Raw Material

Deborah Barkun, Pawholes

Selection: "Cleavage: Appendage or Accessory?" (page 85)

Review (from the Fine Print catalog): "Each issue brims with positively twisted musings on indie rock fanaticism, sexuality and popular culture, and exposes everyday ironies with humor, intelligence and style."

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
My father used to get Factsheet Five when I was a kid so I literally grew up looking at zines. Pawholes was started by myself and Keren Kurti in 1991. It was something we had been talking about doing for awhile and for some reason the soil was particularly receptive at that time. At the time, we were both frustrated by what we felt was a silencing of a female point of view in the alternative music and cultural scenes, and craved an open, approachable space in which to freely let our voices—and those of others—ring.

Where did you come up with the name "Pawholes"?
It came from an experience that we felt typified our need to self-publish. We road-tripped to an infamous punk rock club in our nation's capital to see a show. I was wearing my favorite jeans—an old well-worn pair of Levi's that conformed perfectly to my body-shape—the very essence of comfort. There were a few softly-worn patches and tiny rips in the ass, but nothing obscene or revealing. While there, I ran into a friend who I hadn't seen in several years and we spent the beginning part of the evening catching up. We were having a great time. Soon I noticed that my friend was no longer a well-behaved gentleman, but was rapidly becoming a multi-limbed, depraved octopus. I spent the later part of the evening continuously removing his roving hands from my person. By the time I emerged from the club, hours later, the tiny discreet rips in my jeans had become large, gaping holes ("pawholes") the tears that appear in one's clothing after being pawed by a randy gentleman.

Why publish a zine?
I suppose that a self-publish partially because I feel the need to create a truly open forum for the particular mix of sardonic humor, alternative culture and social criticism that swirl incessantly around in the minds of my friends and I, and partially because I am a control-freak about my own creative endeavors, and really get off on seeing a project through from the very start to the very end. As I write this I am on a production deadline for Pawholes No. 6, and have been deprived of sleep, nutrition and rational thought for over 72 hours. I am a total wreck and nothing gives me more pleasure than this wigged-out feeling. I adore the crunch at the very end: the mucusy crud of rubber cement on my fingers, the white-out vapors seeping into my precious lung-tissue, the floor, a sea of scrap paper and paste-ups gone awry, my body's subsistence on pure adrenaline. There's nothing like it.

What can you tell us about the selection you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
I compiled the "Cleavage" piece because of my own whimsical experiences with an ample bosom. I knew there must be a bounty of similar tales and I felt that the world had a need to know!

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
1) Never refer to yourself as a "zinester."
2) Never trust a printer.

Creative Revenge Tactics

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