After several months of waiting, physical and digital copies are now available for Volume 1 of Apple a Day, a zine series featuring poetry, art, and personal essays about how people’s experiences and relationships with food are impacted by life with disability, chronic illness, mental illness, neurodivergence, eating disorders, etc. The series was launched by local multimedia sculptor, photographer, and zinester Lee Niemi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Art from Oregon State University last year, and published through Bitter Pill Press, a small, Corvallis-based zine press he founded and runs with Assistant Editor Jessie.
The first volume features a variety of content by 16 different creators – some local, some from more faraway places like India and England. Entries include “How to love a body that doesn’t love you back”, a short essay by disabled multimedia collage artist and writer Geeg describing their process of grief for their younger self’s disordered eating and hatred for their own body; “Quick Bite”, a poem by Izzy Amber delineating meaningful interactions with food leading up to her late autism diagnosis; “Flip-Flopped”, a poem by Sebastian Doak – a queer, Mad person of settler/M’kmaw heritage – about sensory issues they experience with certain food textures; and much more.
The zine’s longest entry, “Good Housekeeping for the Sick” by Jessie Roth, is an essay that describes beloved food rituals birthed by chronic illness and pain.
“From those of you whose knuckles feel like….nothing (I guess? Instead of pain? I can’t imagine) and whose neurochemistry gets good grades, I receive, too often, a timid sort of slightly-pitying compassion—I’m so sorry that’s happening—and a soft abandonment when I ask you to join me in my thai-food-and-tv ritual,” she writes. “Is this the part of me you’ll never really love? Are you afraid of it? Slowly, over time, should the pain further disable me and your priorities cement—ever more suburban, ever more heterosexual, ever more atomized, ever more divorced from community care, taking the ease of your body ever more for granted—will you drift further and further from me?”
A digital version of the 52-page zine can be downloaded for free from Bitter Pill Press’ website, whereas physical copies can be purchased for $5.
The Autonomy Issue: Jess Hume is a Corvallis-based artist and photographer making work about the experiences of people with marginalized genders, races, and bodies, and how we intersect with the environment. She recently shared a call for submissions for a new issue – The Autonomy Issue – by the jfa Human Rights Journal, an online and print storytelling publication committed to amplifying under-platformed, othered global voices and human rights issues through poetry, articles, photo essays, and art.
“The right to seek and experience sexual pleasure without shame,” reads the issue’s description. “Reclaiming identity, land and language after the wrath of colonialism. Quiet movements of resistance against power structures that have relegated gender expression to the margins of society. What does autonomy mean to you?”
The journal’s second print issue seeks to explore the theme of autonomy in its myriad forms, as well as its significance in the global fight for justice and equity, exploring questions like, “How does one come of age in a hostile city, whose infrastructure deliberately excludes disabled folk from thriving? Is the rise of family vlogging putting children’s fundamental rights to privacy at risk? Is it possible to feel truly at home and desirable in your body, even though it doesn’t fit Eurocentric beauty standards?”
“From spotlighting hidden histories, to examining what it means to not be afforded certain liberties in childhood, or the power of embracing your chosen identity – autonomy is the common thread of resistance,” reads the description. “The Autonomy Issue is your opportunity to identify, define, and resist systems of oppression which have so often constricted us and communities of people all over the world.”
For Hume, whose own work is rooted, according to their website, “in the residual emotional trauma of growing up and existing in a society that consistently seeks to limit our autonomy and undervalue our contributions to society at large,” anything focusing on the concept of autonomy is important right now, but especially in the art world.
“I think art about autonomy is extremely relevant because of how much it is constantly being challenged,” she said. “The societal shift of understanding and inclusivity is changing, albeit slower than many of us would like. The younger generations are really leading the way in challenging and reframing societal norms through art and conveying it in powerful ways.”
Local Volunteers Needed for Regional PIT Count: The Community Services Consortium (CSC), a state-designated community action agency providing programs and services for community members experiencing poverty and homelessness in Benton, Linn, and Lincoln Counties, is looking for local volunteers to assist with the upcoming Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an annual nationwide count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness that happens every January.
The 2023 PIT Count will be conducted over three days: Jan. 24, 25, and 28. A regional, community-wide volunteer effort is currently being coordinated by the CSC to count everyone across the counties it serves.
In an Instagram post, the CSC expanded on the importance of the PIT Count, and on the broader, long-term impacts of volunteering to assist with this effort.
“Oregon’s housing crisis impacts all of us,” reads the post. “More of our neighbors are experiencing homelessness than ever before. The PIT Count helps service providers and local governments understand what is going on in the community. The count has a direct impact on funding for local services, and the number of volunteers we’re able to enlist has a direct impact on the count.”
PIT Count volunteers will work in pairs or small groups (new volunteers will be paired with experienced people) to conduct as many interviews and/or counts as possible at one of many designated sites in all three counties using the Counting Us app or provided paper forms – or join one of the coalition’s street outreach teams to conduct field counts in cities, towns, and forests.
To learn more and sign up to volunteer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 541-714-0065. If you are unable to volunteer but still want to help, donations directly support volunteer work by providing supplies, gift cards, and hot meals to participants; you can donate here or by texting “PIT” to 53-555.
Alternative Futures in Satirical Art: The downtown Joan Truckenbrod Gallery has a new exhibit installed – one that uses caricatural, interactive models to challenge, critique, and explore possible socioeconomic alternatives to the destructive, profit-driven foundations of capitalism. Titled CONTRACAP, the installation was created by Raphael Arar, an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and technologist who currently leads One Project, an organization that works globally with communities to help design and implement forms of governance and economics that prioritize life, justice, happiness, and equity in the service of everyone rather than a powerful, wealthy few.
“Through playful, satirical sculpture and bold graphics, Arar makes a mockery of the capitalist imperative to commodify everything and create profit at all costs,” reads a description of the exhibit. “In CONTRACAP, Arar puts forward work that questions the ideological underpinnings and contradictions of late capitalism and sketches an idea of alternative futures.”
The exhibit will remain up until Jan. 28, and can be seen at the Truckenbrod Gallery between 12 and 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Arar will give an Artist Talk at 5 p.m. during the Corvallis Arts Walk on Jan. 19.
By Emilie Ratcliff