mildred pierce zine

MP in Woman Made’s Underground show; & Reading
July 31, 2011, 5:59 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , ,

Mildred Pierce is one of a long list of publications featured in Woman Made Gallery’s Underground show in Chicago. The show features independent, underground, and self-published art and publications by women, queer, trans, genderqueer, and gender-nonconforming artists and writers and is currently on display (with a pop-up library!) until August 18th.

Robin Hustle, "Some of her Uneasiness was Due to Her Awareness that She was Standing on a Hollow Floor"

MP4 cover artist Edie Fake is one of the featured artists, and MP4 interviewee Sabrina Chap‘s zine Cliterature is part of the library.

I (Megan) have been working with the curator, Ruby Thorkelson, who also has work on display in the show, to coordinate a reading on behalf of Uncalled-for Readings Chicago, the mostly queer, mostly prose reading series I host. Check out this spectacular lineup, and I hope you’ll make it out if you’re in Chicago!


(bios below)

We’ll hear readings in two sets, each of which will close with music performed by Curiouser Jane (a.k.a. Dalice Malice) and Marie Hunt, respectively.

Sunday, August 14, 2011
2 p.m.
Woman Made Gallery
685 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL

Mairead Case is a writer, editor, and critic. She is a member of the Dil Pickle Club, Non-Fiction Editor at Another Chicago Magazine, a columnist at Proximity, and Volunteer Coordinator for Louder Than a Bomb. Mairead is at work on a short story collection, supported by a CAAP grant and recently excerpted by featherproof and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. She programmed a radio show about dreams for Neighborhood Public Radio at the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and her comic about Serge Gainsbourg, drawn by David Lasky, is forthcoming in Best American Comics 2011.

Curiouser Jane (a.k.a. Dalice Malice) is a zinester, blogger, queer-poly trans grrrl, academic, writer, poet, monologist, anarchist, dreamer, catholic, roller skate loving, one-woman firing squad. She blogs at and is a weekly contributor for Oh & she’s a folk singer:

Marie Hunt is an Oak Park poet, singer and songwriter. She has been a featured poet on the Romantic Hours website, as well as soloist and assistant musical coordinator at Bethany Union Church in Beverly. Mrs. Hunt has also been a featured soloist in such venues as the First United Methodist Church in the Loop, the First United Methodist Church of Oak Park, and Hyde Park Union Church. She has produced five recordings under her record label Pashin Productions, and has recently released five books of poetry (a pentalogy entitled “The Palm”) from her own deLores Press. She can be seen this fall performing “Alone / Together” (along with her husband, tenor Henry Hunt) for her third company, Scavenger Hunt Productions at Woman Made Gallery.

Robin Hustle lives in Chicago. She writes and draws about sex, health, language, and public space. Her zines include Mirror Tricks, Curdled Milk, Leftovers Again?!, and Power of the Impotent. From 2007 to 2008 she co-edited The Skeleton News, a free monthly newspaper. Her drawings have been shown at Roots and Culture and Gallery 400, and she has presented slide shows and lectures about prostitution across the country. She is currently working on a solo band called Landscaping and a nursing degree.

Liz Mason has been self-publishing zines for fourteen years. Her work has been printed in such publications as The Chicago Tribune, Punk Planet, Venus,Lumpen and The Zine Yearbook. She has appeared on a reality show to provide instruction on publishing zines, which NBC executives referred to as “pamphlets” as if they were Marxist propaganda. Her most recent published work is Caboose #7: Britney Spears 101, which focuses on her experience undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer, as seen through the lens of consumerism, celebrity obsession and public scrutiny. She also has a blog called Liz’s Masonic Lodge, and you should totally, totally, totally, totally visit it by clicking on this very sentence.

Jami Sailor wants to make a split zine with you. Her current projects include Your Secretary and Archiving the Underground (with Jenna Brager). Her long running zine, No Better Voice, was featured in Alison Piepmeier’s Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism.

February 14, 2011, 12:20 am
Filed under: art, comedy, grotesque | Tags: , ,

Mildred Pierce #4: Comedy and the Grotesque is officially alive!! HUGE thanks to all who have helped make this issue possible.

This issue features cover art by Edie Fake, inside cover art by Eamon Espey; its guts include….

  • A review of the cult horror film Slither by Daniel Moseley
  • A slicing-dicing deconstruction by Bonnie Kaserman
  • Two comic vignettes by Ellen Nielsen
  • A Real Asshole — essay by Marc Baez 
  • Bernhard – Kinski – Theodore: Only a Madman Would Imitate Madness — essay by John Berndt
  • FEH-MUH-NIST: A Consideration of Offense in Diane DiMassa’s Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist — essay by Vicky Lim
  • Reinventing the Grotesque: Wangechi Mutu’s Beautifully Mutating Women — essay by Joyce Kuechler
  • Charlottesville’s Lady Arm Wrestlers: A Bawdy, Rowdy, Satirical, Political, Feminist, Community-Based Performance Art Movement — feature by Leeyanne Moore
  • Barf Transitive: Bulimic Writing as Feminist Resistance — essay by Megan Milks
  • You Want to Make a Joke About That? A Brief History on the Development of My Lisp by Jim Joyce
  • a feature on artist Jimmy Joe Roche by John Bylander
  • a feature on puppeteer Sean Samoheyl by Leeyanne Moore
  • fiction by James Tadd Adcox, Jake Hostetter, and Leeyanne Moore
  • interviews with musician/writer Sabrina Chap and artists Edie Fake and Pippi Zornoza
  • comics, illustration and art by Noel Freibert, Carrie Fucile, Zach Hazard, Gerry Mak, Sarah Magida, Jason Miles, and Ed Choy Moorman
  • and more!

Those of you who pre-ordered, we’re in the process of getting your copies out. The rest of ya, for now, while we’re working on distribution, can purchase an issue through PayPal: send $9 ($8 + $1 shipping) to including your mailing address in the note.

See you at Quimby’s on Saturday, February 26th!

Jimmy Joe Roche at Rare Gallery, through Feb. 3
January 25, 2011, 12:06 pm
Filed under: art, comedy, grotesque, interview | Tags: , , , ,

A still from one of the videos in "Under Pressure"

This week would be a good week to go and check out Under Pressure, Jimmy Joe Roche’s solo show at Rare Gallery in New York. I myself am trying to make it back there,  having attended the opening a few weeks back. I am really excited about this show, and eager to get a second, closer look at some of the videos and installations before the show comes down. The forthcoming issue of Mildred Pierce features a profile of Roche and his work. If you have not been already, check out his site, and check out the show, up through February 3.  Rare Gallery is at 547 W 27 St, #514, New York, NY.

January 25, 2011, 1:24 am
Filed under: art, comedy, grotesque | Tags: , ,


Please help us celebrate the release of MILDRED PIERCE ISSUE #4, “Comedy and the Grotesque” (cover designed and screenprinted by Edie Fake)….

at Quimby’s Bookstore (1854 W. North Ave) …

on SATURDAY, February 26th, 2011 at 7 pm.

Joining us to provide readings and performances are MP contributors James Tadd Adcox, Edie Fake, Jim Joyce, Vicky Lim, Ed Choy Moorman, and Ellen Nielsen!!!!! (Keep reading for these talented people’s bios.)

Wine and refreshments plus limited-edition zines! HOLY COW see you there.

James Tadd Adcox is the editor-in-chief of Artifice Magazine ( His work has appeared in The Literary Review, TriQuarterly, and Lamination Colony, among other places. He lives in Chicago.

Edie Fake is the author of Gaylord Phoenix, now available as a collection from Secret Acres. He’s received a Critical Fierceness Grant for queer art and was one of the first recipients of Printed Matter’s Awards for Artists. His drawings have been included in Hot and Cold, Creative Time Comics, and LTTR. Currently, he lives in Chicago where he works as a minicomics sommelier for Quimby’s Books.

Jim Joyce graduated from St. Rita High School in 2004. His zine, Or Let It Sink, explores desire, failure, and personal mythology. Jim works in the education field and enjoys keeping a journal.

Vicky Lim has a zine (Dear Jaguar) and a blog (Personal Statements) and lives in Chicago.

Ed Choy Moorman is a New Jersey-raised, Minneapolis College of Art and Design-schooled, Chicago-based cartoonist. He is the editor and publisher of the 2009 Xeric Award-winning Ghost Comics anthology from Bare Bones Press. ( +

Ellen Nielsen is an interdisciplinary artist whose body of work includes writing, performance, objects, video, and graphic design. She received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland and is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

‘I love mummified skin, it just feels so amazing’: Sally Mann v. Body Worlds

In Mildred Pierce #2 I wrote a diatribe on Body Worlds that was more a confused intensity than a logically sound critique. A recent visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see the Sally Mann retrospective upon the suggestion of friend/MP contributor Leeyanne Moore renewed for me certain questions raised by Body Worlds about the presentation of dead (human) bodies. It’s my hope that I am more articulate this time.

Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds — “The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies” — showcases human bodies that have been plastinated (this is von Hagens’ innovation, a new way of preserving bodies and bodily materials) and posed in curious and at times problematically gendered ways. The exhibit, which has been touring the world for several years now in various forms, is a spectacle on numerous levels, and, when I saw it in Philadelphia in 2006, its flashy presentation of “real” human bodies — in which bodily fluids had been replaced by “real” fluid plastics — grossed me out; and the wonder with which many museumgoers approached these bodies perplexed me. I’ve actually manipulated cadavers, so my response to the exhibit was a So What?: what’s astonishing about heavily manipulated ‘realness,’ where the stench and messiness of decomposing bodily materials is sterilized out of existence?

Body Worlds: unintentional camp?

Surely one of von Hagens’ plastinations will someday be displayed next to the soap lady in Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum. In contrast to the ostentatious Body Worlds, I find the Mütter’s crowded display of bodies and body parts, many of them wax replicas, deeply fascinating and educative — the giant colon is a perennial favorite. I guess I just prefer the Mütter’s privileging of anomaly to Body Worlds’ heteronormative, ableist presentation of human embodiment. And I guess I’m more interested in the history of medicine and its wacky mishaps and assumptions than in ogling a ‘real’ pregnant body in a weirdly sexualized reclining pose with its uterus sliced open for all to see. The kind of ogling invited at Body Worlds seems exploitive, the supposed authenticity of the exhibition masking the obvious editorializing being done. The Mütter is more humble, more fascinated with its contents, less invested in taking over the world and making a lot of money: look, we’ve got a wall of wax eyeball problems, come see.

eye maladies at the Mütter

Like the Mütter’s, Sally Mann’s presentation of human bodies seems to escape the kind of exploitation that Body Worlds invites – or maybe is just more self-aware about its own voyeurism. While Mann’s oeuvre is full of bodies, I’m referring in particular to her photographs of corpses, currently on display as part of The Flesh and the Spirit at the VMFA. The series is part of a larger selection of photos from her 2002 exhibit What Remains, originally exhibited at the Corcoran.

What Remains is a three-part series of photographs, the first grouping together gloomy landscapes of Civil War battlefields, all in low-contrast b&w. She used the same photographic techniques of the Civil War era, but didn’t try to perfect them as contemporary photographers did, her process resulting in a kind of scarring of the photographs — scratches, graininess, tears.  The landscapes appear both wounded and proud, overcast with pain, gapingly out of time.

"Untitled (Appomattox #4)"

The second part of the exhibit presents photographs taken at the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center (also known as the Body Farm), where unclaimed bodies are left outside, their open-air decomposition studied by forensic scientists. Mann’s photographs from the Body Farm show human bodies in various states of decomposition, some in b&w, a few in color. Tthe original exhibit also presented photos of Mann’s dead dog as it decomposed over time.)

"Untitled (2001)"

The third part is a series of large-scale, exuberantly close-up photos of Mann’s adult children’s faces — a celebration of vitality through monstrous intimacy.

The second group of photos interests me most, due to my own fascination with bodies and the rarity of seeing them decomposing outside, vulnerable to insects and buzzards, the elements. Mann’s photographs capture various shades and textures of decay: one body is fully decomposed from the torso down while still retaining the flesh on one hand; one appears to vomit maggots from its neck.

"Untitled (2001)"

Later, my friend and I discussed our reactions: she said she was initially put off by what she felt was a disrespect towards these corpses, but that seeing the documentary on Mann, which runs continuously as part of the retrospective, and witnessing Mann’s attachment to and love for her dead dog’s body, changed her (my friend’s) mind. At the same time, she was put off by footage of Mann at the body farm, where she’s seen tapping cadavers with her fingers and saying things like, “I love mummified skin, it just feels so amazing.”

In the documentary, Mann makes a very clear distinction between selves and the homes they’ve left behind. I don’t know if I’d separate the self from the body so entirely. But to me, the photographs perform a reclaiming of these unclaimed bodies, if not the lives that have left them, and evidence Mann’s respect for and fascination with bodies and their movement through time. Her photographic and processing tactics produce photography that announces its own artifice — the photographs are always photographic, there’s always a scrim that detaches the viewer from the viewed — tears and scratches, “mistakes” that remind you of their manipulation by an artist’s eyes and mind. So even as Mann’s photographs seem to present the “natural” or “authentic,” they disallow such a reading. Where both Mann and Body Worlds present essentially voyeuristic ways of viewing bodies, Mann’s approach to the body in death puts the sterility and unacknowledged artifice of von Hagens’ spectacle in stark relief. Mann is interested in the human; von Hagens in plastic.

This comparison also raises questions about art v. science: Mann as artist of the body; von Hagens as equal parts mortician and radical scientist. What about Damien Hirst, too, and reactions to him: a sculpture like The Virgin Mother —

hirst, the virgin mother

versus von Hagens’ ‘sculpture’ of a pregnant woman: von Hagens has largely escaped the criticisms that have been leveled at Mann and Hirst and other artists of the body whose art has been criticized for its ‘shock value’  — probably because he has the authority of science (its presumptive objectivity) and of science museums behind him. I’m a bit out of my league here, though, not knowing too much about the reception of these artists, or really of Body Worlds — making some assumptions.

In my essay in MP2, I put Body Worlds in conversation with the popularity of shows like CSI and Bones — maybe I’ll return to that in another post, as this one’s exceeding itself.

GAYLORD PHOENIX gets collected
December 1, 2010, 1:01 am
Filed under: art | Tags: , ,

Gaylord Phoenix, a wonderfully radically queer world in minicomic form by Chicago artist Edie Fake (Mildred Pierce #4 cover artist!!), is now available collected in this gorgeous book. We’ve got an *xclusive* (well, we could say that) interview with Edie about the project in MP4, so we won’t say more than yeah, it’s awesome. Congratulations, Edie!

Help celebrate in Brooklyn and Chicago this week and next:

NYC release party is at Cinders Gallery (103 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn) on Thursday, 12.2 at 7pm;

Chicago release party‘s at Quimby’s (1854 W North Ave)  on Thursday 12.9 at 7 pm.

The book’s available through Secret Acres.

Issue Four contribs

We welcome aboard the following writers, artists, and interviewees to the slow cruise ship that is MP#4:

James Tadd Adcox, Marc Baez, Max Eisenberg, Carrie Fucile, Bonnie Kaserman, Joyce Kuechler, Vicky Lim, Leeyanne Moore, Ed Choy Moorman, Dan Moseley, Ellen Nielsen, Jimmy Joe Roche, Sean Samoheyl, James Solitaire, Jennifer Tidwell.

Glad to have you! The rollout may be slow but it is sure.

Meghan Eckman at SXSW, Mildred Pierce Parks for Free
March 15, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: art, interview

Mildred Pierce fanatics will remember filmmaker Meghan Eckman from her appearance in the pages of Issue #3, talking about music, filmmaking, and the BIG PICTURE–as in, what is this thing called life, and how does one present the proverbial slice of it, filmically? And then do it with enough consistency to be considered an artist at it?

At the time of Mildred Pierce Issue 3,

Illustration from Mildred Pierce 3 by Erik Carter

Eckman was in the process of filming a documentary about Charlottesville, Virginia’s storied “Corner Parking Lot,” where, at the time, I was an employee. I remember being somewhat skeptical of how the concept could come across on film, but she pressed on, determined that the story of the parking lot reach the masses.

And lo and behold, not only has The Parking Lot Movie been completed, it just premiered as an official selection at this year’s SXSW Film Festival!! To boot,  Eckman and the film were featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.  I think that I, John B, one half of Mildred PIerce editorial board, am mentioned in the radio piece (although my voice does NOT ‘appear’ in the final edit as implied) and may even be featured in The Parking Lot Movie itself! I say “may” half joking because I haven’t seen any of the film yet! I am excited for the Virginia premiere on March 27th.  Congratulations to Meghan Eckman and The Parking Lot Movie–we knew her when. Read on after the jump for the full issue 3 interview, wherein Eckman talks noise music,  movies, 9-11,  and freedom!

Continue reading

Mildred Pierce blog gets a ‘Nuevo Look’
February 10, 2010, 1:33 am
Filed under: art, comedy, submissions | Tags: , , , ,

The Mildred Pierce Zine site has undergone some changes, and yr lookin’ at ’em. We are getting into what my friend Nate M. would call “serious bloggin’, y’all.” As much as we want to stay committed to the paper product, we are also trying to get some internet lovin’, so we went out and got our virtual hair did for you writers out there who can only submit to a Cultural Crit magazine that looks like she pays her own bills… Am I right? Anyway, with a new look comes a new deadline for proposals: March 31st! Get those genius ideas in folks! We’re gearing up to roll out Issue No. 4, and you know you want a ride (of course MP pays her own car note!). The details of submission are below… Continue reading

Starving Artist Interview #5: Davis Schneiderman
January 25, 2010, 1:47 pm
Filed under: art, interview | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Davis Schneiderman swoops in from above to scavenge more dead, dying, & live! writhing with desire! language while eagerly mocking us all. Davis was interviewed in MP#3 about collaborative fiction and his novel Abecedarium. Since then, here’s the news:

My novel, Drain, will be published in June 2010 by Northwestern University Press, with a fantastic afterword by Megan Milks. It’s about a near-future where Lake Michigan empties of water, and all sorts of crazy starving-artists stuff goes down. Why not pre-order a copy for your loved ones here? And I am trying to blog more often here.

1) If/when (now or in the past) you have used the term “starving artist”** in relation to yourself, how literal are we talking in terms of actual starving? What would you count as part of the territory that comes with being a “starving artist” and what would you disallow?

Davis Schneiderman

I use this term when reading Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist” which is sometimes translated as “The Fasting Artist” or “The Starving Artist” and fills itself with ennui and anonymity at the decline of public interest in the starving-artist spectacle. I read the story, conversely, after a feeding frenzy that consumes everything possible at the local all-you-can-eat/eat-all-you-can buffet establishments: Chinese and American. How much lo mein can i eat in one sitting? Can i make a steam-table parcel of reddish-pink Alaskan snow crab legs disappear by the time you finish a series of slow belches? Just you watch me, Kafka, just you watch.

2) What would you say is your general level of starving as a starving artist? By that, I mean, when you look around you, or think about starving artists in history, how would you place yourself in a kind of spectrum?

Less than Ghandi. More than Ben Kingsley.
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