I recently contacted Ken Bausert and requested a trade and he was happy to do so. I sent him my two photozines, which may be more accurately called chapbooks, and he sent me the last two issues of his perzine, “The Ken Chronicles.” Though I’ve been interested in zines for a long time I’m really very new to them and I was very intrigued by the idea of a perzine, or personal zine.
By their nature it seems most zines are “perzines” in that they are usually written and edited by one person and contain their personal beliefs and what not. What I think perzine really indicates is that this isn’t a zine about queer culture, punk rock, political anarchy, or all the other racy subjects that most zines address. This is more like your relatives blog. I was skeptical if I would find these interested. Though I’ve been writing a blog for nearly 10 years I’m terrible at reading other people’s blogs and I didn’t expect Ken’s Chronicles would keep my attention.
Wow I was wrong…
So the zines are 24 pages not including the cover, laser printed with some color photos and saddle stapled. The first page is a business page and includes the volume information, table of contents and a letter about the issue from Ken. It’s really laid out much like a professional magazine.
Once I started reading I found myself really drawn in. The letters section gave me the idea that Ken has a strong support base and that this zine is more than just some stapled together paper. I really enjoyed the “What I’ve been _____________ Lately?” which gave me a few good ideas for some movies I might like and the zines section which I found very interesting.
The next section gave us an update on Ken’s winter in Florida as this is the May issue it covers the three preceding months. I really enjoyed this section which was really just mundane events that happened, like meeting a guy at a car show who also learned to play piano latter in life. There were some great color photographs also in this section.
So why did I lay in bed and read these front to back, even though if this was a website I’d probably glanced at it for a minute. Part of the problem is how distracting the web is, it’s hard to focus on one thing when you have literally a million things to choose from. It could also be how clean the layout is, it’s very well printed and easy to read, there are no flashing ads, pop ups, and other annoying stuff. There is the fact that being on paper makes it feel much more important. Then finally there is the simple fact that it’s good, it’s well written and even though Ken’s Chronicles aren’t flashy, edgy, or even that exciting, I found them very interesting.
Also from anyone who wants to see what a successful mature zine should look like you should check out The Ken Chronicles.
I really felt like I’d kind of ripped Ken off, my two 8 page microzines for two of his 24 page zines. I sent him a preview copy of another zine I just finished and will be sending him future zines that I make as well.
Ken sells his zine for 3 bucks, or 10 dollars for a year. He can be reached at
2140 Erma Drive
East Meadows NY 11554-1120