Wednesday, June 13, 2007

China Martens

China Martens, author of The Future Generation, recently did a book signing at Joseph-Beth at the Works.

Martens is a very tall, excited, self-proclaimed punk and part of the Radical Writer Mamas tour. Her stories focus on the birth and life of her (currently) teenage daughter, and the trials of being a "radical" single mom and simultaneously disappointing her little one. A lot of her audience consisted of blue-haired mamas and their infants, as well as grungy men with messenger bags. It was quite a refreshing gathering.

One of my favorite stories she told described how her daughter finally came to terms with her mother and got "Made in China" tattooed on her lower back. Martens was understandably thrilled.

Her book is a compilation of editions of her personal zine, which, although they still thrive, struck me as the blogs of yesterday. She met her best friends through the things, used them as an artistic and informative outlet, and was able to self-publish.

China Martens


  1. Rachel,

    What are your thoughts on the Southside Works? It seems like the bookstore does some neat stuff, but everytime I visit I'm overcome with how much it caters to the haves. Last time I was there, there was not a single affordable restaurant. Well, there was Qdoba. And word on the street is that the developers are trying to buy out and relocate Goodwill Industries. Rumors? Perhaps. But the vibe for me is that the have-nots or the have-not-so-muches need not apply...

  2. To be completely honest, it feels a lot like The Waterfront to me. It's very pretty, but I generally ignore the atmosphere and have tunnel vision for what I'm there for.

    I definitely think they're tending to the haves, but I'm still willing to grab a cheap book and some Subway in passing if I'm in the area.

    Hey, I would still rather be further down the other end of Carson anyway.

  3. That's interesting. Ledcat gets very annoyed with me when we go to the Works b/c I rant the entire time about yuppies, racism, classism and long lines for cheesecake.

    I get a completely different vibe at the Waterfront ... there's a much more ethnically diverse crowd and I've noted quite a few Asian and Latino patrons. I'd say the Waterfront is a tad bit more average. Still, it is filled with corporate stores ...

    We try very hard to patronize local businesses when possible, but it is frequently not possible.

    I wish there were more readings at libraries.

  4. Rachel, I was struck by your reference to zines as blogs of the past. I never thought of it that way, but I often contemplate the impact of technology on the young, alternative social experience. The improved access to personal expression is rad, but you definitely lose that raw, tactile goodness. When I liked a zine, I felt like part of a tiny, little secret society of individuals who had made a wonderful discovery. And I had a little star-struck freakout at the fact that the creator had most likely held it, and folded it, and stapled it, and dropped it off at the store, and would later pick up my $3. Myspace can't hold a candle to that kind of romance.

  5. Sue - I see what you're saying. Maybe I need to look up and realize what's going on a little bit more. I'm usually alone when I hit those areas, so therefore, I'm usually more likely to have something to say when there's someone there to say it to. I've only been to the Works three or four times. Maybe my opinion constitutes some longer visiting hours so I can really feel it out. I agree what you said about local businesses. I'm in the same boat there.

    Jess - Oh yeah, I definitely do not hold blogs above zines. I know what you mean about actually holding the pages. Although, I do feel that if blogging weren't around I'd be more into the zine culture, but since access to blogging was easier, and I could readily learn more about web design then how to get in touch with the zine society, I used what was there.

  6. hello! its me - the me in the picture :)

    zines are good! I'm not very high tech, but I just made an (egads) myspace - and maybe I will go put this picture over there, ok?