but seemed much shorter, so enjoyable was it. In fact, my primary reaction upon finishing it was to want more. I'll definitely be reading the next issue and looking for previous issues.

Miranda is available for $2 per issue at Powell's, Reading Frenzy in downtown Portland, Milagros in Northeast Portland, Polliwog in Southeast Portland, Children's Exchange in Southeast Portland and Mamas 'n' Papas on East Burnside.

To be notified when the next issue is available, e-mail Haas at oceanreader@gmail.com.

-- Amy Wang; amywang@news.oregonian.com

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