Zine Roundup: Sweet simplicity

  • Self portrait at the Wash House on 29th

    Dan Price
  • Moonlight Chronicles

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to one of this issue's feature stories, "Undaunted muckraker," in a special issue about community media in the West.

Dan Price’s media empire is centered in a kind of hobbit hole in a meadow in Joseph, Ore., where his 2003 Toshiba photocopier prints 200 copies every two months of a zine called Moonlight Chronicles. One of five experiments in natural/sustainable building that Price has erected over the years, the 6-by-10-foot wooden structure is partially sunk into the ground and covered with boulders, except for a skylight and three porthole windows. Price heats it with a ceramic wood-burning stove at a cost of about 25 cents a day. It’s a fitting home for a publication whose mantra is simplicity.

Zines, with their roots in punk rock and anarchist culture, tend to be fleeting, self-published and narrow in scope. Moonlight Chronicles is something quite different. Price, 49, travels throughout the West and beyond, writing, photographing and drawing the often-overlooked details of the landscape and populace: the eyes of streetlamps in Roswell, N.M., the dome of the Capitol in Helena, Mont., farmworkers picking strawberries in Southern California. The Chronicles is full of snippets from books, and carries the Web addresses of alternative building sites, gas-efficient cars and local artists. It connects a tangle of modern "hobos" in search of something beyond the everyday tumult and sprawl of the West today.

Price’s readers are of all ages. "I’ve gotten hundreds of letters from people who say, ‘Thank you, thank you for what you do. You’re making me look at the little things in life and slow way down.’ I think (my work) gives people a license to be creative for some reason," he says. "When you’re doing such an oddball thing, you kind of wonder sometimes. That mail really keeps me going."

A heartbreaking divorce spurred Price to change his lifestyle and dig deeper into his art. Since 1992, he has created 55 issues of the Moonlight Chronicles, filling approximately 100 4-by-5 1/2-inch pages per issue with the quirky lines of his fine-tipped pen. The second-oldest zine in the country, the Chronicles won an Utne Independent Press Award in 2004.

Simple Shoes, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., prints 5,000 additional copies of the Chronicles to give to customers, paying Price for the printing rights and for additional artwork used in marketing. Some in the zine community have accused Price of selling out, but Price, who has worked as a logger, carpenter and cemetery caretaker, says working with Simple helps him "spread a positive message to as many people as I can."

Price says he operates in the tradition of Jack Kerouac (he’s read On The Road at least 10 times). Others call him a modern-day Thoreau. "My life and the Chronicles have been about trying to simplify in the modern day world," says Price, speaking from a cell phone in the middle of the two-acre meadow he rents for $100 a year. "I don’t want to become too preachy and teachy, but the Chronicles tries to subtly say that we are all here to find beauty and happiness, and get a connection to something that means something."

 

Purchase current or back issues of Moonlight Chronicles for $5 at www.moonlight-chronicles.com, or by writing to Dan Price at P.O. Box 109, Joseph, OR 97846.

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Job Announcement: Executive Administrative Assistant (Part-Time) Announcement date: October 27, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: November...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Job purpose The Executive Director is a proven leader with demonstrated and sustained experience managing people, budgets, fundraising, and contract compliance who guides a well-established...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
    The Greater Yellowstone Coalition seeks a Communications Associate to support the advancement of GYC's mission by working closely with the Communications Coordinator and program staff...
  • MONTANA DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    YOUR POSITION WITH TNC The Director of Development (DoD) is responsible for directing all aspects of one or more development functions, which will secure significant...
  • DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS COORDINATOR
    Development & Operations Coordinator Terms: 1.0 FTE (full-time), Salary DOE ($45,000 - $55,000) Benefits: Paid Time Off (12-24 days/year depending on tenure), Paid Holidays (10/year),...
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • CARBON RANCH PLANNER
    The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education,...
  • EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIRECTOR
    Education and Outreach Program Director The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic,...
  • WESTERN DIVISION DIRECTOR OF FIELD PROGRAMS
    DEADLINE TO APPLY: October 29, 2021 LOCATION FLEXIBLE (WESTERN HUB CITY PREFERRED) Overview The Land Trust Alliance is the voice of the land trust community....
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...