From the Stacks: August 4, 2006

Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals,
weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and
it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles
high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire
lively daily chatter, but they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

magazine’s ‘ch issue’ (#7) is chock-full of charm.
There’s a tribute to comedians Charlie Chaplin and his Latin
American equivalent, Chespirito. Cheech Marin chats about
Chicano-made artwork. ‘Jazz-brat’ Monday Michiru advocates for the
online record label ArtistShare. And a member of the media watchdog
group Chica Luna mouths off about the nonprofit’s social
justice-themed film festival. The ‘ch’s’ don’t end here. Also
inside is author Michelle Serros, news on London’s Saatchi gallery,
Manu Chao, Chile’s former president, and Chef Claude Chassagne’s
fusion restaurant, Chubo. — Kristen Mueller

A patch of land,
permanent population, functioning government, and willingness to
relate to other states is all you need to create your own country.
If you’re interested in checking out how other folks have fared in
that quest, check out
Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to
Home-Made Nations
, which illuminates the often
hilarious histories of dozens of these unmapped territories.
Take the Principality of Sealand, ‘a crumbling former
anti-aircraft tower in the North Sea’; the Copeman Empire, which
consists of a caravan that rolls across the UK; and the Kingdom
of North Dumpling Island, the currency of which is — yep — the
dumpling  (its value is pi). — Kristen

Leaving the doom
and gloom to someone else, the Autumn issue of the UK’s
Permaculture Magazine stays positive and
true to its motto, ‘Solutions for Sustainable Living.’ They offer a
tale of two eco-villages, weighing the pros and cons of a more
urban community versus a rural village. In ‘Putting My House in
Order,’ Donnachadh McCarthy details how he transformed his home’s
plumbing, heating, and electricity to be more eco-friendly. There
are also how-tos on building your own compost bin and reusing old
oil drums. Also of note: Chris Johnstone’s article, ‘From Overwhelm
to Engagement,’ insists that if we’re to overcome climate change,
we’ll have to do away with all the fear and make sustainability
enjoyable. — Rachel Anderson

A little warning about the latest
Matrix: You might not want to be eating or
drinking while reading issue #74, for risk that you’d choke from
the hilarity of some of the stories. Jordan Scott grapples with
whom he wants more in his bed, his girlfriend or his Cabbage Patch
Kid, in ‘The New Canadian Pornography.’ Equally entertaining are
the comics and ‘fan friction’ paying homage to Xena: Warrior
, Lost and Charles in Charge. The
Canadian publication reads like a zine all-stars edition, where the
unrestrained artistic license is clear, as is the talent of the
dozens of contributors. — Rachel Anderson

DJ Frederick‘s zine,
/wave project
, is devoted to shortwave and pirate radio.
The third issue, ‘RADIO/waves,’ covers pirate (a.k.a., ‘free’)
radio from technical instruction — ‘Single Side Band’ and ‘How to
hear your first pirate’ — to personal experiences with the medium.
Also included are interviews with the likes of Alan Maxwell, a
sub-cultural hero. DJ Frederick’s veneration for this elusive mode
of contact emanates from the page, drawing any reader in, pirate
radio fan or otherwise. Even tech-speak has a tendency to become
poetic through his words, as in his explanation of propagation:
‘Shortwave radio signals are capable of reaching the other side of
the planet because they can be refracted by the ionosphere.’ —
Suzanne Lindgren

The July 20-26 cover of the Denver alt weekly
Westword pictures three young women
looking idealistic and ready to build a bike. Inside, writer Jared
Jacang Maher asks, ‘Why is the city putting the brakes on the
Derailer Bike Collective?’ When some political-minded youngsters
started a free bike shop/workshop for locals out of their garage in
a poor part of town, most people — though not everyone —
approved. Add the naysayers to a tangle with the FBI for
involvement in peaceful protests, and you have the recipe for a
cease and desist order. The conflict serves as a vehicle for
discussing a more interesting aspect of the story — the Do It
Yourself attitude of the women who started the collective and aim
to keep it going despite obstacles. — Suzanne

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